Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
BENIDORM, Spain, already headquarters of the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), has for the last three days been transformed into 'Taekwon-Do City', with 47 member organisations in town for its biannual World Championships.
Representatives of the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Association, led by president Arthur Barrows, saw first-hand exactly what it needs to do in Montego Bay, next year, when the island hosts the 2014 World Cup at the Rose Hall Convention Centre.
Barrows yesterday addressed the ITF's XXI Congress and outlined Jamaica's plans for the World Cup, also a biannual event, which has only once been held in the Western Hemisphere - its inaugural staging, Orlando 2004.
"We have a Jamaica 2014 booth at the tournament centre, opening tomorrow (today), at which we will be showcasing the island to the same number of countries that are now in Spain," Barrows told The Gleaner after Congress.
Similar to Montego Bay, Benidorm is a coastal resort city. Its many hotels include pastel high rises, which require a step or two back to see their penthouses.
Street-level establishments are also aplenty, many lit-up in Vegas neon-style lights at night, offering various forms of entertainment and shopping fare.
Montego Bay, Barrows said, was a natural choice and Jamaica also intends to put on a show next year.
"We are the centre of the Caribbean, literally, and that's how we will sell Jamaica 2014," he pointed out.
"Who doesn't want a Jamaican vacation and what better way to catch some fun in the sun on Montego Bay's beaches - before, during and after the 2014 World Cup," the Jamaica Taekwon-Do president asked.
Jamaica's fighters, already world-renowned, aim to do their part to stir interest in Jamaica 2014.
Sheckema Cunningham and Nicholas Dussard are favourites to medal when senior black-belt action kicks off tomorrow.
Adrian Moore and Ackeem Lawrence, who literally had to drop his wet drawers to make his weight at weigh-in, are two young fighters who could bring home surprise medals as well.
Jamaica's first fighter on the mat will be 17-year-old junior black belt, Subrina Richards, who sees 15-17 action today.