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Barrows in hot seat
Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
A SUDDEN twist of fate has thrust Arthur Barrows into the captaincy role of Jamaica's combined martial arts team for this Saturday's final of the Busta Pan-Am Challenge against the United States in Philadelphia.
Barrows will captain the combined team in the absence of Jason McKay, whose father, Ronald, died last Saturday.
McKay, who led the combined team to multiple victories for the last seven years, including back-to-back victories in the World Team Fighting Championship at the United States Open, yesterday told The Gleaner that the Philadelphia showdown clashed with his father's funeral service this Saturday.
Close watch on Barrows
Although Jamaica have had the better of the United States in recent meetings, Barrows' leadership will be closely watched as the last time he led the team in McKay's absence the combined team were declared losers against the Dominican Republic.
Ironically, McKay was unavailable then as his duties as a member of the police force led to him being summoned, leaving Barrows in charge.
It required a recall of scorecards and protest action by the Jamaicans to erase that loss.
Suddenly thrust into the captaincy role, Barrows yesterday said he was ready for the challenge.
"It's a heavy load with the combined team going into such a tough bout but I am comfortable and confident," said Barrows, who leaves the island with the team Friday morning.
"We know the US team will come good but Jamaica are strong. We don't have Bruce McFarlane or Dwayne Brown, but we're still strong with Shiahh Shukura and Shawn Cummings, super heavyweights.
"At the front we have Alrick Wanliss and Nicholas Dussard leading the charge in micro and lightweight. Kenneth Edwards and myself are in the middle. I am not too worried. It's just to keep the guys focused and keep the game plan on the day."
Meanwhile, McKay is wishing the team success ahead of this summer's defence of their World Team Fighting Championship, as he wants Jamaica to enter the contest unbeaten to help build their confidence ahead of facing Argentina and Germany in Orlando.