Male combined team mines gold at US Open
JAMAICA'S combined martial arts team stretched its unbeaten run to 57 matches on Friday, stopping South Africa 2-1 in a three-man sparring match at the International Sports Karate Association's United States Open in Orlando, Florida.
Seido Karate's Greagon Taylor, Scott Wright of Ningen and captain Nicholas Dusard of Kingston Taekwon-Do handed Jamaica their first gold of the tournament.
Taylor, a 2015 invitee to the combined unit, said it was a dream to have been chosen in the three-man team that faced South Africa.
The Seido fighter was first on the mat and gave his teammates a 1-0 cushion. South Africa stormed back 1-1 after Wright lost his bout. However, Dusard clinched the match for Jamaica in style.
Wright said remaining unbeaten in 54 matches was "a big deal" for the combined team, especially having reached the mark at the tough US Open.
"It shows just how amazing Jamaica's martial artists are and how dedicated they are to the craft," he pointed out.
"I am proud to call these guys teammates," added Wright, who returned later in the evening to win individual gold in senior black belt, -169lb, continuous sparring.
Meanwhile, Taylor, in only his second overseas tournament, described the US Open as "nothing like I have seen before".
"It's my first US Open and to be chosen, as an invitee, to be part of a three-man team, from a squad of 12, speaks volumes," he said.
"They are all good fighters and I am just happy for the opportunity to represent the team," Taylor added.
Coach Claude Chin lauded the team members, saying they all did well, including Wright, who, he said, "came out on the wrong side of the judges' decision".
"I am very proud of them, especially the last fight when Nick came out aggressive with the score at 1-1 after Scott lost.
"Nick gave it his all because he knew the team's unbeaten record was on the line. He came out strong and got the upper hand," Chin pointed out, adding that Taylor had the right mindset and was outstanding.