July 22, 2024

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PHOTOS: South Surrey athletes represent in national kung fu victory

PHOTOS: South Surrey athletes represent in national kung fu victory

12 of 21 B.C. competitors hail from Golden Glory Martial Arts Academy

A dozen Semiahmoo Peninsula athletes are boasting some new hardware, after returning victorious from the 4th Pan American KungFu (Wushu) Championships.

Held Aug. 3-6 at the Markham Pan Am Centre in Ontario, the tournament was the first large-scale event since the pandemic, drawing 740 athletes from North and South America.

The 12 local competitors – who were among 21 on the B.C. team – train at the Golden Glory Martial Arts Academy in South Surrey.

Head coach and team trainer Mostafa Sabeti said everyone was excited in the lead-up to the event, which he described as a “huge opportunity” for the athletes.

“I was very optimistic that we will bring at least 5 gold medals home to South Surrey White Rock,” Sabeti said in an email shared with Peace Arch News.

The outcome – with a total of 15 medals for B.C., including five gold – was “the most successful championship for team Canada.”

Canada placed first in sanda (one-on-one fighting), Sabeti said.

Gold medals were won by Joseph Picolo, Sophie Billan, Nicolas Korani, Mackenzie Fuller and Aram Lee, while Arya Sabeti, AK Hill, Akashdeep Dhesi and Seyed Javad earned silver. Athletes winning bronze were Maya Atwal, Jake Fuller, Jacson Higgins, Tylor De Point, Sam Babzani and Aram Lee.

Sabeti is head of the South Surrey-based Canada West Wushu Association.

Wushu, which originated in China, is the official name of kung fu and one of the most popular forms of martial arts. The sport consists of two parts – taolo, or forms, and sanda, which is one-on-one fighting.

Last year, a half-dozen young athletes from the Semiahmoo Peninsula performed a clean sweep – six athletes, six gold medals – at Wushu Canadian Championships.

All six of the 2022 local competitors – Myah Atwal, Sophie Billan, Johnny Filtness, Jake Fuller, Nickolas Korrani and Nick Perlman – competed in the ‘sanda’ event, with each winning their age and weight division. They also earned spots on Team Canada for junior-level international events, including the Junior World Wushu Championships held last December in Indonesia, where Canada’s first bronze medal was won in the youth event.

Up next for the athletes is the 17th Adult Wushu World Championships, set for November in Dallas, Texas. Sabeti said efforts are also already underway to have a team ready for the 2026 youth Olympic Games in Ghana.

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