WESTERN SPORTS - Red Dragon looks to make mark on World Cup
When the fifth staging of the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Cup gets under way at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on August 26, seven fighters from the Red Dragon Taekwon-do Centre will be looking to make a name for themselves and bring glory to Jamaica.
Led by black belt Shiah Shukura, these fighters hunger for success against world-class opponents.
"We are very much anticipating the World Cup, and since it will be hosted in our city, it's a special occasion for us as we seek to build and establish the sport in Montego Bay," Shukura said.
They will not fight as part of the Jamaica combined martial arts team, but as an independent school associated with the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Federation, and Shukura believes that his fighters will be a force to reckon with when action gets under way in just about two weeks.
Among the medal hopefuls, Shukura, who will be fighting in the over-35 hyper-weight division, said intense training methods and discipline would count are necessary if they are to leave the World Cup with any medals.
"We have a good mix of fighters and we want to go there and do well. That means maintaining our discipline and focus, while executing to the best of our abilities.
"Whether or not we medal in any weight class will really depend on the mindset of our fighters, but based on what I have been witnessing in training, they are ready for something special, and that is what we are going there to do," reasoned Shukura.
Kenneil Reid, Oshaine Michaels, Donelle Stewart, Aldaine Campbell, David Watkin, Deshain McKenzie, and the experienced Shukura may not be household names yet, but they hope to change this by the time the World Cup is over.
The key for them is establishing a high school tae kwon do competition.
"It's a legacy that we would love to see coming out of the World Cup, and here in Montego Bay, in particular, there is a need to establish a schools competition to grow the sport, and that is the real aim right now," Shukura said.
Approximately 1,200 competitors from more than 40 countries are expected for the World Cup, bringing an anticipated 2,300 visitors to the city during the five days of the activity.
Jamaica will account for at least 100 competitors to vie for the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals, with the athletes entering in areas that include individual and team patterns and sparring and power and technique breaking.