Tag Archive: Championships

Super siblings

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CHAMPIONS: Natasha Zafar holds her British Championship along Zeeshan and his Bronze medal

CHAMPIONS: Natasha Zafar holds her British Championship along Zeeshan and his Bronze medal

Zafars take British championships by storm

The relationship between a brother and a sister when growing up is sometimes a feisty one with sibling rivalry all too often resulting in fall outs and squabbles.

For one family in Bradford however, this sibling rivalry has now developed into a winning combination as the now grown-up pair of Zeeshan and Natasha Zafar put their fighting skills to the test in their shared passion of Tae Kwon Do.

Last week, the duo faced off against competitors from across the country as they took part in the British Championships in Derby, hosted by the Tae Kwon Do association of Great Britain, determined to “bring medals back to Bradford”.

First up was Natasha, who entered the Ladies Red Belt Sparring category.

The experienced fighter advanced through to the final after two successful bouts to set up a British title fight.

TALENTED: Zeeshan Zafar competed in the Black Belts category, where he picked up a bronze medal

TALENTED: Zeeshan Zafar competed in the Black Belts category, where he picked up a bronze medal

With her brother-turn-trainer in her corner, Natasha applied pressure on her opponent throughout and was eventually awarded the victory by all four judges to be crowned British Champion 2015.

The medal haul didn’t stop there though, as it was now time for older brother Zeeshan to step into the ring for the Men’s Black Belt Tag Team event.

Walking away with a Bronze medal, he praised his sister’s efforts and said he was already looking forward to future competitions.

Speaking after the tournament, Zeeshan said: “I am so pleased with the results, and proud of Natasha.

“We already have bigger plans for the future as next year we have the Tae Kwon Do TI World Championships, and they will be staged at The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.  

“This will be a real test for us, not being the best in Britain but being the best in the world.

“Forty countries have already confirmed their attendance and the training pace is really going up a gear.”

As for Natasha’s chances of repeating her national Gold medal on the international stage, Zeeshan added: “She will be definitely aiming for gold.

“But as long as every competitor walks away knowing they have been the best they can be, they should be very proud of themselves.”

The British Championships are the largest martial arts contest in Europe with over 1,200 people competing across dozens of categories, aged form six-years-old up to 60.

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‘An ‘Onna’ to teach them’: Ju-Jitsu club storm through northern championships

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LEADER: Sensai Mumtaz Khan runs the Onna Ju-Jitsu Club who recently came away with a record 15 medals from the Bushido Academy Northern Championships

LEADER: Sensai Mumtaz Khan runs the Onna Ju-Jitsu Club who recently came away with a record 15 medals from the Bushido Academy Northern Championships

A martial arts club from Bradford are celebrating a huge medals haul this month after clinching 15 podium finishes in the renowned Bushido Academy Northern Championships.

Onna Ju-Jitsu club, based in Girlington, continue to go from strength-to-strength under the leadership of Sensei Mumtaz Khan, with over 400 members currently training throughout the week.

The Northern Championships, in Chester, proved to be a historic day for the club who claimed their highest tally of medals at one single event.

Mumtaz, who previously worked full time in a bank before electing to pursue a career in her true passion of Ju-Jitsu, said she was ‘extremely proud’ of her students’ efforts.

“To come away from such a big tournament with 15 medals is a fantastic achievement,” she said.

“Team Onna are not only selected on ability but attitude as well and every single student who competed in Chester was a credit to the club.

“Everyone gave their best and that is what we work hard to achieve. A special thanks must go to Sensei Babar Raheem and Sempei Adeeb Hussain who work so hard with the kids.”

Amongst the winners on the day was young 12-year-old Safa Zahid, who after confusion with the registration forms, eventually finished up competing in the boy’s division.

Despite being towered over by some opponents, the determined competitor secured her first ever medal as she earned Bronze with an amazing individual display.

Also picking up her first podium finish was Sensei Jabila, Progress Leader at St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic Grammar School, who made a fantastic debut at the competitions as she secured a further Bronze medal in the Continuous Fighting category.

With success running through the club, Mumtaz also registered her first hat-trick of medals, taking away a full collection of Bronze, Silver and Gold.

“I would like to dedicate my hat-trick win to my late brother, Haqnawaz Khan – known as Andy, who passed away in August,” she added. “I remember being five-years-old and being bullied in a school playground and Andy jumped in to rescue me.  

“He told me ‘I can't be there to protect you all the time so you need to fight back’ and that is what I have done.”

SUCCESS: The 14 representatives of Onna Ju-Jitsu club who came away with a huge medals haul

SUCCESS: The 14 representatives of Onna Ju-Jitsu club who came away with a huge medals haul

Mumtaz’s passion for Ju-Jitsu has led to her training seven days a week with pupils of all ages and abilities.

Starting the club as a side project during her studies at university, Onna Ju-Jitsu is now one of the largest club’s in the region.

Last year, the outfit were named Satellite Club of the Year by Sport England, and were presented with their Gold award at the Houses of Parliament.

Now, with so much success under their belts, the future of the club looks ever brighter under the leadership of Mumtaz.

“The club is like a family to me,” Mumtaz added. “We look out for each other and it is more than just about Ju-Jitsu.

“I am so proud of every student who shows the right attitude in the sport because that is how you reach your full potential.

“I have the perfect job here and I wouldn’t trade it or any of my students for anything.”

Other medal winners from Onna Ju-Jitsu at the Northern Championships were Eesa Yunis, Yoosuf Ghani, Ismail Ghani, Ibrahim Yunis, Idrees Haider, Tegan Johnson, Maryam Khan and Maleehah Hussain.

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Fighting the girl’s corner

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TRAINING: Harleen currently trains three times a week with Jason Murray’s Martial Arts

TRAINING: Harleen currently trains three times a week with Jason Murray’s Martial Arts

Karate ace wants greater female participation

A teenage karate enthusiast from Bradford is calling on more girls to get involved with the sport she loves after earning her Second Dan Black Belt last year.

TALENTED: Harleen Kaur took up karate eight years ago and is now a Second Dan Black Belt

TALENTED: Harleen Kaur took up karate eight years ago and is now a Second Dan Black Belt

At just 16-years-old, Harleen Kaur is the youngest member at Jason Murray’s Martial Arts to achieve the accreditation adding to her already impressive collection of belts and trophies.

The Appleton Academy student took up the sport almost eight years ago after accompanying a friend, who had been bought lessons for her birthday, to her first session.

Despite that friend dropping out, Harleen continued to attend the classes and soon built up a passion for martial arts which is as strong today as it was on day one.

She now trains three days a week at Legend’s Gym, Queensbury, and says she is determined to get more girls into the sport.

“Karate has made me a mentally stronger person, as well as physically, as I have learnt a lot through this journey which is still ongoing,” she said.

“However, the participation of girls is not enough. There are only two or three of us at the moment in my club and it is something I really think more girls should get involved with.

“It’s definitely not a ‘boy’s sport’ and teaches you so much.

“Self defence and discipline have been two of the most significant things I have learnt which can be applied to almost any situation.

“I have built my confidence through the years and have the courage and ability to tackle almost any type of challenge in my life.”

In April, Harleen will compete in both the North England and European Karate Championships where she is hopeful of picking up even more medals.

PRACTICE: After achieving her Second Dan Black Belt, Harleen says she wants more girls to get involved in karate

PRACTICE: After achieving her Second Dan Black Belt, Harleen says she wants more girls to get involved in karate

Instructor, Jason Murray, added that Harleen is a ‘model student’ and a ‘fantastic example’ of what women can achieve through martial arts.

“Harleen started with us when she was just eight-years-old and she never misses a class,” he said.

“For somebody to achieve what she has at such a young age is very rare but she is a fantastic example to all students and especially girls.

“Only about a third of our students are girls at the moment and it should be much higher.”

 

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