Aaron McLoughlin, Swinford, attended the All-Ireland Intervarsity Karate Championships and brought home four Intervarsity medals, including two intervarsity titles and the overall Intervarsity Cup with his UCD team.
This year, the Intervarsity Championships took place in DCU, with Universities, ITs and all 3rd level colleges participating ranging from NUIG, Ulster University, Maynooth, UCC, DCU, UCD and TUD.
Aaron, a Professional Masters Physiotherapy student in UCD, has been working hard coaching UCD Karate Team throughout the year in preparation of the championships.
UCD Karate had a total of 20 members ranging from beginners right up to senior grades along with coaches and team officials.
Aaron had a relentless competition day where he was competing in four events. Having gone through three rounds successfully in his first event, individual kata category for senior men black belts, Aaron secured a bronze medal and valuable points on the scores table for his team.
Aaron, along with two other members of UCD karate, won their first ever senior team kata title and the gold medal for UCD in over 10 years. Aaron lead his team to see off opposition from UCC, who were last years champions, DCU and NUIG to seal the victory.
Having come third place in last years championship, this result demonstrated the tremendous work ethic of the UCD senior kata team to take the title this year.
It was with this achievement that first brought UCD Karate in to second place in the overall team table to contest for the Intervarsity Team Cup.
In a similar fashion, Aaron won a bronze medal in senior mens black belt team kumite, where they lost out on a place in the final by one point.
Having coached the UCD team to perform excellently well in the beginner and intermediate categories the score table tied neck and neck between UCD and Ulster University, it was all to play for the overall Intervarsity Team Cup.
Aaron had to step up in what was a highly contested senior men's individual kumite (sparring) category.
Aaron went through three rounds against opposition from UCC, NUIG, and Waterford IT without giving away any points and scoring at will with a wide range of techniques.
Making his way to the final, Aaron put on a valiant display of determination and skill to overcome his opponent, adding to an early score with a reverse punch in the final seconds of the match with all judges awarding the score to crown Aaron the Intervarsity Champion.
With a fantastic display of team and individual performances throughout the day, Aaron led his team to win the overall Intervarsity Team Cup with UCD Karate.
This is a remarkable achievement for Aaron as this was his final year coaching and competing with the UCD Team.
He has taken home 2 gold medals, 2 intervarsity titles and assisted the team to the Intervarsity Team Cup – enabling UCD to announce themselves as the best University in Ireland to practice college karate.
Aaron is a former winner of The Connaught Telegraph Young Sports Stars of the Year Award.