|Laura Linehan muaythai fighter|
Laura Linehan is just thirteen but she’s already helping out with teaching the junior class at her muaythai gym in Cork. She’s one of the new breed of Irish muaythai girls, competing at amateur events held in places like Waterford, Dublin and Cork.
And while she loves her mates and getting dolled up, Laura’s already developing a positive attitude to fighting. She said: “Our coach tells us it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, as long as we put on a great performance. He said to show off our skills and our training in the ring, and that’s what matters.”
The clinch is her favourite move, no wonder then she lists Iman Barlow as a hero. But holding the 43kgs Irish title has made her a role-model for even younger boxers.
|Laura with the 43kgs belt Irish junior Open 2016|
She said: “After the Irish Open Daragh and I went to the junior class, and gave them a speech on the set-up in Waterford, and the training we did before. It was a very exciting tournament.”
This week amateur muaythai gained provisional recognition under the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA) by the Olympic movement. Yes, that means in a few years you could be tuning into a few rounds of muaythai during the Olympics!
If Laura chooses to stick with muaythai as she grows older, who knows what could happen?
She said: “Dad told me about the Olympics, I was very surprised. It’s really exciting, that is huge. I would love to fight for Ireland. I’d love to wear the green for Ireland when I’m older.”
She trains up to five sessions a week doing both Junior and Senior classes at Cobra Thai in Cork training with Derek O’Flynn, Eric O’ Leary and Sean Olden. She’s one of the youngest in the adult classes, along with her mate Daragh.
Inspired rather than intimidated by older fighters, she looks to people like Monica Engeset (Norway). She’s met Monica, and says: “I’ve met her twice in Dublin, she was here for the WAKO championships. She gave me a T-shirt and a Norwegian-coloured gum-shield. Now when I fight I wear the gum-shield for luck.
“I love watching Iman Barlow fight too. I’d go to YouTube and catch up on her recent fights. I try to copy what she does, I study what she’s going – she’s really good in the clinch.”
|Laura meeting Christina McMahon in Mahon Shopping Centre of all places!|
Laura recently met up with boxing star Christina McMahon, who of course had a title-winning reign as a kick-boxer before switching codes. She said: “Christina was giving me advice on training, she said to be confident and stay focused. Not to worry about what people say about your opponent, she was lovely.”
In the meantime, Laura’s making plans for 2017 including fighting on the bigger shows and showing off her skills with the big girls.
She said: “I’m hoping to get onto the Cobra show in April. I would fight whoever they like, I don’t mind who it is.”
Find out more about Cobra Thai
All pics credit Instagram @Pat_Linehan