Local trio impress at Phoenix Wushu Nationals
Garon Wilkinson, the Bermuda Sanshou Association president, has hailed the island’s outstanding showing at the Phoenix Wushu Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona.
The trio of Errin Cann, Kaelin Cox and Kallan Todd did Bermuda extremely proud having secured three medals among them, including two gold, competing in the event held at the Phoenix Convention Centre on December 18 and 19.
Cann, the youngest member of the team at age nine, won the Jianshu (straight sword) division and silver in the Changquan (Longfist) division respectively.
Cox won the island’s remaining gold competing in the men’s traditional Nan Quan (southern fist) division.
“Overall a great performance and we are very, very pleased,” Wilkinson told The Royal Gazette.
“From an association standpoint we are extremely elated firstly that we’ve been able to compete in actual live competition. It’s been over two years so we are particularly surprised with Errin’s performance because most of the training was done by Zoom. For her to be able to attain podium finishes basically off Zoom training is amazing.
“Also extremely pleased with Kaelin Cox’s performance. He was actually going to do two events but because he was also doubling up as coach for Kallan in san da he did one event and executed extremely well.”
Todd, 15, also impressed in his debut san da fight against an opponent twice his age in Tyler Bristow of Baltimore.
“He fought his first san da fight against an adult and so it was’t an official fight, it was an exhibition match,” Wilkinson added. “He went down 2-0 but executed very well.
“It was great to see him display his skills as he did against obviously a much matured seasoned athlete. It served as a great experience and we are looking forward to Kallan developing in the sport of san da,” he said.
Cann also thrived competing in the US Wushu Mock Trials, which were held at the same venue, placing fourth in Jianshu and ninth in Changquan respectively.
“The US Wushu Mock Trials is all national team athletes and so she was fourth and ninth against the US national team athletes, which is extremely good,” Wilkinson said.
“The US Wushu Mock Trials gave the US national athletes the chance to perform in front of qualified judges and used the approved competition floor.”
The overall experience was ideal preparation for Cann’s bid to qualify for the 2026 Youth Olympics in Dakar, Senegal.
“The whole trip was kind of surrounded around her in our push for qualification at the 2026 Youth Olympics that have been postponed from 2022,” Wilkinson said.
“Wushu is now going to be an official sport. The Bermuda Olympic Association, obviously because of Wushu being a part of the Youth Olympic programme, has supported our development programme so we have had athlete development as well as coaching development since September of 2020.”
Cann also gained valuable exposure prior to the Phoenix Wushu Nationals training at the Elite Kung Fu in California this summer.
“She spent two weeks training with them and because there’s been so little competition we really wanted her to compete this year,” Wilkinson added.
The BSA president also praised Taolu coach Jecoa Burrows, san da arbitrator Oscar Lightbourne and team manager Nolette Webb, who also accompanied the island’s athletes at the Phoenix Wushu Nationals.
“I did not attend this trip but it was great to see that the coaches we appointed and the management team was able to pull everything off,” Wilkinson said.
“It’s obviously very difficult to travel during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are just glad that we were able to pull it off and everyone was able to return home safely.”