Jonathan De Matas captured a bronze medal in the sparring competition in T&T's historic participation at the fifth International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup, which took place recently in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The five athletes who represented T&T were all members of the Euge Taekwon-Do Academy.
The team was led by Franklyn Eugene (ITF IV Dan), and included Francisca Sadal (black belt I Dan) Aaliyah Maharaj (black belt I Dan) Christopher Nakhid (black belt II Dan) De Matas (red belt).
Nakhid participated in four events: patterns, sparring, technical breaking and power breaking.
He placed fourth in power breaking and competed keenly in his pattern event, Eui Am, in which he was narrowly edged by his opponent, 3-2.
His first round sparring match was against a Slovenian opponent which he lost 4-0.
Sadal competed in the patterns event in the 36-45 age group and was one of the three competitors out of six competitors to complete the event.
This is the first time that a female athlete from T&T has competed in the patterns competition.
Maharaj competed in Power Breaking and in the 36-45 age group and made great representation. Again, this was the first time a female athlete from T&T competed in this event.
There was only one competitor in this category placed first as the competition standards were very high.
Eugene competed in sparring in the 36-45 advance senior age group.
In the first minute, his Argentinian opponent was ahead by two points. Then, Eugene converted the score 3-2. However, at the end, the Argentinean came back to win the event. In the power breaking, Eugene was placed seventh in a field of 36 competitors, edging closer to the current world leaders in the event from Paraguay, Argentina, and England.
De Matas, meanwhile, competed in patterns in the colour belt 18-36 age group and won his first round against his Argentinean opponent.
His pattern Hwa�Rang was just too powerful for the Argentinean. In his second round of patterns, he faced a Jamaican opponent whom he lost to by one point. In the sparring competition, De Matas was able to capture the bronze medal against another Jamaica opponent. De Matas was up on points. However, deductions had the best of him. To his credit, De Matas fought hard and again his technical abilities exceeded those of his competitors.