Jamaica’s eight-member team to the Pan Am Taekwondo Championships held in Ocala, Florida in the United States last month, did themselves and their country proud by copping 15 medals in their first time competing at the event.
A breakdown of the medals show that Jamaica won six gold, five silver, and four bronze.
Coach Wayne Smith expressed his satisfaction at the high-level performances delivered by the Jamaican Taekwondo team.
“The performance was beyond expectation as this was the first time we had entered the Pan Am championship representing the Original ITF,” Smith told Sportsmax TV.
“Although they are a young team they have grit and character,” he added.
The Jamaican contingent was made up of athletes from two clubs – ITF Tong-IL-Do Jamaica and the Jamaica Taekwon-Do Academy/Federation.
They competed against teams from 19 other countries including Canada, Mexico, Chile, Wales, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Haiti, USA, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Grenada, and Mongolia.
Jamaica’s fighters ranged in age from 5 to 60 years-old with the martial artists competing in sparring and patterns.
Eight-year-old Ryan Gordon won gold in sparring and silver in patterns; seven-year-old Alyssa Anne Beaumont won two silver medals and nine-year-old Joshua Heholt won two bronze medals.
For his part, 12-year-old Daniel Wright won a gold medal in pattern and bronze in sparring while 19-year-old Jemar Costley won two bronze medals. Eight-year-old Govind Venugopal won gold in sparring and silver in patterns.
Jamaica Taekwondo’s fighters won three gold medals.
Racquel Colleso won two gold medals while Trevor Webb Jr also won gold in sparring.
Smith expressed his gratitude to the parents of the athletes, saying their support made everything possible.
“It shows what parental support along with a good programme can do to the development of children,” he said while noting that the Taekwon-Do programme is also designed to build character.