On Air Early Breakfast Chris Williams | 5:00am - 7:30am

SPORT: Manx fighters shine in WMAO World Champs

IOM to host 2023 World Championships

World Martial Arts Organisation World Championships 2022

Due to financial constraints, it was a small squad from the WMO Isle of Man Black Wolves Dojo who travelled to the UK for the WMO World Championships and the first World Championships since the 2020 Pandemic. Having qualified by placing in the Medals in the WMO Nationals and WMO Europeans, it was time to step up to World level for both Sensei Brian Clague and his son, Sensei Connor Clague. Also having Sensei Andy Hall, WMO Isle of Man President, in the corner as well for the Fights, the Team had given itself the best shot they could in preparations.

Connor's fitness paid off in his Points Division, where he won through to the semi-finals, where due to 1 fighter withdrawing, a Round Robin was fought for the Medal positions. Connor's first opponent was on the front foot from the start, putting Connor under pressure and, after a slow start, Connor managed to get his rhythm, but it was too late to catch up and he eventually lost out by a 3-point difference. After a 3-minute break, it was back up against his second opponent, and already being warmed up, it was Connor who applied to pressure to take the win by just 1 Point. That left his opponents in the Round Robin to fight, where his first opponent lost. With each Fighter having a Win, it went to count-back and Connor had to settled for the Bronze Medal.

Connor then stepped up a weight for his next Points division and, after some hard-fought competition, made the Final. Connor's opponent in the final was a seasoned fighter from the Emulous Dojo and as hard as he tried to close his opponent down, Connor was always one step behind. After a gutsy performance, he had to settle for the silver medal position. As Connor is now 18yrs old, this was his first year at competing in the Adult's section, so after 7 fights on his first day, it was time to rest before his Kumite and Weapons Divisions on the final day.

The final day started with the Kumite division. Using the 3 Ippon or 6 Wazari scoring system, Connor managed to stop each of his opponents within the 3-minute round time and made it to the final. His opponent for the final was a tough South African fighter who had a strong defence and caused Connor a lot of problems on how to score. After 3 minutes, it was a tie, so an extra minute was fought and Connors fitness paid off, he eventually took the win and gold medal. 

Last but by no means least was the Weapons Division in which both Sensei Brian and Sensei Connor would be taking part. Connor using Jo (short staff) and his Dad, Brian, using Kama, (Japanese Scythe) both had the daunting experience of performing in front of some of the top weapon specialists in the UK and abroad. Practicing daily together for 4 months leading up to the Worlds paid dividends as both took top spot and Gold Medals in their weapons divisions. The icing on the cake for both was then being asked by the WMO President, Sensei Alfie Lewis, to perform a demonstration together in front of the audience, where he stated, " This is the standard you need to attain to compete at World level."

Sensei Brian Clague x1 Gold 

Sensei Connor Clague x2 Gold, x1 Silver and x1 Bronze.

Special thanks must go the Isle of Man Boxing and Fitness Academy, where both Connor and Brian also train under the watchful eye of Head Coach Peter Roberts and his Coaching staff and with encouragement of the Boxers and people who train there. The intensity and skills in how they train has been a massive help in getting ready for our World Championships and keeping Connor at top fitness level. 

Also, a big thank you the IOM Steampacket in their help in getting to the UK to compete at a high level. The many associated Clubs around the Midlands are the testing ground for our up-and-coming fighters and in their development.

Next year will be a big year for the WMO Isle of Man as the Island will be hosting the 2023 World Championships in October. 

It will be Open for all Island Clubs and Dojo, if there are any Clubs or Dojo's who would like to compete, there are Points and Continuous Semi and Full Contact, Kumite, Kata, Poomsa, Weapons sections and you can train under your own Instructor. The only criteria are that we all compete under the IOM banner. Please contact us at iomsportkarateclub@gmail.com for more details.

As WMO Isle of Man is not eligible for any Sports Aid, we would like to ask any companies or individuals who would like to sponsor our team or individuals then please contact us at iomsportkarateclub@gmail.com or Sensei Andy Hall #211372, or Sensei Brian Clague #491104.

More from Isle of Man Sport