Photos by jbs photos Kilkenny
In a heartwarming display of civic pride and appreciation for local talent, the Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Joe Malone, hosted a Civic Reception to celebrate and honour the remarkable achievements of Kilkenny’s world-class karate athletes.
The event, held at Kilkenny City Hall, was a testament to the indomitable spirit and dedication of these athletes who have brought home nine medals from the recent JSKA World Karate Championships which were held in Lubeck, Germany.
Family, friends, and fellow karate students gathered in a show of support for their hometown heroes.
The mayor welcomed the medal winners with open arms stating how significant this achievement was and is a milestone in the recognition of sports excellence in the community.
Under the leadership of Kilkenny Karate Club Chief Instructor Kevin Shortall, the local athletes demonstrated remarkable mental fortitude and physical prowess throughout the tournament as they faced very experienced karate competitors from around the world.
“We knew that the road to victory would be challenging, but our team was prepared to face any obstacle that came our way,” noted Kevin Shortall who held a joint role at the championships, acting as both the Head Coach for the Ireland Team and as an active competitor.
Among the honoured champions was Iza Kol, whose journey to karate greatness began in Kilkenny when she joined Kilkenny Karate Club after enrolling her son some months previously.
Her gold medal win in the women’s individual kata category left no doubt about her extraordinary talent and dedication.
Iza’s journey is a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes of all ages across the county, proving that with hard work and determination, one can achieve the impossible.
Another star of the evening was Sonia Lazar, a very experienced karate competitor who already has chalked up some impressive wins at local and national level.
Sonia secured a silver medal in the lady’s kumite (sparring) category.
Her resilience and unyielding commitment to her craft serve as a shining example for all who attended the reception.
Moya Kehoe found herself in a very competitive category as she battled it out in the 18–21-year-old female kata division.
Moya put on an excellent performance and secured a bronze medal for her endeavour.
Moya has been training at Kilkenny Club for over 5 years and is very committed to the sport and is always more than happy to share her knowledge with the younger club members.
The success of Kilkenny Karate Club on the World stage wasn’t just limited to individual accolades. Their dominance extended to team events as well.
The all-male team of Lee Chadwick, Kevin Shortall and Eddie Cahill secured bronze medals in the veteran kata division. This was quickly followed up by Sonia Lazar, Kevin Shortall and Iza Kol who secured bronze medals in the mixed team kata event (30–49-year-old division).
Kevin Shortall highlighted the significance of this event. “Tonight, we come together not just to celebrate medals but to celebrate the spirit of dedication, resilience, and sportsmanship that these athletes exemplify,” he said. “Kilkenny has a long history of fostering talent, and our karate champions are a testament to the potential that resides within our community.”
The Civic Reception was not just about medals and accolades; it was about recognizing the invaluable support network behind these athletes. Coaches, families, and friends were also acknowledged for their unwavering encouragement and sacrifices.
These unsung heroes play a crucial role in shaping champions, and their dedication often goes unnoticed.
In addition to celebrating the achievements of these athletes, the Civic Reception underscored the importance of sports in the community.
Mayor Cllr Joe Malone emphasised the role of sports in promoting physical fitness, mental well-being, and community cohesion. “Sport is not just about winning medals; it is about building character, fostering teamwork, and bringing communities together,” he said.
The reception concluded with a ceremonial presentation of a diploma of recognition and number of photographs that will undoubtedly hold a cherished place in the athletes’ hearts.
The event was a poignant reminder that even in the face of adversity, our local champions have shown that with passion, dedication, and unwavering support, Kilkenny can produce world-class talent that shines on the global stage.
Kilkenny Karate Club are currently taking enrolments for their beginner classes. They hold classes most days each week for children aged 5 years and over, teenagers, adults and families.
Those interested should visit their website at BudoMartialArtsCentre.com to book a trial class. All classes take places at the club’s base in the Watershed.