Oshane Murray, Calabar's captain, accepts a cheque from Jason McKay, CEO of McKay Security Limited. Calabar's Oshane Murray is well on the way to etching his name into the annals of his school's history by being one of its most successful athletes.
Murray remarkably qualified for the 2011 Jamaica combined martial arts team as a 17-year-old last year, the first junior to make the adult team.
On Saturday, Murray took it up another notch by winning gold for the Manna Fighters on his first international match at the CanAmerican Open in Philadelphia. Murray, who turned 18 last month, defeated fellow Jamaican Scott Wright in the middleweight final after getting a first-round bye. In his semi-final match, he stopped a United States fourth-degree black belt.
The Calabar sixth-former admitted he was nervous before taking the mat against the more experienced Wright but he quickly got over the butterflies. "I had never fought as an adult, internationally, before," he told STAR Sports. "I was nervous but when the fight started it was normal," he added.
A pioneer of the Jamaica Taekwondo High School programme, Murray has competed at the highest level of junior taekwondo, twice representing Jamaica at the International Taekwondo Federation's world championship. He is also a multi-gold medal winner at the International Sports Karate Association's US Open. Arthur Barrows, president of the Jamaica Taekwondo, said Murray has achieved much despite being in a challenging inner-city environment.
Ainsley Walters, Star Racing Writer
"Oshane is a gifted lad," said Barrows. The community he lives in is a challenging one. However, he handles his schoolwork well. At taekwondo, he is a very strong guy, committed to training and follows instructions.
"As he goes along, we'll continue to develop him as a young man. We hope to have him in university soon," Barrows added.
Should Murray maintain his fantastic form, having also won the middleweight division at last November's Black Belt Invitational at the University of Technology, he could very well end 2011 ranked among the top five Manna Fighters.
His emergence, along with that of Wright, should also provide team captain Jason McKay with an opportunity to venture to a nine-man team format, instead of five, an area where international television opportunities are far better. So far, Murray is enjoying every minute of his time with the 'big men' and looking forward to the US Open which starts July 2 in Orlando.
"The combined team is a close family," he said. "It's a lot of fun, the best team I have ever been on."