The seven-member Jamaican judoka team was invited for the first time to the annual Ocean State Invitational International Judo Tournament held in Providence, RI and took away a total of 15 medals, along with a collective Spirit of Judo Award. The team won four gold, five silver, and six bronze medals, competing in the Pre-Cadet, Cadet, Junior, and Senior categories.
The Jamaican team was comprised of Zade Harris, Tayshaun Bryan, Kayla Caballero, Ricardo Dawkins, Christopher Johnson, Kirk Wisdom, and Steven Moore. Except for Johnson, this was the first time that the rest of the team had competed internationally and they all acquitted themselves well. The team’s head coach is Szandra Szogedi. The team all attended the training camp after the event.
Harris was the youngest member at 13. She competed in three categories and won all three in back-to-back competitions in the +64 kg weight class. Fifteen-year-old Tayshaun Bryan had a less than optimal start, but fought through in the Cadet and Senior groupings to capture a bronze medal in the -73 kg.
Kayla Caballero at age 15 competed in the -63 kg weight class. She lost twice against one of her U.S. opponents, but emerged to win a silver and bronze medal. Ricardo Dawkins, age 16, dominated in the -50 kg weight class in which he demonstrated his ne-waza technique to win a gold, silver and bronze.
Johnson, who ranked 7th at the Montreal Cadet Pan-American Cup 2019, received minor errors during competition that resulted in missing out on the gold in the -55 kg weight class. Wisdom competed in the -66 kg class and even though he was defeated in the Junior and Senior, he won bronze in the Cadet category. Moore competed in the Senior +100 kg weight class and after a six minute contest, lost to his Russian opponent.
This was the first time that many of the Jamaican judo team members had participated in international competition, and for some it was their first time ever in competition matches. Coach Szogedi is hoping to build a team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris and the 2028 Olympics in Los, Angles. She gave a huge thank-you to Mayo Quanchi Judo Club and Sensei Serge that hosted the team’s stay.