Published: 26/01/2018 11:11 - Updated: 26/01/2018 11:22

Moray duo Empowered to fight for world title

Written byCraig Christie

Kickboxing stars Riley Mclean and Bethany Clarkson will fight for the UK at the world championships.Picture: Eric Cormack. Image No.040153
Kickboxing stars Riley Mclean and Bethany Clarkson will fight for the UK at the world championships.Picture: Eric Cormack. Image No.040153

WINNING a Battle of Britain has earned two Moray kickboxing stars a shot at becoming a world champion.

Riley Mclean (8) and Bethany Clarkson (19), from Empower Martial Arts club in Lossiemouth, have qualified for this year's WUMA (World United Martial Arts) world freestyle championships in October.

Both will also be in action this weekend at a special tournament held in memory of former club colleague Dion Yates, who died last year after a long battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

The club is run and owned by Bethany's mother, Lisa, who is proud of the achievements her students have made.

Riley, from Lossiemouth showed huge skill to win gold medals at the Battle of Britain competition in Worcester, as well as the British Championships.

Elgin-based Bethany finished second in two extremely tough ladies bouts in both competitions.

Finishing first or second in any WUMA tournament in the past year earns the successful fighters the right to compete at the world championships, as long as they also attend squad training.

Lisa said: "Both Empower members met the qualifying requirements and will represent their club against the very best in the world in their age categories.

"We travelled to Worcester (on December 4) to attend Battle Of Britain where the best in the UK were to fight off for titles.

"Unfortunately this competition was cancelled due to the adverse weather. So again we travelled (last Friday) to fight off."

Riley and Bethany had very strong oppositions in their sections but emerged with their place on the podium.

Riley triumphed in the light contact (125cm) category, clinching the gold medal. He was also ranked third for semi-contact in the same category.

"My daughter Bethany was ranked second for her semi-contact adult ladies and these were for the whole of the United Kingdom."

The Empower students then went on and competed again in the British Championships. Again Riley triumphed in the light contact section and this time claimed silver in the semi-contact, once more after facing up to opponents a lot bigger than him.

Bethany emerged with a silver medal in adult ladies after an extremely tough fight.

They will now return to Worcester in October as part of a Team GB of freestyle kickboxers.

It is a feather in the cap for the family run club, which has a studio based at Lossiemouth's Church Street.

Next big date for Empower arrives on Sunday when it hosts the Dion Yates' Memorial Open as a tribute to their former student.

Eight kickboxing clubs from across Scotland will travel to Moray to take part in a range of categories and disciplines.

More than 70 fighters are expected to compete at the Lossie sports hall, based within the town's community centre.

All money raised from the competition will go to the Archie Foundation, a charity chosen by Dion before she passed away.

Dion loved kickboxing and took part in training stints during her cancer treatment.

In May, more than 40 supporters walked 19 miles from Findhorn to Lossiemouth to show their solidarity with Dion.

The event at Lossie sports hall is still looking for trophy sponsors. Anyone interested in supporting the tourney through sponsorship can contact Lisa Clarkson through the Empower Martial Arts Facebook page.

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