Age is just a number for 77-year-old Emmanuel Velez, who bagged a silver medal in the recently concluded 12th Shotokan Karatedo International Federation (SKIF) World Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Velez bested competitors from powerhouse Japan, India and Indonesia to finish second via point system in the Masters’ Kata over-70 category.
Velez, a deputy president and committee chairman of the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF), the national sports association of karate in the country, said that he dedicated his victory to his instructor Kunio Sasaki Sensei, who is one of pioneer karate teachers in the Philippines from Japan.
“On behalf of the Philippine Karatedo Federation (PKF) we are happy with Kyoshi Velez performance. We are very proud of him because, though he is already 77 years old, he brought another honor for our nation,” PKF Secretary General Raymund Lee Reyes told The Manila Times.
Besides Velez, three other Filipino karateka joined the tournament namely Filipino-Irish Ryan James Eamonn, Sandino Miguel Garcia and Ninel Thyra Garcia.
“Congratulations also to his other colleagues who tried their best to show their abilities,” added Reyes.
The Garcia siblings won two matches each via Kohaku system to make it to the semifinals of the kata championships but failed to reach the final round.
Over 800 competitors from 55 countries participated in the tournament.
The legendary karate master Soke Hirokazu Kanazawa established SKIF in 1978. It is recognized by the government of Japan and has been expanding its activities in over 130 countries worldwide.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID