Kickboxers among the medals in first national competition

Liam Johnston (left), Mark Pearson and Emma Smith
Liam Johnston (left), Mark Pearson and Emma Smith

A Bellshill kickboxing club were bang on target when three of its members lifted medals from the IASKA National Kickboxing championships at Wishaw Sports Centre.

IAKSA Kickboxing (Bellshill) club instructor Mark Pearson - who runs the club at the Sir Matt Busby Complex - struck gold by winning in two categories.

And two of his students - Liam Johnston and Emma Smith - won four silver and bronze medals between them in their first ever tournaments.

Liam (20), from Bellshill, won a bronze medal in the beginner male semi contact and the continuous contact disciplines.

And 11-year-old Emma, who comes from Motherwell and is a pupil at Knowetop Primary School, was silver medallist in the beginner under-16 girls semi contact and added a bronze in continuous contact category.

Mark completed the club medal haul by taking gold in both the advanced men’s semi contact and continuous contact.

But while pleased with his own performance, Mark was just as delighted for his students.

He said: “Liam has been training for only a couple of months, and actually fought one of my other students for his semi contact third place.

“Emma has watched a competition before, and worked very hard on her stamina over the past few months and was determined to take part.

“Under-16s is an open category and she was up against very experienced black belt fighters so taking second place is no mean feat.

“I’ve dedicated the past few years to coaching my own fighters, teaching classes and advancing to my 3rd degree (Dan).

“But I made a conscious decision in January to get back in training for fighting after several years out of the ring and it’s paid dividends.

“I also took bronze in the open team section with my former instructor, with whom I’ve not fought beside for almost eight years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of everyone from the club who took part.

“Martial arts styles from all over Scotland took part, so we were up against Karate, Tae Kwon do, Thai boxers etc.”

The IAKSA Kickboxing (Bellshill) classes take place in the Sir Matt Busby Sports Complex on Mondays from 7.30-9pm.

Beginners are always welcome.