The Bermuda team taking part in the 12th World Wushu Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from October 28th - November 5th has been selected.
The team consists of San Shou (san da) athletes Jermal Woolridge, Sentwali Woolridge, Khalid Pitcher and Jeron Gunness and Taolu athlete Garon Wilkinson.
The team has a good mix of experience and youth with Jermal Woolridge, Sentwali Woolridge and Garon Wilkinson competing in their 4th world championships and Jeron Gunness making his wushu championship debut at the event. Khalid Pitcher will be competing is his second world championships after his debut showing back in 2009.
President of Bermuda Sanshou Association Garon Wilkinson said, “I am very happy with the strength of our team. We have been in hard training specifically for this world championships for the past 8 weeks and we still have a good 2 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, and both Woolridge’s. I’m happy to see Pitcher back on the scene and it’s great to have Gunness 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. 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.”
Jermal Woolridge, who won a Bronze Medal at the 11th World Wushu Championships in Ankara, Turkey 2 years ago will be hoping to move up the podium this time around in the +90kg (198lbs) weight class. Woolridge has recently returned from the 1st Brazil Wushu Invitational where he secured a first round knockout victory over Brazil’s Rodrigo Reis. He is currently abroad in Ontario, Canada making his final preparations for the championships.
Sentwali Woolridge, who is competing for the first time in a San Da competition since intensive training in China last year will be competing in the <70kg (154lbs) weight class. His most recent bout was against Canada’s Daniel Kechego at “All or Nothing” for the American Muay Thai Association Continental Title and lost a very close split decision. The event was headlined by Teresa Perozzi in her first match against Torie Nelson of the USA for the WBA and WBC middleweight championship.
Khalid Pitcher who is returning to International competition for the first time since 2009 will be fighting in the <80kg (176lbs) class. After a few years off due to work commitments he has now made a full return into the squad.
Jeron Gunness, who originally hails from out of Bermuda Karate Institute will be making his first Wushu Championships appearance and will be fighting in the <65kg (143lbs) weight class. Gunness had an impressive unanimous victory over Canada’s Eddie Pierce in last year’s “All or Nothing” fight night. Gunness has been in training with the Bermuda Sanshou Association for the last few months after a number of impressive performances here locally.
Garon Wilkinson, who finished in 11th place at the World Games in Cali, Colombia back in August, will be competing in three Taolu events - Changquan (long fist), Daoshu (broadsword) and Gunshu (staff). This is the first time that Wilkinson will be attempting the “triple” in one competition while he competed in Changquan at the last World Championships and the Daoshu/Gunshu combined event at the World Games.
The coaching and management team also traveling to Kuala Lumpur consists of Oscar Lightbourne, Fabio Iannone, Talia Iris, Nolette Tucker, Karlene Antoine and Melody Lightbourne.