Kickboxers training at Yellowknife’s Stanley Boxing and Fitness took two titles at governing body Wako’s 2023 national championship in Niagara Falls.
Liam Kincaid, 13, and 20-year-old Zain Alhomosh won their kick-light categories – a slightly lighter-contact form of kickboxing – at the start of the month.
The victories followed a last-minute fundraising drive after an event designed to raise money for the trip failed to generate the income needed.
Coach John Stanley said being able to compete with provincial teams, despite a lack of comparable access to training partners and competitions in the North, was “pretty fantastic.”
“Liam has wanted from the very beginning to be a competitive athlete. He went to nationals last year and lost his first fight, so he really wanted to show what he could do,” Stanley said.
“Last year, Zain went up there and froze a little bit. This year, he couldn’t have fought better. He fought a veteran fighter in his gold-medal fight and really showed skill, determination and condition.”
Kincaid told Cabin Radio he was in tears trying to cope with nerves ahead of his national final.
“It was really hard. I was competing for the national championship – it’s stressful, I’m under pressure, my team-mate had won. I gathered myself, got it together, and ended up coming out with a win,” he said.
“When I grow up, I want to be a fighter. It’s my dream. Winning a tournament like nationals at this age is really big for me.”
“It’s a great sport, it’s really growing,” said Liam’s mother, Ali Kincaid.
“He showed some promise, but he’s only 13, so we’ll see what happens.
“There’s a community that he’s getting to know within it, too. He went last year, now again this year, you compete against the same kids and he gets to grow up in the sport with them – and hopefully have more opportunities to compete and train.”
Scott Thomson, who competed at last year’s event, served as team manager this year and watched his son, seven-year-old Zach, compete.
“I get to work with John beside the ring, in the corner, sit there and observe, and that’s really cool, too,” Thomson said.
He said Kincaid is Stanley’s youngest champion and the club – which was recognized in Niagara Falls as one of Wako Canada’s most supportive clubs since the national body’s formation – is now “really pushing the kids’ side of our programs.”
Kincaid said his next objective is simple: continue winning belts.