HUNDREDS of Karate South Africa (KSA) Protea’s champions gathered at the Tongaat Indoor Sports Centre to do battle in the SA Open and Elite Championships on Saturday, June 23. The tournament kept the huge crowd of spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the event. KwaZulu-Natal’s national karate champion Riasha Singh blew away all opposition in the female senior category to once again be crowned ladies black belt champion with Gauteng’s Morgan Moss dominating the senior men’s category to win a gold medal. North Coast karateka Dzemil Muric lost a thrilling final to Western Cape’s Liam Damon to settle for a silver medal in the U21 category with KZN’s seasoned tournament fighter Ash Ramnarain from Shakaskraal making a podium finish. Tongaat twins, Kira and Tahira Reddy both got podium finishes in the cadet division. President of KSA Sonny Pillay Hanshi expressed his delight at the high standard of tournament techniques that were on display throughout the weekend’s event.“It is noteworthy that the standard of karate exhibited by our Protea fighters in particular is improving with every event,” Pillay said. Tournament director of KSA Leo Cuitto was also impressed with the huge turnout of spectators who encouraged the fighters throughout the weekend to ensure good spirits and success of such a karate event.Technical head for KSA Brando Pillay Shihan who left for the WKF Olympic Karate qualifiers on June 25 in Eastern Europe (Croatia) said: “I am extremely pleased with the outstanding performance of our athletes particularly the youth especially given that several of them are leaving for the WKF World Youth Cup 2018 in top form and this current form augurs well for their chances of qualifying for the Olympics in the trials this coming weekend in Croatia,” Pillay said.