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Karate trio battled world's finest

Medallist: Josephine Gardner-Marlin with the silver and bronze medals she won at the Australian Open Karate Championships in Melbourne.
Medallist: Josephine Gardner-Marlin with the silver and bronze medals she won at the Australian Open Karate Championships in Melbourne.

THREE Lismore teenagers battled against some of the nation’s, and the world’s, top-performing karate competitors in the marathon Australian Open Karate Championships last weekend, with one local schoolgirl scooping up silver and bronze medal places.

Josephine Gardner-Marlin and Danielle Smith, both 16 and students at Richard Marlin’s Success Martial Arts Black Belt Academy in South Lismore, joined Stephanie Elliott, 17, from Todd Usher’s Yoseikan school, on the mat at the Australian Open in Melbourne last weekend.

All three recorded solid point scores and competed at a high level, but it was Gardner-Marlin who came home with the medals.

Coach Richard Marlin, from Success Martial Arts, said he couldn’t have been more proud of the local schoolgirls.

“The Australian Open is a huge national event that attracts over 400 of the best competitors from around the world including countries like Fiji and the UK, so I was very proud and very impressed that our local girls had the confidence and courage to give it a red hot go,” Marlin said.

Crowd-pleaser Gardner-Marlin took on South Australia’s Anri Mau to take out a silver medal in an eventful 48kg division. And in a second breathtaking round, she made an exciting comeback to secure a bronze-medal win against Myrium Penia from New Caledonia.

“With only 30 seconds left of that bout Josephine was behind 4-1 but in an awesome show of skill and defence, she quickly managed to turn the match around to win, 6-4,” Marlin said.

Smith had four bouts, culminating in a fight-off for third place in the 58kg division and only just missed out on a medal. Seventeen-year-old Elliott, a Year 11 student from Lismore, was also unlucky to miss out in the medal race, but had some terrific bouts in the open weight division.

Marlin said the tournament gave each girl a real confidence boost for their busy competition schedule ahead. “They are looking to next month’s Queensland State championships with anticipation,” he said.