Thursday, June 28, 2012

Emily Geraghty finds the balance in Karate

Emily Geraghty (left) pic: CestheDay Photography
Concluding the series of interview with women doing Karate in Ireland. These interviews first appeared as a single story in the June edition of "Irish Fighter". 

Dubliner Emily Geraghty, 25, says making weight can be the toughest part of competing.

Holder of six national titles under the Irish Kenpo Karate Union (IKKU) in the kumite -61 kgs category, she dropped down to -55kgs at the Europeans in Greece two years ago.

“It requires a strict diet, it was very tough. When we arrived I was two kilos over, they were only allowing 0.5 kgs” she says.

“We did a lot of running, there were three of us making weight. I had the sauna-top, two track-suits and a gym-top to make me sweat more. But even in all that heat, I only managed to lose 0.5 kgs.”

But because each country can only enter one person in each category, she had to make it down or get dropped. So from three pm until the weigh-in at eleven the next morning, Geraghty didn’t eat.

She says: “I weighed in at 54.96kgs. But I was so glad my fights weren’t on that day. I drank two litres of water and ate loads, you put the weight back on in a few hours.”

Finding a Balance ... 
Despite that, Geraghty says having earned her black belt four years ago, she loves the challenge of meeting new opponents.

But sometimes that challenge lies in balancing her job – in a crèche – with having a social life, training and finding some time at home in Glasnevin to eat.

“It’s difficult when you work shifts, I might eat just half my dinner, race to training and then eat a sandwich afterwards. I’m not too strict with my diet but I don’t feel guilty because I train so hard,” she says.

Geraghty trains with Paul Brennan at his gym in Santry, Dublin for the senior women’s sessions alongside Sorcha McCorry and Jennifer Byrne. She says fighters travel from as far as Clare, about 10 in total at this elite level.

And in spite of on-going "niggling" injuries, she stays focused.

“I loved karate from my first class (aged nine). I’ve been told to rest my knee more but that would be very hard,” she says.

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