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High schoolers shine at Taekwondo Open
CALABAR High, Campion College, Wolmer's Boys and St Andrew High all made their marks in different divisions at the weekend's 2009 Busta Taekwondo Open at the Dr Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology.
High school kids featured prominently in both junior and senior divisions at the first tournament of the Busta Series, setting alight the auditorium in the high schools team fighting championship won by Calabar High.
The event ran for two days, attracting more than 400 competitors, ranging from pee wees to adults competing in various coloured and black belt divisions.
Despite a large turnout of coloured belts, it was the black belts and high school team fighting championships, which brought the crowd to its feet.
In the first black-belt event, champion Tashauna Grannum of Campion College got past St Andrew High's Maya McKay in the final.
Grannum, who was the hot favourite, had a battle with McKay before using her experience and weight advantage to prevail.
McKay was participating in her first year as a black belt and was a surprise finalist after getting past Merl Grove's Asheika Dyer, much to the surprise of the packed auditorium.
The men's black belt adult lightweight division was also ruled by a high schooler as Wolmers' sixth former, Nicholas Dussard, the International Taekwondo Federation Pan Am champion, made easy work of all his challengers before facing 2008 World Cup champion Alrick Wanliss in the final.
However, the Montego Bay Community College student, despite a rugged performance, could not match up to the heavier Dussard.
Absence of competitors
Microweight Wanliss was forced to compete in the lightweight division due to the absence of fighters in his weight class.
Veteran Arthur Barrows stopped the teenage invasion of the ranks by turning back the clock in the middleweight division. Showing he was not ready to be sent into retirement, Barrows, despite a good showing by young Scott Wright of Ningen Karate, easily got past all comers for a repeat victory in the division.
There were no surprises among the heavies as Kenneth Edwards easily got past his opponents to take the title over Shiahh Shukura.
Shukura, to the surprise of many, outbattled Shawn Cummings in overtime to register his first victory over his rival.
The high school division brought down the house with teams from Calabar, KC, Wolmer's, Cornwall and JC lining up for the grand prize in the first of the three-match series.
Surprises abounded with Montego Bay's Cornwall beating strong favourites Kingston College to face Calabar in the final. Despite being hands-down favourites, Oshane Murray-led Calabar had to fight Cornwall to the last man to win the trophy.