Raphael Escalona, a resident of Kapa’a and student at St. Catherine’s School, earned three gold medals in Long Kobudo, Kata and Kumite divisions at the AAU/USA Nationals Tournament held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 3-6.
Escalona, who has been training with the International Karate Federation for six years and took part in the Advanced Division, also earned one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medal in team events for an unprecedented total of seven medals.
The IKF Hawaii team finished with a count of 108 Gold, 40 Silver, and 18 Bronze medals, along with two Grand Champions in Kata and Kumite.
The 2002 AAU/USA Karate Nationals competition was held in Salt Lake City, Utah from July 3-6 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. A total of 31 competitors, ranging in age from 6-78 represented the International Karate Federation of Hawaii.
The four day event kicked off with opening ceremonies on Wednesday, July 3. Participants competed in Kata (forms), long and short Kobudo (weapons) and Kumite (sparring) in both individual and team events. Events were further broken down into four divisions: Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced.