Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
FOR the second time in three months, one of the island's top martial artists, Nicholas Dussard, will feature on a major North American stage when he and combined team captain, Jason McKay, take Jamaica to Las Vegas on October 5.
Dussard and McKay will represent Jamaica in bouts in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the 2013 Original Taekwon-do Federation Open Tournament at the Durango Hills YMCA.
In July, Dussard was Jamaica's featured fighter on the Night of Champions at the United States Open in Orlando, Florida, in a bout televised live on ESPN3.
The decorated Jamaican fighter will test his skills in the black belt lightweight division whereas McKay will take the mat in the masters' heavyweight category.
Dussard, who will be competing at the New York Open in Queens the previous weekend, is a strong contender for gold as he continues his build-up towards the October 23-28 International Taekwon-do Federation (ITF) World Champion-ships in Benidorm, Spain.
"I am excited about going to Vegas, but my mindset is towards the World Champs in Spain," said Dussard, an ITF Pan Am gold medallist.
"I am feeling good and taking it as a stepping stone towards the World Championships so I can get in some ring time. It's a big stage and I hope we do really well," he added.
McKay's medal prospects are spotty as he has only one international tournament under his belt this season, the US Open, where he and Keith Edwards lost to the Czech Republic in the final of the two-man masters.
One of Jamaica's most senior fighters, McKay expressed excitement at the possibility of competing in Vegas for the first time in his 22-year international career.
Admittedly ring rusty, McKay pointed out that he tends to be busier at the back-end of the year, as opposed to early season when he is tied up with coaching and administrative duties.