From East to East
October 19, 2022
Two and a half years ago before the whole world locked down, Mark Graham, InvestNI’s Regional Director for North East Asia, hosted the ProKick young samurais Jay Snoddon, James Braniff and Grace Goody along with senior senior coach and former world champion Billy Murray for a special celebration on St Patrick’s Day at the British Embassy in Tokyo while they were there for the K1 tournament. This time around, however, it was the turn of Belfast’s kickboxing centre of excellence to play host, as Mark brought two of his colleagues, Yuko Koshikawa, Regional Investment Manager and Takeshi Hajiro, Senior Trade Manager to the iconic new ProKick gym.
Mark’s team are currently in Belfast as part of their induction as they work for InvestNI across Japan, Korea and Taiwan and you can’t be introduced to Belfast and Northern Ireland without a stop at the infamous ProKick gym. But it wasn’t just sightseeing that was on the cards, Yuko, who works in attracting investment into Northern Ireland took part in Wednesday night’s sparring session. Training back home in Tokyo out of a Muay-Thai gym, she was delighted to get the chance to mix it with the ProKick team tonight. Chatting to Yuko after her training, she said, “It was such an honour to train alongside so many champions, past and present. The energy of the gym, the welcome and the skill level was something very special that I’ll never forget.”
InvestNI man in the Far East, Mr. Mark Graham said: ”Great to be back in Northern Ireland after 3 years and I'm very proud of Billy and the ProKick team in realising their vision. Delighted to get the opportunity to see the superb ProKick facilities on this trip. Very much looking forward to welcoming the next ProKick team back to Japan - hopefully soon”