Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Fighters return from NY with seven gold

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters
Members of Jamaica's Taekwon-Do team to the ITF New York tournament. From left: Damany Gayle, Ryan Robinson, Duncan Smith, Justin Brown, Tye McKay, Tahj Hewitt, Daniel Azan, Ackeem Gordon, Sharic Bowen and coach Jason McKay.

JAMAICA'S nine athletes, seven high-schoolers and two late additions from the high-potential combined team, on Sunday mined seven gold among 15 medals at the 22nd anniversary of the International Taekwon-Do Federation New York Taekwon-Do Tournament at the Fitzgerald Gymnasium of Queens College.

Calabar High's Tye McKay, 17, and Daniel Azan, 15, both won double gold in sparring and patterns. Jamaica College's Justin Brown, 16, also won gold in sparring, adding to a silver in patterns.

Wolmer's Boys' Ackeem Gordon, 18, the eldest schoolboy on tour, also picked up gold in sparring and silver in patterns.

The high-potential combined team pair of Tahj Hewitt and Damany Gayle completed a Jamaican exacta among older boys in sparring.

St George's College's Ryan Robinson, 16, got a pair of silver in sparring and patterns whereas his schoolmate, Duncan Smith, 17, grabbed bronze in patterns. Jamaica College's Sharic Bowen, 15, bagged bronze in sparring and patterns.

Coach Jason McKay praised the lads, pointing out that the Jamaicans dominated their respective divisions.

"They are the building blocks to replace our current greats within another five years. Of the nine athletes, only two lost to foreigners. The other seven won gold or lost to their fellow Jamaicans in finals," he added.

The seven fighters from Calabar High, Jamaica College, St George's College and Wolmer's Boys' School all participate in the McKay Security Jamaica Taekwondo High School League, which resumes next month at the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Junior Open.

Hewitt and Gayle were also participants in the league while in high school and are now aiming to transition from the high potential to senior combined team that participates in major international tournaments worldwide.