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McKey praises team’s display in Virginia

Medals galore: Bermuda’s team earned 23 medals and three grand championships at last weekend’s event

Bermuda’s phenomenal display at the World Cup Open Martial Arts Championship at the Sheraton Reston Hotel in Virgina last week caught many by surprise — even team leader Andrea McKey.

Competing under the banner of the Bermuda Karate Organisation, the ten-strong team earned 23 medals and three grand championships to exceed McKey’s expectations.

“I’ve seen a lot of the overseas competitors compete before and I know their schools and some of them are very fierce,” said McKey, who placed third in forms and third in two separate divisions in weapons.

“These people in the US train every day in. So for our schools in Bermuda, which train a couple of times a week, our level is right up there.

“Our team did absolutely awesome, coming away with 23 medals and three grand champions. They were very impressed with us and our performances.”

Kung fu fighter Jashae Allen-Lamontgne was the island’s standout performer, capturing age-group honours competing in forms, weapons and sparring disciplines and claiming the forms’ grand champion title on her debut at the championship.

Fellow kung fu fighter Milahn Powell also made a big impression on her debut at the event, placing third in her age group in the forms and came first in weapons to secure the weapons’ grand champion title.

Kent Bean, who also competes in kung fu, won age group honours in the forms and weapons and was also the forms’ grand champion.

Also among those producing podium displays were Kentaro Bean, who placed first in forms and weapons and third in sparring.

Andre Joseph, also making his debut, placed first in forms and weapons, while Callaahj Simons and Amarriah Vaughans placed second and third in forms and sparring.

“There were five different martial arts schools [competing] under the Bermuda Karate Organisation, so for us to all go to the open tournament and participate was a fantastic opportunity.

“The children had fun and most of them had at least 12 to 20 individuals in their groups, so coming away with all those medals was a wonderful achievement for them.

“I think martial arts in Bermuda is continuing to grow back to what the heyday was back in the 1980s.”

The team was the largest to represent Bermuda at the championships with each member earning the right to compete at the event based on the points they earned from local tournaments last year.