Seven-member martial arts team heading for Buenos Aires

Seven of Bermuda's top San Shou and Taolu martial artists will be travelling to Buenos Aires, Argentina to compete in the eighth Pan-American Wushu Championships next week.

The event, which is scheduled from October 6-11, will see leading artists from around the world participate in different weight categories.

Bermuda's team consists of seven members who will showcase their talent in seven different classes ranging from 56 kilogrammes to 90-plus kilogrammes.


Seven of Bermuda's top San Shou and Taolu martial artists will be travelling to Buenos Aires, Argentina to compete in the eighth Pan-American Wushu Championships next week.

The event, which is scheduled from October 6-11, will see leading artists from around the world participate in different weight categories.

Bermuda's team consists of seven members who will showcase their talent in seven different classes ranging from 56 kilogrammes to 90-plus kilogrammes.

The squad includes four adult males – Sentwali Woolridge (70kg), Shannon Ford (85kg), Reyel Bowen (90kg), and Jermal Woolridge (90+kg).

The lone female is Talia Iris who fights in the 56kg division while the one junior, Samir Furqan, will compete in the 56kg category.

Garon Wilkinson is the only member of the team who will take part in Taolu .

Wilkinson, who has travelled the world and competed in a number of tournaments, is anxious to see how the team will compete.

"This is our third Pan American Championship as we represented Bermuda in 2006 in Toronto and in 2008 in Sao Paulo," said Wilkinson. "We have also competed in two World Championships, 2007 in Beijing and last year in Toronto.

"The Beijing tournament was especially memorable as that served as an Olympic qualifier for the Beijing Wushu Olympic Tournament and also because Wushu is the national sport of China.

"Disappointedly we failed to qualify for the Olympic event but the experience we gained was invaluable."

Wushu is the modern term for the Chinese martial art of kung fu. The Wushu competition is split into two parts – taolu (forms) and san shou (full contact fighting).

Sentwali Woolridge has shown he can compete with the best in the world, losing by the narrowest of margins to the current European champion at 70kg.

Furqan will also be one to keep a close eye on, given his age and ability, something that Wilkinson is excited about.

"I think all of our athletes have a great chance of medalling, however, I have to point out our team captain, Sentwali Woolridge, has a great chance of taking top honours if he performs to his current ability.

"He is in the best shape of his life and he has been fighting at this level for over three years now.

"His narrow loss against the current European Champion at 70kg proved that he has what it takes to compete at this level. It will be extremely difficult though as 70kg (154 lbs) is one of the more heavily stacked weight categories.

"I am also expecting great things from our lone junior fighter, Samir Furqan.

"He will be fighting in the 15-17 years age group and although this is his first time fighting at this level he showed great promise in his exhibition bout against Talia Iris at Smackdown back in July."

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