Auckland move huge for Wigg

A change of city and training has elevated karateka Holly Wigg, who shows off her two gold medals...
A change of city and training has elevated karateka Holly Wigg, who shows off her two gold medals from the New Zealand Open last month, to another level. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Hawea Flat karateka Holly Wigg is going from strength to strength.

The 18-year-old, now based in Auckland, has achieved a string of impressive results in the past month.

In mid-April, she travelled to Sydney to compete in the Australian Karate Open and the Oceania Karate Championships. She won three medals, including the women's under-21 kata title at the Australian Open.

Less than a week later she was in Christchurch for the New Zealand Open, at which she won both the women's open and under-21 kata titles, as well as a second place finish in women's open kumite.

The haul of medals comes just a handful of months after she considered leaving the sport altogether, following the sudden death of longtime sensei Chris McGregor.

"It was a pretty difficult time when he passed away," she admitted.

"There was nobody else really in the South Island, so I was going to have to move to Auckland in order to continue high levels of training.

"It either had to be not do it at all or go to Auckland and take that huge jump to move my whole life up here.

"I decided I loved it [karate] so much and I'd put so many years into it that it would be a shame to give it up when I'm doing so well."

She received a significant student scholarship to attend and study health science at AUT, and has joined a new club, Shotokan Shitoryu Karate Association of New Zealand (SSKANZ).

Being able to train alongside many high-calibre athletes, including world No15 in kata Andrea Anacan, had contributed significantly to her success, Wigg said.

"Pretty much everyone who is top in New Zealand trains there [at SSKANZ]. The training is so different because everyone is pushing each other, whereas before I was kind of training at a higher level [than others] and it was hard to push any further.

"Moving [to Auckland] has really helped me push to that next level I needed, and seeing what Andrea does, I know what I have to do to get better."

There could be more medals to add to her collection too.

Next month she travels to Montreal to compete in the Karate 1 Series A, while the World Beach Games in San Diego and under-21 world championships in Santiago await her in October.

Despite the progress, she has ruled out any chance of competing at next year's Tokyo Olympics, but still hopes to compete in Paris in 2024, if karate is reincluded.

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