World champions feted
The world champion kickboxers from the Wexford Kung Fu and Kickboxing Centre were honoured on Thursday at a civic reception in the Heritage Park.
The Mayor of Wexford, Cllr. Ger Carthy, made a presentation of a crystal vase to double world boys' champion Dale White and double world girls' champion Anna Nolan who won their titles in Florida last November.
Mayor Carthy then honoured the world silver medal winner Darren Hayes and bronze medal winners Michelle Casserly and Rebecca Rowe, praising their dedication to reach such a high level of success.
He thanked the coaches as well as the parents of the young competitors for their commitment that will ensure the continued success of the club.
Deputy Mayor Jim Moore then spoke of the huge commitment needed to compete at such a high standard and commented on the amount of international travel involved at the high performance level in martial arts.
Club instructor Bobby O'Neill, speaking on behalf of the club, said it was a great honour to receive this recognition.
'These athletes are extremely dedicated, and the hours and hours training and sacrifice is acknowledged by this auspicious occasion. I am sure that the recognition bestowed on the fighters tonight will inspire them even more and motivate them to continue their search for excellence.'
Bobby thanked his coaches, Mark Rowe and Patrick Monahan, for their help which has made the club the success that it is today, saying that without their commitment the club would have been unable to teach classes six days a week to all age groups with such great results.
Bobby also gave special praise to the fundraising committee - Catherine Carthy, Sinéad Rowe and Veronica Murphy - who work so hard to ensure the international competitors can continue to compete at the highest level in sports kickboxing. He thanked their very generous sponsors and the people of Wexford who make it possible.
The Wexford Kung Fu and Kickboxing Club was founded back in 1977. The club instructor is Bobby O'Neill who is a former twice world kickboxing champion and is chief instructor of lau gar kung fu in Ireland and has been a practitioner since the club was founded.
The objective of the club is to promote and teach traditional kung fu and kickboxing in a disciplined, constructive and inclusive fashion. With classes for children from as young as four years old and many practitioners still training into their 60s, they are geared to be able to include all ages and physical abilities.
The high performance squad members in the club have a tough couple of months ahead of them with national team qualifications, squad training sessions and several tournaments including the club's own tournament in the Riverbank Hotel on Sunday, May 22.
All of the team will be in action at this friendly tournament. Spectator admission is only €5 and all funds go to the international fighters' fund.
The club would like to sincerely thank Breda Driscoll in the Mayor's office, town clerk Angela Laffan, deputy Mayor Jim Moore and Mayor Ger Carthy for the enormous honour bestowed on the club and the fantastic hospitality.