IFK European Championships 2018
I’ve just returned from Yerevan, Armenia, where I took part in the IFK European Championships and came away with a second place trophy.
It was a little bit bitter sweet for me – I won this tournament last time around, so it’s never easy if you can’t quite hit the same high again, but saying that I can totally appreciate all of that factors which led to the result this time around, aside from such a high level of competition, and I'll hopefully take away and learn from them.
The build up to this event hadn’t been perfect for me. I’d been putting in some super long days at work, and training around a few small injuries (a repetitive calf strain and an ankle injury to name a couple), so I’d had to adapt my training a bit around these things. There was a bit of suspision that after a few years of constantly training for high level events without much rest in between that I was verging on being overtrained. Indeed I know truthfully in myself that I wasn’t as mentally switched on as I know I can be.
The weekend away and the tournament itself had some real highs and lows. Highs included the incredible quality of the category I was in; full of multiple champions and regular podium finishers, it was such a strong event. Also the top coaching and care I received from former teammates, who have now taken positions as GB coaches; their passion for our team was second to none. And our GB team itself, where we all supported one another and carried around a real team spirit. However, as with all highs there have to be some lows. The competition, whilst in many ways brilliant, wasn’t particularly well communicated to us fighters. We had a long and tiring wait for the weigh in and registation, and an extremely long day of fighting on Saturday, arriving at the event for 10am, and not finishing until around 8/9pm that evening. Even ahead of my final fight on the Sunday, an uncommunicated medal ceremony for cadets and a singing show meant that I was ready to fight a good 20 minutes before I needed to be. Added to that a team mate and I had to deal with added stress of lost luggage on the first night, although luckily it arrived in time for the tournament itself. All factors like this can affect performance, but it's important not to dwell on them - it's likely that your opponents are facing similar struggles.
I know that second place in such a strong event was still a very impressive result to achieve, and that I must take it as a huge positive that even when I’m not at my absolute best I can still achieve this level. The plan now is to take some time off over the summer to rest from karate a little bit, and work on some other areas of my fitness and strength so that I can come back to training for the next event hungry for it.