St Lucia’s top female black belt Martial Artist 19-year-old Solange Lenihan, captured second place in sparring at the World’s most prestigious Martial Arts
Championship held recently in in Florida.
Lenihan, a Second Degree Black Belt in White Tiger Kenpo, a super model, National Swimmer and Editor for the White Tiger Magazine said: “This year the US Open Martial Arts World Championship was a lot tougher than last year, as you had more competitors from different countries participating with their top athletes.”
Thirty four countries took part in the event with over 4,000 competitors. Last year, Lenihan made history as the only St Lucian ever to participate in this prestigious event winning third place in sparring. And how about 2011?
“This year I exceeded my expectations and must thank my Sensei and Club, Benny Chitolie and the White Tigers,” she said. “They are no doubt the best St Lucia has to offer and I hope that the other instructors and clubs on the island follow in their footsteps.”
When asked to comment on Lenihan’s victory, Sensei Chitolie said: “I am extremely proud of her accomplishments and more so, the window she has opened for our fellow St Lucian athletes. I trained her as if she was one of the male students, having her to spar constantly especially with myself and the male team; something you don’t often see in a martial arts club. At the end it paid off.”
Lenihan hopes her success at the US Open and a scholarship offer to study in the USA, would give other students in particular the females on the island encouragement to take up the martial arts.
She said: “I see so much potential in our young female students and yet most of them throw it away on parties, sex and drugs. Martial Arts has raised my self-esteem, taught me how to take care of myself, overcome my fears and to become a positive role model to the young people of this country. If I can do it then you can do it to.”
This highly proficient martial artist went on to say: “I would like to recommend to the Government of St Lucia via the Ministry of Education/Sports, to include martial arts as a subject in our schools curriculum, because of the so many values associated with this particular sport. I guarantee a 90 percent reduction in crime and violence amongst the youth.
Sensei Chitolie through the Association of Professional Martial Artists (APMA), has already compiled a 15 member lists of participants whom he will personally train, prepare and help finance for the 2012 US Open to be held on the July 13-14 in Florida.