Two Fenland kickboxers get England call-ups

PUBLISHED: 12:58 10 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:56 02 June 2010

BCKA Kickboxing Club, Whittlesey

BCKA Kickboxing Club, Whittlesey

By ADAM LAZZARI TWO Fenland kickboxers will be making their England debuts at Europe s largest martial arts tournament this weekend. Ryan Conner, 23, from Whittlesey and Aaron Godden, 33, from March will be fighting alongside world class kickboxers from

L-r Ryan Conner, Andy Whitwell, Aaron Godden
Ryan and Aaron have been picked for England Kickboxing team

By ADAM LAZZARI

TWO Fenland kickboxers will be making their England debuts at Europe's largest martial arts tournament this weekend.

Ryan Conner, 23, from Whittlesey and Aaron Godden, 33, from March will be fighting alongside world class kickboxers from across the globe at the Irish Open, which takes place in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday.

About 2,000 fighters will be competing.

Conner and Godden, who are members of the British Chinese Kickboxing Association club in Whittlesey, have been attending monthly training sessions with the England squad in Corby for the last year and were picked by England head coach Alex Barrowmen at trials in June.

Godden, a brown belt who took up kickboxing just three years ago, said: "I started kickboxing to improve my fitness and my character. I used to get stressed and angry and I couldn't do 10 press ups.

"Kickboxing has improved me in so many ways but I never expected three years ago, taking up a new sport at 30, that I would be representing my country. It just shows what can be achieved when you put the work in.

"I'm really excited and a bit nervous. Ryan's younger but has much more experience than me and I've learnt a lot from him and gained a good friend. He's got his head switched on and I'm sure he'll go far.

"We're both going to go there with our hearts on our sleeves and just go for it."

Black belt Conner said: "I just started kickboxing because my brother was getting bullied at school and he asked me to go with him. He stopped and I kept going and I've been doing it for about seven years now.

"Aaron and I have been working really hard for this opportunity. I'm going there full of confidence and hopefully will come back with a medal."

Whittlesey coach Andy Whitwell said: "These guys live and breathe kickboxing. Their dedication is superb.

"They both run their own clubs, with Ryan training youngsters at Ramsey and Aaron at Stanground. It's great to see them putting something back into the martial art."

Students from the Whittlesey BCKA club enjoyed success in the Peterborough EMA Open Martial Arts Tournament.

Full results on page 70.

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