A GLOBAL pandemic and a nationwide lockdown aren’t enough to stop a 10-year-old Strabane lad’s World Championship preparations.
Serial medal winner, Lucas O’Donnell, may not be able to train with his Ireland or North West Shotokan Karate Club team-mates, but that doesn’t mean he’s putting his feet up and relaxing.
Quite the opposite, in fact, as he has joined 2,300 fellow karate students who have been using an online training aid to keep him sharp before his scheduled trop to Poland in September.
The WUKF Karate World Championships, which will take place in Szczecin were due to take place in early July, however it has been postponed until September.
At present the competition is still going ahead at the start of the Autumn and as such, young Lucas is maintaining his training regime.
As well as taking daily walks and practising at home with his own kit and training aids, the talented youngster has joined the online group, WUKF All Stars Live, which sees athletes and coaches from around the world host training seminars three or four times per week.
So far Lucas has had the opportunity to train with the best athletes and coaches from Ireland, England, Scotland, Romania, Brazil and America – something which would never have happened before Covid-19. So although lockdown is in full effect, he is ensuring he has structure and routine in his days.
“I found these have been great because the first week of lockdown there was nothing and he had no interest in training,” Lucas’s mother Kerry said.
“It’s grown week on week and he knows he has training at 3pm, it’s scheduled, unlike those first few days when you’d try to fit it in.
“He’s so used to being away every other weekend and next weekend our home club [North West Shotokan KC] were meant to be hosting the Irish Nationals, but that’s cancelled; he should have been in Cork a couple of weeks ago, the Northern Ireland’s were to be next month, but they are all off.
“But the good thing is he knows the World’s are still to happen on the 10th of September so he’s preparing as if it’s going to happen.
“He’s still putting in all the work and he sees the other boys in his category are joining in and training on that online thing, so it’s a great motivating thing.”
Should the World Championships take place in September, Lucas will go into the event as one of the favourites for a medal, given his outstanding performances over the five years he’s been involved in the sport.
Although he’s only 10, the Strabane lad can boast a medals tally of 52 gold, 23 silver and 15 bronze – and that included the three months of competitions he missed due to a broken arm between August to October last year.
And just 10 weeks after that injury, Lucas was back on the mat at the WUKF European Championships in Denmark where he won three bronze medals – for Individual Kata, Individual Kumite and Team Kumite – to add to the Bronze European medal he won in Malta in October 2018.
Prior to those successes in Scandanavia, he was named NKFI Student of the Year and the Strabane/Derry Young Male Sports Star thanks to his siver medal at the 2018 WUKF World Championships and the bronze at the 2018 WUKF European Championships, and the following achievements that year: double WUKF Irish National Champion 2018 in Kata and Kumite, All Ireland Kumite Champion 2018, All Ireland Parent and Child Kata Champion 2018 (with his father Eathan O’Donnell), 4 Nations Kumite Champion 2018, IKF International Kata Champion 2018 and double Northern Ireland Champion 2019 in Kata and Kumite.
Since winning the sports award, he has gone on to retain his title of double WUKF Irish National Champion in Kata and Kumite, and also became the WUKF Irish National Parent and Child Kata Champion with his father Ethan.
In December 2019 he also retained his titles of All Ireland Kumite Champion and All Ireland Parent and Child Kata champions. And if that wasn’t enough he went on to add another title, becoming All Ireland Team Kata Champion.
In February 2020, he retained his IKF Internationl Kata Champion title and added an IKF International Team Kata title and he passed his purple belt grading.