Edwards, Richards head five-fighter squad to SA
JAMAICA's Kenneth Edwards and Subrina Richards head a five-fighter squad to Saturday's International Taekwon-Do Federation's (ITF) African Taekwon-Do Cup in Pretoria, South Africa.
The African Taekwon-Do Cup is among the events marking the 60th anniversary of tae kwon do.
The Jamaicans are using the tournament to prepare for the International Sport Kickboxing Association's (ISKA) World Championship, April 29 to May 3, and the ITF World Junior and Senior Championships in Jesolo, Italy, from May 27 to 31.
Joining Olympian Edwards and Richards in South Africa are Akino Lindsay, Tye McKay and a second female fighter, Tashauna Grannum. Veteran Jason McKay travels as coach with the team, which left the island on Wednesday.
Edwards, who is preparing for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, departed his base in Canada to join his Jamaican teammates. The London 2012 Olympian has a
hectic schedule as he is set to compete at the May 12 to 18 World Taekwon-Do Federation's (WTF) World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Having competed in two WTF tournaments this season, qualifying for September's Pan-Am Championships in Mexico, Edwards will be displaying his versatility as a multifaceted martial artist, by competing in Saturday's ITF tournament.
Meanwhile, Richards, who has soared to the top of the local rankings following her silver medal at last August's ITF World Cup in Montego Bay, is being touted by coach McKay to be Jamaica's first female ISKA world champion.
Lightweight Richards, McKay said, "has what it takes" to lift gold when she takes the mat in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal, for the April 29 to May 3 ISKA World Championships.
He is, however, disappointed that the Merl Grove High School sixth former has been ruled out of the ITF World Championships due to a clash of external examinations.
"I am disappointed, but her education comes before everything," McKay said.
Meanwhile, Lindsay, who will be fighting for the last time as a red belt, is expected to prove his class in South Africa, McKay's coach pointed out, adding that a place on Jamaica's combined martial arts team beckons for the Hydel student.
Calabar's Tye McKay is expected to continue his international improvement whereas Grannum will be using the tournament to test her recovery from injury.