Seido Karate Open to sizzle
The créme de la créme of local martial artists will be on show this Saturday at the University of Technology's auditorium for the annual Seido Open, a celebration of 35 years of Seido Karate in Jamaica.
The best of Jamaica's martial arts talent will be on show, including international champions from the still-undefeated combined martial arts team, which continues to rock the world with its skills.
Kenneth Edwards, the reigning grand champion for the last three years, will be noticeably absent as he is away on Olympic duties.
However, Edwards' absence has flung the door open for upcoming fighters to challenge his teammates - Nicholas Dussard, Alrick Wanliss and reigning female grand champion, Sheckema Cunningham.
All major local martial arts organisations will be on show for Seido Jamaica's 35th anniversary. As a special gesture, more participants will receive medals this year, especially in the children's divisions, courtesy of McKay Security and the Sports Development Foundation.
"This is a wonderful gesture by McKay Security and the SDF," said Jun Shihan Tony Robinson of Seido Karate.
Grateful for sponsorship
"It is usually the traditional sports such as football and cricket that get the sponsors. However, with the success of Jamaican martial arts internationally, they graciously assisted and it is greatly appreciated," he added.
Robinson said the growth of local martial arts has been evident and pointed to Edwards' qualification for London 2012 as an example.
"Martial arts have grown tremendously over the years," he said. "We are now dominating the international scene with our gifted fighters, defeating fighters from Japan, South Africa, Vietnam, Poland and other countries."
One of the most intense divisions will be the high school tournament which Kingston College lead 2-1 with two matches left in the league. Keen rivalry is expected among Kingston College (KC), Calabar, Jamaica College, Wolmer's Boys and Cornwall College.
KC lead 2-1 ahead of Wolmer's with only the Zendo and Taekwondo tournaments left to decide the season. However, the Purples will lose their main fighters at the end of the school year and must win this weekend to clinch the league.
Calabar are defending three-time champions but lost their top fighters at the end of the last school year and are yet to win at a tournament this season.