ITF, ISKA urge Jamaica to consider hosting other major meets
ROSE HALL, St James — Fresh on the heels of a successful staging of the Fifth International Tae kwon do Federation (ITF) World Cup at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last week, Jamaica could be in line to host several international martial arts events.
Jason McKay, one of the main organisers of the World Cup, told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday the ITF has asked the Jamaica Taekwon-do Association to consider hosting a World Championship while ISKA, the International Kick Boxing Association also has its eyes on making Jamaica one of the stops on their world tour.
"It's a turning point in Jamaica's history in the sport of martial arts," McKay said of the success of the week, adding that if things had not worked out as well as it did, the effect could have been traumatic. "I think it is a turning point; had this gone badly it would have been a turning point in the other direction."
After seeing first-hand the ability of the Jamaicans to successfully organise a world-class event, McKay told the Observer: "We have already been approached by the ITF and asked if we would consider a World Championship."
He explained that the World Championship "is the mirror event to this one but which is not as open as the fighters represented their country and only one per category was allowed, unlike the World Cup which is a club competition and entries were open".
It is not known which year the ITF had in mind, McKay said. "They have not indicated a year, but they are saying they would like to return for a World Championship." He added that Jamaica would not have to wait several years for another international event. There is also the Pan-Am Games that Jamaica could bid to host, he said.
"ISKA had attended the ITF World Cup where they observed the organisational aspect of the event and wants to put us on their world tour as one of their locations and all of these involve thousands of people travelling to the venue to participate."
The former national representative and one of the main forces behind the sport here, said: "Sports martial arts is a huge industry and we are very pleased how it went and thankful to everybody who has been involved."
McKay, who wore many hats last week, including one of coach of the gold medal winning men's senior black belt team that won the coveted team sparring title, noted that "the week was fantastic, we had a great week".
None of the problems they were expecting, he said, materialised and to add to the positives the three clubs from Jamaica combined to win 46 medals, far superseding the two that were won by Jamaicans at previous World Cups.
"We thought we would have some problems with the rains but we had none; everything went true to form; pretty much everything ran on time; the good thing about the ITF World Cup is that they send down everything and everybody and they run the tournament, so once we got the infrastructure in place it was all go."