Sun | May 19, 2019

HISTORIC! Jamaica's Edwards qualifies for Olympic taekwondo

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2011 | 12:00 AM

George Henry, Gleaner Writer

For the first time in Jamaica's sporting history, the country will have a representative in taekwondo at an Olympic Games.

President of the Jamaica Taekwando Federation, Master Christopher Chok, said the country will be represented in the sport by Kenneth Edwards.

"It was a historic moment for us and Jamaica, to be qualified for the first time in this sport at the Olympic Games," said Chok following a successful qualifying tournament in Queretaro, Mexico, from November 18-20 for the London 2012 Games.

Chok had high praise for the two fighters who went to the qualifying tournament, saying that Edwards and his teammate, Nicholas Dussard, did extremely well as they gave their best for their country.

"They are among the best in the sport of taekwondo and I am very proud of them. Now that we have the chance we have to work more than double harder than before for an achievement of yet another historic moment of an Olympic medal," said Chok.

He stated that with the discipline and indomitable spirit shown by Edwards at the Mexico tournament, he believes the fighter will give Jamaica great results in return when he competes at the London Olympic Games.

"I also have no doubt about Nicholas Dussard's future at the next Olympic Games after London. He showed a lot of great talent and dedication, and with continued training and more exposure he will do well. Surely, we are looking forward to another historic achievement, and that is how I am predicting him to be."

Chok also had high praises for taekwondo coach Alvin Bernard, saying he (Bernard) worked tirelessly with the fighters.

"As a Master, I can attest to the good-quality training that he has given to the athletes. The training he has done with them has met the standard and requirements for building a true Olympic champion," he said.

He added that the qualifying of Edwards was a team effort in which Jason McKay of the Jamaica Combined Martial Arts team had a significant input, explaining that the latter managed the fighters well by providing sponsorships and support facilities for their training overseas and at home.

Chok noted that there were eight competitors in the 80kg division in which Edwards competed. In his first match against David Rajjab of Guyana, he defeated Rajjab by superiority point gap 12- 0.

"Kenneth's second match was with second seed François Coulombe of Canada, but he was defeated 8-4. His final match to secure a spot on the 2012 Olympic team was against Venezuela's Juan Dias. He started out strong, going into the third round 10-3. He was able to hold his ground and defended his score to the end, defeating the Venezuelan 10-3 and securing his spot as the third member of the Pan Am qualifying tournament for the London Olympic Games next year," said Chok.