The ancient Chinese fighting styles of Sanshou and Extreme Sanda will be on display Saturday, June 14, when the 24th annual U.S. Open Challenge and KSF-K Superstar Search take place at the Mobile Civic Center.

The Shaolin Chan Foundation and the Shaolin Institute will host the event, which has a strong connection to the Port City. Grand Master Shi Deru introduced these fighting styles to the U.S. when Mobile first sponsored a challenge competition.

“It’s been 20 years since I hosted the first official U.S. Open International Sanda/Sanshou fight in the U.S.,” the grand master said. “As a result, great fighters such as David Sanders and Cung Le have their (mixed martial art) fighting roots as champions … here in Mobile.”

The upcoming tournament will actually be two events. The daytime schedule will have competitions in forms, weapons and light contact, as well as continuous sport sparring with limited youth Sanda. During the night segment, the search for future MMA/Sanda professional competitors will take place.

Tournament organizers say they hope to discover the best MMA-styled fighters in the region, who will then help create a league under the Kung Fu Sanshou Federation brand. Competitors will have to demonstrate fighting techniques, such as punching, kicking, kneeing, throwing, intercepting and grabbling.

The weigh-in ceremony will be Friday, June 13, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Downtown. Saturday’s schedule begins at 9:55 a.m., with the final awards presentation set for 9 p.m.

Admission is divided into day tickets, $10; student standing tickets, $10; main event tickets, $20; front seating, $30; and VIP seating, $50. For additional information on the tournament, call 251-662-3225 and visit either or

International honor

Grete-Lilijane Küppas and Tiina Trutsi, two signees with the women’s soccer club at the University of South Alabama, have been called up to play with their Estonia national team in FIFA World Cup qualification matches.

Estonia dropped a 6-0 decision to the Czech Republic on April 26, and then fell to Spain 5-0 May 8. The next match is June 7 against Latvia. The squad is aiming to make the World Cup, which will be played next year in Canada.

“It is a massive honor for both girls to represent their country,” said USA head coach Graham Winkworth. “The World Cup is the biggest sporting event there is, and so to have the opportunity to play in qualifiers is huge. I want to with them the best of luck, and hopefully they will get the right result.”

Trutsi, who plays for the club team FC Flora Tallinn, had previously appeared in 15 international matches and was named the 2012 Estonian Female Player of the Year. Küppas had appeared in six games, and plays for Tammeka Tartu.

“We are excited that they are joining our program,” Winkworth said. “They are both very humble young ladies, and will fit into what is a very talented squad perfectly.”

The Lady Jags went 14-6-1 this last season, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

Get on your bikes and ride

The RIDEYELLOW charity bicycle ride, one of Alabama’s largest, is set for Saturday, June 14. The event was founded in 2007 by Mary Trufant and Ann White-Spunner to raise awareness of cancer, and to draft grassroots support for their mission of empowering people affected by cancer.

This year’s event is hosted by Infirmary Health, and will take place in Bay Minette at Halliday Park starting at 7 a.m. There is a 6-mile tribute ride (slow pace), a 10-mile flat course (suited to new riders), a 37-mile moderately hilly course (intermediate riders) and a 62-mile ride (experienced riders).

Last year’s ride had more than 750 cyclists and some 200 volunteers. The event raised $60,000 for local organizations to help fight cancer.

For information on riding or volunteering, call 251-937-9099 or visit

Keeping busy this summer

In a previous column, the varied list of sports camps available to local youngsters was discussed. The University of South Alabama has now announced even more activities. For more information, visit the “Camps and Clinics” link at

Lady Jags softball coach Becky Clark will host two camps in June. The Summer Fundamentals Camp for those in grades seven to 12 will be June 17-18 ($130), while the Little Jag Fundamentals Camp for ages 6 to 12 is on June 24-25 ($110). Both camps will take place at the newly renovated Jaguar Field.

The Azalea City Track & Field Camps will be hosted by coach Paul Brueske on June 16-19 at the Jaguar Track Facility. It is open to ages 9 to 19 ($105 before June 4, $115 after). The events covered are pole vault, high jump, hurdles, shot put, javelin, hammer, discus, long jump, triple jump and distance runs. For more information, call 251-460-7656 or email to

Registration is now open for coach Nick Brochu’s tennis academy, which will have camps June 2-6 and July 7-11 at the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts. The camps are open to players from first through 12th grades. There will be morning camps ($150) and all-day camps ($250), which will cover technical strokes and strategies. For information, call 251-460-6873 or 251-709-2003, or email to