Ballymoney aunt’s pride at kickboxing nephew’s success

A Ballymoney woman has thanked all the local people who donated so generously to a Night at the Races in Joey’s Bar recently to help raise funds to send her talented nephew to the work kick-boxing championships in Italy.

Gemma Neill expressed her sincere thanks to all who supported the event for nine-year-old Robbie Wilson who is currently the Northern Ireland under-12 kickboxing champion.

The youngster, from Randalstown, is currently training to take part in the worlds in Taranto in Italy in October.

Gemma told the Ballymoney and Moyle Times: “The sport of kickboxing gets absolutely no funding so we organised a Night at the Races in Joey’s Bar which raised £450 towards the costs of sending Robbie to Italy.

“I would really like to thank Gary and Linda Dunlop for hosting the night and for donating prizes to the raffle as well. Thanks also go to Gerry McAleese and Noel for running the races. Thanks to all our family and friends in Ballymoney for coming out to support the event.”

Robbie only began the sport of kickboxing 12 months ago and, since then, has catapulted to the top of the sport for his age group.

“He will have to compete in the under 12 events in Italy,” said Gemma, “even though he was only nine when he won the Northern Ireland championship.

“He must take it after his dad Stephen who has competed in Candad at the adult world kickboxing championships.”

As well as training in Portadown with the Northern Ireland coaches from Evolve Martial Arts, Robbie has also been hard at work fundraising, not only for himself, but for charity. At his school, he recently organised a kickboxing fundraiser with half the proceeds going to his Italian trip and hald going to the Cedar Foundation which helps disabled children. His proud aunt Gemma is planning a raffle in the near future with some fantastic prizes on offer - watch this space for details!