Jamaica grab coveted men’s black belt team sparring title to end with 46 medals
ROSE HALL, St James — Jamaica brought the curtains down on a wildly successful Fifth International Tae kwon do Federation's World Cup at the Montego Bay Convention Centre yesterday with a historic gold medal in the blue ribbon senior men's black belt team sparring.
Led by top fighters Kenneth Edwards and team captain Nicholas Dusard, who both shook off disappointing results in the individual events on Friday, the Jamaicans put on a masterful display to turn back Argentina 10-8 in the final, cheered on by a loud and vociferous home crowd.
The team also included Adrian Moore, Darren Harrison, Ackeem Lawrence and Scott Wright.
An ecstatic Arthur Barrows, president of the Jamaica Tae kwon do Association, told the Sunday Observer minutes after the competition that "what we just accomplished, to call it awesome is an understatement. This is the cream of the crop, the World Cup team male sparring championships is what we could only dream of."
Barrows said the entire week went beyond expectations. "Our juniors came to the show and were brilliant; we had our first pre-arranged team fight with a team from Mandeville... this is a new area that we have ventured into. We won medals in patterns...this week has been a massive success for tae kwon do in Jamaica, for martial arts in Jamaica, this is a great success."
Jason McKay, one of the main organisers, said winning the men's team title "is what everybody wants, this is the main prize".
The Jamaicans, represented by three schools/clubs and who revelled on 'home mat' advantage, added another eight medals in yesterday's final session — five gold and three silver to end the week with 46 medals, by far the most ever at a global tae kwon do event.
The breakdown of medals over the week read 17 gold, 14 silver and 15 bronze.
The fighters representing three clubs won six gold medals, five silver and seven bronze yesterday, adding to the 19 medals won over the first two day: six gold, five silver and eight bronze.
Yesterday, there were gold medals in the men's senior black belt team sparring, men's 18-35 colour belt team sparring, boys' 12-14 colour belt team sparring, boys' 12-14 team pattern and boys' 15-18 colour belt team sparring.
The three silver came in the girls' 12-14 colour belt team sparring, men's 18-35 colour belt team sparring, and the men's 36-45 black belt team sparring.
Late Friday night Subrina Richardson added silver after she lost to Argentina's Milagros Acosta in the final of the junior black belt -55kg category.
It was the men's senior black belt sparring team's performance that brought the event to a fitting end, thanks to Herculean efforts from Olympian Kenneth Edwards and team captain Nicholas Dusard, who both shook off disappointments in their injury-plagued individual events to lead the team from the front.
Jamaica first beat a team from Argentina 11-3, then eliminated Canada in the semi-finals 14-5, before their 10-8 margin against another Argentine team in the final.
In his three fights Edwards, who managed only a bronze in the defence of his individual -78kg black belt individual sparring, scored maximum 4-0 victories, while Dusard, who fell in the quarter-finals on the individual event, scored both victories by 4-0 margins.
Edwards appeared to enjoy his semi-final victory against Canada's Aziz Abdellahi, who had defeated him in the semis on Friday. He picked off the Canadian with precision kicks and followed up with combination punches, never allowing his opponent to settle into any rhythm.
Dusard, who had suffered three painful dislocations of his right shoulder on Friday, was kept out of the first-round fight, but once he got on the mat, he showed off why he was one of the premier stars of the martial art form.