Savate Assaut World Championships 2012, 31st Aug – 01st Sep

The GBSF sent a team of eight fighters, two coaches and two officials to compete in the World Championships in Savate Assaut, in Bulgaria. Morgan Alexander and James Antill won Bronze medals, and officials Jasbir Nagi and Carl Hamill were selected to officiate for the finals.

James Antill vs Reda Karoum

The GBSF sent a team of eight fighters, two coaches and two officials to compete in the World Championships in Savate Assaut, in Bulgaria. Morgan Alexander and James Antill won Bronze medals, and officials Jasbir Nagi and Carl Hamill were selected to officiate for the finals.

The GBSF sent a team of eight fighters, two coaches and two officials to compete in the World Championships in Savate Assaut, in Bulgaria. Morgan Alexander and James Antill won Bronze medals, and officials Jasbir Nagi and Carl Hamill were selected to officiate for the finals.

The 2012 Savate Assaut World Championships took place in Plovdiv, Bularia, on the 31st August and 1st September. The GBSF fighters were Morgan Alexander, Rachel Shore, Laura Gilbert, Sian-Marie Clark, Judah Wheeler, James Southwood, Stuart Madden and James Antill. The fighters were supported by two dedicated coaches, Toms Handley and Dawson, and two officials, Jasbir Nagi and Carl Hamill.

We set off for Bulgaria on Wednesday 29th August, and enjoyed an overnight stay in Sofia before being taken to Plovdiv by coach on Thursday, ready for our weigh-ins and, for most, an early night. Laura Gilbert and James Southwood, however, were called to attend the FISav (The International Savate Federation) Annnual General Meeting on Thursday evening, and were thrilled to watch our very own Julie Gabriel being voted in for her second term as president of FISav.

The team last journeyed to Plovdiv for the World Championships in 2004, and astonishingly, four of the fighters on the team had also been there fighting in 2004! Another thing that was unchanged was the generosity of our host, Alan Tardits, the head of the Bulgarian Federation. We were treated to lovely accommodation in the Hotel Sankt Petersburg, which boasted its own Aqua Park and gorgeous views.

Our fighters all performed well in the eliminations, all against tough competition. Four fighters remained after the elimination rounds on Friday: Morgan Alexander, Rachel Shore, James Antill and Stuart Madden.

Of special note was the performance of relative newcomer Stuart Madden, who reached the quarter-finals in what was only his second international competition. All of his fights drew large audiences due to his impressive display of skill and athleticism, and he was eventually eliminated by a narrow loss to the famous fighter Anthony Mezaache. Seasoned fighted James Antill was impressive as always and achieved a Bronze medal. He was also sadly kept from the final by a very narrow loss in the semi-finals against another famed fighter, Reda Karoum. Morgan Alexander was our other medallist, being awarded a Bronze medal and also earning the lifelong respect of the audience for her sheer grit and determination as well as her impressive technique. The team as a whole garnered a great deal of praise from the coaches of many other delegations, who came over to comment favourably on the performance of both individuals and the team as a whole. The haul of medals was slightly disappointing by our usual standards, and it belied the excellent performance put on by each and every member of the team in their fights. We were very proud of each and every one of the British team.

Of equal importance was the performance of our officials. Jasbir Nagi is a seasoned veteran of many competitions and a respected official on the internation circuit, so we were proud but not surprised to see him selected to officiate in the finals. Carl Hamill was also selected to officiate in the finals, which was a very rare honour for an official in their first international competition. The finals officials are selected based on their performance in the earlier stages of the competition and Carl must have really impressed the organisers to be afforded such an honour.

After a thrilling set of finals we returned to our hotel for a lovely buffet meal and far too much to drink. There were a few sore heads for the 8am coach trip back to Sofia – and a few who missed it and had to catch the 9am coach instead! We then spent another night in Sofia bonding as a team, before reluctantly returning to the real world.

The GBSF would like to thank our hard-working coaches, Tom Handley and Tom Dawson, and officials, Jasbir Nagi and Carl Hamill, without whom we would not have been able to send a team to this event. Their hard work and dedication both before and during the event went far beyond the call of duty.

The full list of champions and vice-champions can be found here.

A number of videos of our team fighting in Bulgaria can be found on Judah Wheeler’s YouTube page.

Meanwhile the squad continues to train for next year’s European Championships, and the World Combat Games in St. Petersburg. GBSF fighters, please speak to your instructor if you wish to be considered for inclusion in the GBSF squad for 2013, from which the team is selected for international competitions.