12-year-old Yellowknife kickboxer takes bronze at national competition

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Liam Kincaid, left, and his brother Emmitt Kincaid. Both competed in the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations Canadian national championship, the biggest kickboxing tournament of the year. (Luke Carroll/ CBC - image credit)
Liam Kincaid, left, and his brother Emmitt Kincaid. Both competed in the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations Canadian national championship, the biggest kickboxing tournament of the year. (Luke Carroll/ CBC - image credit)

After accidentally being added to a harder category in a national kickboxing championship, a 12-year-old from Yellowknife overcame his nerves to compete and returned home last week with a bronze medal.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," said Liam Kincaid. "It was fun, but it was hard."

Kincaid was in Niagara Falls, Ont. in early June along with six other fighters from Yellowknife's Stanley Boxing and Fitness to compete in the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) Canadian national championship.

Kincaid won the bronze in the full contact event, a category he only ended up in due to an error in the system.

He was supposed to be in the kick light division, which doesn't allow things like shin kicks or hard punches.

John Stanley, Kincaid's coach and co-owner of Stanley Boxing and Fitness, said the error was discovered the day before the fight and he gave Kincaid a chance to pull out.

"He was a little intimidated so I told him 'listen buddy I'm not going to force you to do this, you think about it overnight,'" Stanley said.

Luke Carroll/ CBC
Luke Carroll/ CBC

Kincaid said he decided to compete in the full contact event when he realized he wasn't the only one feeling nervous.

"I realized everyone else would be going through the same thing," he said. "And that made me feel better about myself doing that."

Kincaid lost to the eventual gold medal winner in a split decision.

"He got put into a very tough fight with a competitor from Ontario," Stanley said.

"He had basically every disadvantage you could think of and he was still very competitive."

Liam's brother, eight-year-old Emmitt Kincaid said his brother tried hard in the fight.

Emmitt also competed in the kick light event and took home a silver medal.

Both Kincaid's said they are excited to compete again.

Stanley said he was impressed with all the competitors from his gym, who added a total of six more medals to the collection.

Stanley said he was particularly impressed as many of the competitors are fairly new to the sport and had never competed due to COVID-19 restricting travel.

The event in Niagara Falls was one of the largest WAKO Canada had ever hosted, with over 500 competitors.

"I didn't have high expectations," Stanley said. "This was a definitely a strong testing ground for them."

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