KARATE’S inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games is sending ripples of excitement through the sport, and young Jewish Australians are putting themselves in the frame for future selection with some impressive results.
Sydney’s Richard Basckin, Yonatan Freund and Romy Freinkel – who train up to five times per week in Revesby under the guidance of national coach George Barounis – all won medals at elite karate tournaments last month.
Basckin, 19, who represents Australia and Barounis’ Miyagi-Kan Karate Centre, won a silver medal at the 2017 Oceania Senior Championships in the male -60kg division in Sydney on April 7, earning him 510 ranking points to elevate him to world number 48.
It was his first tournament at senior level and he was beaten in a close final by fellow Australian Yehia Hasanen. Two days later Basckin won another silver medal, at the Australian Open, finishing runner- up to Pierre Da Silva Custodio from French Polynesia.
Reddam student Yonatan Freund, 15, won gold at the Australian Open in the cadet male -70kg division, with a convincing victory over James Hill from Karate Budokan International.
Both Basckin and Freund have been invited to the Australian Karate Federation (AKF) national selection camp to be held in Melbourne in May.
Good performances there could lead to inclusion in Australia’s team for the World Championships in Tenerife, Spain in October.
Rounding off the Jewish medal count was Romy Freinkel’s bronze in the 12-13 years girls’ kumite division at the 2017 Australasian Schools Age Championships.
AKF manager Ian Basckin told The AJN there are only a small number of Jewish karate athletes in Australia, but they are achieving success at the highest levels.
“Romy has only been competing in karate for four years, but she is in the NSW junior team and getting a bronze medal at a big tournament like this is a great result,” he said.
“Yonatan is a hard-working kid – he won his gold medal in convincing fashion and he has a lot of potential.
“Richard is now in the top 50 in the world , which allows you to compete at international tournaments and go to the next level.
“It’s his first year at senior level but he expects to do well – he knows what it takes and he trains for it.”