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Weight will be a big handicap for Young at Pan-Am Tae Kwon Do
Dominic Young, Ashley Banton and Martin Pagon are among Jamaica's 11 juniors down to participate at the May 1-4 International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) Pan-Am Games in Florianopolis, Santa Catrina, Brazil.
Since dedicating himself to the sport for the last year, Young has rose among the ranks to become a consistent performer on the high school circuit, representing Jamaica College and gaining medals in all tournaments entered last year.
Now attending The Academy, Young was also among Jamaica's medal winners last year at the United States (US) Open.
Young's handicap in Brazil could be his weight, as he is currently at 65.0 kilos, making him a heavyweight. However, he does not have the height or power to be competitive as an heavyweight, leaving him with the challenge of shedding weight to get below 63.0, where his his height and reach would give him a decisive advantage over his South American opponents.
Banton of Calabar High has been a mainstay for the dominant Red Hills Road school's tae kwon do team. Although height and reach have been an issue for Banton, he has used skill and speed as deadly substitutes.
A regular on the local tournament circuit for the last two years, Banton made his international debut last year at the US Open, where he medalled in continuous fighting. Knowing his strengths, Banton is expected to overcome challenges and push for a second international medal in Brazil.
Kingston College's Pagon, at five feet, four inches tall, will also have a height and reach disadvantage at the Pan-Am Games. Fighting in the hyperweight division, he is significantly shorter than his rivals.
However, Pagon has managed to consistently medal on the local circuit for the last three years, representing Kingston College, and providing support in team fighting. Having already tasted international competition at last year's US Open, the experience will do Pagon a world of good in Brazil.