Karate Kid from Cork wins bronze at Youth Olympic Games

Sean McCarthy-Crean, right, of Team Ireland, from Cloghroe, Cork, in action against Navid Mohammadi of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
By Denise O’Donoghue

Update 7.30pm: Sean McCarthy Crean has won bronze in the Men’s Kumite +68kg category at the Youth Olympic Games.

The Cork athlete qualified for the semi-finals by defeating both Japan’s Keisei Sakiyama and Slovakia’s Tomas Kosa in the elimination rounds.

In the semi-final, the 17-year-old was denied a fight for gold by Moroccan Nabil Ech-Chaabi, in a 2-1 defeat.

"I just lost it, it’s disappointing, but I’ll watch it back and figure out how to fix it the next time," Sean said.

"I was trying to test him out to figure out what he was going to do but my attack was out of distance and it went past, I should have been more precise with it but it’s grand. I’ll fix it next time."

McCarthy began karate in school with his twin brother Chris.

"My brother got a note in school, he showed it to my parents and we were like, we might as well go down and try it out."

The Coghroe Karate Club member thanked his family and coaches for their support.

"I just want to say thanks to my family – they’re really good support and my coaches too are great."

Update 6.43pm: Cork's Sean McCarthy Crean has qualified for the semi-finals of the Men’s Kumite +68kg semi-finals at the Youth Olympic Games today.

The 17-year-old Cloghroe Karate Club member won two of his three rounds in Pool B of the Elimination Rounds, moving to the semi-finals with a bronze medal now guaranteed.

“Amazing, I’m just over the moon, I can’t believe it, all the hard work has paid off, so it’s great,” Sean said

Sean describes the tournament as "different" to those he is used to in Ireland.

"It’s really good – a lot different to any of the tournaments I’ve ever been to, especially the crowds and all the cameras, and everyone watching it back home.

"It’s different, but I was prepared, and I knew I was going to go and win."

Sean narrowly beat his identical twin brother Chris to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, and his brother was sitting in the crowd with his parents and sister cheering today.

"He’s the reason I’m here, and my family they’re the only reason why I’m here, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here – my family and my coaches, they’re the reason I’m here."

Karate was introduced to the Olympic programme this Olympiad, and will feature in 2020 at the Tokyo Games for the first time.

"It should always have been there," Sean said.

Karate is a great sport, even for the fans, everyone likes it I think – it’s great that it’s there.

Sean will compete in the semi-finals at 6.30pm Irish time competing against Morocan Nabil Ech-Chaabi.

The gold medal round takes place at 6.56pm Irish time.

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