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Teen gold medal winner at national karate championship

March 22, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By: Marni Walsh

Shelburne area teen Daniel Mustapha has brought home a gold medal from the National Karate Championships Para Athlete Division in Halifax.

Daniel, 17, traveled with his family to the competition, which ran March 9-11, where he defeated the two-time National Champion from British Columbia.

At the same time, his twin brother Nicholas, who competed with the top eighteen karate athletes in Canada, in the 16-17 year old boys’ division, placed fifth in the National Competition. Approximately 400 competitors, ranking amongst the top in karate participated in the competition held at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax.

The brothers train at the Orangeville Dojo which opened in 2005. Their coach or Sensei is Angelo Panoussis, the founder of a Shelburne Dojo as well as the location in Orangeville.

A third student of Mr. Panoussis’, Mika MacMullin of Orangeville, also competed in Halifax and participated in Kumite. This is an incredible showing of talent from the area Dojo.

Says Nicholas Mustapha, “Being a part of Team Ontario and making connections and new friends was the best part.” He says it is very satisfying to know “when I put all my effort into what I love, it rewards me with great experiences.”

Nicholas expressed gratitude to his parents, who “always supported me and my brother wholeheartedly.” He says without the support of their Sensei and the Orangeville Dojo community “we never would have been able to qualify or even compete.” Nicholas’ next goal is to place in the top three nationally and start training with the national team.

For Daniel Mustapha, the intricate and intensive sport of Karate requires a grace and focus that presents additional challenges as someone who lives with cerebral palsy. A home-schooled student, Daniel started Karate at the age of five, taking a break from the sport around the age of 12, and re-entering competitions in 2016 with the Ontario Karate Federation in the Para Athlete Division. He defeated the World Karate Champion late last year in a Markham competition.

Halifax “was my first time at a Canadian National tournament,” says Daniel, “So I was very nervous because I had never seen any of my competitors and everybody else from my division already knew each other. In all honesty, I think it was probably the best kata (routine) I ever done. I was probably smiling for about an hour afterward.”

Daniel says he gained the knowledge and confidence that he can compete anywhere in the world – “not just in Canada.”

Daniel thanks his extended family and everyone else for their support and funding. “I would like to thank my instructors Sensei Angelo and everyone at the Orangeville Dojo for supporting us, teaching us, and cheering us on. I would also like to give a shout out to the Ontario Karate Federation and their staff for giving us the opportunity to compete at Nationals. Last but not least, I would also like to thank my brothers, my father and my mother for supporting me, even if sometimes I didn’t want it. Thanks guys. The experience was pretty awesome.”

Daniel’s twin Nicholas says, “Daniel works as hard if not harder than anyone else. He has inspired so many kids not only at the Dojo, but also at local schools and self-defence courses that he has assisted in teaching. To see him go from despising competition to being the National Champion was very emotional for my whole family. He has always been a fighter, and he showed us all, that he will never give up.”

Parents, Graciela and Max Mustapha say they are very proud of the boys and will continue to support them in their goals. “We would like to thank our families, Sensei Angelo Panoussis and the Orangeville Dojo community, the home schooling community, friends, and supporters for raising the funds to help us attend the Nationals in Halifax,” says the couple.”

Daniel Mustapha’s next goal is to win at the World Championships, and eventually, the Paralympics in 2020 or 2024. Interested sponsors can help Daniel reach those goals with financial support at 519-925-2742 or email: gracielamustapha@yahoo.com.

         

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