Dyer eyes glory in Shanghai
Krista Dyer is hoping to become only the second Bermudian to medal at the World Wushu Championships when she competes in Shanghai, China, this month.
Should the Bermuda team captain achieve her ambition, she would be the first local fighter to podium since Jermal Woolridge won bronze in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2013, having also claimed silver in Ankara, Turkey, in 2011.
Dyer, however, knows she faces a significant obstacle in the form of formidable Iranian Shahrbanoo Mansourian, who is the reigning champion in the women’s 65kg division.
“The ultimate goal is to medal, but this is worlds, so it’s top-level competition,” said Dyer, the Pan American champion, who needs to medal to qualify for the Sanda World Cup.
“Jermal showed us that Bermuda can get it done and I’m trying to do the same.
“There’s an Iranian girl in my division who has been dominating for a good number of years.
“Ideally, I wouldn’t want to draw her [in the first round] because I think she’s a really tough opponent and a really good fighter.
“Ultimately, if I do well I would have to cross her path. Hopefully, it will be later rather than sooner!”
Also representing Bermuda in Shanghai, which runs from Sunday until next Thursday, will be Kaelin Cox who is competing in the men’s 65kg division.
It will be the 23-year-old’s debut at the competition and he admits is viewing it as a learning experience, having only fought on the lei tai, an elevated fighting arena, without railings, twice previously.
“I’m feeling ready,” said Cox, who won silver at the Pan American Kung Fu Championships in July in the two-man fighting set alongside Garon Wilkinson, the Bermuda Sanshou Association president, last summer.
“Getting that win under my belt at the Aries Fighting Championships [at North Field in July] has given me a little bit of confidence.
“Hopefully, I can perform better. I’m going there to dip my toe and see how it is.”
Wilkinson is confident that a medal is within Dyer’s grasp and is believes Cox will benefit greatly from testing himself against the world’s best in China.
“Krista is clearly a much more advanced athlete and fighter than when she first fought at the World Championships [in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2015],” Wilkinson said.
“Our expectations are very high of her. She has certainly put in the work and I can just tell by her attitude in training that she wants to do well.”
Wilkinson added: “Kaelin’s a very experienced martial artist, but not such an experienced full-contact sanda fighter as of yet.
“We’re approaching this for him as an eye-opener. He certainly has the speed and skill to create some upsets. He’s put in the work.”
The BSA had hoped to travel with a larger squad, but Reyel Bowen and Ryley Mason, who are both based in Britain, had to withdraw because of school commitments.
“In a way, [those withdrawals] may actually work out because our coach, Sentwali Woolridge, and technical director, Oscar Lightbourne, are unable to make the trip [because of visa issues].
“We do have our other executive members, Damion Wilson and Dueane Dill, who have stepped in to assist me as coaches.”
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