HEART and sheer determination have proved a winning formula for 17-year-old Limerick kickboxer Hayleigh Kiely.
After achieving her first goal in the Martial Arts world of securing a junior black belt at the Learning Hub Limerick Kickboxing Club, the Moyross teenager has proved a force to be reckoned with and continues to go from strength to strength.
“She has trained really hard in the gym to fine tune her skill set, and if she was not training herself she would be helping to coach the youngsters. She has been a very positive role model to the young people in our club and in our community,” coach Paul O’Brien explains.
On two weeks’ notice Hayleigh entered the WKU World Championships in Killarney last month and took home a silver medal after being beaten in the bout on a split decision. The next day she was back training again, and two weeks later on September 24 she challenged for the IKF Lightweight Senior K1 title and put on a masterclass performance.
“Showing great heart and determination against a worthy opponent, Hayleigh won the fight by TKO after the third round to become champion and take home her well-earned belt,” Paul told the Limerick Post.
With the IKF Junior National Kickboxing Championships scheduled for October 1, Hayleigh was back in the gym the next day. With no opponent in her weight category on the day, she stepped up to compete in the next weight division and won her two fights to become the IKF Junior National Kickboxing Champion.
“Undoubtedly, Hayleigh’s success didn’t happen overnight, it grew from hours upon hours of hard work, self-discipline, determination and a positive attitude. We have many more students in our club at the moment working just as hard as Hayleigh behind the scenes and without doubt all their hard work will pay off in the future.”