A Coleraine teen has been selected to represent Northern Ireland in what is described as the world’s fastest growing sport - Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
14-year-old Bradley Legge will travel to the United Arab Emirates in August for the IMMAF Youth World Championships and, as well as training hard, he is currently fundraising for his trip.
Bradley started training at the tender age of four-years-old when he joined Team Ryano Causeway. He attended Ninja School for a short period of time and then progressed to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
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He has actively competed from a young age at local and national level gaining a number of medals along the way. Bradley has represented his club along wth his teammates at European and World level in Wolverhampton - again winning medals at these events.
From the age of ten, Bradley also became interested in wrestling and he recently travelled to Manchester to take part in the English Junior Championship where he gained a silver medal and the British Junior Championship where he achieved a bronze medal.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, Bradley has been taking part in a selection process in a bid to be chosen for the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships which take place in Abu Dhabi from August 17-20.
Back in May, Bradley was selected from a large number of youths to attend the event - the only participant from the north coast and the first member of his club to attend the Championships.
Bradley’s mum Lee-Ann said: “This has been Bradley’s dream to compete at this level and to achieve this at such a young age is remarkable. Win or lose, as a family, we are proud of his determination, commitment and achievement so far.”
Young Bradley is currently training six days a week in preparation for the Championships and is attending additional training in Dublin.
Meanwhile, he is also busy fundraising to finance his trip as Mixed Martial Arts doesn’t receive sports funding in Northern Ireland. Bradley said: “As MMA is currently not recognised as a sport in Ireland and Northern Ireland, I have to solely rely on sponsorships and kind donations.
“All money raised will go towards the expense of taking me to the competition, for example, flights, accommodation, kit etc.”
As well as having a JustGiving page, Bradley and his family have been running bonus ball raffles and bingo events to raise the funds.
Mum Lee-Ann added: “We would like to thank everyone who has donated to his JustGiving page, bonus ball raffles, bingo event and those who have personally contributed financially to help him along his way.
“Most importantly thank you to his coaches Peter, Brain, Michael and fellow team mates Paddy and Aaron for all their support so far.”
Bradley concluded: “I have been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since I was six-years-old and MMA since I was ten along with Wrestling and Kick Boxing, I am now 14 and to achieve this at my age is a life long goal of mine.
“If you can offer any kind of sponsorship please contact me via my instagram @bradleyleggemma or email [email protected]”