Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Jamaica host ITF division at US Open

Published:Wednesday | July 3, 2019 | 12:14 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

JAMAICA’s successful ­staging of two martial arts world tournaments in four years, the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup in 2014 and the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) Amateur Associations World Championships last year, has resulted in team Jamaica, led by promoter Jason McKay, getting a new franchise, the International Taekwondo Association US Open Challenge Championships, set for Thursday, July 4, at the United States (US) Open in Orlando, Florida.

Getting pride of place on the US Open’s official tournament website, usopen-karate.com, the promo for the new tae kwon do division features Jamaica’s poster boy, Nicholas Dusard, battling Italy’s Timothy Bos at last year’s Night of Champions.

Corey Schafer, president of the ISKA, explained that McKay’s proven track record in hosting international tournaments and Jamaica’s loyalty to the brand made it easy for his organisation to accommodate an ITF-specific division.

“Jason McKay and his organisation, along with Denise Romero, have been very loyal to ISKA. They are very big supporters of our events in America and Europe. That means something.

“Number one is loyalty to the brand and organisation. Two is proof that the people involved can actually run a tournament of that magnitude,” Schafer pointed out, adding that McKay’s status in the world of martial arts as a man of integrity and character was a major factor in the promoter being entrusted with such responsibility at the biggest open tournament in the world.

“It is really glamorous to promote a new division at the US Open, an honour,” said McKay. “However, at the same time, it is hard work to ensure that the ­quality of the US Open is maintained, as well as the standard of ITF-style competition.”

The International Taekwondo Association US Open Challenge Championships is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, the second day of the tournament being held at the Coronado Springs Resort. Jamaica, led by captain Ackeem Lawrence, will have fighters in most divisions, including team-fighting.

“The US Open has always been a pretty big event for us, having won many titles there. The team is well prepared, and I expect strong performances from the likes of Richard Stone, Akino Lindsay, Nicholas Dusard, Adrian Moore and Kenneth Edwards,” said Lawrence.