Friday, December 9, 2016

Teen muaythai champ Laura Linehan talks motivation and fighting

Laura Linehan muaythai fighter

Laura Linehan is just thirteen but she’s already helping out with teaching the junior class at her muaythai gym in Cork. She’s one of the new breed of Irish muaythai girls, competing at amateur events held in places like Waterford, Dublin and Cork.


And while she loves her mates and getting dolled up, Laura’s already developing a positive attitude to fighting. She said: “Our coach tells us it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, as long as we put on a great performance. He said to show off our skills and our training in the ring, and that’s what matters.”


The clinch is her favourite move, no wonder then she lists Iman Barlow as a hero. But holding the 43kgs Irish title has made her a role-model for even younger boxers.
 
Laura with the 43kgs belt Irish junior Open 2016

She said: “After the Irish Open Daragh and I went to the junior class, and gave them a speech on the set-up in Waterford, and the training we did before. It was a very exciting tournament.”

This week amateur muaythai gained provisional recognition under the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) by the Olympic movement. Yes, that means in a few years you could be tuning into a few rounds of muaythai during the Olympics!

If Laura chooses to stick with muaythai as she grows older, who knows what could happen?

She said: “Dad told me about the Olympics, I was very surprised. It’s really exciting, that is huge. I would love to fight for Ireland. I’d love to wear the green for Ireland when I’m older.”

She trains up to five sessions a week doing both Junior and Senior classes at Cobra Thai in Cork training with Derek O’Flynn, Eric O’ Leary and Sean Olden. She’s one of the youngest in the adult classes, along with her mate Daragh.

Inspired rather than intimidated by older fighters, she looks to people like Monica Engeset (Norway). She’s met Monica, and says: “I’ve met her twice in Dublin, she was here for the WAKO championships. She gave me a T-shirt and a Norwegian-coloured gum-shield. Now when I fight I wear the gum-shield for luck.

“I love watching Iman Barlow fight too. I’d go to YouTube and catch up on her recent fights. I try to copy what she does, I study what she’s going – she’s really good in the clinch.”

Laura meeting Christina McMahon in Mahon Shopping Centre of all places!

Laura recently met up with boxing star Christina McMahon, who of course had a title-winning reign as a kick-boxer before switching codes. She said: “Christina was giving me advice on training, she said to be confident and stay focused. Not to worry about what people say about your opponent, she was lovely.”

In the meantime, Laura’s making plans for 2017 including fighting on the bigger shows and showing off her skills with the big girls.

She said: “I’m hoping to get onto the Cobra show in April. I would fight whoever they like, I don’t mind who it is.”

Find out more about Cobra Thai 

All pics credit Instagram @Pat_Linehan

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Muaythai on the Olympics road!

Wednesdays are usually wordless posts given over just to photographs, but this week is a little bit special. 

As you probably know from reading this blog, muaythai is the sport closest to my heart (and to my broken bones but that's another story!).  Along with the huge growth in professional muay thai around the world, there's been a slow but very steady journey towards Olympic recognition for amateur muaythai under IFMA (International Federationa of Muaythai Amateur) 

And yesterday, that journey took a MASSIVE step forward. The IOC (International Olympic Committee who run the Olympics) announced muaythai under IFMA and cheer as two sports given provisional recognition for the next three years. Happy days. 

Boxers under IFMA are already preparing for The World Games in 2017, and now there's another goal! 

You can read more on the IFMA website here.  

video

Phone video - I watched these girls from Poland and the USA fight it out in the 12 to 13 age category at the IFMA Youths this summer - and who knows we could see them face off again at the 2024 Olympics?!
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