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Double delight for Llanelli-born star as world kickboxing champion gets Swansea Uni Master’s distinction.

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A Swansea University student and world kickboxing champion is finishing 2020 on a high after graduating in her master’s.

Tennessee Randall, 22, secured a distinction in clinical and mental health psychology to add to the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) world title she secured in December 2019.

The Llanelli-born star has had to juggle studies and competition for as long as she can remember, graduating with first-class honours in psychology at undergraduate level only last year.

And Tennessee admits that while it was a difficult task, it was well worth it in the end.

“It has been very challenging,” she said. “I have lost count of the number of times I have had to take my work away to tournaments because of upcoming exams or looming coursework dates.

“However, I always try to keep a good balance between training and studying. It is difficult but if you put enough effort in you can get the best of both worlds between studying and competing.

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“I would like to say a massive thank you to my research supervisor, Laura Wilkinson, for all the help and support she has provided me. I have been very lucky to work under Laura’s supervision and I hope I will get to work with her again in the future.”

Tennessee started kickboxing at the age of seven, with her crowning moment coming 12 months ago with a world title. This came after she was named the best female ring fighter following a European title won in Slovenia.

“It was such an amazing and overwhelming feeling,” said Tennessee. “Although I had won the world title as a junior, winning it at senior level was my ultimate goal.

“It took three years of hard work and sacrifice, but it was totally worth it. Having my family there with me in Turkey was also very special. They have always been my biggest supporters from the beginning, so for my grandparents and parents to witness my biggest achievement in person was wonderful.”

Unfortunately, Tennessee will have to wait to defend her crown as this year’s world championships were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but she has already set her sights on getting back in the ring in 2021.

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“I was supposed to attend the EUSA (European University Sports Association) Games in Serbia,” she said. “Last year I achieved a gold and silver medal and was Great Britain’s only fighter to bring back a gold, so it was disappointing to not compete there again.

“I should also have been defending my European title at the WAKO senior championships in Turkey. Medalling there would have also meant qualification for the World Combat Games which should have been held in in 2021.

“It’s been extremely frustrating as I love competing at the highest level in my sport but it will give me more time to prepare and ensure I will be at my peak attending the championships next year.”

While kickboxing is not currently an Olympic sport, WAKO have been recognised by the international Olympic committee which is a sign of progress, especially for Tennessee.

But as well as her hopes and dreams in her own career, the youngster is also looking to unearth the next local star.

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“My dad and I have recently opened a new kickboxing club in Llanelli,” she says. “We taught kickboxing from a community hall for four years, but we have finally managed to find a suitable venue for us to open full-time. I’m very passionate about teaching and I want to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of champions.

“But if kickboxing ever did get into the Olympics during my career span then that would be my dream!”

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Books & Literature

Former Llanelli rugby star hopes to be victorious at The Oval

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After enjoying his fair share of success as a rugby player and team manager Anthony Buchanan now hopes to win big as an author.

The former Llanelli and Wales star has been shortlisted for The Sunday Times Rugby Book of the Year 2022 award following the publication of his biography, The Buck Props Here.

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His unique rugby journey didn’t begin until the age of 22, when he chose to turn his back on a highly promising career in football as a goalkeeper, but led to playing for Llanelli and representing Wales in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

On retirement he became an administrator and helped transform the Scarlets into a European powerhouse before serving on the International Rugby Board and overseeing the selection of referees at the last Rugby World Cup.

His story has been ghost written by former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas, who notches up a unique hat trick of nominations having previously been shortlisted – in what is seen as the Oscars of sports books – after ghost writing Glenn Webbe: The Gloves Are Off (2020) the biography of the former Bridgend and Wales wing, and Terry Davies: Wales’s First Superstar Fullback (2017) alongside the former Llanelli, Wales and Lions star.

Former Evening Post reporter, Geraint Thomas who has ghostwritten Anthony’s biography

The pair, who are up against former Wales centre Jamie Roberts, Irish stars Keith Earls and Willie Anderson, as well as This is Your Everest: The Lions, The Springboks and the Epic Tour of 1997, and The Flying Prince: Alexander Obolensky, will attend a gala dinner in The Oval cricket ground London on Thursday to find out if they have won.

There will be further Welsh representation on the evening with Alun Wyn Jones on the shortlist for Autobiography of the Year 2022.

Buchanan, who is donating his share of the book’s royalties to securing the rugby pitch in Ystradgynlais for future generations, said: “I feel humbled to be in the running for the best rugby book in Great Britain and Ireland, but my story is not just about an individual, it encompasses the momentous shift in Welsh rugby, from the old amateur days to the introduction of European rugby, professionalism and the regions.

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“I would like to thank Geraint Thomas for encouraging me to tell my story in the first place and for weaving all that has happened into such a compelling narrative. He’s done such a wonderful job. So many people, who have read it, have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed it – and they weren’t all Scarlets supporters!”

Thomas, who trained as a magazine journalist in Cardiff University’s School of Journalism and went on to complete an MA in Creative and Media Writing at Swansea University, said: “To be shortlisted for a third time obviously feels great and, I guess, is quite an achievement, not just for me but also my publisher Y Lolfa, who have always shown faith in me.”

Thomas, who had a spell playing for Bridgend in the early 1990s, added: “It helped that I played in the same era as Bucks and have a good knowledge of the Welsh rugby landscape. But what really makes the book so enjoyable is the how Buck has recalled the banter and humour which used to be the real reason we played the game.

“People ask me which is my favourite book, but, to be honest, I really enjoyed working on all three. Writing a book is a bit like having children only the hard work comes first and then you experience the pleasure of seeing them enter the world – and if they are popular that’s even better!”

The Sunday Times Book Awards take place on Thursday 27 May 2022

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Llanelli

Unlicensed Llanelli dog breeder made thousands of pounds selling puppies illegally

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An illegal dog breeder from Llanelli made thousands of pounds by selling his puppies on Gumtree and Free Ads websites.

Llanelli Magistrates Court heard that unlicensed Ashleigh Price of Llwynhendy pocketed between £34k and £57k from the sales of 10 litters over a 16-month period.

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It is illegal to advertise three or more litters of puppies from the same premises within a 12-month rolling period without a dog breeding licence.

In a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the court was told that council officers visited the premises in Parc Richard following complaints received from Citizens Advice Consumer Services in July last year that the 25-year-old had kennels in his garden and that he was illegally breeding dogs.

Checks with both websites revealed four accounts in Price’s name and two in his wife’s and that litters made up of Jack Russell’s, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and West Highland Terriers were advertised on the sites between April 2020 and November 2021. Most of the adverts stated they were family pets.

In mitigation, Price said that he wanted to make more money due to him being on weekly benefits of £120 and that he acted alone and set up accounts in his wife’s name. He denied making £35k saying that he ‘haggled’ the price and that some of the dogs were given away to family and friends. He also said he had no record of how much the dogs were sold for.

Price was fined £500, ordered to pay £750 costs and £50 victim surcharge.

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(Lead image: Google Maps)

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