IT Sligo Sports Scholars Star in Russia


IT Sligo kickboxers Dessie Leonard and Alexandra Block put Ireland on the prizes podium with gold and silver wins at the 1st WAKO International Kickboxing University Championships.

The World Association of Kickboxing Organisations tournament was held at Bashkir State Medical University in the city of Ufa in Russia.  More than 160 athletes from 14 countries took part, including competitors from 20 cities in the host country.

Dessie carried off two gold medals and Alexandra won a silver.

Both are from County Sligo and earlier this year they were among 17 students awarded prestigious Sports Scholarships by IT Sligo.

They are members of the IT Sligo kickboxing club, formed just over a year ago, which has around 30 members. They also train at Collooney Kickboxing Club.

 Dessie’s victories were in the under 75kg categories of points fighting and continuous fighting, while Alexandra earned her silver in the under 60kg continuous competition.

Dessie is a second year BSc Health and Physiology student from Riverstown. His long list of sporting honours includes 2nd in the 2013 World Kickboxing Championships and 3rd in the 2013 World Combat Games Championships. He will be on the Ireland team at the European Kickboxing Championships in Maribor, Slovenia in November.

Alexandra, from Keash, is in her third year of BSc Forensic Investigation and Analysis studies. She was WAKO Irish National Champion at under 60 kg continuous last year and represented Ireland at the 2013 World Senior Kickboxing Championships in Turkey.

Sports scholarships provide financial and mentoring support to athletes of outstanding talent, many of whom may have already represented IT Sligo, their county or Ireland. Scholars are supported by the Institute in keeping up their sporting commitments at the same time as pursuing their educational commitments and goals.

Each said they had received invaluable backing from IT Sligo. “We have to thank IT Sligo for their funding support,” Dessie commented. “We couldn’t have travelled or taken part in the championships without the Institute’s help. We’re hoping the medals will give a great lift to the college’s kickboxing club and it would be great too if they make more students interested in the sport and join the club.”

Alexandra added: “I am delighted to have won silver. It means a lot to us to represent IT Sligo at our sport – kickboxing. We would like to thank IT Sligo for their support as our trip to Russia wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”



Pictured: IT Sligo undergraduates Dessie Leonard and Alexandra Block sport the national colours after winning two gold medals and a silver at the 1st WAKO University Kickboxing Championships.