After five days of competition, the Irish Cadet and Junior Kickboxing Team returned with 45 medals from the WAKO World Championships in Rimini, Italy, and among them was a bronze medal coming home to Mayo with Davitt Neary.
Three of the Irish team members, Emma Flannery, Gearoid Cramp, and Davitt Neary, train at the Castlebar based White Tiger Martial Arts under point fighting instructor, Damien Gormley. After qualifying as Irish national champions in their respective age and weight divisions back in April, the trio worked hard in preparations to face their counterparts from around the world.
It was not to be in the individual divisions where all three went out early, after some very tough matches. We caught up with Damien Gormley immediately after the individual divisions, and though obviously disappointed for the young fighters, according to him the matches had, “brought out the very best in them. They rose to the occasion, pushing harder and faster than I have seen them do before, and I really believe that this event has given them more in terms of experience and self-belief than any medal ever could”.
The next day, he was to be proved right when Davitt was chosen to be a part of the younger cadets’ team event. He fought exceptionally well, picking scores with speed and accuracy, and though the team was ultimately defeated in the semi-finals by a strong Italian side, he certainly made his mark on world level point fighting, taking bronze alongside his fellow team members.
After returning home the fighters will take a well earned rest, but there will be much to review in the match videos as the coaching team at White Tiger assess the strong points and the areas to work on. However, there is a bright future ahead for these three young fighters, and over the coming months hopefully the preparation will begin to see them back in action at the European championships in 2015.