Martial artists ready for US Open
Jamaica's junior martial artists gained valuable practice ahead of July's International Sports Karate Association United States Open, recently returning with eight gold and two silver medals from back-to-back tae kwon do tournaments in New Jersey.
Participating at the Ultimate Taekwon-Do Challenge, captain Tye McKay from Calabar High led the junior to four gold on day one, winning his division to set the pace for the team, all drafted from the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Association's high-school programme.
Also picking up gold on day one were Calabar's captain, Trevor Webb Jr, Jamaica College's Justin Brown and Ryan Robinson of St George's College.
Fighting World Taekwon-Do Federation Olympic style, the following day, the unchanged squad added three gold won by Brown, Robinson and Ackeem Gordon of Wolmer's Boys' School. St George's Duncan Smith and Jamaica College's Sharic Bowen won silver.
Also travelling with the team was Sebalexy Lindo of Shortwood Practising Primary, who won a gold in his first overseas tournament.
Coach and manager Jason McKay described the lads performances as "fantastic", adding that they were Jamaica's future of the sport and must be exposed to international competition from as early as possible.
Meanwhile, Tye McKay said he took his role as team captain seriously and made sure he led by example.
"Being captain of this team was a great experience, competing in International Taekwon-Do Federation and TF and WTF styles. It was a big responsibility, so I had to lead from in front by winning my division, encouraging younger ones, most of whom were successful. I am happy with the results," he said.
McKay is already looking forward to the US Open, the world's biggest martial arts tournament, staged annually at the Coronado Resort in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, attracting participants from all over the world.
"We will be travelling again in July for the US Open in Orlando. Every year we normally come back with a number of gold medals. This year will be no different," he added.