'The best ever'
MARTIAL ARTS: Jamaica 2014 ITF World Cup
Highly respected umpire Master Ottesen gives full marks for hospitality, organisation
WORLD Cup Jamaica 2014 has been hailed as "the best ever" by Master Kurt Ottesen, a member of the International Taekwondo Federation's (ITF) umpire committee.
A globally respected official, Ottesen's appearances at ITF world tournaments and seminars have taken him to almost every corner of the world, but never had he experienced anything like he did last Wednesday to Saturday when Jamaica hosted the fifth World Cup at Montego Bay's Convention Centre.
"I am loving it," he said on Friday's action-packed day, which featured the ITF's top black belts in action.
"It's got to be one of the most beautiful and welcoming places to host an event like this. It's the friendliness of everybody. It's welcoming, colourful, and unique for me," Ottesen added.
Ottesen is not easily moved. He is a no-nonsense and highly regarded member of the ITF's umpire committee, a group of men and women who greets, and expects to be greeted, by a sharp bow of the head with fists clenched at sides.
Showed softer side
Jamaica, however, got the normally stoic men and women in navy blue suits to show their softer side, especially during Wednesday night's opening ceremony when reggae artiste I-Octane had them leaping from chairs and dancing - much to the amazement of athletes who had never seen them let down their hair.
"Everybody is saying how much fun they're having. The athletes and umpires are all excited to be here. I have not had one word of complaint about the World Cup, which is not normal," remarked Ottesen, whose role has taken him to tournaments and seminars in his native Canada as well as the United States, Russia, Argentina, Paraguay, Italy, Germany, Finland, the Phillipines, Japan, Hong Kong, Colombia, Trinidad, and Honduras.
World Cup 2014 was promoted by Jason McKay, founder of Jamaica's combined martial arts team, working with the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Association.
Ottesen believes should Jamaica host another ITF world tournament, support would far exceed the more than 2,000 participants at last week's fifth World Cup.
"I am certain of it. Everybody I have spoken to is so happy and bound to spread the word like wildfire that 'the next time Jamaica hosts a tournament of this level, don't miss it'.
"I am sure Jamaica will get a lot of support the next time an event like this is staged here," he said.