Fife karate kid Jessica Brannan gets European Championships silver medal to add to world gold

Watched by her proud parents Jamie and Louise, Newburgh karate marvel Jessica Brannan – a member of TKA Karate Association – landed a kata silver medal at the recent WUKF European Championships in Antibes, France.
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Newburgh Primary School pupil Jessica, 10, who is a brown and two white stripes belt (one level below black belt), has been doing karate for two-and-a-half years and the Euro silver last month followed her winning gold at this summer’s WUKF World Championships in Dundee.

“Jessica fought really well again,” her dad Jamie told the Herald and Citizen. “I’m incredibly proud of her. She works very hard at her karate.

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"She did fantastically in France. As always, she just did her best on the day.

Jessica (front left) with TKA colleagues Gordon, Hannah (centre) and Eden, who also competed at EurosJessica (front left) with TKA colleagues Gordon, Hannah (centre) and Eden, who also competed at Euros
Jessica (front left) with TKA colleagues Gordon, Hannah (centre) and Eden, who also competed at Euros

“She had to do two katas, with each lasting a couple of minutes.

"There were so many moves she had to do in a certain pattern which was very strict. You can imagine that it was very intense.

"The judges were always looking for perfection when the competitors were doing it, so it was quite hard going.

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"It maybe sounds a bit arrogant to say that she almost achieved perfection, but it was an amazing effort.

"I think in fairness, the girl who beat her to get the gold medal was equally as good. She was amazing and she’s a belt higher than Jessica, a black belt, so can do a higher grade of kata.

"All in all it was a good competition and I couldn’t have asked for any more from Jessica.”

The weekend event featured Jessica doing kata on day one, with kumite (fighting) on day two, which the Newburgh lass unfortunately didn’t manage to medal in.

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But her TKA coach, sensei Gordon Mathie, landed kata bronze in the veteran category in France and clubmate Eden Scobie did likewise in the nine years kata.

Eden’s cousin Hannah Scobie also competed for TKA at kata, doing well in the 11 years group but not getting a medal.

On the medal-winning exploits of 62-year-old Mathie – a Sixth Dan black belt from Kelty - Jamie said: “Gordon always does amazingly well. He’s a great sensei for Jessica.

"He also won the veteran category at the World Championships in Dundee. He’s a good competitor who’s been doing it for many years now. I think he started back in the 1970s so the guy is phenomenal.”

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Looking ahead to 2024, Jamie is hoping that Jessica can enter top competitions in the UK and Ireland.

It will likely be unaffordable for Jessica to travel to and compete at the World Championships in Mexico next July, but there are high hopes that she will be in Poland for the European Championships next October.

"Jessica will certainly be going for a gold medal at those European Championships,” Jamie added.

"I think she could become a karate black belt fairly quickly. I think we’re looking to hopefully get that within the next few months.

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"Ultimately, we want to get Jessica competing at the 2032 Olympic Games (which are being held in Brisbane, Australia).

"I think that is a realistic target as it’s over eight years away so that’s a lot of time to practice.”

Jamie also comes from a martial arts background, having done it in his younger years when he was more supple. He got Jessica into karate as he thought it was a natural fit for her, an assessment which is proving very accurate. These days the youngster generally practises her karate two days a week.

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