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Karate kid

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A young boy performs his karate kata routine in the U17 boys final of the National Karate Championship at Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. The tournament, which runs through Sunday, will feature a total of 101 participants from six Phnom Penh-based karate clubs. Wednesday saw the U17 girls and boys kata finals. Phnom Penh's Karate Youth Club dominated the girls event, with top three placings for Phuong Sovanvoleak, So Malin and So Measla, respectively taking first, second and third. Similarly, the capital's National Karate Club took the spoils in the boys event, with Chan Yong Chean, Ke Kimyei and Machim Sophaorun claiming respective honours. Kata are routines that demonstrates sequences of movements. Competitors are judged on a varitey of elements including techinique, directness and clarity of movement, rhythm, capability to adapt to different situations, enthusiasm and energy of performance, control of breathing, visual awareness, fighting spirit and dynamism. The tournament follows closely to the rules laid out by the International and Asian Karate Federations. Chief Referee Lach Chandara said: "It is important that all competitors are judged under international karate law in order for them to have correct understanding and experience of the rules, so they can join international competitions in the future. Thus, the judgement is very strict." Individual combat events start today, with weight divisions of both men and women progressively getting heavier until freeweight finals on Sunday. Bouts start at 8am and continue all day inside the Olympic Stadium.

Photo by Nick Sells (www.nicksellsphotography.com)

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