Garon Wilkinson will compete in his biggest competition to date as he takes part in the Wushu Tourmanent of the World Games being held in Cali, Colombia from July 25th – August 4th.
The Wushu competition will be held from August 2nd-4th. Wilkinson will be competing in the Daoshu (Broadsword) and Gunshu (Staff) all-around event after securing one of the wild cards issued to the Pan American region. The qualifying criteria for the Games was the top 3 places from the last World Wushu Championships in Ankara, Turkey.
Since the competition is being held in the Pan American region, the Wushu World Governing Body of Wushu, the International Wushu Federation (IWuF) issued 20 wild cards to athletes in the region.
In addition to Bermuda’s one wild card, the following Pan American countries were issued 2 wild cards: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, USA and Venezuela. Colombia as the host nation has been issued 3 wild cards.
Wilkinson has been preparing for the World Games specifically after receiving word of his wild card qualification back in January. He has been training in the adult gymnastics class at the Bermuda Gymnastics Association and has been working closely with Duke Nelligan, coach of the National Gymnastics team.
Wilkinson said, “Modern Wushu contains lots of ballistic gymnastics-type movements so I have been working out at the gymnastics training center once a week to improve my flexibility and acrobatics. One move in particular I have been working on is called a butterfly twist, a horizontal twisting kick. Nelligan has been extremely helpful and I am now landing this element cleanly. I have also improved my aerials and overall ballistic movement ability. The training there has definitely paid off. Nelligan has worked with martial artists before so I find it very easy working with him since he understands the technical differences of the two disciplines.”
Wilkinson continued, “The World Games is by far the biggest competition I have ever competed in and I’m honored to have been issued a wild card in the sport of Wushu. I know that by far I will be the oldest competitor in my division and I’m glad that I have the health and ability to still compete at this level. This event is extra special since it will be the first multi-sport event that I will have competed in.”
Wilkinson’s training regime has also consisted of running to assist with his stamina and weight cut, weights, stretching and routine repetition. “The key to training for Taolu (forms) is repetition, repetition, repetition. You cannot expect to surprise yourself and do something in competition that you haven’t done over 1000 times in practice. It just doesn’t happen. I know that from experience.”
In final preparation for the World Games Wilkinson will also compete in the 1st Brazil Wushu Invitational in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso, Brazil from July 25th-28th before flying to Colombia. He will also be accompanied by reigning World Championship San Shou Bronze medalist Jermal Woolridge who will be competing in the +90kg San Shou Division at the invitational. “It has always been our challenge to get Woolridge quality opposition for San Shou prior to the major competitions. He is gunning for the Gold at this year’s World Championships being held in November in Malaysia so this is a prime opportunity to get him in a quality tournament prior to the championships later this year.
The Brazilians are known to be the strongest San Shou fighters in the region and we know he will have quality opposition.