ABOVE: West Cork Kickboxing Club fighters Grainne Begley and brother Sean Begley brought home Gold and Bronze medals from the World Championships
Once again West Cork is celebrating its World Championship medal winners. West Cork Kickboxing Club fighters Grainne Begley and brother Sean Begley brought home Gold and Bronze medals respectively from the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations) Junior and Older cadet World Kickboxing Championships, held in Citywest Dublin recently.
Grainne and Sean are part of West Cork Kickboxing Clubs Junior elite team, which also includes Dave Slaney, Botond Roza and Liam de la Cour. These five fighters were part of the Irish National Kickboxing team competing at the recent Championships.
Fifty-two countries, from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Chile, competed for World titles at the Championship.
On her journey to her World title, Grainne (15) fought Great Britain, Israel, Slovenia, Poland and Italy. Her opponent in the final was an outstanding Italian fighter. The nail-biting contest see-sawed back and forth throughout, but in the last round Grainne proved to be too strong for the Italian, winning the title. In doing so, she has created history, as the first Irish fighter to win a World Title in the Kick Light category. Kick Light, as a kickboxing discipline, involves continuous fighting where points are scored for punches and kicks to the head and body and also to the inner and outer thighs. These are all legitimate target areas but the punches and kicks must be controlled, and excessive contact is not allowed.
Sean Begley (18) won his Bronze medal fighting Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary and Slovinia, beating the previous World and European champion from Hungary along the way. After a tremendous fight in the semi-final, the Slovinian fighter emerged the victor. David Slaney (18) fought Slovinia, Mexico and Hungary reaching the quarter finals before being beaten by the Hungarian fighter. Liam de la Cour (17), fought Russia, South Africa and Italy. Liam was beaten by the Italian fighter in the quarter finals. Botond Roza (16) fought Hungary before being beaten by the Bulgarian in the quarter finals.
Grainne, Sean and the rest of the team have been preparing for these Championships for the last twelve months under the guidance of West Cork Kickboxing’s and National team head Coach Ian Kingston.
Ian has worked with all these fighters since they started kickboxing at a very young age, training and moulding them into top class athletes. Grainne started at six years of age, winning her first of several National Titles at the age of nine. Ian stated that he is “immensely proud of all his fighters performances at these Championships. To come away with World Gold and Bronze is a fantastic achievement for Grainne and Sean and for the club, all of the team prepared so hard for these championships, culminating in training six days a week in the weeks prior to the competition”. The club also had two International Referees, Mike Stephenson and Shane Begley, refereeing at the event. Grainne said that “without Ian’s dedication to all of us and his expertise as a world class coach, none of this would have been possible, this gold medal is as much his as mine”.