Clonakilty kickboxer ready to pack a punch at worlds
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
TRINA Fitzpatrick believes you can achieve anything you want once you put your mind to it. The Clonakilty woman is the perfect example of this.
Growing up, she wasn’t athletic or a fitness fanatic.
The gym bored her and intimidated her at the same time. Fitness classes didn’t excite her.
But then she found her passion, albeit an unexpected one: kickboxing.
‘My friends at home would say that I wouldn’t walk across the road before, but look at where I am now; fitness is such a big part of my life now,’ Trina explains before flying out to Budapest this Thursday for the WAKO World Championships 2017 in Budapest that start this weekend.
She’s now living back home in Clonakilty but her kickboxing adventure began a few years back during her ten-year spell living and working in Dublin.
Trina worked an office-based job and didn’t go to the gym – but one of her work-mates asked her to try out kickboxing at a local club, Spartan Martial Arts, more for the fitness aspect than anything else.
‘I enjoyed it but didn’t really take it serious,’ she explained.
‘The coach kept saying, “Would you not hold the pads or hit the pads?”
‘He then started grading me, even though I didn’t think I was able for it, and about three years ago when I was still going to the classes and still getting graded, I decided to take it to the next level.’
That’s when Trina started competing.
She was in her mid 20s when she decided to take it more seriously.
Late to the kickboxing party, she had to play serious catch-up.
‘Most kickboxers start at a young age and grow up with the sport but I was late into it so I knew I had to play catch up,’ she said.
‘I trained six times a week and before competitions I’d train twice a day.
‘I had to train twice as much as normal to get up to speed. It was intense.
‘The confidence came when I realised that I can actually do this, that I can be competitive and that I am good enough. I always felt I had to catch up with everyone else because they started when they were so young while I was a latecomer. The older you get, it can be harder.
‘In the last two years I set myself various goals and one of them was to win a national title. I started training for that two years ago with the expectation of getting on the Irish team this year.
‘I got on the team in June so I was delighted with myself but through my own career, I made the decision to move back home to Clonakilty so at the moment I travel up and down to Dublin every weekend to train with the Irish squad.’
Daughter to John and Theresa, sister to Susan and Damien, and girlfriend of Neil O’Neill of Fernhill House Hotel, Trina now works with O’Leary’s Insurance in Clonakilty – but all her spare time was used up on preparing for her first world championships this weekend.
She even bought pads, a mat and a punch bag for training at home. Her father John was roped in to hold the pads.
As well as making regular trips to the capital, Trina tapped into the local kickboxing scene: West Cork Kickboxing Club run by Ian Kingston that’s home to some of the country’s top kickboxers, including world champion Lily de la Cour.
There was a clash of styles, however.
Trina competes in points while West Cork Kickboxing Club trains mostly continuous.
‘It’s a different style of kickboxing. They go continuously whereas if I get my point we restart again.
‘I was training with Lily and Tony (Stephenson) recently, it was great to train with them and learn from them,’ she said, as she gets ready to make her presence felt at the -50kg points category at the world championships.
‘There are not that many girls in Ireland who fight at that weight so it can be difficult to find opponents. In some competitions I have fought at -65kg so I have been fighting bigger and heavier opponents and that’s been hard. You’d feel it a bit more,’ Trina explained.
‘I have competed internationally and that’s where I get most of my experience from. I’ve been in Austria, Greece, Italy, Bristol and Belgium this year.’
Her target at the world championships is gold.
‘I feel there is more to come,’ explained Trina, who now holds a blackbelt and also qualified as a personal fitness instructor earlier this year.
‘I feel now is a good time for me.
‘Since I am fighting in such a light weight, the people I am fighting are quite young and younger than me. Normally people my age wouldn’t be 50kg so the women I fight are young and fast, so I have the mindset that I know what I want, how hard I have worked to get here and I don’t think any of them have worked as hard as I have.’
She added: ‘It’s great to show that anyone can do this. You don’t have to be the fittest. You don’t have to be big and strong. You just need to start.’
And now that she has started, Trina wants more, with a world title in her sights.