WEST Karate Club in Galway City is celebrating an impressive haul of 21 medals – including eight gold – from the World IJKA (International Japanese Karate-do Association) Championships which were held in Poznan last weekend.
In all, 10 West Karate fighters featured on the 50-strong Irish delegation that travelled to Poland, with Rebecca Palmer (Senior Women’s Kata) and Craig Dempsey (U-21 World Kata) leading the way with individual gold medals.
Palmer was also part of the U-21 ladies Kata team, alongside her sister Jessica and Jean O’Connor, which secured gold in their event while Dempsey was to the fore with Darren O’Brien and Johnathan Lardner on the victorious U-21 men’s team Kata.
Lardner also took silver in the U-21 World Kata while Rebecca Palmer was silver medallist in the U-21 ladies individual Kata and was part of the Irish team, alongside Jessica Palmer and Jacqui O’Shea, which was second in the senior team Kata.
Jessica Palmer won silver in the U-18 individual Kata and Orlaith Burke claimed a bronze in the U-16 Kata individual event.
In the Kumite discipline, Donagh Hanrahan won gold in the senior international team fighting event while Jillian Marelich was a bronze medal winner in the team fighting event.
Jack Quinn took bronze in both the individual and team senior men’s events while Lardner and Dempsey were also part of the Irish set-up that finished third in the U-21 team Kumite category.
Michelle Monaghan was the remaining West Karate member part of the Irish team which competed at the World Championships.
West Karate Chief Instructor Brendan O’Flaherty, one of several Irish coaches attending to the fighters at the Championships, paid tribute to his Galway charges, noting they had trained hard and prepared diligently ever since returning from their first Worlds in Bulgaria last year. “It was our first time to go to the Worlds last year and we won nine medals, although no gold. So, they started training really hard in January with a view to peaking at the World Championships in July,” said O’Flaherty.
“We did four competitions in the run-in and we were winning medals without really peaking. So, I knew we were ready. I asked them were they ready to peak going to Poznan and they said they were.”