On July 4, Eddie Sheehan and Mark Stapleton from Kilkenny Kettlebell Club represented Ireland in the sport of Kettlebell Lifting in the 5th TAFISA World Games in Lithuania. The TAFISA games are a showpiece for minority sports which one day hope to compete in the Olympic Games. The world’s best teams competed in this competition under the International Union of Kettlebell Lifting. The competition was professional level which means men lifted 2 x 32kgs for Jerk and 1x 32kg for Snatch while women lifted 1 x 24kg.
The aim of the athlete was to compete as many repititions in 10mins as possible without putting the bells down. Each competitor is allocated a judge who decides if the repititions are legal and then awards a count.
This is the 3rd World Championships that Eddie and Mark have competed in but the first time to stand on the podium. Eddie lifted in 95kg bodyweight category and Mark in 73kg. The conditions were very difficult with the temperature reaching the mid 30s with no air conditioning in the arena.
Mark achieved a personal best in his first event but unfortunately didn’t make the medals. Eddie beat a former 10 time ukranian champion to come in 3rd place and cause a big upset in the competition. This is Ireland’s greatest result on the world stage. They are coached by two russian world champions and hope with their guidance they can win more world championship medals. On August 25, Kilkenny will host the Irish Kettlebell Sports Championships in the O’Loughlin Gaels GAA club.