McKay wins silver at NY Open
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA's masters fighter, Jason McKay, won silver at last weekend's International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) New York Open, going down to Uzbekistan's Nuvaliev Tenor in a bruising final.
Jamaica's most senior fighter, McKay, was competing in his second fixture of year after also winning silver at May's Red Tiger Open in Philadelphia.
With Olympian Kenneth Edwards as his coach, the former Jamaica combined martial arts team captain had beaten another Uzbek, stopping Thatou Fhukhvat in semi-final action, before facing his much bigger countryman in the final.
Tenor, standing 6' 4" and weighing in at 230lb, was top seed in the division, which merged heavy and super heavyweight masters.
Despite McKay's aggressive tactics of trying to get past the Uzbek's long legs, Tenor was able to keep him on the outside, avoiding any close-quarter combat with the Jamaican.
"I felt I was actually fortunate to take second. The division had so much quality," McKay pointed out.
"John Smith from Philadelphia and Syd Codner of Connecticut could easily have medalled had the draw been kinder to them," he added.
September to December is traditionally McKay's high point of the season, competing mainly on the ITF circuit in the northern United States, as he seeks to accumulate points to retain his spot on the combined martial arts team.
He has the record of making the team 13 times, the closest being Edwards' 11 caps. McKay is also the only surviving member of the original quartet, which started the team in 2001.
Though sitting on 10 points, the veteran is far from safe and needs to hold down a mandatory top-10 spot. He is scheduled to compete in at least three other tournaments between October and November.
Only fighters in the top 10 benefit from combined team sponsorship to overseas tournaments.