Sporting body has had to find another £27,000 to get there

Junior, cadet and under 21 squad

Junior, cadet and under 21 squad - Credit: Archant

The collapse of Monarch Airlines has hit the England under 21 karate squad to the tune of £18,000

Karate coach Davin Pack

Karate coach Davin Pack - Credit: Archant

England Karate Federation’s talented young squad, due to compete in the European Under 21 Championships in Santa Cruz de Tenerife later this month, was almost knocked out by the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

The EKF squad of players, due to compete at junior, cadet and under 21 level, had already paid £18,000 for flights to Monarch Airlines, and with the failure of the airline lost the flights - with little chance of getting any of that money back.

A squad of 36 athetes, including three youngsters from Clacton on Sea, and ten staff including coach Davin Pack, from Ipswich, were due to fly out to the October 26 to 29 weekend event.

The competitors included under 18 player Charlotte Hope, under 15 Ethan Day and under 21 competitor Mitchell Thorpe, from Clacton.

Karate player Charlotte Hope from Clacton on Sea

Karate player Charlotte Hope from Clacton on Sea - Credit: Archant


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Ipswich-based sports administrator and karate coach and referee, Billy Brennan said: “It was a tremendous blow for the sport and the federation.

“This is a very important competition for these young players and it will put the EKF in severe financial difficulties.

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“We are not sure if we will get any of the £18,000 back, as there are hundreds of customers.

“As far as we are aware, we are the only sports team affected. We are very annoyed with Monarch, of course.

Billy Brennan interviews European Champion Rene Smaal (Netherlands), in Holland, 2017

Billy Brennan interviews European Champion Rene Smaal (Netherlands), in Holland, 2017 - Credit: Archant

“We are not sure if there will any compensation.

“The young players have been training hard for this competition.

“It is an important one because next year is the youth Olympics in Argentina. Events in Tenerife will be gaining points for rankings for Argentina.

“The Federation met and decided to use our reserves to pay for flights. It is not just the £18,000 we lost.

“It has cost another £27,000, and the squad will fly out from Manchester.

“The Federation doesn’t have a lot of money and it is not only about squads and international competitions, it also supports grass roots karate and administration. It has drained our reserves.

“Karate gets no funding from Sport England. Hopefully that will change in the future as karate is part of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, for the first time,.

“It is a relatively young sport, the world championships have only been going 50 years, but thousands of people take part around the world.”

In Tenerife Billy Brennan will be refereeing for earlier rounds, and commentating on the finals and bronze medal rounds.

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