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Cameron Russell (18) and 14-year-old brothers Riley and Keegan Hall will head to Umag on June 24 to compete in the World Karate Federation’s 10th World Youth Cup.
The boys, who train at Dunedin’s Okinawan Goju-Ryu club, will spend just over a week in the city on the west coast of Croatia, where they will attend a pre-competition training camp for three days. They will be given the chance to work with World Karate Federation champions before competing for three days.
Riley Hall said they were looking forward to meeting the WKF premier league champions, as they were their role models and they had all seen them on YouTube.
The under-21 karate competition will be Cameron’s fourth time representing New Zealand internationally and Riley’s third time. But it is all new to Keegan who said he was "super excited about competing overseas".
The trio train seven days a week — three mornings before school and four times in the evenings from 6pm to 9pm, as well as their own strength training.
Riley and Keegan also teach a children’s karate class for primary schools once a week at John McGlashan College, where they are pupils.
The teenagers started karate in Milton, but had since moved to Dunedin. Cameron moved this year to study personal training at Otago Polytechnic. He said it was easy to work training around lectures.
To qualify for the New Zealand team the trio had to compete in at least two regional competitions, as well as the New Zealand Open, the national championship and attend training camps.
The trio will compete in both kata — patterns, in which they performed a routine, and kumite, fighting in which they will fight other competitors for two minutes and be awarded points. There will be 1622 competitors from 56 countries competing in Croatia.
The teens return to New Zealand on July 6 and will compete at the national championships in Wellington on July 15-16.
All three are raising funds for this trip. Cameron is chopping and selling kindling, and the Hall boys are selling coffee and lollies. They also applied for grants and have set up a fundraising page on isport.
- Angela O'Carroll