Dynamic Kickboxing Academy recently returned from the W.K.C. world kickboxing championships that were held in Niagara Falls, U.S.A., from November 2-8.
There were five young people from the club representing Co.Wexford and Ireland in the championships, namely: Mia Byrne (16), gold medal winner and world champion in her section; Breanna Sludds-Keane (14), world silver and bronze medal winner in her sections; David Dooley (14), world bronze medal winner in his section; Cora Harris (14); Shauna Hume (13).
These five young warriors brought home a gold, silver and two bronze from what could only be described as one of the toughest competitions ever experienced, with participants coming from the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, England, Germany and Northern Ireland just to name a few countries. The standard was high and the competition was tough.
Both Cora Harris and Shauna Hume fought extremely tough opponents in their sections. They fought hard and to the best of their ability but were unlucky to reach the finals of their sections.
Great experience was gained by both fighters who are now looking forward to next year's competition which is being held in Spain.
They will be returning to the championships stronger, wiser and ready to take on the world's best in their section to get back what is theirs.
They have been silver and bronze medal winners in their section in previous year, so next time around they will both be aiming for gold medals.
David Dooley fought tooth and nail to achieve third place and come home with a bronze medal in his section. He had heart, perseverance and the hunger to beat his Canadian opponent.
This was a thrilling fight to watch, with two young guys giving their all for the honour of their respective countries.
Both fighters had been in action the day previously in their points section where David was narrowly beaten, but the tables were turned in the following day in the continuous section where David overcame the same opponent to retain third place.
Breanna Sludds-Keane fought extremely well to come home with both a silver and a bronze medal from her sections.
Breanna got to the finals of her points section on Friday where she was narrowly beaten by a Canadian girl.
Breanna was unfortunate not to reach the finals of her continuous section due to a nose bleed in the semi-final which ruled her out in this section.
This ould have put her in the favourite's position in the continuous section to get the gold medal, but unfortunately it didn't happen this time. Next year will tell a different story.
Mia Byrne got to the finals of her continuous section against a girl who was two years her senior, and a tough competitor who was strong and hungry for first position.
In the first round her opponent came out hard and fast with only one mission in mind, and that was to hurt Mia and put her on the back foot.
The first round was crazy, with Mia not fighting to her true potential and ability.
When the timer was paused after the first round, a few choice words were directed towards Mia to inspire her to go out and show her opponent and the world what she was capable of.
The second round started and suddenly there was a new person fighting, one with determination and indomitable spirit.
Mia transformed into the the real fighter that she is and her opponent felt the wrath of a comeback.
Mia stopped her opponent twice in that round, with her rival visibly shaken by the onslaught of Mia's power, precision and technique.
The final buzzer went and all judges voted Mia the winner and worthy world champion in her section. She received her hard-earned gold medal of honour.
This was a truly remarkable, hard-fought tournament.
Students of Dynamic Kickboxing Academy fought with their hearts and souls to not only get the opportunity to represent their county and country, but to also bring home the much-deserved rewards that they worked so hard all year to achieve.
The difference between team sports and combat sports is that, when the pressure is on an individual in a team sport, you have the option of passing a ball.
In combat, on the other hand, you are on your own and when you are in this position you learn to think quick to react, to be tough against all adversity that faces you, and to be resilient in the process if you want to tackle the task in hand.
As the coach of Dynamic Kickboxing Academy, Robbie Sludds said 'the pride and admiration I have for these young people cannot be explained in words.
'It is felt with every blow, every tear, and every bit of joy that they feel when they win or lose.
'They are my inspiration, they are the future of Dynamic Kickboxing Academy, and I am so proud to be their coach/instructor and mentor on this small part of their journey in life.
'Like all my students in the academy, they will always remain in my heart as great young people and warriors in the martial arts.'