Major karate tournament returns to Leigh

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THE stars of British martial arts will be coming to Leigh again this year after the return of a top karate tournament was announced.

The Northern Open Championship (NOC) will return to the Leigh Sports Village in May, after the event moved from its previous home in Birchwood last year.

Organisers hope over 300 karate exponents, ranging from Pee Wee juniors as young as six to some of the finest fighters from all over Britain, will descend on Leigh to compete for glory across 24 categories.

The action will be divided between kata categories, where practitioners compete alone to execute a series of techniques before a panel of judges, and kumite, or combat classes. There will also be team events.

Organiser Orang Ranjbar said: “Leigh is a perfect venue which has nearly everything we need for a tournament like this. “There’s a big hotel on the doorstep, food outlets, the parking is fantastic, and it has lots of good facilities.

“They looked after us really well last year and I’m sure this year will be the same.”

Orang also says he hopes as many spectators as possible will come down to enjoy the exciting, fast-paced action of top-level karate.

He said: “It often gets pretty busy in the venue with people watching. Spectators will get to see lots of good karate, and the kumite individual and team fighting events are always extremely exciting.”

The championship will be held on Sunday, May 27. Entry is £12 for individuals, £20 for pairs and £30 for teams, and forms are available by emailing