UCS eighth grader wins international karate competition

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 8, 2021

 Bemis Junior High eighth grader Dania Crnkic won first place in continuous sparring — kickboxing — at the World Karate Commission’s World Championships this fall.

Bemis Junior High eighth grader Dania Crnkic won first place in continuous sparring — kickboxing — at the World Karate Commission’s World Championships this fall.

Photo provided by Alma Crnkic

 Dania Crnkic has been gathering an impressive collection of trophies and titles since she started learning karate more than four years ago.

Dania Crnkic has been gathering an impressive collection of trophies and titles since she started learning karate more than four years ago.

Photo provided by Alma Crnkic

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UTICA/SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Bemis Junior High eighth grader Dania Crnkic has developed a love for the sport of karate after practicing it for more than four years and winning first place in October in continuous sparring at the World Karate Commission’s World Championships.

Signing up for karate years ago was a way to learn self-defense techniques and to build self-esteem, but now Crnkic can call herself “world champion.”

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments she has made in these past few years,” Crnkic’s mother, Alma Crnkic, said in a press release.

Dania trains between five and seven days each week at Macomb Martial Arts. She has been building a collection of trophies and titles, and the social aspect of competing has been important, too.

“I love competing, meeting new friends and winning big trophies,” Dania stated in the press release.

When she’s not training, she remains involved by helping her coaches train younger students.

“The little kids look up to her and see her as her mentor,” said Alma.

Starting in local tournaments, Dania worked her way up to win regional, state and national championships before garnering the 2021 world championship title in Orlando, Florida.

“It feels amazing to be world champion. I put a lot of hard work into what I do, and I have managed to achieve an amazing outcome,” Dania said via email.

She said the World Championships put her with the best of the best martial arts people all around the world and really tested her skills. She also said she was very grateful for her parents and all the sacrifices they have made to take her to all of her tournaments around the country.

Alma said they are extremely proud of Dania’s accomplishments.

“I wanted  Dania to learn karate as self-defense and earn self-esteem, but as she started training more and more, she just took off with it. She then started doing tournaments and ended up winning gold for mainly all of the local tournaments. She is also a four-year state, national and regional champion. She then did her first worlds in New York two years ago and won all bronze. But she promised herself that she will win all gold and will stand in the middle of the podium. And that’s exactly what she did. She was more than satisfied with this outcome, and surely so was I,” she said via email.

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