Triple threat: Bermuda won three medals at the Pan Am championships in Argentina. *Photo supplied
Triple threat: Bermuda won three medals at the Pan Am championships in Argentina. *Photo supplied
Bermuda won three medals at the Pan American Wushu Championships in Argentina this month, but while that is the bottom line there is more beyond the headline.

At the 2008 Pan American Championships Bermuda brought home two medals, both bronze, so the local Sanshou Association one-upped both the medal count and the type of medal won.

But even more importantly than that, junior Samir Furquan, 16, brought home a medal showing the BSA is on the right track.

Also doing the island proud was silver medalist Garon Wilkinson for Traditional Open Hand Forms and Shannon Ford, a bronze medal winner in 80kg sanshou.

Wilkinson, who is also president of the BSA, said: “This shows our improvement. We were disappointed that we didn’t get gold. We had a chance to win gold, but some of the other fighters were better on the particular day.

“This was the first time we returned to the island and didn’t say ‘Okay, we have to work on one particular thing. Our approach is proven that it works so we just need to continue our training methods that we’ve been using.”

Wilkinson won a bronze medal at the 2008 Pan Ams and was pleased to move up a spot on the podium.

“I was extremely happy in winning silver given that I had participated in the wushu form and I placed at the bottom of the 31-member field. I took a terrible spill trying a butterfly twist, which is a very difficult move.

“I didn’t want to come back empty-handed. I work up the morning of the traditional competition and had a terrible cold and fever. I wasn’t even sure whether I would do the open hand as well as the weapons, but by the time came for the open hand division I was able to muster up energy.

“Because I was so worried about getting through it, I had no nerves about the routine, which was flawless. The mistakes I would probably make on a regular basis, I eliminated so I was extremely happy with the performance.”

As happy as he was with his own showing, Wilkinson was even more pleased with the showing of Furquan.

The CedarBridge Academy student was the first junior to represent Bermuda at the Pan Am Wuhsu Championships.

Wilkinson said Furquan lost in the semis to the athlete who won gold in the finals.

“As a junior, he’s definitely shown potential. It’s the first time he’s participated in the international arena.

“No doubt he’s going to be the future of the sanshou programme in Bermuda just given his age and how fast he’s matured. He’s been training for less than a year and for him to be able to compete at the Pan American level and come home with a bronze is very impressive.”