St. Mary's kickboxing champion Caitlin receives hero's welcome home!

A tremendous reception awaited St. Mary’s College student, Caitlin Toland, on her arrival back from Glasgow last week after she picked up the Six Nations trophy in the 60kg category at the WRSA Kickboxing event.

Galliagh girl Caitlin, who only took up the sport at 12 years of age, now holds the WKU English belt and WKU British belt and is also WKU German champion in full contact at 60kg.

The icing on the cake saw the St. Mary’s Year 12 student add the prestigious Six Nations belt to her trophy cabinet with St. Marys’ senior teacher, Yvonne Connolly, paying tribute to Caitlin during a special full school assembly, emphasising how proud the school was of her tremendous achievements.

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“Caitlin is fully dedicated to her sport and in between her studies, she spends a lot of time training hard to prepare and travelling long distances to participate in the many kickboxing tournaments around the country and indeed, throughout Europe.

“St. Mary’s College fully supports Caitlin in her all her efforts. She is a credit, not only to the school, but her club, her parents and our city.”

The Six Nations champion only took up the sport at 12 years of age in 2016 and puts her meteoric rise down a determination to improve her physical health and boost her self-confidence.

“I want to pay a big tribute to my coaches Uel and Gareth Murphy,” explains Caitlin, “I was very quiet and shy as a child and they helped develop my love for the support. It was through them that I developed a passion for kickboxing.

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“I’ve gained so many friends through the sport as well as getting the chance to travel throughout the country doing something I love. I’ve been to Killarney, Greece and Austria as well as all over Ireland and the UK.”

The modest student says she is very proud to have won the Six Nations belt in Glasgow and described the five 1.5 minute rounds against Mirren Bisland as tough but enjoyable.

“The fight was stopped in the fourth round by the referee and I feel this was my best victory to date,” adds the St. Mary’s student, “I couldn’t do this without the endless support of my family, friends, coaches, WKU Northern Ireland team and my school, St. Mary’s.”

She went on to thank the many sponsors who have supported her in her travels and training sessions throughout the years.

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Speaking on behalf of the PE Department at St. Mary’s College, Head of Department Mrs Martin said: “As a department, and indeed the whole school, we are incredibly proud of Caitlin’s huge achievement.

“She is strong, resilient and these qualities have served her well in this tough sport. Congratulations from all of us.”

And it’s onwards and upwards for the St. Mary’s College fighter as the calendar for the rest of the season includes the British Open on May 3, Junior World Cup on May 23 and the German

Open on June 19/20 as well as a long jaunt to Canada in October to take part in the WKU World Championships.

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