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Jamaicans bow into ISKA World Champs

Published:Thursday | April 30, 2015 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters

JAMAICA's martial artists are making their first shot at a world title for the year. Six members of the combined team and two junior fighters from Kingston Taekwon-Do bowed into action yesterday at the International Sport Kickboxing Association's (ISKA) World Championships in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal.

The Jamaicans are fielding two female combined team members - top-ranked Subrina Richards and Rising Sun Karate's Marissa Jones, making her ISKA debut at the tournament that ends on May 3.

The male combined team will send out Rising Sun Karate's Kevin Brown, who won silver in Cyprus 2013, joined by newcomer Greagon Taylor of Seido Karate, making his debut.

Junior International Taekwon-Do Federation World Cup gold medallists Hydel's Akino Lindsay and Calabar's Tye McKay complete the party of athletes.

The team will be led by coaches Claude Chin and Jason McKay, national director for ISKA in Jamaica.

McKay described the championships as "the toughest of the world champs Jamaicans currently compete in".

Hardest fighting

"It doesn't have the glitter of the International Taekwon-Do (ITF) World Champs or the Olympic connection of the World Taekwon-Do Federation (WTF), nor the glamour of the US Open. However, it is, by far, the hardest fighting with the most contact and the most challenging to athletes' cardiovascular," he declared.

Explaining the decision to spread athletes over three World Championships this year, McKay said the combined team's make-up allows its members to vie for titles in their respective disciplines, among others.

"At the ISKA, we want to introduce the fighters who are not eligible for the May 27-31 ITF World Champs because of black belt affiliate restrictions. Conversely, the May 15-18 WTF World Champs is for that body's black belts. Therefore, ISKA World Champs is geared for fighters who hold belts in other disciplines such as karate and kung-fu, as long as they fill the training requirements, particularly attendance, and show they have the requisite skills to do well," he explained.

"This is the culture of the combined team, to ensure all styles are accommodated, so we will be sending Kenneth to the WTF World Champs, Ackeem Lawrence, Adrian Moore and a multitude of others to the ITF World Champs."