The stage was set for an exhilarating showdown at the 2023 Dutch Individual Kendo Championship (Nederlands Kampioenschap individueel) that unfolded in The Hague (Den Haag) during the last weekend of October. An event that marked a remarkable moment for Kendo Kai Den Haag as it played host to the championship after a hiatus of almost two decades. The pulsating energy of the competition filled the air at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark, the home of our dojo where countless hours of training had prepared us for this very occasion.
This tournament, which boasted a record-breaking participation of over 70 contenders across five distinct and occasionally overlapping categories, was a testament to the resolute efforts of our dedicated volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Their unwavering commitment laid the foundation for the seamless execution of this grand event, for which we are profoundly grateful.
Eager to make our mark as hosts, it was only natural for us at Kendo Kai Den Haag to field a strong contingent across four of the five categories. Amongst the standout performances, young talents Iyed and Ryu showcased exceptional skill and determination, with Ryu emerging as the worthy Dutch Champion in their category. Not to be outdone, the spirited Milou (12) displayed remarkable resilience, clinching the third-place medal in the next age group category for participants up to 15 years old while being the youngest competitor in that age group.
The intensity of the competition reached its zenith during the fiercely contested ladies' tournament. Our members, including the tournament's eldest participant, fought with unwavering determination, resulting in notable achievements. Suraya secured the third-place spot (for the third time in a row), while Lonneke's unwavering dedication earned her the well-deserved Fighting Spirit award, showcasing the indomitable spirit of our dojo Kendo Kai Den Haag.
Following a brief interlude for lunch, the eagerly anticipated mixed tournament commenced, unveiling a series of unexpected twists and turns. Displaying exceptional skill and tenacity, a majority of our members navigated their way through the initial stages of the tournament, culminating in a display of exceptional prowess. Sjoerd and Mugisho emerged as the Kendo Kai Den Haag stars of the tournament, storming into the quarter finals, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that they were the sole representatives not hailing from our national team or its alumni.
Mugisho, whose remarkable journey in the world of Kendo began just two years ago, not only made his presence felt in the shiai-jo but also proved instrumental in handling the technical challenges that plagued the digital scoring system during the event. In recognition of his relentless spirit and unwavering dedication, Mugisho was rightfully bestowed with the prestigious Fighting Spirit award, a testament to his remarkable spirit and achievements.
With a Dutch Champion, two third places and two fighting spirit prices we can look back at a successful tournament as well as a fun one! Of course we intend to come back even stronger next year. For everyone who attended, volunteered and/or came to cheer thank you!