Double gold for kickboxer Fitzgibbon at World Championships in OrlandoOctober 5, 2012 - 7:00am
A Galway man was crowned a double world champion at the 2012 World Kickboxing Association (WKA) World Championships last week.
Local taekwondo and kickboxing instructor, Shane Fitzgibbon, won the ITF style taekwondo patterns category and the -85Kg light contact sparring section, at the championships which took place in Orlando, Florida. This latest success brings the 38-year-old’s World Championship medal tally to 18.
The veteran contestant was accompanied by a number of local students, from his own school, Connacht Taekwondo Academy, Lisa Connolly’s Gort Taekwondo Academy and Sandra Doyle’s Loughrea Taekwondo Club. Together, they formed part of the twenty-strong Irish contingent which participated at the prestigious event, collecting seven medals in all for Galway.
The County Galway squad, along with Fitzgibbon, consisted of teenagers, Shannon Holland (Galway) and Robert Walsh (Galway), mother and son duo, Gina Casey and Cathal Casey (Gort), and Cian Bowes (Loughrea). There were over 1,500 participants at the event from over 30 countries with particularly large squads from UK, Germany, USA and Canada.
Fitzgibbon progressed through the elimination rounds in his -85Kg light contact sparring section to arrive at the semi-finals where he dispatched his German opponent effectively and efficiently, booking his place in the final.
He was back in action again when he contested the ITF style Taekwon-do Patterns category. He was unlucky in the draw getting lumbered with two elimination rounds but was successful in making the semi-finals. There he had his closest bout, but was successful in booking another final for the competition. The next day Fitzgibbon secured his position of WKA World Champion 2012 after being declared winner over his UK opponent.
The Galway instructor had his dream sparring final to come, against a German opponent who had beaten Fitzgibbon decisively last June at the German International Championships (IDM). Fitzgibbon had clearly learnt from the previous match against the towering 6’4’’ German, as with unparalleled mental focus he dominated the opening round of the match leaving his rival too much to do in the last round.
The Irish supporters raised the roof as Fitzgibbon’s hand was raised as winner, confirming him a double World Champion at the 2012 Championships.