October 4, 2021
When Kendyl Roberts started with karate a decade ago, she probably didn’t anticipate being draped in gold medals. Her parents were just looking for something for her to do.
Now, Roberts is a world champion. Representing the United States team, the 17-year-old Badin High School junior just returned from the World Karate Championships in Romania with a gold medal in Sai, which is short weapons form.
“It was one of the best times of my life,” said Roberts, the daughter of Greg and Heather Roberts of Liberty Township and a graduate of Lakota Plains Junior High. “The country was beautiful and I met so many amazing friends.
“The competition was hard,” she added after having competed in three events, adding a fourth place in Style Specifics Kata. “But it was extremely fun. I love competition – the adrenaline of the experience. And it was definitely something I can learn from.”
As a child, Roberts played soccer – but didn’t enjoy it. As she was watching television one day, she saw a show called “Kickin’ It,” which was all about karate.
“I wanted to try it out,” said Roberts, conceding that it wasn’t necessarily something her parents had in mind for her. “When I went to the classes, I just loved it.”
Roberts, who is just 4-foot-10, no longer competes in the karate fighting competitions because of her size. But she is a standout performer when it comes to the karate styles.
She works out four days a week for a minimum of two hours a day at Shito-Kai Ohio in West Chester, and credits her sensei – karate instructor – Alex Dell for so much of her success.
“He’s a great coach and a great person,” Roberts said of Dell, who has trained her for eight years. “He’s very kind and understanding – he always makes sure to help me whenever I need him. I never would have made it as far as I have in karate without him.”
Roberts has earned more than two dozen gold medals over past regional and national competitions that have taken her all over the country – California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and more. But this trip to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for the World Union of Karate-Do Federation event, was her first international competition.
“The whole U.S. team was there rooting for you when you would compete,” she noted. “We did some traveling out into the countryside. We toured a monastery, and some salt mines that were very pretty. The whole experience was a lot of fun.”
Roberts said she “definitely” plans to continue working out and competing. No doubt there are more gold medals in her future.
Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, Dallen@BadinHS.org or (513) 869-4490