Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
MARTIN PAGON and Phillip McDowell are the newest members of Jamaica's combined martial-arts team, tallying 12 and nine points, respectively, in competitions last year to join the star-studded 10-man team for the 2013 season.
Pagon, a pioneer member of the Jamaica Taekwondo McKay Security high-school taekwondo programme, took seventh place in the combined team's non-discretionary system of selection open to all local fighters from any martial-arts discipline.
Fighters win spots on the team based on points earned in local and international tournaments.
McDowell joins his brother, Kevin McDowell, as the first siblings to make the unit. Phillip squeezed in at 10th spot, tying the resurgent veteran, Arthur Barrows, who won gold at the ITF Pan Am Games in Canada last year to clinch his place.
Dussard first pick
Leading the qualifying pack was Nicholas Dussard who amassed 68 points. The 23-year-old University of Technology student emerged first pick after a terrific season on the international circuit.
Oshane Murray, who gave Jamaica its first International Sports Karate Association World Championship title, was second with 32 points in the ranking system that allots five points for gold medals won in local black belt competition.
Silver-medal winners in local competition are awarded three points and bronze one point.
For international contests, gold medals won in world tournaments carry nine points, silver earn seven points and bronze five.
Non-world championship international tournaments are worth seven points for a win, five for second and three for bronze-medal winners.
Completing the 10-man squad, Adrian Moore proved his doubters wrong by tallying 29 points to share third with Kevin McDowell of Sidekick Taekwondo, who dominated the local scene.
Jamaica's favourite fighter, Kenneth Edwards, also ended with 29 points after winning the 2012 International Taekwondo Federation World Cup heavyweight title in Brighton, England, following his brave effort in the London Olympics.
The competitive points system saw another tie deciding sixth spot as captain Jason McKay and Akeem Lawrence ended with 20 points.
The veteran McKay, who keeps defying the calendar, won two silver in world tournaments and two international bronze medals.
Lawrence performed on both local and international stages and dispelled the myth that he is primarily a "patterns guy" by cementing his 2013 spot in the ring.
The squad is expected to draft two invitees this year. Kevin Brown of Rising Sun Karate and Rasheed Welch of Future Leaders Karate are front-runners for the coveted spots.
Combined team squad 2013