Team Ireland on Fire in Slovenia

With only less than three weeks left until I get on the plane to Greece to represent my country at the WAKO European Senior Kickboxing Championships my life has just become a mix of training, sleeping and a very small amount of eating. I will most likely have no social life for the next month while the days count down to my bid to win another Senior European Title. I’ve been so inspired and motivated this week after watching my team mates in Light Contact perform to highest level in Slovenia. Light Contact is a different discipline of kickboxing and as the numbers are so massive in our sport across Europe the International Federation (WAKO) have had to split the Europeans into two separate events. So even though the Light Contact team are just returning from Slovenia we are all one team and I’ve been enjoying watching and supporting the team from Dublin during the few breaks from training. With the massive success of the team over there being a lot more interesting that what I ate this week I really want to highlight our superstar teams achievements!

Kickboxing Ireland sent a small team of 10 athletes to these Championships in Slovenia and amidst all of the many World Karate/Kickboxing Championships taking place recently WAKO and Kickboxing Ireland are the only Federations to be recognised as an official sport by Sport Ireland and the IOC respectively…..just throwing that out there. So the fact that out of 10 fighters we came home with 3 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze medal really shows the magnitude of this achievement. My own Club Mate Joe Dolan bagged a bronze medal in the Mens Vets Category which means Tallaght Martial Arts have yet another medal at this level coming back to the Club! In the Senior mens divisions Dessie Leonard from Sligo reached yet another major final but had to settle for a silver this time out, while Dalton O’Shaughnessy from Cork became a heavyweight European Champion after overpowering his Turkish opponent in the final….amazing stuff!!

The Senior KBI Pointfighting Team taking a quick break from training to watch Dalton O’Shaughnessy become WAKO European Champion

The womens team was a small group of three and these girls have really inspired me in the lead up to my own Euros in the next few weeks with their results. The Irish trio all reached the finals of their weight categories in some very competitive divisions with Dee Begley from Cork winning silver in the womens -60kg narrowly missing out to Poland in the final. Both Aine Leonard from Sligo (-65kg) and Lauren Bradshaw from Dublin (+70kg) were beast like and both won their first Senior WAKO European Titles, adding to the many WAKO Junior titles they won over the years! This left Ireland 2nd in the medal tables for Light Contact this year….no pressure for the Pointfighting Team when it’s our turn in a few weeks time!!!!

Dee Begley, Aine Leonard & Lauren Bradshaw having their hands raised en route to the finals

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