Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
Montego Bay's Convention Centre has been confirmed by the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) as the venue for its fifth World Cup, August 26-30, 2014.
Corporate Area commercial interests were hoping the event would have been held at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Independence Park, similar to the 2010 International Sports Karate Association Gold Cup and Team-Sparring Championship.
However, chief organiser Jason McKay said the Second City was selected by the ITF, ahead of the island's capital, due to its sports-tourism appeal.
"Martial-arts tournaments, unlike other sports, people travel with their families, due to the varying age groups. Contestants pay to participate and their families pay to watch.
"These events are not heavily dependent on local spectators, so there are far more international martial-arts events in the world, annually, than track and field events, for example," McKay pointed out.
"Similar to the Disneyland concept of the US Open every July, Montego Bay, with hotels and tourist attractions being within walking distance of the Convention Centre, MoBay was almost a done deal," he added.
The ITF World Cup is expected to inject US$3m into Montego Bay. However, McKay said the organiser, the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Association, is aiming to break even, at best.
"The ITF World Cup can generate US$3m. It is among other organisations such as the ISKA, WTF, WKA and WAKA that hold tournaments with more than a thousand people attending. They go all over the planet for these tournaments," he said.
The 2012 World Cup, staged in Brighton, England, had 1,600 competitors. Coaches and others, family members and fans, swelled the overall number of attendants to 3,000 people.
McKay believes if Montego Bay makes a big impression on the international martial-arts community, Jamaica could become a fixture for future tournaments.
"Once everybody sees that we did a good job, just like in 2010, we will certainly get more of these tournaments," he said.