Ireland in the medals at WAKO European Championships

Ireland in the medals at WAKO European Championships

Dessie Leonard - going for double Gold in Slovenia

The WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations) European Championships 2014 have been taking place in Slovenia this week.

After three tough days of competition, Ireland had seventeen athletes going into the semi-finals yesterday, of which eleven were victorious.

Dessie Leonard, Junior World and European champion is leading the way - qualifying in both the light continuous and point fighting -69kg disciplines.

Joining him in the finals are Sinead Beasley, -55kg, Mark McDermott, -74kg, Kevin White, -84kg, Robert Hurley, -57kg and Shauna Bannon in the -60kg.

Ireland in the medals at WAKO European Championships

Robert Hurley - through to the -57kg final

In the veteran divisions Eamon Breslin reaches the finals in his last year of competition, along with Liam Dale, Louisa Heckett, Bernard Brady and Aine Coates.

Taking home bronze for Ireland are Bo Mangan, Sinead Beasley, Paul Coffey, Martin Bannon and Aine Leonard.

Ireland in the medals at WAKO European Championships

Bronze medal winner Bo Mangan

All that is left are the finals and the team event this evening and tomorrow. If all goes well over the next two days, Ireland could jump from a world ranking of number five, to number one.

This is a fantastic achievement for a country of our size, but even more impressive when you consider all of these athletes are either in full time employment or in college and are competing against fully funded competitors from larger nations.

To watch the finals live click on the following links:

Day 4 Night Show Finals

Day 5 Finals

With huge thanks to Brannmanndan for pictures, updates and links.

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