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Argentina take aim at combined team
Ainsley Walters, Freelance Writer
The Argentinian national tae kwon do team has sent a strong message to Jamaica's combined martial arts team ahead of the World Continental Team Fighting Championship in Orlando, Florida this summer.
Defending champions Jamaica won the title as Pan-Am representatives last year whereas Argentina did not compete.
However, Argentina will be Pan-Am representatives this year, taking on defending champions Jamaica, the United Sates, New Zealand, Germany and England.
The South Americans made their intentions clear after storming the team fighting division at the recent International Tae kwon do Federation (ITF) Pan-Am Championships in Brazil.
Among the casualties was Jamaica's tae kwon do team, which was missing more than half its starters, who had competed in individual events and were forced to sit out team fighting while nursing injuries.
Jamaica got the nod to represent Pan-Am at last year's Continental World Champs based on their successes in Asia.
However, after Jamaica's win at the champs, talk surfaced in martial arts circles they would not have succeeded had Argentina competed in Orlando, fielding four world champions on a team of six-footers.
Jamaica's captain, Jason McKay has brushed aside these suggestions.
"Jamaica's combined martial arts team has had 23 consistent victories over more than 10 countries for the past three years and guards its unbeaten record dearly," he said.
"The format at the World Continental Champs is totally different. First, the opening match is a microweight and we have one of the world's best in Alrick Wanliss. Argentina has no such fighter," he pointed out.
"In addition, each country has equal judging pool, making it far more difficult to win over a tribunal.
"In addition, I don' t think they would have been able to get past the Jamaica Tae kwon do team at full strength but I know, as a fact, they can't beat the Combined Team, which, apart from having Jamaica Tae kwon do best fighters, would also have an input from the other arts on the team."
McKay said Argentina may not even be Jamaica's biggest threat as the Europeans represented by Germany, are also sharpening their skills to dethrone the combined team.