Belfast Telegraph

The karate kids... kickboxing McGuigans fight way to world glory like famous namesake

By Chris Kilpatrick

Move over, Karate Kid.

Twins Damien and Rachel McGuigan have shown they pack twice the punch after high-kicking their way to world glory.

The 10-year-olds from west Belfast have just returned from Portugal where they lived up to the illustrious McGuigan name in the ring - although they weren't restricted to just punching.

Rachel took double gold at the World Karate and Kickboxing World Championships while Damien came home clutching bronze - his third accolade at world level.

And the twins' sister - Rebecca, aged just seven - refused to be outshone by her older siblings, the youngster taking gold in her section.

Having shown such promise already, there are high hopes the siblings can follow in the footsteps of Ulster's most famous fighting McGuigan - former world boxing champion, Barry.

The dedicated young martial artists, from the Hannahstown area, train up to seven nights every week, travelling to hone their precocious talents at Limavady Titans club.

They also receive personal training sessions in Belfast.

Proud mum Lisa revealed the twins have proven themselves as little fighters since the moment they were born.

"Rachel and Damien were born five weeks premature and they were really quite sick when they were born," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"To see them getting to this level is fantastic. They were fighting from when they were born, just two wee babies in intensive care.

"What they have had to overcome to get this far. Apparently they are the first twins to take world championship titles. We are so proud of all three of them, delighted."

The young siblings have already amassed more than 150 trophies between the three of them and regularly represent Northern Ireland.

The twins have been training for four years, with Rebecca just one year into the sport.

As well as kickboxing, they are also keen ju-jitsu players and boxers.

"They have never had any injuries and safety is always the most important thing," Lisa said.

"If they are well trained, which they are, it is a brilliant way for them to keep fit and it's great for their discipline."

On their return following their heroics in Portugal, the McGuigans have been proudly showing their prizes to their classmates at Bunscoil An Tsleibhe Dhuibh in Belfast.

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