Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
Jason McKay, captain and founder of Jamaica's combined martial arts team, has confirmed 2013 as his last year as captain.
McKay is set to lead Jamaica into its 49th and 50th matches in Cuba, the last weekend of February, in the team's bid to reach 50 unbeaten matches.
The veteran founded the combined team in 2001 and has led the unit to most of its victories, doing triple duties as fighter, captain and manager, while coaching the female team on some tours, in addition to being in charge of the physical preparation of both squads.
McKay, who ensures a steady stream of youngsters replenishes the combined team each season, said it was time for a new captain, one closer to the average age of the squad.
"The team needs to be captained by athletes who are nearer in age to the current crop of fighters," he said.
Time for someone else
"When I started as captain, the age range was from the mid-30s to teens, with as many as three fighters being in their late 20s to mid-30s.
"The team is now 70 per cent made up of men in their teens or early 20s, plus I think someone else should lead the team into its second round of 50 consecutive bouts without a loss," he added.
Reflecting on the burden of being fighter, captain, manager, female-team coach and fitness trainer, McKay said the workload also played a role in his decision.
"It is a bit too much work, competing, being captain and managing both squads. I am looking forward to handing over part of that as well at the end of this year," he pointed out.
However, the Calabar old boy won't be off the mat anytime soon.
"I intend to compete for the 2013 season and, likely, 2014. After that, I'm not sure. The team is selected on the basis of points earned the previous season. If I have the points, so be it. I do, however, plan to maintain my role as manager of the male team and coach of the females," he said.