Scotland’s largest kickboxing competition is to return to Aberdeen in May, attracting thousands of spectators and internationally acclaimed kickboxers from Ireland, Europe and the USA.
The Aberdeen Open will take place at Aberdeen’s Exhibition and Conference Centre on Sunday, May 5 and is organised by Stonehaven-based charity, World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKC) Scotland.
Now in its fourth year, organisers hope the event will position Aberdeen as one of the world’s top destinations for martial arts.
The event will offer spectators the chance to see hundreds of rounds taking place throughout the day.
Spectator tickets are on sale now, with around 2,000 fans expected to attend to enjoy a fast-paced day of action.
Proceeds from the event will support WKC Scotland’s kickboxing sessions and its charity partner, Aberdeen FC Community Trust.
With the tournament shaping up to be the biggest yet, world-class kickboxers including Shaunileigh Malone (18) from Stonehaven, who previously scooped a gold model at the World Kickboxing Championships in Florida, and currrent WKC World Gold and Silver medalists Max Wade and Brooke Mattice (from New York) are in training for the event.
Competitions will take place across eight separate match areas within the arena, each dedicated to different age and weight categories, with tiered seating ensuring spectators can take in all the action.
Kickboxing enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to hear from world renowned kickboxing legend, Jadi Tention, before the event.
The six-time Sport Karate World Champion will travel from the USA to lead a seminar at the Beach Leisure Centre on Saturday, May 4.
President of WKC Scotland, Malcolm Evans said: “We’re on track to have more participants signed up this year than any other yet. That means more action for competitors and spectators, and it really bolsters our ambition of making the 2019 Aberdeen Open bigger and better than ever.
“We’re proud to showcase local fighters and welcome international fighters to Aberdeen for this event. The Aberdeen Open has grown steadily since we introduced the event in 2016 and we’re really encouraged by the enthusiasm demonstrated by participants and spectators year on year.
“The event celebrates kickboxing as a sport and its ability to be enjoyed by participants and spectators of all ages and capabilities. You don’t have to be a kickboxing fan to attend but if you want to find out more about the sport or if you’re interested in becoming a kickboxer, then it’s a good place to start.”
Spectators don’t need to have any previous knowledge of kickboxing, Malcolm added: “It’s also just a brilliant day out, with lots of action going on all day and exciting bouts between some of the best local, national and international kickboxers.”
Competitors of all ages will be taking to the mats throughout the day, with prize money and medals available for all winners.
One of this year’s youngest competitors is seven-year-old Lachlan Blaikie from Laurencekirk Primary School, who trains regularly with Malcolm at his Lions Den kickboxing club in Stonehaven.
Lachlan said: “I started kickboxing because I was really shy at school. I now train about four times a week with my sensei (teacher) Malcolm and I’ve made lots of friends through the club and competitions.
“Kickboxing has taught me a lot about respect and discipline and I feel more confident now. Last year I won two bronze medals at the Aberdeen Open, so I’m going for gold at this year’s competition.”
Lindsay Ross (47), from Stonehaven, is among the oldest competitors in this year’s tournament.
He said: “Since I started kickboxing it has had a hugely positive impact on me, both mentally and physically. I hold a second dan black belt but the belt I am most proud of is the one on my jeans as it’s dropped three sizes since I started! The Aberdeen Open is the best competition in the world for people to see and experience kickboxing, both from a competitor and spectator point of view, so we are counting the days to May 5.”
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “It’s great to see the Aberdeen Open kickboxing competition return for a fourth year. This international event will showcase Aberdeen as a top destination for martial arts and reinforce that Scotland is the perfect stage.
“Top events like this are essential for Aberdeen to ensure it continues to provide visitors with memorable experiences. VisitScotland wants to champion collaboration, promote local areas and events and ensure that tourism is recognised for the ripple effect of success, well-being and prosperity it brings to all sections of society.”
World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKC) is the governing body dedicated to promoting martial arts excellence and world class competition. The charity supports public participation in sport by promoting equal opportunities and excellence in rules, regulations and officiating in martial arts.
WKC Scotland was established in 2016. The charity organises The Aberdeen Open and this year will be starting the WKC Scottish Championships in the new Moray Sports Centre in Elgin.
The Aberdeen Open will take place at the AECC on Sunday, May 5, from 9am until 6pm. Catering will be available and it will be possible to exit and re-enter the venue throughout the day.
Tickets are £8 and can be ordered online at (https://www.kihapp.com/tournaments/3949-wkc-aberdeen-open-2019 ) or at the door on the day.
For more information, visit http://www.wkcworld.com/wkc-scotland/