Campbell River’s Valerie Doyon battled back through elimination rounds to earn a pair of silver medals in the Karate Canada National Championships last weekend at the Richmond Oval in Richmond.
Doyon, competing in her fourth national competition, was one of two Campbell River competitors on the 75-member Team BC. Teammate Casey Brake, making her nationals debut, won her first fight but was unable to reach the medal podium.
Doyon challenged up to the 18-20-year-olds divison Friday and lost her first fight, but with the tournament’s double round elimination format had another chance. She fought an additional five fights and ended up facing defending champion Hana Furomoto-Deshaies of Quebec, losing the match to end up with a hard-fought silver.
After bowing out of Saturday’s Kata event following an opening loss, Doyon returned Sunday for the 16/17 kumite event. Much like in Friday’s opening event, Doyon lost her first fight in this division and again had to rely on the double-round elimination format which gave her a second fight.
She kept winning and managed five more fights and won them all to earn a bout with Team BC teammate Alexandra Zaborniak — a rematch of last year’s final. Zaborniak was well-rested against Doyon, who was coming off those five back-to-back fights.
“Valerie fought an incredible technical and strategic fight and managed to go ahead several times,” said Sensei Roy Tippenhauer, her longtime coach with Campbell River Shito Ryu Karate Club.” With the fight less than 10 seconds left and overtime looming, Valerie tried a risky attack and, with similar results to the Super Bowl, had a final-second play which cost her the match.”
With her showing, Doyon, 17, qualified for the Pan-American Championships and will compete for Team Canada in the international tournament in Bolivia in August. She also qualified for the junior Pan-Am meet but will turn 18 before the competition and will not be eligible.
Tippenhauer said Brake will likely attend the U.S. Open in April and will attend the zone six primary selection tournament in April in Duncan with the goal of returning to Team BC next year.
“I’m real proud of the girls and their efforts in their competitions,” he said. “Casey is starting to realize how much work is involved to compete at this level and did very well. Valerie has been training about 22 hours a week since last spring to get ready and executed her plan. She did want to get gold but is very happy with her results.”
Sempai Chad Edberg assisted Tippenhauer with preparing the athletes for the championships. The Shito Ryu Karate Club is currently accepting new members for the spring session.