Karyna cracks it in Citywest

By Stephen Leonard

BUSHIDO Clondalkin jewel Karyna Nikitina was among the stand-out performers at last week’s WAKO World Cadet and Junior Kickboxing Championships in Citywest, emerging Ireland’s only gold medallist in the points fighting field.

Making her first appearance as a junior (16-18 years old) in the championships after dominating the older cadet divisions (13-15 years) for the past five years, Nikitina had qualified in the -60kg Points and Continuous Fighting divisions.

Karyna Nikitina September 2016

But while she was the reigning World and European champion in the Older Cadet divisions, she was not ranked as this was her first year as a Junior.

Yet having lined out in the same Junior categories in the Irish Open (March) and Hungarian Open (May) where she emerged top, the Bushido star was well prepared her for the challenge ahead.

She comfortably despatched her German opponent in the quarter final, winning 13-3 within two rounds to set up a tough semi final against the current Junior World and European champion from Italy Martina Rossi.

Both fighters refused to give an inch in the opening round, but after a change of pace in the second, Nikitina began to catch her Italian adversary with precision counter punches that pushed her ahead.

She managed to increase her lead to take the win and, with it, a place in the final against Greece’s Konstantina Patri.

Yet before she could contest that decider, Nikitina had to turn her attention to the Continuous Fighting class, in which she carded unanimous decision wins against Hungarian and German opposition to reach the semi finals.

Karyna Nikitina September 2016 1

Yet sustaining a broken nose really hampered her performance against her Austrian opponent and she lost out, forcing her to settle for an impressive bronze.

Yet she was determined to go all the way in the Points Fighting section, and a very smart and strategic third round against Patri saw her win by a clear six-point margin for her first World title as a junior.

This victory marked a new world record in that Nikitina became the only female junior fighter to win three World titles consecutively.

She is also the only Irish competitor to win a world championships competing in her very first Junior age bracket division and with two years left at this level, she is very likely to break even more records.

Yet first up she will be back in training to compete in the Bristol Open in mid October.

WAKO 2016 BMA Clondalkin

Four others from the Bushido Clondalkin fold were out in action in Citywest.

Shannon Gayson lined out in the Junior -70kg category, but after a good start in Round One she lost in the dying seconds of the closing round and, with it, a podium place in her final year as a junior competitor.

She is now straight back in to training to compete for an available spot on the senior national team.

15-year-old Darragh O'Mara qualified for three categories in the older cadet (13-15 years old) fighting weight +69kg but missed out on the podium as did club mate Luke Kelly in the Junior -74kg continuous and points fighting categories.

Eoghan Gorman received a very late call up in the Junior -74kg kick light category but he was beaten by a tough Italian in the preliminary rounds.

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