They’re in the early years of their development as karate students, but Abrielle and Adara Gyori are clearly ahead of the curve.
The Sylvan Lake sisters combined to win four medals in the peewee B girls division of the Western Canadian Karate Championships at Hunting Hills High School Saturday, with Abrielle, 11, garnering gold in each of the sparring and kata events and Adara, nine, earning a gold and silver medallion.
“I felt nervous and I didn’t know whether I could win a medal because it was my first tournament,” said Abrielle. “But when I won my gold medals it made me feel good on the inside.”
Adara also came into the tournament not knowing what to expect.
“I was a little bit nervous at first, but once I got my confidence I felt good,” she offered, after taking top honours in the yellow forms and finishing as the runner-up in white-yellow sparring. “I enjoy the sport. It keeps me active.”
The Gyori sisters are students at the Cheney Karate Studio. Owner Lyle Cheney, the driving force behind the Western Canadian Championships held annually in Red Deer, sees a lot of potential in the young athletes.
“Very much so,” said Cheney. “They came to me from another school, so they had to start again as white belts. They never balked at that at all. They’re very enthusiastic and always pay attention. They’re focused, have a really good attitude and are really hard workers.
“They’re future little black belts.”
The sisters hold first yellow belts and are just about ready to test for their full yellow belts.
“They’ve been with me for six months now and have really distinguised themselves among their peers,” said Cheney.
l Cheney was the recipient of some welcome news early Saturday.
The long-time Red Deer karate instructor was granted fifth-degree black belt status by the World Council of Martial Arts.
“I’m a black belt in four different styles and I was promoted to fifth degree in karate,” said Cheney. ‘It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been a fourth-degree black belt for the last 14 to 15 years. I wouldn’t want to say it was long overdue, but it certainly was due, anyway.”
The WCMA, an international organization comprised of instuctors from various countries — including Canada, the United States, Australia and the Philippines — promoted Cheney on the strength of his volume of work in both competition and as a teacher of the sport.
“What they do is give support to instructors who maybe don’t belong to an association or have anyone to promote them, things like that,” said Cheney. “It’s an organization that promotes the fighting arts and sanctions tournaments.”
It’s the second major honour for Cheney in the past year. He was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Saskatoon in November.
l Other Cheney Karate Studio medal winners Saturday:
Gold — Jack Marchuk, 11-12 blue-brown sparring; Kirk Meers, beginner men’s heavyweight boxing; Marcus Macumber, men’s advanced kickboxing and muay thai; Eve Stange, 7-8 orange-green forms; Brody Hornett, 7-8 orange-green sparring; Tori Marchuk, 9-10 orange-green forms; Jose Jordan, 9-10 white-yellow forms; Nicolas Hammer, 9-10 blue-brown sparring; Austin Uy, 11-12 blue-brown forms and sparring; Samuel Abijero, 13-14 blue-brown heavyweight forms and sparring; Cole Tanasiychuk, 13-14 orange-green sparring; Melissa Borle, ladies white-green sparring and forms; Gavin Owen, men’s blue-brown sparring; Jason Ramos, junior black belt forms; Jessmervin Ramos, men’s black belt forms; Nick Marchuk, musical forms.
Silver — Isaiah Capicio, 5-6 yellow forms; Jordan Volker, men’s beginner lightweight kickboxing; Aldo Fulani, 7-8 yellow forms; Brody Hornett, 7-8 orange-green forms; Dawson Ranger, 9-10 white-yellow sparring; Melanie Moca, 13-14 blue-brown lightweight sparring; Ryan Hornett, men’s executive white-orange sparring; Danny Moca, men’s blue-brown sparring; Devin Claussen, junior black belt sparring; Nick Marchuk, men’s black belt forms and weapons forms.
Bronze — Jack Marchuk, 11-12 blue-brown musical forms and forms; Stange, 7-8 orange-green sparring; Tori Marchuk, 9-10 orange-green sparring; Ranger, 9-10 white-yellow forms; Hammer, 9-10 blue-brown forms; Jacaob Brassington, 9-10 lightweight forms and sparring; Aimee Nossack, 13-14 blue-brown sparring; Charles Mowatt, men’s executive blue-brown forms; Ryan Hornett, men’s executive white-orange forms; Owen, men’s blue-brown forms; Brandon Parsons, men’s blue-brown sparring; Raven Cheney, junior black belt sparring; Logan Shave, men’s black belt forms; Clint Robison, men’s black belt heavyweight sparring.