BY GER McCARTHY
KICKBOXING star Lily de la Cour was delighted to receive the 2018 West Cork Sports Star Special Achievement Award at Saturday night week's glitzy and glamorous awards ceremony.
A new award which recognises outstanding sporting achievements went to a worthy recipient after the Bantry kickboxer won gold at November’s WAKO European Kickboxing Championships, completing World and European successes at both junior and senior level.
‘In fairness to the guys at The Southern Star, C103 and the Celtic Ross Hotel, they have always kept the West Cork kickboxing club on their radar so I am as thrilled for them as I am myself at receiving this award,’ Lily commented.
‘We have always appreciated the media coverage across the newspapers and radio. Our club is growing every single year and it is definitely down to award ceremonies like this that we are able to keep everything going.
‘Since Tony Stephenson has come back from his trip to England, he has created a lot more opportunities for West Cork kickboxing and we now have guys as young as five years old training with us. I absolutely love going in and seeing all the children enjoying themselves and making friends. I was that age when I started out so it is great to see kickboxing continuing to grow.’
Little doubt that kickboxing is enjoying increased popularity throughout the West Cork region on the back of Lily’s success. The 24-year-old claimed senior European gold at the WAKO European Kickboxing Championships in Slovenia last year, winning the only medal missing from her collection.
‘Kickboxing is going from strength to strength and the sport has now received official recognition from the Olympic governing body,’ she stated.
‘I may not get to compete at the Olympics by the time we are officially in there but at least those younger than me will have that opportunity.
‘Ian Kingston is still my coach and my national coach is John Mackie. I have all the guys who train and spar with me, a lovely nutritionist in Majella O’Neill from Skibbereen and a new sponsor is Alby Andrews from Bantry Bath and Tiles.”
Next up for Lily is an international kickboxing event in March before the senior national championships.
There is also a new world series where accumulated points across multiple events could see de the Bantry woman move to number one in the world rankings.