McMenamy claims gold

by Gazette Reporter
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Robbie McMenamy added his second World Combat Games gold medal to his collection last weekend in Russia, taking home the highest honour that kickboxing has to offer three years after his initial success in Beijing.

McMenamy holds the tournament, which is held once every three years, in high regard and was delighted to take home gold, where the medal will join his two WAKO World titles, two WAKO European titles and his gold won at the same tournament in 2010.

“It’s as big as it gets,” said McMenamy. “It’s the same tournament that Jason Quigley and Joe Ward were at this weekend, but they were boxing in Kazakhstan. There were combat athletes competing from all over the world from different disciplines, so it was a big win for me.”

Only four European competitors were selected to compete at the Games based on the four semi-finalists from last year’s European championships in Romania, which McMenamy won in his debut at -84kg, and they were joined by two Asian athletes, one African and one American.

Although the Spartan Martial Arts head coach wanted to see what some new opponents had to offer, he didn’t have to look much further than two men he had already seen off last year in Bucharest to claim the title, beating previous opponent Russian Dmitriy Iakovlev 5-1 in the quarters, Jordanian Raed Abdul Tuem Alah 11-1 in the semis and former European championship opponent Italian Neri Stella 12-6 in the final.

“I think the toughest test came from the Europeans,” he said. “The Italian I met in the final gave me some trouble, but I was able to take the win in the end.”

Having jumped from the -79kg divison up to -84kg specifically with a view to the World Combat Games, McMenamy spoke about changing his style slightly in the build-up to the European Open last year to maintain his place among the best in the world. However, there was a lot more to McMenamy’s weight shift than a stylistic tweak.

“To get the weight on I made sure I had help from guys with a lot of experience in the strength and conditioning field. I head out nearly every day now to Sandyford and it’s not just about putting on weight. Any muscle I gained had to be functional too, so it was important to get that right,” said the world champion.

Still running his gym in Rosemount Industrial Estate, Spartan Martial Arts, the Dublin 15 based coach has created one of the most well respected clubs in the country which boasts a wealth of national and European champions.

“We already have five out of nine representatives on the men’s national team and two out of five of the women’s team, so I think it’s definitely possible that we’ll see someone else from the club on the big stage in years to come.”

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