Martial arts team on the way to Worlds
Bermuda will take a team of youth and experience to the 12th World Wushu Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia later this month.
The competition, which runs from October 28 to November 5, will see sanshou athletes Jermal Woolridge, Sentwali Woolridge, Khalid Pitcher and Jeron Gunness and taolu fighter Garon Wilkinson represent the Island.
Jermal Woolridge, Sentwali Woolridge and Wilkinson will be competing in their fourth World Championships, while Gunness is making his Wushu Championship debut.
Pitcher will be competing in his second World Championships after his debut showing back in 2009.
”I’m very happy with the strength of our team,” said president of Bermuda Sanshou Association (BSA) Garon Wilkinson. “We have been in hard training specifically for this World Championships for the last eight weeks and we still have a good two weeks of very hard training to go.
“The training camp has been very successful and this is the final team that we have selected. We have a good bit of experience with myself, Jermal and Sentwali.”
The two lesser experienced fighters, Pitcher and Gunness, will be out to prove that they can compete at the highest level and even cause a few upsets.
Originally hailing from the Bermuda Karate Institute, Gunness will be making his first Wushu Championships appearance and is fighting in the 143-pound weight class.
He had an impressive unanimous victory over Canada’s Eddie Pierce in last year’s “All or Nothing” fight night in Bermuda, and has been in training with the BSA for the last few months after a number of impressive performances locally.
“I’m happy to see Khalid back on the scene and it’s great to have Jeron as a new athlete in the fold.
“He will be critical in the development of the next crop of athletes that we now have training,” added Wilkinson.
“We have a few bumps and bruises that we will be trying to get on top of over the next couple of weeks and our fighters still have to cut weight prior to weigh-in.
“However, all in all we are in a good position and I expect a great championships.”
The remaining fighters have a wealth of experience in the international arena, with Jermal Woolridge having won a bronze medal at the World Wushu Championships two years ago.
Sentwali Woolridge, who is competing for the first time in a sanshou event since intensive training in China last year will be competing in the 154-pound weight class.
Wilkinson placed 11th place at the World Games in California back in August and this time out will be competing in three taolu events — changquan (long fist), daoshu (broadsword) and gunshu (staff).
The coaching and management team also travelling to Kuala Lumpur consists of Oscar Lightbourne, Fabio Iannone, Talia Iris, Nolette Tucker, Karlene Antoine and Melody Lightbourne.
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