The past weekend was the annual Irish Kettlebell Sports Championships held in Kilkenny. For those following my blog you will note that the club was being represented by myself (coach) and athlete Richard Whitworth. Before I discuss the results for the club I would like to say a few words about the event itself.
Every year the event just gets bigger and better, the work that Kilkenny Kettlebell Club put into the event is incredible. Especially the work of Coaches Mark Stapleton and Eddie Sheehan, abley assisted by Martina. Each year they make improvements to the event so it’s run more like a professional competition as in the World and European Championships. This year they introduced a parade of all the competitors, trained up judges specifically for the event, and based the results on a pts scoring system as per professional events. As usual the event was followed by a lovely meal and a fair few deserved drinks.
Most of the amateur athletes that attend events such as this, are striving to improve there ability to lift, and for a few of us who wish to take the sport in the UK to greater levels, having events run like this help incredibly. I know I speak for many by saying that I love visiting Ireland for these Championships, I love the camaraderie between the athletes, I love catching up with old friends and making new. But I love lifting specifically in the environment created in Kilkenny. It’s without doubt the best competition ran in the Uk and Ireland and always has the most competitors, and for that Mark, Eddie and Martina and the rest of the team must take huge credit. I’m looking forward to going back next to see what further improvements they make!
Now to the results…
Not much I can say really about the competitive Biathlon debut of Richard, words can’t really describe how good a job he did. He was simply outstanding! I was so proud seeing him on the platform putting in an incredible Gold Medal winning performance. I didn’t tell him what reps I was expecting him to hit, but lets say he was pretty much on the money and actually exceeded what I expected on his Snatch set.
His first step onto the platform to perform his Jerk Set went incredibly well. He managed a brilliant 105 reps with 2 x 20kg. Anyone who gets over 100 reps in Jerk has done a super job and Richard was no exception, there was a few no counts but he held it all together wonderfully well, didn’t panic and lasted the full 10 mins, of that there was never going to be any doubt.

After the Jerk results were posted I looked at what the other athletes in Richards weight category had to achieve to beat him, and quite frankly there was no way in the world that they would be able to do that many more reps on their Snatch sets to defeat him. But, GS is a sport where anything can happen, one small mistake and your set will be over. I explained to Richard that all he needed to do was his best, stay relaxed, don’t push it to the limit and risk dropping the bell on change over. To then go and do what he did was yet another outstanding performance! 176 reps with a 20kg is no mean feat. Very, very good. To make it even more impressive he was the only one who lasted the full 10 mins on his flight, so all the attention was him, he could of crumbled but he rose to the occasion like I would hoped he would.

I’m always proud of what my athletes acheive in competition, especially when it’s there debut. It takes balls to step up on the platform. The past few months training were hard, but Richard perservered and the results speak for themselves. I’m so happy for him. Winning Gold at his first competition….perfect!
I think the only person that was more excited than me was his wife Kimberley who joined us in Ireland, offering fantastic support and clapping ability 🙂
As for my set well…
I can’t really complain, my goal was to hit 70 reps with 2 x 24kg Long Cycle, on the day I managed 64 reps, which equalled my PB. Thankfully it was enough to send me home a happy chappy with a Gold Medal. I did however, make the mistake of going out a few reps to quick over the first couple of mins, which cost me dearly in the latter stages. The first 5-6 mins felt pretty good, my fixations were holding up. Other athletes were dropping around me so I just had to maintain focus on my goal. As the 8 min mark came up I realised there was little chance of hitting 70 reps, so my target was to beat my PB. The last 30 secs were hell, I could hear all the support from the crowd, I could hear my coach screaming at me. I attempted the 65th rep two times, but just didn’t have enough to get the bells over my head! But I kept trying, I was determined to get them up. I just had no drive in my legs left, but as my coach congratulated me at the end he said the immortal words ‘you did all you could do on the day!’ and that’s it really, no excuses. I did my maximum on the day. I could complain about having to wait around all day for my set, I could complain about the heat. But it was the same for everyone who did Long Cycle. It wasn’t easy but I’m very proud of what I achieved. I didn’t give up, I was strong in heart, strong in mind, but just not quite strong enough in the legs.

All in all it was a lovely weekend spent with old friends and new. Rich and Kim were great company…when they finally arrived! 🙂
To come home with 2 Gold Medals made the trip all worth while.

From everyone at Manchester Girevoy Sport Club…
Kilkenny, we thank-you and we will see you next year!

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