The Australian Kendo Championships was held in Melbourne this year over the Easter weekend. In this national competition, Nine Melbourne University Kendo Club members were selected to compete in the individuals and teams events representing Victoria: Jularaj Suthibutr, Jamie Shen, Yaya Bonggotgetsakul, Liliana Bray, Yan Ling, Thomas Mendelovits, Kevin Chin, Richard T’en, and Kenji Sugimoto.
In the Dan Individuals category, Richard T’en defeated two Australian national team members and more experienced competitors on his way to attaining Third place.
The team competitions yielded outstanding results. Yaya Bonggotgetsakul and Liliana Bray, both Melbourne Universty graduate students, were selected to represent the Victorian Women Team in the Kyu Division. In a very close match they defeated New South Wales to take the first gold. Jularaj Suthibutr and Jamie Shen were also part of the Victorian Men Team that reached second place in the Kyu Division. After defeating long rivals New South Wales in the Semi Finals they unfortunately lost to a strong South Australian Team. Richard T’en and Kenji Sugimoto, a Melbourne University alumnus, were selected to represent Victoria in the Men’s Open Division. The team comprehensively outplayed their opponents until the finals where they met a New South Wales team looking for their third consecutive championship. After a very close match that went to the final player, the New South Wales team was able to take the points and win the championship.
While not the desired result, Melbourne University Kendo Club members will look forward to training harder in preparation for the State Championship held in August and next year’s nationals held in Queensland.