Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's combined martial arts team maintained its four-year unbeaten run at the weekend when Nicholas Dussard led a crack unit to victory over Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Barbados and Puerto Rico in the Continental Gold Cup at the International Sports Karate Association's United States Open in Orlando, Florida.
The combined team's defence of its Gold Cup title, their sixth straight lien, moved the unit's unbeaten tally to 48 matches - two shy of a targeted 50 to coincide with Jamaica's 50th year of Independence.
It was also a historic occasion for 22-year-old Dussard as he became the youngest man to lead the combined team, doing so in the absence of regular captain Jason McKay, who did not compete due to the non-inclusion of a super heavyweight division for this year's contest.
Jamaica fought without stalwarts such as Kenneth Edwards and Alrick Wanliss.
However, Adrian Moore and Oshane Murray shone for the combined team.
With his victorious leadership debut, Dussard now boasts an enviable record for Jamaica. He has been a member of the combined team since 2006 and has lost only once in the many matches in which he has competed for Jamaica.
He recently wrote another chapter in Jamaica's martial arts history when he regained his International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) Pan Am lightweight title in Quebec, Canada. He had won Jamaica's first ITF Pan Am gold in Brazil 2008, beating his great rival, ITF world champion Julio Carlos of the United States.