Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
CALABAR were brought back to Earth over the weekend when a combined schools team crashed the defending champions' unbeaten run in the Jamaica Tae kwon do McKay Security High School League.
Excelsior's Delano Francis, Wolmer's Boys' Akino Lindsay and St George's Akeel Andrews proved too strong for Calabar in semi-final action of Saturday's Jamaica Tae kwon do Academy Open, held at Jamaica College.
The combined team beat Kingston College in the final of the season-ending tournament after the purples took out Jamaica College in their semi-final.
Sponsor and main organiser, Jason McKay, said the Jamaica Tae kwon do Academy Open allowed for a combined schools team, unlike previous tournaments.
"It was all good fun and great sportsmanlike conduct," said McKay, commenting on the defending champions' winning streak being broken by a combined team.
WHY A COMBINED TEAM
"People might ask, 'Why a combined team'? However, humility is among the qualities we teach in tae kwon do.
"Calabar had already retained the league title, 6-1, so there was no need to rub it in anybody's face, and the combined team proved they were not invincibles," he added.
Thompson Town High School of Clarendon and Robert Lightbourne High of St Thomas also competed at the season-ending tournament.
Jamaica College and the combined team were given byes to the semis. Kingston College took out Thompson Town in the first round and Calabar ran over Robert Lightbourne.
The high-school league takes a one-month break in January before resuming February 22 with the Jamaica Superstars Invitational Martial Arts Open, hosted by Olympian Kenneth Edwards, at the University of Technology auditorium.
McKay credited the league with replenishing Jamaica's combined martial arts team with a never-ending stream of fighters.
"It was fantastic in its eighth season. Many never thought it would have lasted, but the league and high-school programme are both flourishing and must be a credit to the Jamaica Taekwon do Association's board of 2005-2007, which conceptualised both," he added.