Quartet claim world honours

Published 15/12/2015 | 00:00

World medal winners Marie Laffan-Cullen, Mick Kelly, Paul Hillis and Collette Butler
World medal winners Marie Laffan-Cullen, Mick Kelly, Paul Hillis and Collette Butler

Wexford Kettlebell Club members are just beginning to return to normal after one of the biggest and most highly-attended world championships since records began. Ireland had the second biggest team in attendance with only Russia having more.

It was run over four days over two weeks ago, and with over 565 athletes from 36 countries, hotels in Dublin and the surrounding areas were packed to capacity. The event was held in Dublin City University.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, officially opened it and she made a wonderful speech in which she said: 'I'm truly amazed at the sight of all these athletes young and old, many who have quite literally travelled half way around the world to be here'.

And this was true with teams from Australia, Chile, Japan and South Korea present. These athletes had taken two to three flights and had travelled through many countries before arriving in our capital city.

Wexford were represented very well too, with our club having the highest numbers on the Irish squad. Competition was fierce over the four days, much higher than any of the previous years.

Our lads and ladies did fantastically well and while medals evaded some, others had a more successful ten minutes and luckily placed overall.

Yolanda Gilbert and Fiona Kelly lifted for the very first time at a major event and both achieved P.B's.

Professional lifters Clara O'Connor and Kathleen Cleary, who snatch the 24 kg. bell, may not have reached the podium, but their determination and training they put in to lift that big green heavy bell doesn't go unnoticed and, like we said girls, 'there's always next year!'.

Amateur lifters Sarah Clifford, Jennie Carthy and Alison Murphy all did their best on the platform and were just unlucky too.

Keith Dwyer was carrying an old injury into the championships and it unluckily flared up during his set. He just couldn't hold on to the bells any more after courageously fighting for every rep. before he could do no more.

However, it wasn't all bad luck and some outstanding performances were produced, starting with our coach and mentor, Mick Kelly, who became world champion after winning gold in the veteran long cycle with 91 reps. lifting 2 x 24 kgs.

Paul Hillis, our other male professional lifter, won a bronze medal again in the long cycle, lifting 2 x 32 kg. bells. He achieved a personal best with over 40 reps., and with that weight going over your head for ten minutes it's an amazing feat of strength and determination.

Marie Laffan-Cullen, on her debut at a world championships, had a fantastic lift and won a bronze medal in the snatch discipline with over 150 reps., achieving her rank along with a personal best.

Collette Butler managed to pull off the comeback of the championships as, with a minute to go she was behind by ten reps. but somehow pulled back the reps. one-by-one, caught her Polish counterpart and beat her by two reps. in the end to win a world silver medal.

While it was a fantastic championships overall, it was tinged with a little sadness as team member Selina Morrin took ill just beforehand while Lorraine Hore missed out too due to a neck and shoulder injury. We would like to wish them both a speedy recovery.

Everyone at Wexford Kettlebell Club would like to thank all those who helped us and the club to achieve these accolades. While it is an individual performance that may win a medal, it is a massive team effort which helps us to get there.

All the words of encouragement, the messages, the love and support we get on Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones from our families, friends, workmates, teammates etc...they have all helped us to get where we are today, and if it wasn't for all of you we couldn't do what we do, so thank you all so much!

Our trip to Cork last weekend for the Munster five-minute competition was brilliant, and we would like to congratulate everyone who came and lifted despite the stormy conditions.

We have some of the strongest Junior lifters in Ireland and last weekend it was clear to see, with girls and boys lifting heavier bells every time which is fantastic for the club.

New Junior lifters Kian Butler and David Kelly (two very strong boys) are welcomed to the team, with James and Maeve Carey making their debuts also.

Wexford Kettlebell Club will hold an 'after-Christmas party' in the Gaelic Bar on Tuesday, December 29, with D.J. Eoin Healy on the decks, hot food along with loads of craic and the usual banter, so it promises to be a great night!

Tickets are only €10 so get your name down in the book at reception and we look forward to seeing 'you and yours' over the festive season.

Training continues as normal, Monday 6-7 p.m., Wednesday 7.30-9 p.m. and Friday 6-8 p.m. Juniors train every Saturday from 10-11 a.m. It's suitable for all fitness levels, men and women, and all ages!

Children, boys and girls, are welcome from age eight upwards. For any further information please contact Mick Kelly on 086-2621488.

Wexford People

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