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Brunton takes gold at Irish Open

International karate fighter James Brunton takes gold at the Irish Karate Open Championships International karate fighter James Brunton takes gold at the Irish Karate Open Championships
By Staff Reporter

BELFAST karate international James Brunton had a successful weekend at the Irish Karate Open where he took a championship title.

Some of Europe’s top fighters gathered at the Irish National Indoor Arena in Blanchardstown for the event.

Drawing on years of international fighting experience, James fought off opponents in the preliminary rounds before coming up against Giacomo Lucietti from Italy in the semi-finals beating him 2-0.

James then faced Sweden’s David Engman in the finals, taking an easy win of 3-1.

Following a grueling day of competition on Saturday, James returned to Dublin on Sunday to lead his youth squad in the underage event.

“I get so much satisfaction out of watching our young fighters gain in confidence and ability,” James said.

“I feel privileged to have an input into their development.”

Oliver Brunton is proud of his son’s latest success in Dublin.

“I am even more proud of the man he has become through embracing the ethos of karate training,” he continued.

“The mindset of discipline, dedication and respect espoused by our karate association trains our youngsters in citizenship for when they become adults.”

Double Gold for Craig Ryan
Meanwhile, Ophir Karate student Craig Ryan from Lisburn also competed on Saturday at the Irish International Karate Championship at Sport Ireland’s flagship Arena in Blanchardstown and took two gold medals.

Craig fought through four rounds of karate bouts to win his individual kumite category -75kg, against competitors from all over Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Spain, Nepal, Sweden and Denmark.

Winning this grueling event meant that Craig won the chance to compete against the winners from each of the other male senior categories: -60kg; -67kg; -84kg and +84kg.

Being the middle weight and with youth on his side, Craig’s coach Siobhan Leckey said that he was in with a very good chance of winning the Grand Champion title.

Unfortunately, some of the other winners retired due to injury but Craig met the winner of the heavyweight category and put on the fight of his life. Craig kept himself poised and ready.

Both fighters spent a little time sizing each other up, but with lightning fast reactions, both Craig and his opponent scored a body punch on each other simultaneously.

Then, Craig managed to score with a punch on his opponent, which gave him the first to score advantage. Craig’s opponent got a score back, which left the match at a tense 2-2 (although Craig still had the advantage).

Thankfully, in the dying seconds of the match, Craig secured his win with another speedy punch to his opponent’s face.

The performance of Craig and other Ophir Karate students: Adam Leckey; Pearse O’Callaghan; Niamh Cunningham and her siblings Anna and Thomas amount to another step in their preparations for competing in Hungary at the European Wado-Kai Championship next month.

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