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Savona Karate Club members bring home medals from tournament

Two of the three successful athletes were attending their first tournament

Yoriko Kanamaru-Susanj

The 22nd annual Sato Cup took place at BCIT on Nov. 4, and marked the return of the annual tournament after a three-year absence due to COVID-19.

Although participant numbers were down compared to pre-COVID numbers, the tournament still brought about 275 competitors from all over the province, and a handful from the United States, to BCIT. The Savona Karate Club had three students travel down to Burnaby for the tournament, and all three brought back medals in their respective divisions.

It was the first tournament for siblings Neil and Barbie McKenzie-Deneault, but both fought through their nervousness and brought home medals in both kata (forms) and kumite (sparring) divisions. Neil brought back gold in Boys’ 16-17 years Intermediate kata division and bronze in 16-17 years intermediate kumite, while Barbie earned a silver in her Girls’ 14-15 years Intermediate kata division and fought for bronze in her Intermediate kumite division.

Akira Susanj also performed well and brought back a gold in his kata division (Boys’ 16-17 years Advanced) and a silver in 16-17 years Advanced kumite division.

The tournament was hosted by Sato Sensei. He was a good friend of my father’s, so the Savona Karate Club club has supported his tournament for many, many years. I look forward to the tournament every year for my quick visit with Sato Sensei.