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Jamaica to field 100 for ITF World Cup

Published:Friday | August 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer

JAMAICA could field as many as 100 martial artists at the August 26-30 International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup, Montego Bay Convention Centre, for which more than 1,000 overseas participants have already registered.

Fresh off a record medal haul at last month's International Sports Karate Association United States (US) Open in Orlando, Florida, the Jamaicans are hoping to also spark at home.

The ITF World Cup is the second international martial arts event staged locally in four years, following the World Continental Team Sparring Championship and Gold Cup, staged at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

Event launch

The event launch is August 13 at The Courtleigh Hotel, at 10 a.m., and will have in attendance local tae kwon do stars, including defending World Cup champion Kenneth Edwards, who won the heavyweight title in Brighton, England, in 2008.

Jamaican tae kwon do groups have grown tremendously since the sport debuted locally in the 1960s. Its popularity has increased as a martial art and the island now has 11 tae kwon do clubs.

The sport is experiencing growth on the high-school circuit and is also taught at the University of Technology.

The high-school programme, sponsored by 2014 World Cup organiser, Jason McKay, has produced outstanding fighters who have since graduated to the senior ranks and Jamaica's successful combined martial arts team.

At the recent US Open, participants in the McKay Security Jamaica Taekwondo High School programme accounted for 22 of 114 medals won in Florida by Jamaica's contingent.