Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
COMMERCIAL interests in the Corporate Area of Kingston and St Andrew and the Second City, Montego Bay, are jousting to have their respective cities stage the fifth International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Cup in 2014.
The World Cup is the ITF's second-biggest international tournament, next to the World Championships, and was last staged in Brighton, England, in 2012.
The ITF World Cup was first held in Orlando, United States, in 2004; Benidorm, Spain, 2006 and Riva Del Garda, Italy, 2008.
With more than 3,000 visitors expected in the island for the event, and projections of US$3m to flow into whichever city gets the nod, Kingston and Montego Bay business interests have been wooing the ITF.
Jason McKay, chief organiser for the tournament, said both cities have their respective advantages. However, Montego Bay, with its state-of-the-art convention centre and general resort-area allure, is the frontrunner.
"As a Kingstonian, I would want the event to be held in Kingston where the infrastructure and experienced staff of Independence Park has the know-how to host international sporting events of this magnitude," McKay pointed out.
"However, persons attending these type of tournaments also want what Kingston can't offer, the beaches, water parks and hotels within walking distance of the tournament venue," he added.
McKay was the organiser of the 2010 International Sports Karate Association Gold Cup and Team-Sparring Championship, held inside the National Indoor Sports Centre.
He said Kingston, though not as sports-tourist friendly as Montego Bay, provides less headache, for an organiser.
"Montego Bay is at a disadvantage to Kingston as its Convention Centre does not have stadium-type seating of the National Indoor Sports Centre, the Jamaica Urban Transport Company, which can be contracted to move people around, nor an history of hosting world tournaments involving thousands.
"Kingston hosted the World Junior Championships in Athletics, the World Netball Championships, as well as the Commonwealth Games," McKay pointed out.
Having organised martial arts tournaments in Vietnam, China, Japan, the Gold Cup in Jamaica and Orlando, where the first ITF World Cup was staged, McKay said the financial spinoff will be highly beneficial to whichever city the ITF approves.
"This event has not been held this side of the world since 2004 and is expected to inject US$3m in whichever city it is staged.
"The event is one which participants pay to compete and foreigners pay to travel as families," he said.
Jamaica's Alrick Wanliss and Kenneth Edwards have won gold medals at the ITF World Cup.