Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Ja to field 50-strong US Open squad

Published:Monday | June 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica's contingent of 50 martial artists will start departing the island on July 3 for the 2018 International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) United States Open at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Led by fighters from Jamaica's combined martial arts team and their female counterparts, the island's delegation will also include members of the High-Potential Combined Squad and a joint contingent of high-schoolers from Calabar High, St George's College, Jamaica College, Kingston College, Wolmer's Boys' School and Penwood High.

Top Jamaican fighter Trinidad-based Nicholas Dusard will compete live on Saturday's ESPN Night of Champions, taking on International Taekwondo Federation world champion Tim Bos of Italy.

The US Open, the largest martial arts tournament in the world, with approximately 4,000 participants annually, is traditionally a major calendar event for the Jamaicans, who amassed 68 medals last year - 21 gold, 20 silver and 27 bronze.

This year, the tournament, held annually to coincide with the United States' July 4 holiday weekend, will be used as major preparation for Jamaica's historic hosting of the 2018 ISKA Amateur Member Associations World Championships set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre from September 13 to 15.

 

FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS

 

Jamaica have only ever managed to send a handful of fighters to the ISKA Amateur Member Association World Championships, which is staged primarily in Europe or Asia.

Despite the financial constraints of travelling with two fighters at a time to previous ISKA Amateur Member Association World Championships, Jamaica have won gold medals mined by Sheckema Cunningham, Akino Lindsay, Subrina Richards, Richard Stone and Kenneth Edwards.

However, the opportunity to host the tournament has afforded Jamaica the chance to prepare a 100-member squad to compete with the likes of England, who are expected to have at least 250 participants flying into the island.