High school fighters reap 25 medals at US Open
JAMAICA's junior fighters, high-schoolers and members of the high-potential combined martial arts team contributed 25 medals to the country's rich haul of 68 at the weekend's International Sports Karate Association United States Open at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The high-schoolers, all of whom compete in the Jamaica Taekwondo McKay Security High School League, bar two girls, won five gold, eight silver and as many bronze in continuous, points and clash sparring.
On Saturday, defending high school champions Calabar's pair of Daniel Azan and Lammari Johnson picked up gold in points and clash sparring, respectively, fighting as intermediate and beginner in the 14-15 category.
Johnson had won silver in points sparring on Friday. Gabe Riley also won a bronze in clash sparring for Calabar.
One of Saturday's big winners was DeCarteret College's Alana Bailey, who won gold and bronze in clash and points sparring, respectively, fighting in the 15-17 girls black belt category on her first trip to the International Sports Karate Association event, the biggest martial arts open in the world.
Gold medal winner
The other female fighter, Pembroke Hall High's Britney Mitchell, won bronze in 14-15 intermediate clash sparring, showing signs of being a good microweight prospect.
St George's College's Ryan Johnson, a continuous sparring gold medal winner on Friday, fell victim to an error by the table judges in 14-15 intermediate and was awarded a bronze in clash sparring after not being made to fight as a semi-finalist.
Wolmer's Boys' Ackeem Gordon, Jamaica College's Justin Brown and the Kingston College pair of Brandon Scott and Chrisanthony Daley each won clash-sparring silver after being among the continuous-sparring medals on Friday.
High-potential combined martial arts team members, former high-school stars Tahj Hewitt and Damany Gayle, won gold and silver, respectively. Hewitt picked up his second gold of the tournament with a walkover in 18-and-over, advance, clash sparring, whereas Gayle grabbed silver in points sparring.