Narooma lad 12-year-old Jack McCaughtrie did his family and town proud when he represented Australia at the 17th JKA Karate World Cup, which was held at the University of Limerick, Ireland in August.
Jack travelled for 29 hours from Narooma to Ireland as a member of the Australian Karate team that was made up of 70 competitors from around the country, 20 of these making up the Youth Squad of 9 to 18 year olds.
He joined about 2000 competitors representing 58 around the world.
Jack was selected to compete in both the 12 year old boys Kata and Kumite competitions, where he finished in the top 30 in the world for both, after coming up against tough competitors from countries such as Chile and Hungary.
Related story: Jack McCaughtrie headed to the Karate World Cup
He narrowly missed out on progressing through to the world’s top 16 by 0.2 of a point in his Kata event. He was disappointed but also happy to have come so close.
Competition was brutal with many young competitors suffering broken noses and concussions, keeping the first aid officers and awaiting ambulances busy.
In the Youth competition, the Japanese completely dominated taking out bronze, silver and gold in almost every age category, proving almost impossible to beat at their own game.
Most of the Japanese youth competitors are training in excess of 40 hours per week. Japan won 87 medals at the 2017 World Cup followed by Russia with just 18.
Immediately prior to the World Cup competition, Jack attended a two-day training seminar at the University of Limerick where he received expert tuition from the best karate instructors in the world.
One of these was Naka Sensei, who has also starred in many movies. Jack thoroughly enjoyed this training and picked up many skills and techniques to work on over the coming years.
Jack’s mother Leichelle said he had a fantastic experience in Ireland, not only competing against the world’s best, but also being able to watch the senior competitors win their world titles.
He got a nice pictured above with the 2017 World Champions - the Japanese Men's Team Kata, who had just finished competing.
“They were amazing to watch, such precision and speed,” she said.
“Jack came home feeling very inspired to continue training hard and would like to travel to Japan in the coming years to train and hopefully compete in the next Karate World Cup in Japan in 2020.”
In the meantime, Jack will continue to train in Bermagui, under Sensei Chris McKechnie and is looking forward to attending another training seminar in Mildura in late November.
“Huge thanks again to everyone who assisted in getting Jack over to Ireland to enjoy this valuable experience,” Leichelle said.