British Karate Federation

Minsk 2nd European Games 2019


Joe Kellaway and Amy Connell made history by being the first British senior athletes to qualify for the European Games which were held in Minsk. These games are a continental event with multiple sports participating. To give you an idea of the scale of this event, there was over 4200 athletes, 2000 performance staff, 18000 accredited people (volunteers, village staff, transport etc) it is the second biggest IOC event behind the summer Olympic Games. The WKF described the games as “the most important for karate” and “the spotlight of the IOC is upon us”.


Press Release:

In the karate, a highly competitive field where outside the host nation only 7 could qualify in each weight, faced Joe Kellaway in the men’s -75kg and Amy Connell in the women’s -55kg. Both fighters had done exceptionally well just to qualify and both were bitterly disappointed not to progress in the competition losing their three round fights, but both can be proud of their achievements.


Having returned to the sport after 18 months out with a serious leg injury only a few years ago, Connell, said: “I’m happy with parts of my performance there are definitely other parts I’m looking to improve on and I’m proud to be out there representing Team GB. It’s the first time I’ve competed in a multi-sport event so for karate to be part of it and for me to be here is phenomenal. I’m learning and growing a lot, so taking it all on board. It’s shown what it takes to be on this stage and part of this environment. We’ve got solid work ahead of us, but me and Joe are hard workers so we’ll get our heads down after this and get back to training and qualifying for Tokyo.”


In a tough pool, Kellaway, one of the youngest competitors here, said: “I gave it my all. I had a really hard pool with someone who was 5 times World Champion and 10 times European Champion (Rafael Aghayev) in the first round. I had Gabor (Harspataki) who is the same age as me, but very experienced under the spotlight in the second. (Erman) Eltemur is one of the guys I beat in the Europeans and I had nothing to lose, so I was quite relaxed, I did my best and whilst it wasn’t to be on this occasion, I’ve really enjoyed my experience and I want to work towards Tokyo now. Just to get here alone is a massive achievement. This is just going to motivate me now and I’m ready to go again.”

End Press Release



BKF Performance director Gary Anderson stated “The experience of a multi-sport games and major event is so valuable for these athletes as the sport prepares for Tokyo. The BKF must now focus its attention on supporting athletes in the qualification process for Tokyo. The qualification tournament in Paris next May has to be the number one performance priority.”


For BKF Coach Davin Pack this was his first time attending the European Games with TeamGB. Davin had already coached British athletes at the Youth Olympics in Rio 2018, where Lauren Salisbury won a Youth Olympic bronze medal. Davin’s coaching experience is second to none, having coached many athletes at European and World events, he was able to put this coaching experience and knowledge to good use at these games. Davin knows the pressure these athletes face having been a world class competitor and medallist himself before becoming a National coach.


Well done to BKF Chief Referee Dale Gamble who officiated at his 2nd European Games. Dale is one of the country’s most experienced referees and to be selected by the WKF to officiate at the European Games is a great honour.


Although no medals were won this time the experience the athletes gained was invaluable as they continue to try and qualify for Tokyo 2020. Joe and Amy are a credit to the BKF and excellent role models for karate. The BKF would like to thank TeamGB for all their help and for looking after the staff and athletes at this event, we look forward to working together on future events.


Photo credits, TeamGB, WKF, G Anderson & D Pack