Martial arts alive and kicking after championships victory for G-Force

Three skilled martial arts experts scooped top positions at the sixth World Karate and Kickboxing Championships in Albufeira, Portugal on November 1 to 4.

Jack Cronin-McGrath, five, of Weedon, Shannon Kennedy, eight, and Sam Cullen, 41 ofDaventry, were part of a team sent to the championships from the kickboxing club at the G-Force Martial Arts Centre on the Royal Oak Industrial Estate in Daventry.

The G-Force team

The G-Force team

Shannon received a gold medal in the girls under eight open weight category and silver in the under 25 kilogram weight group, Jack received a gold medal in six and under boys open weight category and Sam receive a bronze in the over 35s women’s group.

The victorious trio were accompanied by instructors Gordon Burcham and Leigh Brown, who also participated in bouts at the competition.

Shannon’s mother Dawn Kennedy told the Daventry Express: “I am just so proud of Shannon for what she has done. I was proud of her just for completing the training – which was intensive – but to then get gold and silver at the championships; well, it made me very emotional.”

The kickboxers have been putting a lot of their spare time into their hobby, with three intensive training sessions every day in the six weeks before the competition.

For Jack and Shannon, training involved sessions before school and again in the afternoon and the evening.

The team was funded entirely by donations, fundraising events at the club and sponsorship from local companies.

Sam Cullen, who is a full time police officer, said she had found it a challenge to balance the three training and her day job but the results had made all the effort worthwhile. She said: “It was fantastic to complete the training, but to do well in the championships is everybody’s aim.”

Jack’s mother Nikki added that her son, who only recently turned six, was also proud to have won. She said: “ I am very proud of him, he has worked very hard for it. Jack knew what he wanted and it wasn’t bronze or silver.”

G Force is now looking towards its next big competition in February, in which it will be competing against other teams from across the UK in the English Open National Championships.