Local karate kids enjoyed an exceptional expedition to Hungary recently when they competed in a European Championship competition.
The Ulster Karate Federation junior squad travelled to Gyor in Hungary to face the might of clubs from throughout the continent in the World Union of Karate-Do Federation (WUKF) European Championships for children, cadets and juniors.
The squad returned from the competition with a haul of two silver and three bronze medals.
Shawn Barron, squad coach, said he was “very proud” of all the competitors who travelled from Derry and Inishowen. “They worked very hard in the run up to the competition and they all fought against some very tough opponents from all over Europe.”
“I’m happy to say that all the hard work and commitment has paid off,” he added.
Burnfoot’s Denise Donaghey, at age 20 was the oldest member of the squad and she led by example, winning a bronze medal for her Wado Ryu Katas.
She also picked up a bronze medal for her part in the girls fighting team.
Culmore’s Katy Holly (18), was fighting fit against competitors who displayed a very high standard of karate. Her energetic defence earned her a bronze and she was delighted with her win.
She also fought well in the team event in helping the girls to bronze. Laura McGlinchey was along with the girls in the team event and put on an impressive show with her stylish high kicks.
Glen Barron (17) earned himself a silver with his adrenaline fuelled fighting. Although the shortest in his category, the Culmore fighter proved himself against his taller opponents. His performances were excellent against the high standards of the Italians and Hungarians.
David Bell (13), although one of the younger squad members and a first time competition in big competition, earned himself a well deserved medal.He fought against opponents with much more experience, catching them with his fast reactions and winning silver. Conall Gill (13) also had his first experience in the world of international karate. The dedicated member of the UKF squad was well prepared for the competition but was unfortunate to pitted against a really tough opponent who went on to win the category. However, Conall was very impressive in the Kata and although he wasn’t among the medals he was placed 8th out of a total of 40.
On top of the medals haul, the squad enjoyed an added bonus when UKF referee Denis Donaghey was awarded a WUKF world referee status and Martin McCole was awarded a WUKF European referee status.