West Coast Karate siblings claim national championships at Australian Open


Hannah Sullivan, Charlie Baines and Rebecca Sullivan all brought home medals from the recent Australian Open.
Hannah Sullivan, Charlie Baines and Rebecca Sullivan all brought home medals from the recent Australian Open.

AS a four-year-old, Hannah Sullivan would kick and scream whenever it was time for her to head to dance class, an early indication that just like the rest of her family, she was much better suited to karate.

Fast forward a decade and Hannah and older sister Rebecca have just returned from the Australian Open in Sydney as champions of their respective weight divisions.

Held at the start of April, the Australian Open took place on the same weekend as the Oceania Karate Championship – an Olympic qualifier – with Rebecca claiming the title in her age division there too.

A decorated state and national champion, 23-year-old Rebecca said it had been a while since she had last won a major tournament.

“I haven’t had this kind of success for a very long time so it was a great feeling,” she said.

“The standard of competition was really high because a lot of international competitors that came over for the Oceania Championships also took part in the Australian Open.

“That meant we had a lot of fights over the course of the weekend, Hannah especially ended up with something like a dozen.”

Hannah agreed the Australian Open was a big step up in class from previous years.

“Last year I fought maybe five times but this time around there were more than 30 girls in my division which is more than double what it was previously,” the 14-year-old said.

“I would probably prefer it to be a bit smaller because it was very tiring but at the same time it’s good having a challenge and the extra girls really push you to a new level.”

Karate is a family affair for the Sullivans, the two sisters training out of Bateman and Willetton-based West Coast Karate, an independent club founded by their father Brian.

Club member Charlie Baines also enjoyed success at the Australian Open, the 11-year-old finishing third in the 12-13-year-old age group.

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