Well here we are only 11 days out from the WAKO European Kickboxing Championships which are taking place in Loutraki, Greece. The Senior Irish Pointfighting Team has been training all year for this opportunity to become European Champions and with the final preparations taking place over the next week or so, the excitement is building in the camp to take on the Worlds best (as most of the World’s top fighters are European)! Although there are many Kickboxing Championships worldwide, I’m sure no-one will disagree that WAKO has the highest standard and without a doubt it is the hardest Championships to win in Europe. I will be representing Ireland in the Senior Womens -55kg division and with the pre registration closed, it is the largest Pointfighting category with the most countries represented. Not only that, of all those registered it is hard to even pick a single “handy fight”. All of the girls in my section are really tough opponents but I know I have done the hard work and overcome a lot of adversity over the past couple of months to believe that I can go out now and win this competition! At the beginning of this year my goal was to win the two most difficult competitions in the World of Kickboxing; the Irish Open and the WAKO Europeans. I already have the Irish Open in the bag so I’m half way there…..fingers crossed!
In addition to the expert coaching I have received and the hard work I’ve done, part of the reason I’m feeling so prepared is because of all the sparring with the Irish Womens Team and also my club mates in Tallaght Martial Arts. So it’s fair to say that the rest of the womens team are all set and on track to smash it at the Euros in their own weight categories. In -50kg Bo Mangan is looking to build on her Bronze Medal from the WAKO World Championships last year and add another major medal to her name. Above my weight in -60kg is Shauna Bannon who like myself is already a WAKO Senior European Champion and is going out, I’m sure, to win another title to bring home. Keri Browne now more experienced as this is her second Senior Championships has had a good spell of form and once she gets this type of performance will be sure to add her name to the WAKO Senior Medallists in -65kg. The newest addition to the womens team is Sophie Larkin after the -70kg spot became available and she will be representing Ireland for the first time at senior level. Finally we have Joanne Deegan in +70kg and after a good win at the Bristol Open she will be out looking for more success.
We also have a 9 strong Senior Mens Pointfighting Team. Rob Hurley, already a WAKO Medallist at Senior level is representing Kickboxing Ireland at -57kg, while Jay Daniels dropped a weight category to -63kg this year. Newcomer to the Senior Team from Tallaght is Scott Farrell who became National Champ in a very tough -69kg division. Dessie Leonard who is a current European Champion takes the -74kg place, with Jordan White recently taking up the spot in -79kg. National Champion for many years at -84kg is Robbie McMenamy and my own club mate Gar Ryan is in -89kg. The two heavier weights see Kevin White and current Light Contact European Champ Dalton O’Shaughnessy in the -94kg and +94kg divisions respectively. The Pointfighting Team is topped off with our Veterans (over 41 years) who have trained so hard the past few months. First up is my own coach and National Coach Dave Heffernan in the +94kg and also from Tallaght Martial Arts is Joe Dolan. The rest of the team is made up with Stephen Quill, Michael Forrest and Karl Maguire. We’re ready!!!
Irish Pointfighting Team for WAKO Senior European Championships, Greece.
- Dave Heffernan
- Bo Mangan -50kg (Spartan MA)
- Caradh O’Donovan -55kg (Tallaght MA)
- Shauna Bannon -60kg (Tallaght MA)
- Keri Browne -65kg (Tallaght MA)
- Sophie Larkin -70kg (Spartan MA)
- Joanne Deegan +70kg (Spartan MA)
- Rob Hurley -57kg (Bushido MA)
- Jay Daniels -63kg (Hurricane MA)
- Scott Farrell -69kg (Tallaght MA)
- Dessie Leonard -74kg (Collooney)
- Jordan White -79kg (Spartan MA)
- Robbie McMenamy -84kg (Spartan MA)
- Gar Ryan -89kg (Tallaght MA)
- Kevin White -94kg (Spartan MA)
- Dalton O’Shaughnessy (Bushido MA)
- Stephen Quill -63kg (Bushido MA)
- Karl Maguire -74kg (Bushdo MA)
- Joe Dolan -84kg (Tallaght MA)
- Michael Forrest -94kg (Bushido MA)
- Dave Heffernan +94kg (Tallaght MA)