Story and Photos by Thierry Ponchet
Victoria (ISN) – Out of four events in the karate competition last weekend at the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, thirteen year old Jean Newell of Victoria won four medals: one gold and three silver. Newell, representing Vancouver Island and the Central Coast, captured the gold in individual male kata.
There were several strong moments for Jean on the weekend including his performance of the kata Superempei that led to his victory in the finals, but the highlight of the tournament came when the BC Team Head Coach, Nicole Poirier, invited Jean to train with the team, despite his young age, as the team prepares for the national championships.
Jean came to the Games with high expectations as he had already won gold at the Provincials this season and he was not disappointed. During the three kumite bouts that he fought on Saturday, not a single point was scored against him.
Out of the 11 medals won by Zone 6 karate athletes, 5 came from Fernando Correia’s School of Karate in Duncan. Both Jean and his older brother, Geoffrey, who medalled at the Nationals in kata last year, have been training at the Duncan dojo under the guidance of Sensei Correia.
“I received lots of support from Head Coach Todd Robertson, Sensei Brenda Bombini, Assistant Coach Pam Ross and my brother, Geoffrey, who worked as a Junior Assistant Coach during the Winter Games,” explained Jean.
“I also want to thank Sensei Rino from my home dojo for his support, Sensei George Schell for his constant encouragement, Chad Edberg for his excellent advice on sparring and Sensei Roy Tippenhauer for his invaluable zone training, as well as a special thank you to Kraig Devlin, National team coach, for always making time to work with me and for developing an individualized training program for me,” added Jean.
To top it all off, Jean won the male sportsmanship award for the BC Winter Games.