Amelia Cooper, a Grade 10 student at Queen Margaret’s School, came home from the Karate-do Goju-kai Global Championships in Richmond earlier this month with a gold medal.
Cooper, 15, was named as one of 50 athletes from the Shima Karate Dojo in Nanaimo to represent Canada in the tournament at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
After a successful round-robin performance in the kumite 57 kilogram division, against athletes from South Africa, Japan, and Indonesia, Cooper earned a place in the final against an Australian black belt.
According to her father, Richard, the final was an intense match.
“At an early point in the match, Amelia was six points down,” Richard recalled. “As always, Amelia used resilience and fortitude to fight back and recover the points she had lost. She used front jabs, reverse punches, hook kicks and perfect technique to win a really thrilling match, 16-19.”
This was Cooper’s second time competing at the Richmond Oval. She had previously won a silver medal at the same venue in the 2015 National Championships.
Cooper followed her older brother into the sport.
“I was five or six and a little jealous of him doing karate, so I asked my parents if I could also join,” she explained. “Since that first class, I have discovered important life values which I try to embody every day: helping others, honour, and respect. Karate is not about the game of winning… in karate you win when you walk away. I think that is a great life lesson.”
Cooper will test for her full Shodan black belt in November, and wants to keep advancing in the sport, with the dream of possibly competing for Canada in the Olympics.
“I want to keep going,” says Cooper. “This sport is tremendously important to me and I will always be proud to represent my country.”