Major martial arts event set for town venue next month

Britain's Got Talent finalist JJ McParland meets the NI Open organising committee at a recent competition. Back Row: Lisa Millar, Brien Gillen, Tracey Irwin  & Ernie Johnston. Front Row : Trevor Johnston,  Jacob Johnston, Kelly Mcconnell,  JJ McParland & Mervyn Carson.
Britain's Got Talent finalist JJ McParland meets the NI Open organising committee at a recent competition. Back Row: Lisa Millar, Brien Gillen, Tracey Irwin & Ernie Johnston. Front Row : Trevor Johnston, Jacob Johnston, Kelly Mcconnell, JJ McParland & Mervyn Carson.

Local martial arts club Jan Ling Freestyle are hosting the fourth Northern Ireland Open Martial Arts Championships next month.

The event will take place at Ballymena North Centre on August 13-14 in a two-day martial arts extravaganza which has attracted some big names already.

Heading the list is young JJ McParland, finalist in last year’s Britain’s Got Talent and martial art movie actress is returning to defend her forms title. Also headlining is Ireland top fighter Dean Barry a multiple WAKO World Championship returning to defend his title.

Hundreds of competitors will travel from all over the UK to compete in the event. Saturday will be Junior Open day and organiser Ernie Johnston is expecting a busy day.

“Our competition was so big the last time we’ve had to turn it into a two day event. We will have between 200-300 kids competing in Points fighting, light contact, forms, Kata & Patterns on the Saturday.

“I’m proud to say that we also have divsions for special needs fighters and disabled forms competitors and we’re also supporting Epilepsy Action Northern Ireland.

Sunday will host the Senior event where most of Ireland top fighters can be seen competing for the highly regarded N I Open title and the prize money of €1500.

The club would like to thank the current list of sponsors who have shown their support to the event and more importantly the charity. Chillippeppers Tattoos (Cullybackey), Prime Cuts (Ballymena), Patsys Barbers (Ballymena), Lush Nails (Cullybackey), E-Cabs (Cullybackey), Moby Chip (Cullybackey), Main Bakery (Cullybackey), Village Barber (Cullybackey) & TOAST (Cullybackey).