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Eight-man team for masters championships
Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
IN LESS than a week, the world's main event for surfers over 35 will begin as the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Masters Surfing Championship surfs off at Punta Rocas, Peru from March 29 to April 6.
The Jamaican Surfing Asso-ciation (JSA) will field eight entrants to the event in five divisions. A complete team is formed by eight athletes: two masters, two grand masters and two kahunas, a grand kahuna and a master woman.
Eugene Miller and Drum Drummond will participate in the masters division for men over 35 year.
In the grand masters division for men over 40 Michael Mair and Nigel Benjamin will participate. Terrence Muschett will be the entrant in the grand kahunas category (50 and over) and in the kahuna (over 45 years), Pierre Diaz and Billy Wilmot will compete. Jacqui-Ann Lawton will compete in the masters women division (35 years and over).
The first annual ISA World Master Surfing Cham-pionship took place in January 2007 at Rincon, Puerto Rico. South Africa were the gold medal-winning nation, followed by Puerto Rico and Tahiti. Puerto Rican Juan Ashton was the masters winner, Peruvian Magoo de la Rosa won gold in the grand masters and South African Chris Knutsen did the same in the kahunas division.
Jamaica placed ninth in a field of 12 and, according to JSA president Wilmot, the association is looking forward to improving its current standing.
"We are fielding a more competitive and stronger team this year," said Wilmot. "We feel very good that the sport is becoming more recognised and are looking forward to more involvement and sponsorship from different individuals and corporations," he said.
Teams from Trinidad and Tobago, Great Britain, France, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Italy, Tahiti, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden, Australia and hosts Peru have also confirmed their participation.
The ISA World Masters Surfing Championship is a team competition. The nation which places highest in each division will win the gold medal in the team standings, earning the status of the best over 35 surfing country in the world. Individual standings will add points towards the team totals.
The JSA team is expected to arrive in Peru on March 30 and will return to Jamaica on April 6.