Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
NICHOLAS DUSSARD has more than a point to prove at the October 23-27 International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Championships in Benidorm, Spain.
The 24-year-old lightweight has been winning international titles from age 18, as a junior black belt, beating adult fighters en route to a gold medal at the 2007 US Open.
Among Dussard's ITF exploits are silver at the 2012 World Cup in Brighton, England, and gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Pan Am Games.
However, he is yet to medal at the big one, the World Championships, twice stopped in first round bouts in Argentina 2009, and New Zealand 2011.
"It is harder than the rest. What I have realised, though physically prepared to win, I don't think I was ever mentally prepared," said Dussard.
"That stage is different from all others. In 2011, I lost because I got three warnings. In Argentina, I lost in sudden death. Both were close matches, and I was not able to go the extra mile, not because of physical fitness, something mental," he added.
Dussard said he has watched and learnt the craft of fighting at the World Championships.
"This time, I've learnt. I have much more experience. I've learnt to play the game.
"Back then it was about fighting and being strong and powerful, who can hit the hardest. Now it's about playing the game, do whatever it takes to win. Now I know what it takes to win the World Champs," he pointed out.
Dussard watched from the sidelines in 2011 as team-mates Alrick Wanliss and Sheckema Cunningham won bronze medals in New Zealand, creating Jamaican martial arts history.
Cunningham is a hot favourite to medal in Spain. Dussard, based on form, will start favourite to lift lightweight gold. He believes Spain will be the World Championships on which he will stamp his mark.
The Jamaican beat one of his main rivals, the United States' Julio Carlos, at the Queen's Open, on September 29.
"Julio and I are great competitors. I am looking out for him," he said.
"In last year's World Cup, I fought three Russians, and I am looking out for them as well. Argentina will always bring people who are cunning. Those are the people I am looking out for," he added.
Dussard, Cunningham, Adrian Moore, Ackeem Lawrence, Subrina Richards, Danielle Chang, Kevin Brown and team captain Jason McKay depart the island next Monday for back-to back World Championships in Spain and North Cyprus.