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KARATE: Pat swept to world glory but we gave him the brush-off.

Byline: JACK McGRINDER

WHEN Pat McKay returns to Scotland next month it should be to a hero's welcome.

McKay was the first person in his sport to win two consecutive world titles and has a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Never heard of him? The sad thing is few of you will have.

Imagine we had a world-class footballer - a bit of a stretch I know - offering his services to the development of future talent.

And the SFA gave him a sweeping-up job at Hampden.

McKay happens to be one of the greatest karate exponents ever.

His local council once gave him a job with the title sports organiser. They also gave him a sweeping brush.

In this little country of ours it seems we can spot a foreign star from a mile off but can't recognise one of our own in front of our noses.

But while most of you won't have a clue who McKay is, in Germany they know a good thing when they see it.

It was back in the Eighties, that McKay became the first karate champion to win two world titles in a row.

No one has equalled or bettered the light heavyweight since.

The boy from Kilmarnock - now in his 40s and based in Munich - also won three World Championship golds with the British karate team.

While we in Scotland remained unmoved by his outstanding achievements the German Karate Federation sent him a message.

It probably read something like: 'Kommen sie nach Deutschland und bringen sie radikale burst nicht,' or maybe it didn't. But 'Come.to Germany and don't bother bringing the sweeping brush' would have been apt.

McKay said: 'They got in touch with me when I was probably at my lowest.

'And how could I refuse to go over there and help coach their kids when for whatever reason I was surplus to requirements at home.

'I'll be back in Scotland soon to coach for a couple of days and I'll have a squad of ex-world champions with me.

'The money we raise will go towards a very special appeal fund.

'Of course it's good to come home occasionally but the truth is I was never appreciated or respected in Scotland. 'That's not a gripe - it's a simple fact.'

It's also a fact that Germany's gain was our loss.

McKay is now coaching their Under-21 squad and nurturing some of their best young talent.

Having been reminded of the way he was ignored in his homeland McKay is warmed up and ready for a fight.

He said: 'It wasn't the Scottish people who snubbed me, it was the Scottish Karate Board.

'They're short-sighted, pig-headed, egotistical and arrogant and serve no worthwhile purpose.' Ouch!

'And as far as can make out they haven't moved on at all. In fact they've gone further back into the dark ages.'

Ooo yah!

If our karate mahatmas have anything to say they can say it to McKay's face at Wishaw Sports Centre in a few weeks.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 8, 2004
Words:502
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