North Huntingdon youth claims kickboxing gold medal at Pan American championships
A 9-year-old North Huntingdon boy is kicking his way toward the top of the martial arts world.
Xander Eddy earned a gold medal for Team USA in the male open weight 9 years category at the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations Pan American championships Oct. 23-28 in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
He was one of 10 entries from four countries. Competitors from Guatemala and Mexico came in second and third.
Bill Viola Jr., Eddy’s sensei, or teacher, with Allegheny Shotokan Karate in North Huntingdon, said the next big step is the 2019 World Karate Commission Championships in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
“We are already training,” Viola said.
Eddy came back from a foot injury, which made him determined.
“I trained a lot harder,” he said.
Eddy, a Norwin fourth-grader who has been kickboxing for five years, said he is improving following up with his hands.
Started in Europe in 1976, kickboxing is a contact fighting sport that includes punches, as well as kicks.
Eddy was one of two Allegheny Shotokan Karate members who qualified at the WAKO USA Nationals in Feb. in Kansas City, Mo.
Luke Lokay, 16, of North Huntingdon, a Norwin sophomore, came in second of three in the male under-63-kilogram division to Guatemala.
Viola said work ethic and attitude set Eddy and Lokay apart.
“They push each other with no ego,” Viola said. “They lead by example and inspire the rest of (the) students.
“Win or loss, they represent America with character. Their parents are hands-on and sacrifice a lot for them (to) compete.”
Lokay, whose father took him to his first class when he was 4, said his goal is to win the world championship.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.