Olympic journey kicks off in Guadalajara

Ever wondered how an athlete goes from being a beginner in a sport to being the best in the world? Most athletes will take about ten years to go from the bottom to the top; I’ve given myself the task of doing it in two years! With the Olympic qualification period for karate starting later this year, I will be sharing my journey from the start on my website so subscribe to my blog and follow my path to Olympic and World success!!!

It all kicked off last weekend, where I travelled to Guadalajara in Spain for the first Karate 1 Series A event of 2018 along with some of Irelands best karate athletes. The week leading up to this event I made the decision to move to a higher weight category (61kg) and with more places being offered for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 for this weight category than in the 55kg division it made more sense to give myself a better chance at qualifying. The even better news is there’s no more weight cuts for me for the next few years and with Crohns Disease imposing itself on my life every day this decision will make life a lot easier.

Arena Guadalajara
The Sports Arena in Guadalajara

Training had been going perfect in the lead up to this event and I could not wait to get out there and compete. In what was only my third international event I was hoping to get a decent draw. In the first two competitions I was given first round draws against both World Medallists and Premier League winners – surely I was due a bit of luck this time out? Eh well the draw fairies had other plans for me as I was paired with Egypt – basically one of the strongest karate nations in the world. Lovely. 

Out of 90 fighters entered in my weight category I was fighting the girl who would go on to win the entire Pool!!! It’s easy to look at these things negatively but I was actually happy to be fighting the best and although I narrowly lost I was finally starting to see the progression I am making in performances. I consciously made the decision to bypass the lower level international events and go straight to the highest level ones as I’m on a fast-track path to the top! There’s not many people who can challenge the best fighters in the world in a sport they have been training in for a matter of months at a high level. There’s only a few small adjustments to make in my technical skills and I know I will see the breakthrough!

Womens Squad
Womens Squad in Spain. L to R Lauren Duffy, Shauna Mullaney, Caradh O’Donovan, Seona Gannon, Katerina Susko, Justyne Collins.

This year I will be travelling to as many of the highest level WKF (World Karate Federation) competitions as possible, with the next one in Salzburg (Austria) in two weeks. In June 2020 the ten athletes who are successful in qualifying for the Games in my weight will be finalised and so I’m excited to take on this whopper challenge. I’m looking forward to what ever this journey throws at me but have no doubt I’ll be successful.