Dyer set to lead fresh faces in Buenos Aires
Krista Dyer will lead a fresh-faced Bermuda Sanda team at the Twelfth Pan American Wushu Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In the absence of Sentwali Woolridge, who is travelling as a coach, and Reyel Bowen, who is living overseas, Dyer has been handed the captain’s duties for the three-day regional event, which starts on Friday.
Also named in the five-strong team, which left the island yesterday, are debutants Dean Jones, Johneiro Outerbridge, Kaelin Cox and Ryley Mason.
For Dyer, it will be a chance to go one better than the silver medal she won at the previous championships in Lubbock, Texas, in 2016, where she lost in the final to Emily Diaz, of the United States.
Dyer has made steady progress during the intervening years, chalking up impressive wins over Ragan Beedy, a three-times American champion, and Canadian Sara Buczek, and feels confident of achieving her objective.
“I felt I had the win in my grasp but couldn’t bring it to fruition,” Dyer said of her defeat to Diaz. “This time I’m looking to pull through and get the win; I’m know I’m capable of that.”
The 30-year-old admits it feels strange to be considered the “old head” of the group but is relishing the extra responsibility as the team’s leader.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen that I’d be the team captain,” said Dyer, who has been kickboxing for five years. “I’m even more invested, if that’s possible, and I really want to see the whole team do well.”
Although the championships will be the first International Wushu Federation sanctioned bouts for her team-mates, Dyer insists “nobody is going in blind or unprepared”.
Indeed, Jones and Outerbridge both scored victories at the Sanda Kicks and Licks tournament in Barbados in May, Cox has a win under his belt as an amateur boxer, while Mason, the first junior female to represent Bermuda, has competed in karate for several years.
Cox, 22, who is more known for his accomplishments in kung fu forms, is looking forward to his return to full-bloodied combat.
“I started off fighting, hitting the bag in the backyard with my daddy [Dwayne Cox] before I got into forms and weapons.
“This will be my first time competing in full-contact fighting overseas; I’m going out there with an open mind. It’s a very different mindset to forms and I actually enjoy the fighting more. I’ll look to be the aggressor and use my speed and agility, which are my main strengths.”
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