Karate club is top of the chops

Karate kids and adults from Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Bovingdon kicked and chopped their way to victory in a major martial arts tournament.

The fighters from local Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International clubs won a string of medals at the prestigious Shotokan Shield contest in Kent last weekend.

Alexis Raymen, 16, took three gold medals in her events to claim the coveted Shotokan Shield in the ladies section.

Adam Cockfield, 24, and Aaron Gould, 14, also took gold medals and claimed the Shotokan Shields for their categories.

Sam Richards, 11, took two golds in the children's junior events, brother Danny won gold in the novice kata, and dad Gary Richards, 38, claimed two golds in the men's junior competition.

Emily Blundell, seven, put her Bovingdon club on the map by winning a silver and a bronze medal in what was her first tournament.

Instructor from the Berkhamsted Seishinkai Shotokan Karate club, Daniel White, 27, took one gold, one silver and one bronze medal on the day.

The Hemel Hempstead club also clinched both team kata titles.

Sensei Malcolm Phipps said: "What a great start to the New Year."

He added that anyone interested in joining one of the three karate clubs – centres that have produced 13 world champions – can call 01442 266048.

More martial arts success came for local fighters in the Hertfordshire Schools Judo Association Championships.

The event at Berkhamsted Sports Centre on Sunday (March 4) saw Broadfield School in Hemel Hempstead claim the most medals in the junior section from a field of nearly 200 competitors.

In the girls aged eight to 10 competition, Bethany Green, from Hemel Hempstead's Tudor School, won gold in the under 28kg category and Ellisha Smith from Broadfield won silver.

In the under 32kg category, Paige Rowlatt from Barncroft School in Hemel Hempstead took the gold, Natalie Chiko from Kings Langley School took silver, and Leah Hammond-Clay from Hobletts Manor School in Hemel Hempstead won joint bronze.

Abigail Morris from Two Waters School in Hemel Hempstead clinched gold in the under 36kg group.

In the girls 11-13 contest, Michaela Gibbs, from Hemel Hempstead's Cavendish School, took bronze in the under 52kg category.

In the girls 14-17 tournament, Louise Neale from Astley Cooper School in Hemel Hempstead won silver in the under 40/48kg contest.

The boys aged eight to 10 competition saw Harvey Laird from Holtsmere End School in Hemel Hempstead take silver in the under 24kg group.

James Hammond-Clay from Hobletts Manor School took silver in the under 27kg section and Robert Williams from Redbourn School in Redbourn won bronze.

Chris Williams from Redbourn School took joint bronze in the under 30kg group and William James from Micklem School in Hemel Hempstead took joint bronze in the under 34kg section.

Connor Nash, from Grove Road School, won silver in the under 38kg contest and Liam Rowles from Redbourn School took joint bronze.

Jacob Haley from Flamstead won gold in the under 42kg section and joint bronze in the group went to Lewis Boughton, from Broadfield School.

In the under 46kg group, Ryan Green from St Albert the Great School in Hemel Hempstead claimed silver and Ryan Wilson from Broadfield took bronze.

Another Broadfield pupil, Max Green, won gold in the under 50kg/over50kg group and Liam Field from Grove Road School took bronze.

In the boys 11-13 contest, Harvey Draper from Broadfield grabbed gold – Kieran Turner from John F Kennedy School in Hemel Hempstead took joint bronze.

Oliver Harper from Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley secured silver in the under 46kg group and Cavendish pupil Tyler Smith won joint-bronze in the under 50kg section.

Benjamin Whittle from Astley Cooper School won joint bronze in the under 55kg section of the boys aged 14-17 contest.