Combined team on medal hunt at US Open
CAPTAIN Nicholas Dusard oozed confidence yesterday as he discussed medal prospects of the seven-man Jamaica combined martial arts squad to this weekend's International Sports Karate Association's United States Open in Orlando, Florida.
Booked to fight his nemesis, United States' International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) world champion Julio Carlos, on Saturday's Night of Champions, Dusard hopes to crown Jamaica's showing at the world's biggest martial arts open with victory.
Heading a squad comprising Adrian Moore, Ackeem Lawrence, Kevin Brown, Scott Wright and Demar King, along with invitees Greagon Taylor and Delano Francis, Dusard said medals are bound to be won in either
continuous or clash sparring.
Ningen Karate's Kevin Brown, he said, has been in unbeatable form this season on the local circuit.
"Kevin was the grand champion at the weekend's Seido Open and has not lost locally at any tournament this year. He won the lightweight at every competition this year, the Superstars, Shai-Tai, Taekwon-Do, Ningen and Seido Open," Dusard pointed out.
He, however, expects Lawrence and Moore to show their seniority.
"Ackeem and Adrian are becoming senior fighters. It's time for them to step up and lead the way. Greagon is new to the US Open, but he has no excuses as he did well at the International Sport Kickboxing World Champs in Portugal, which is similar to the US Open.
"Scott is a little injured, but you can never be sure what to expect from him because he knows how to win. Francis has been struggling with injuries and he's so light, 120lb, with the minimum weight at 149. He is sure to be outweighed and will have to be on his A-plus game. King is alright and I hope he does well," Dusard added.
He hasn't fought in the open itself since 2010, but did beat Argentina's Mathias Bustamante on Night of Champions 2012, representing ITF-style fighting on the event's ESPN-televised Night of Champions.
Facing Carlos on centre stage on the glitzy Night of Champions is a big deal for Dusard after twice losing to the American at major championships, the 2013 World Championships in Spain and the World Cup in Montego Bay last August.