Dale White and Anna Nolan returned from Florida last week as double world kickboxing champions!
The pair from the Wexford Kung Fu and Kickboxing Centre travelled along with team-mates Mark Rowe, Rebecca Rowe and Michelle Casserly as part of the Irish team to compete in the W.K.C. world championships in Orlando.
Anna Nolan from Oylegate fought in the girls' Under-12 section in both points sparring and continuous sparring. Showing incredible determination against top-class opposition, she won all her fights to take gold in both events and then went forward to take silver as part of the Irish girls' team, also winning all her fights in the team events.
That left a medals tally of two gold and one silver for this fantastic fighter. In fact, such was the calibre of her fighting skills that the world chief referee commented that her semi-final fight was the best continuous fight he had ever seen! This is an incredible endorsement!
Anna, who started training in the club at just six years of age, is one of the country's most talented fighters and is sure to deliver many more gold medals in the years ahead.
There were high expectations for Dale White who was travelling to these championships coming off the back of wins in the W.A.K.O. European championship along with numerous other international accolades including the W.A.K.O. best fighter cup, so the current world boys' champion had a lot to live up to.
Dale did not disappoint, taking gold in the continuous sparring and gold in the kung fu sets competition along with silver in the points sparring section. In fact, it was the opinion of most observers that Dale was unlucky not to be bringing three golds home as he was narrowly beaten in the points sparring final by an opponent he had previously defeated.
Dale is a real all-rounder, competing in weapons, kung fu sets as well as points and continuous sparring, and he was a real inspiration to the younger Irish team members throughout the championships.
Rebecca Rowe took to the ring in the girls' Under-16 event. She had some really great fights against tough opposition to take home a bronze medal in the continuous sparring section.
Rebecca has competed at the highest level internationally for a number of years now and has consistently made the podium, taking several international medals over the years to make her one of the world's top-ranked girls' competitors.
Michelle Casserly made her international comeback after ten years. Competing in the ladies' Seniors was always going to be tough but Michelle was up to the challenge.
Just missing out on the medals in the points sparring, Michelle made up for this by taking a well-deserved bronze in the ladies' kung fu sets event. Firmly back on the international circuit, Michelle is determined to improve even further in the coming years.
Mark Rowe was unlucky to miss out on the medals in the men's veterans' section, losing his quarter-final fight by the closest of margins.
Mark is no stranger to international success, having won world bronze on two other occasions over the years.
Mark was an integral part of the Irish kickboxing squad throughout the championships, coaching and preparing the fighters, and his help in the club and at the championships was crucial in ensuring the club's greatest-ever international success.
Patrick Monahan, another of the club's coaches, represented Ireland on the international referees' panel, an essential role in any successful tournament. Patrick was awarded a medal and international diploma for his exceptional contribution throughout the championships.
'The results are truly fantastic,' commented an ecstatic chief instructor Bobby O'Neill. 'This team of talented athletes give everything they have in training. There is a fantastic camaraderieas they push each other, encourage each other and support each other, so to coach these guys is a real pleasure.
'The best thing of all is that their success is encouraging all our members to excel, not just in the sports kickboxing but also in the traditional kung fu. Success breeds success and we are looking forward to many more years of excellence at the Wexford Kung Fu and Kickboxing Centre.'
The club committee would like to sincerely thank all their sponsors and the people of Wexford for their support over the last few months, and in particular our main sponsor, Peter Nolan Bloodstock. The club trains in Image Health Studios, Westpoint Business Park, and new members of all ages are always welcome.