The Brits are coming! - England registers massive squad for ISKA World Champs in MoBay
TEAM England has made its intention clear to all rivals, including hosts Jamaica, registering the largest delegation, 167 athletes, for the September 10-15 International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) Amateur Members National Associations World Championships at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
England's delegation has, so far, doubled the United States' and tripling Jamaica's, who were banking on home advantage to put together a quality, but bigger, team than the normal one or two fighters they have fielded at previous ISKA world championships in Europe.
Jason McKay, Jamaica's ISKA representative and promoter of the event, said that though it is usual for the host country to have the biggest team at major championships, per capita, it is impossible to match the Brits.
"We could never put out a team of that size. We just don't have that many fighters for that many diverse divisions. However, the ones we are putting out there are medal contenders who have chances of winning. Therefore, we are looking to quality of medal, with some quantity as well," McKay pointed out.
Jamaica have consistently fielded small but potent squads, mining gold medals since 2012, when Oshane Murray won the country's first ISKA world title. Since then, Jamaica's best have won gold at the championships - Olympian Kenneth Edwards, Nicholas Dusard, Akino Lindsay, Richard Stone, Sheckema Cunningham and Subrina Richards.
McKay said Jamaica will have all its ISKA world champs gold medallists going for glory at home, bar Richards, who is on a study break from all competitions, and Murray, who suffered a career-ending injury but will cheer on his former teammates from the sideline.
"We are really appreciative of England's squad size because it will make for a high-quality and competitive tournament," McKay said, naming France, Denmark, Germany and Portugal as other European countries registered to compete.
"England have always had a dominant squad at the ISKA worlds with high-quality fighters. However, expect good showing from Germany and some of the eastern European countries as well," the veteran martial artist explained, pointing out that the 2018 ISKA World Champs organising committee learnt much from its successful staging of the International Taekwondo Federation World Cup, which was held at the same venue in 2014.