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Sports, arts and activities

Student and teacher head to Karate world championships

A student and a teacher from ACG Strathallan have been selected to compete at the 4th World Goju Ryu Karate Federation Championships in Romania this month.

Charlie McDougall in Year 4 has been practising karate for three years and competing in tournaments for two. He will compete in the boys 8/9 years division for Kata, Kumite and Irikumi.

The eight year old says focus, determination to succeed and perseverance in training are key to do doing well in karate. Leading up to the tournament, he is practising every day for at least an hour.

“My goal in karate is to become a black belt, but also be considered one of the top competitors in the sport representing New Zealand and to be a role model for other kids wanting to give it a go. Being selected to represent New Zealand is HUGE,” he said.

Charlie’s coach is ACG Strathallan primary school teacher Penny Cheketri, a 5th dan black belt who has been practising karate for 35 years. Having competed and placed in previous national and world karate events, she has been selected to represent New Zealand in four divisions.

Ms Cheketri runs the successful Cheketri Karate School at ACG Strathallan. Around 70% of the school’s primary students have learnt karate through her – as well as many college students and some parents. She says dedication, determination, discipline and pushing yourself beyond what you believe are your limitations, physically and mentally, are important skills to be good at karate.

Her ambition is to inspire, motivate and train her students, be a good role model and instil a passion for the sport. As for competing at the world champs alongside one of her students, she could not be prouder.

“It is one thing to personally represent your country at a world tournament, but to be the sensei (teacher) of a student who is competing, words cannot describe. Charlie’s love for karate and energy is infectious. He excitedly and enthusiastically takes on new challenges and has the determination, drive, respect and humility that epitomises a karate practitioner.”