Combined team ready for Asia
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA'S combined martial arts team, the Busta Fighters, returns to Asia this month for the March 20 Tri-Asian championship in Vietnam, after leaving the continent as champions in 2006 and 2008, defeating Japan and China, respectively.
The tournament kick-starts the combined team's 2010 season with the showdown set for Ho Chi Minh City, featuring hosts Vietnam and International Tae kwon do Federation (ITF) world silver medallists Poland.
Jamaica qualified for the tournament after defending its International Sports Karate Association World Continental Team Fighting title in Orlando last summer.
The combined team leaves the island March 16 and should start favourites as the unit is expected to field its regular line-up, in addition to newcomer Scott Wright.
Alrick Wanliss, the world's top team-fighting microweight and ITF Gold Cup champion, is joined by ITF Pan Am gold medallist Nicholas Dussard, Kenneth Edwards, many-time Seido champion Bruce McFarlane and team captain Jason McKay.
Ningen Karate's Wright travels with the team for the first time after making selection through a fight-off with Dwayne Vascianne in January.
Unlike previous debutants, Wright qualified not only as an invitee, but by garnering more competition points than combined team stalwarts such as Arthur Barrows, Shawn Cummings and even captain McKay.
Wright, a 21-year-old law student, has been practising martial arts since he was "able to walk", he said, and pointed out that he was no stranger to members of the combined team.
"I take martial arts seriously," he said at a recent press conference to launch the combined team's 2010 season.
"It's something I love doing and I am sure I will do well," he added.