Local kickboxing club Jan Ling hosted the Northern Ireland Open Martial Arts Championships in Ballymena North last weekend.
Some 313 fighters from 28 different clubs descended on the town to compete in the disciplines of Points fighting, Light contact, Forms, Kata and Patterns.
The tournament began with all the kids sections and was widely agreed to be the best junior tournament this country had ever seen.
The event was littered with young world champions from all over the UK including the Ballymena club’s own new world WKU world champion Ryan Sharp.
Two young multiple world title holders from Liverpool Mushin Kai club, Odel and Kaedyn Kamara , shone through on the day but many local youngsters let them know they were in a fight.
Organiser Ernie Johnston said: “It was an amazing junior competition, I’ve never seen anything like it, world class fight after fight.
“All us coaches loved it seeing our kids involved in such high class competition. I’m going to say a particular well done to our Jan Ling kids as they all fought brilliantly. “
Local fitness guru Estelle Wallace from Shrink complete fitness sponsored the £500 prize money for the international team challenge.
The Northern Ireland team was narrowly defeated by England in the semi final with local girl Lisa MIllar (28) representing her country well.
In the final the team from Ireland defeated England to take the prize.
“This year’s Northern Ireland Open was the biggest and best yet,” said Ernie.
“It’s all down to a lot of hard work from the members of our club we couldn’t do it without them and the support of our family and friends.
“we’ve all now built it into a major martial arts sporting event, in fact it’s the only event of its kind that attracts competitors from England and Ireland with Scottish team already enquiring about next year.
“The competition is here to stay and staying in Ballymena,” added Ernie.