Two fighting champions from Preston have come back from their global escapades as two of the very best in the world...and they want to thank those who helped get them there.
Shaun Noteman, 47, and Antigoni Papapanou, 28, both won silver at the 2017 Shuai Jiao World Championships in San Francisco in December 2017 after being selected to represent Great Britain and Greece, respectively.
Fishwick-born Shaun, who runs Warrior Gym Preston, said: “To compete with fighters from around the world was really worthwhile and enjoyable.
“The experience of fighting on the global stage was brilliant. We don’t have these opportunities in the UK. It was an eye-opener to come up against fighters of this quality.”
Shaun and Antigoni both got to the gold medal fights but lost to fighters from the USA and Brazil.
Antigoni, who moved to Preston from Greece in 2008 to study Pharmacy at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “It was a huge learning experience. We throw ourselves into the deep end to get better at the sport.”
The pair’s place in the tournament was in jeopardy before it began due to a lack of central funds to take the two across the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in hundreds of pounds raised to help the pair travel to the West Coast.
The future is now bright for Shuai Jiao funding in the UK.
Shaun, who runs Warrior’s Gym Preston, said: “I’ve heard that there is a possibility of the governing body - the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – part subsidising the sport. Here’s hoping it happens.”
The two travel to London on a monthly basis to receive their Shuai Jiao training, using what they’ve learned to help their own fighters back in Preston.
Shaun said: “I am now officially retired but am now building up new fighters to compete in the UK, Europe and internationally.”
What is Shuai Jiao?
Shuai Jiao is an ancient form of Chinese ‘jacket wrestling’ dating back more than 6,000 years.