Martial Arts club compete at major national event
Blessington Martial Arts entered four competitors into the Irish Open International held between March 1 - March3 in Citywest Convention Centre. The Irish Open is the biggest kickboxing tournament in the world.
This year alone almost 4,000 of the world's top fighters flew in from 35 countries, competing for a highly coveted place on the podium.
The four competitors from Blessington Martial Arts were Shanua Fitzpatrick (second year, Blessington Community College), Leo Golding and Anna White (both in fifth class, St Mary's SNS) and Isabel Golding (senior infants, St Mary's JNS).Shauna was up first in both 42kg and 46kg categories.
The standard was incredibly high, and though Shauna won her first fight convincingly in 46kg category she narrowly lost out to a very strong Hungarian fighter. She also fought very strongly in the - 42kg category losing out to the eventual bronze winner.
Leo fought his heart out but came up short in both his divisions losing by a single score in both fights that went to extra time and then sudden death which shows just how close the fights can becoming right down to the wire.
Anna, competing in her first Irish Open was first up in 37kg category where she maxed her British opponent in her first fight (i.e. fight is stopped if you are ahead of your opponent by 10 points) but then lost out to a tough Italian, who went on to get silver out of a pool of 27 competitors.
Then Anna fought in 32kg category where after five extremely tough fights she lost in a brilliant final to an excellent German opponent but she gave it her all and came home with the silver in a pool of 22 of the world's top fighters.
Isabel also fought in her first Irish Open and was a superstar. She only turned six last week and as the youngest in her category was up against girls as old as nine. She beat a British girl in the quarter-finals and a German in the semis before losing out to an excellent British fighter in the final to also come home with well - earned silver.
Coach Martin Bannon said that he was delighted with the performance of all the competitors from Blessington Martial Arts. 'These kids train five nights a week, between Blessington Martial Arts and our sister-club Tallaght Martial Arts fitting in training around school and homework. They also train at least once at the weekend and travel the country competing many weekends a year. Their dedication to the sport is incredible and they strive to be the best they can be every day of the year. I'm very proud of them.'.
Blessington Martial Arts runs classes for all ages and abilities on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Check out their Facebook page or call Martin at 087 6836167 for more information.