Whangarei 14-year-old claims third consecutive Oceania Karate Championship

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Whangarei 14-year-old claims third consecutive Oceania Karate Championship

He may be young, but 14 year old D’Artagnan Gould says it was his experience that helped him get into the right mindset to claim his third consecutive Oceania Karate Championship gold medal recently.

D’Artagnan won his third gold medal in kumite at the 2018 Oceania Karate Championships held from 18 to 20 May in Auckland, this time in the under 70kg weight division for cadets (ages 14-15).

D’Artagnan, from Whangarei, has competed at the previous two Oceania Championships in Fiji in 2014 and then in New Caledonia in 2016, winning gold in his age and weight groups at both tournaments.

“I have quite a good mindset and I like to stay focussed on what I do. What I do quite well is keep the distractions away until afterwards. A lot of it is experience,” D’Artagnan says.

Kumite is one of three main sections of karate training, where competitors fight against each other to score points, and is the discipline D’Artagnan prefers to compete in.

D’Artagnan trains at the Miyagi Kan Karate club in Whangarei under sensei (coach) Craig Nordstrand and says it is his training helps prepare him mentally for competitions.

“We train hard for the few months before the tournament. We were doing trainings in the morning and and night then we slow it right down the week before so we get relaxed and in the right mindset,” D’Artagnan says.

“[Nordstrand] makes sure he gives us the right feedback, he’s really passionate about training us and we know we’re getting the right training,” D’Artagnan says.

Training for big competitions is tough. “Usually in the afternoon we focus on the kumite and in the morning we’d be working on fitness and muscle work,” he says.

D’Artagnan has been practising karate since he was five and continues to do it because he enjoys it. “It is something I am passionate about. I love the people I train with, I love the kumite, and the tournaments,” he says.

D’Artagnan’s next big challenge is the national tournament in Wellington in July but he has goals higher than that.

“Next year I have my eyes focussed on the junior world champs”, he says, and “I’d love to go to the Olympics one day.”

D’Artagnan is now ranked seventh in the world standings for his age and weight.