The North American Open in conjunction with Century Martial Arts was held at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Conference Center July 6-7, 2017. The Tournament was sanctioned by World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) the National Governing Body for the sport under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The “Road to Vegas” culminated with UFC International Fight Week coinciding with the championship. The show was produced by Bill Viola Jr. (President of Kumite Classic Entertainment), Raymond Daniels (WAKO USA Tatami Chairman) and Jarrett Leiker (AmeriKick).
The world’s best converged to compete in WAKO Tatami-style divisions. Top ranked athletes from the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Scotland, Canada, and the United States were represented.
Three students from “Team Kumite,” a Pittsburgh All-Star travel team won top honors and earned their “Pro-Cards.” Xander Eddy (8-years old) Gold Medalist, Sammy Pietrzyk (9-years old) Gold Medalist and Lucy Lokay (11-years old) Gold Medalist, all from North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania were recognized as Open Weight Grand Champions. Eddy and Lokay entered the event as the #1 seeds (a ranking they earned in Charlotte, North Carolina) while Pietrzyk entered as a wildcard. All the students train at Allegheny Shotokan Karate located in Irwin. The students have the distinction of being the first WAKO champions ever from the Pittsburgh region.
Top honors included “Pro Cards” awarded to the overall grand champion in the prestigious open weight categories:
2017 North American Open Europa-Pro Grand Champions
18+ Male Jack Felton United States, California
18+ Female Mariana Cortes Mexico
14-17 Male Finlay Wright Great Britain
14-17 Female Elizabeth Rouillard Quebec, Canada
10-13 Female Lucy Lokay United States, Pennsylvania
10-13 Male Roland Dumlao United States, California
9- Male Xander Eddy United States, Pennsylvania
9- Female Samantha Pietrzyk United States, Pennsylvania
In 2017 WAKO formed a strategic partnership with the Europa Games and Century to cultivate professional sport karate athletes. The Europa Games is one of the world’s largest multi-sport conventions attracting over 250,000 attendees throughout its tour. Grand Champions from the North American Open were awarded Europa-Pro status. The champions will enjoy the 2017-2018 season as sponsored competitors.
The tournament is recognized as the only national WAKO event in the United States, and serves as a recruiting pool for potential USA Team Members qualifying for the World Championship in Wroclaw, Poland and future international championships.
Currently, WAKO boasts 126 affiliated nations in the five continents, with 95 officially recognized by their respective Olympic Council. WAKO is an official member of Sport Accord and is recognized as the governing body for kickboxing globally. WAKO champions have the distinction of competing at The World Combat Games under the patronage of the IOC and SportAccord.
Other medalists from Pennsylvania included 14-year old Luke Lokay (Bronze), 15-year old Cameron Klos (Silver) and 12-year old Aidan Hudson (Bronze). The team will kick off the next season at the Europa Games in Phoenix, Arizona this October. For more information visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com