Jamaica fighters strike ITF Pan Am gold
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA's coloured belt fighters on Friday got off to a flying start at the October 23-26 International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) Pan-Am Championships in Asuncion, Paraguay.
Hydel High School's Akino Lindsay, Jamaica College's Tahj Hewitt and the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Richard Stone all won gold in their respective red belt sparring divisions.
Lindsay, a gold-medal winner at the August 26-30 ITF World Cup in Montego Bay, topped the 18+ blue to red division. The Hydel sixth-former mowed his way past a legion of Argentines to snatch gold, confirming his status as a budding Jamaica combined martial arts team aspirant.
Stone, also fighting in the 18+ blue to red division, was too good for his rivals in light heavyweight, emerging atop a division of 50 men. The Jamaican used his height to strategically keep his mainly shorter South American opponents at bay.
Tye McKay was in great form in the preliminary bouts of the 12-14 blue to red division. However, he drew the eventual champion in semi-final action, where he bowed out with a bronze in a close matchup.
Head of delegation, Jason McKay, said the tournament - which featured 20 Pan Am countries and more than 1200 athletes - was a good way to test the junior fighters' mettle in the toughest ITF rings in the world.
"It is part of our strategic development why we used so many red belts and juniors for this Pan Am championship," he said.
Jamaica's black belts were due to take the mat yesterday with World Cup 2014 junior champion, Delano Francis, in action. UWI schoolmates Daron Harrison and Ackeem Lawrence, both senior black belts, were also down to bow into action.