Gold, silver for Jamaica at Pan Am Sambo
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Matthew Colquhoun and Lavar Gayle, mixed martial arts fighters associated with the RCD Lions, returned to the island on Monday from Trinidad and Tobago, where they won gold and silver medals respectively at the 2014 Pan American Sambo Championships.
Sambo is a Russian martial art that was developed by the Soviet Army in the 1920s and is now a combat sport. Sambo is a Russian acronym that translates to self defence without weapons.
Jamaica finished sixth overall from more than 25 countries that participated.
Colquhoun, 20, who won gold in the 90kg weight class, said the win came as a result of a lot of hard work that he put in preparing for the tournament.
"I am very elated. I put in a lot of work in preparation for it and I just went out there and achieved the objective," he said.
Colquhoun said the competition was tough as he had to defeat about six opponents to get through to the finals where Jamaica faced host country Trinidad. In the end, he said, Jamaica showed why it has the best athletes in the Caribbean.
"The short time that we had to prepare just showed that we have the best athletes," said Colquhoun who defeated his opponent by submission.
Gayle, 28, came away with a silver medal in the 100kg weight class and conceded that his relative weakness in finishing is what cost him the gold medal.
"I beat my opponent up, but you have to take him down. I was planning to get gold, but I did not push hard enough. I will have to improve on my finishing skills," said the man from Granville, St James.
Cleon Bardowell, who was both coach and manager of the team, was proud of the team.
"These guys are two of the best fighters in the Caribbean who put in the hard work and were disciplined," he said. "I am very proud of them. They did exactly what we expected of them and what they trained to do."