Two fighters from the Ripley-based Wragsters Kickboxing Academy have done themselves - and their country - proud while competing for Great Britain at the World Martial Arts Games 2013 in Geneva.
Ebony Upton, 15, from Selston, won gold in her age group, silver in the -65kg ladies category and silver in the Korean patterns, while the academy’s chief instructor Lee Wragg secured a bronze in the boxing and a silver in full contact kickboxing, ample reward for all the hard work and preparation they had put in.
All in all, the W.U.M.A Great Britain squad came home from Switzerland with a superb medals haul of 37 gold, 24 silver and 14 bronze.
Lee Wragg says it was a memorable experience for all members of the squad, particularly those, such as himself and Ebony, who won medals.
“It was unforgettable for us to compete against the world’s best.
“We knew it was going to be tough, against some of the best fighters in the world, representing our country, but we trained really hard for it, and we were ready for what we knew would be a real challenge.
“The open contest format can be tricky because you don’t know who you will be up against. It’s harder to research them but all you can do is prepare yourself well and take it from there.
“Ebony was up against a 28-year-old from the world-renowned Prokick gym in Belfast at one stage but she handled herself really well.
“She has been at Wragsters for four years, has had a tae kwon-do background since the age of eight or nine, and did brilliantly. “She’s a good listener, takes it all on board, always gives it 110 per cent and it all clicked for her. She was superb and I think she has a bright future.”
Lee, 41, was giving away quite a few years to his younger opponents but was able to call on all his experience and ability when it mattered. “I was expecting some very, very tough fights and that’s what I got.
“I made my experience count, I knew I had to go for it and give it everything and I got the the two medals to show for it. It was an absolutely fantastic experience for us.
“Personally, it made me wonder what would have happened if I’d had a go sooner but I’m almost at the end of my fighting career so I felt very emotional on the podium and it was an amazing event.
“Once I finish fighting, I’ll carry on with the teaching, as I always have done, and look back on what was a superb experience.”