Martial arts boom!
ROSE HALL, St James — MARTIAL arts are expected to receive a massive boost in Montego Bay following last week's successful staging of the Fifth International Tae kwon do Federation's (ITF) World Cup at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall.
Thousands of spectators turned up at the venue over the four days of the competition to watch nearly 900 fighters representing 52 clubs from 28 countries vie for medals in various categories.
Among the clubs were three from Jamaica including Red Dragons from Montego Bay, which combined will with Ultimate, as the Jamaican fighters won 46 medals -- 17 gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze.
Both Shiahh Shukura of Red Dragons and David Hall, who coaches Cornwall College's martial arts team, are optimistic that the sport could benefit tremendously from last week's exposure.
Both men, however, bemoaned the lack of proper facilities, adding that the cost of running schools was also prohibitive.
Last Friday, in-between the various different bouts going on at the same time, the men spoke of the challenges they are facing, as they try to develop the sport in the island.
"Money is always an issue," said Hall, who won three silver medals, and whose son David won a silver.
"Most of the time it is the teachers who have to fund the students and it is difficult," he stressed.
Hall senior told the Jamaica Observer West his focus was on the high school students: "This is where we have to grow the sport and introducing it there is a start."
He said, at the moment he is searching for a location to set up a school, adding that he is eyeing the Fairview Shopping Complex in Montego Bay, which he thinks is an ideal location.
Shukura, whose fighters took home several medals, including at least three golds, admitted he was "feeling chills", as he watched his fighters go through the rounds.
"We worked hard for this," he said "and to see this unfolding right here before our eyes, all these international fighters right here in our backyard is amazing."