Rory Kavanagh from Dundrum has won gold at the recent WIKF European Karate Championships.
The championships were held in Braga, Portugal, and Rory felt from the start that this was his year. He had already won European and World Silver medals in his weight category but the gold medal had so far eluded him.
First up against Rory in the kumite (free fighting) was an Italian opponent. Rory, who practices the Wado Ryu style of karate, said: “He was winning 5-3 with only four seconds remaining in the bout. I pulled off an absolutely fantastic reverse roundhouse kick which gave me the further three points leaving my opponent completely mesmerised as he had been sure he had the bout won. Next two bouts were against opponents from Belgium. I dispatched them 7-1 and 4-1.
“Then in the final, with my confidence in full flow, I beat my Cypriot opponent with a sound 4-0 victory to finally take the gold medal.” Rory’s next big outing is at the World Karate Federation (WKF) championships in Madrid this November with Karate Ireland.
Rory added: ” I am continually building on my point requirement to hopefully make the qualifications for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It is a hard task as only 80 competitors (40 male + 40 female) worldwide are eligible to compete. As a minority sport, karate gets very little funding. I have a “Go Fund Me” page where people can help me with much needed funding.
Along with Rory were other Downpatrick karate members representing N. Ireland. 13-year old Milo Crean from Teconnaught won bronze in his category. This was Milo’s first international tournament so winning a medal at that level was a fantastic achievement. Milo’s sister Frieda also competed along with Adam Shannon from Downpatrick and Ryan McEvoy from Ardglass, but alas no further medal from the squad.
The build-up now begins for the WIKF World Champions in London next year where hopefully the squad can add to their World medal tally.
The squad train at Downpatrick Leisure Centre, and if anyone would like to train with them contact the Downpatrick instructor Noel Kavanagh through Downpatrick Leisure centre or Facebook Downpatrick Karate.
Good luck Rory!