THE ISKA World Amateur kickboxing Championships came to Ireland for the first time in its history on October 15-19 when 26 countries were represented and over 1000 fighters were in action.
Castlederg’s Castle K1 Kickboxing Martial Arts Academy had three members representing Ireland at the event – Morgan Bird, Jonny Henry and Steven Gailey and they returned home with four silver medals!
Gailey was entered into three divisions in the 65kg category. He lost his quarter-final to Connor Porter from England and unfortunately picked up an injury which stopped him from competing in his remaining last eight encounter in the K1 division. However, he still finished with a world ranking of 5th in Kickboxing, 7th in K1 Rules and 6th in K1 Light Kick.
Bird, who is only 19 years of age, came back with two silver medals in the 90kg class, with second place in Kickboxing and another second in K1 with a matching world ranking of second in each.
Morgan was involved in a very close semi-final against one of the favourites, Olivetti Gregory from France, before, in his Full Contact Kickboxing final, he took on the outstanding Pawel Strykowski from Poland and in the K1 Rules final he was up against Raffaele Vitale, from Italy.
Morgan is already looking forward to next year, when he is determined ‘to take home the gold’.
Thirty-three year-old Henry was the oldest in the group and he was fighting in the 90kg+ category in which he faced the likes of Alen Markovic from Germany, who came in at 124kgs!
Jonny showed no fear and after two days’ competition ended up with two finals (Kickboxing and Low kick), both against the massive unbeaten Markovic! A full arena was watching to see the two big men go head-to-head in the Low-Kick final.
Markovic came out quickly and with the two men going toe-to-toe it was the German who landed an amazing roundhouse to the head, which ended the fight early as Jonny suffered an eye socket fracture to rule him out of the second decider.
Jonny afterwards explained: “At my age I don’t have much more years fighting at this level, but dreams do come true.
“I will focus on my recovery for the rest of the year and look forward to the European’s in Italy, early next year.”
Castle K1 Kickboxing Martial Arts Academy has been operating for over three years and already boasts one ISKA Irish champion, two WKU bronze Junior World Cup medallists and now four sliver ISKA World Amateur Kickboxing Championships medals. Next year the club will be competing in the 6 Nations in Scotland, the European’s in Italy and the World’s in Florida.
You can follow the club on their Facebook page – Castle k1 Kickboxing.