Locals snub Taekwon-Do World Cup but western fighters were superb
Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:The only thing missing was a sizable local crowd to roar on their favourite participants in the just concluded International Taekwon-Do Federation World Cup, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre over five gruelling days of action.
The western contingent, a composite number of fighters from Red Dragon Taekwon-Do Centre operated by Shiahh Shakura and David Hall's Ultimate Taekwon-Do, were outstanding in their historic performances that saw both clubs landing their first ever international medals.
"We were heartened by the fact that our fighters from the west did extremely well but were concerned that we had little to none in terms of local support," said Hall.
"I think that the organisers failed to really market the event to get the public interested but that aside, I think it was a great World Cup as we were able to win some medals, the first for many of us and we are overjoyed about that," he said.
Despite the obvious intentions, however, of the local organising committee (LOC) to get the sport firmly grounded, Hall said it's a missed opportunity as the public spurned the chance to get a firsthand experience at the sport that continues to bring limelight to Jamaica, as exhibited by the efforts of the combined martial arts team on the international stage.
Hall was also one of the World Cup medallists. He got two silver medals in the Individual Sparring 36-48-68kg and Special Technique advance senior 68kg respectively.
David Hall Jr also picked up a silver medal in the 78kg 15-17 (blue-red division), while Keniel Reid was the toast of the Red Dragons with gold in the 68-78kg seniors 18-35 sparring and was also successful in the patterns taking a bronze.
Teammate Everod Chung won bronze, as did Javor Scott (silver) in the over 78kg 18-35 sparring. David Watkin Jr took bronze for sparring in the 15-17 age group for coloured belts, with Deshawn McKenzie striking gold in the 68kg blue-red 18-35 category. As a team Red Dragon took home a silver in the team sparring (blue-red) category, contributing twelve medals to Jamaica's overall tally of 46.
Their total includes two gold, seven silver and three bronze medals, leaving Shukura beaming with pride.
"I cannot be any prouder of these guys," said Shukura, "twelve medals is of historic proportions, and all our fighters gave it their all. That's all I can ask for.
"The only disappointment is the sparse local support that was there for the five days; it at times felt like I was in Europe, but apart from that it was a great tournament and wonderful set of results for both Ultimate and Red Dragon Taekwon-Do centres," reasoned Shukura.