The 26th of June, 2005 once again was the scheduled day for the Karate section of the Heathrow Youth Games, held at Crystal Palace. The Youth Games are the biggest youth sports event in Europe, but the Karate section is poorly represented by Harrows martial art schools, despite the tireless work of coach Henry Francis.

Once again (as it fell on fathers day last year) Sensei's Henry Francis and Stuart Anslow gave up their fathers day to take a squad to the games to represent Harrow Borough against the other 32 London Boroughs taking part in this prestigious event, they were joined this year by Sensei Eugene Baxter and Sensei Tassie Sinclair.

Each borough squad are able to field up to 20 competitors, between 13 to 17, whom live or attend schools in Harrow, but despite the many martial arts schools in the borough only two out of them fielded students (totalling 6 in all), which is highly disappointing when trying to field a borough squad. It should be noted that even though this is a 'Karate Rules' event, students that competed were from both the martial arts of Karate and Taekwon-do and it is in fact open to any martial artists, regardless of style who fits the age and location criteria and is over 4 kyu (blue belt).

However, despite the disappointing turnout, those that did go represented the borough well and should be congratulated and their performances. The competition is fought between competitors ranging from blue to black belt, many of whom have a fair bit of tournament experience and some represent the England squads, and with this in mind, the Harrow squad did us proud.

Of the six competitors that competed, only Mary Eyo placed in the medal positions for kumite (sparring). Mary was presented with her medal by 7 times World Karate Champion Mollie Samuals. Lloyd Lewis made the 3rd round of his division and Dev Patel made the 2nd round of his, but unfortunately their conditioning in Taekwon-do eventually got the better of them and they were both disqualified for (disputable) heavy contact! Fayaz Latifi also made the 2nd round before losing on a close decision. Priyane Morjaria gave a good performance, despite this being his first ever tournament and Ria Chandra met one of the England squad members in her 1st round, but gave a tough battle before eventually losing on points.

This is only the 2nd time in its history that Harrow has been able to field a Karate squad (last year being the first) and it is hoped that in future years the squad can grow to the full size, but it needs the support of all martial art schools in Harrow. Coach Henry Francis and Assistant Coach Stuart Anslow, give their time free (as did Sensei's Eugene and Tassie this year) to train the squad, while Harrow Council supports it by covering expenses such as training venues, travelling and uniforms for competitors, so it costs the students nothing and in return they get free training and valuable experience.

Sensei Francis says "If two schools joining together can represent as well as we did, imagine what we'd do if all the boroughs martial art schools attended squad training sessions… we'd clear up! With just 6 competitors fighting where 20 should be, we never had a chance of winning the whole event which is testament to their spirit, but just these 6 earned respect for Harrow from the other competitors and coaches and we are very proud of them "

Sensei Anslow further commented "There are some good competitors, with lots of borough support and some excellent coaches at this event, but like Henry said, with a full squad we'd do really well. Its beyond my apprehension, that with all the martial art schools in Harrow, why so many are afraid to let their students compete, my students do it and they aren't even Karate, what are they afraid of?"

So if you are a martial arts school, instructor or an eligible martial arts student, please contact Sensei Henry Francis on 07903 661938 or Sensei Stuart Anslow on 07759 438779 for details of next years event and the chance to represent your borough in this high calibre event. Or visit for details and more photographs.

"Those that do are the envy of those that just sit and watch"
Harrow Karate Squad at Heathrow Youth Games 2005
Harrow Karate Squad at Heathrow Youth Games 2005