A SPORTSMAN has returned victorious from the USA after he made an impassioned plea to him realise his international ice hockey ambition.

Marlon Williams has returned home to Kidlington after playing ice hockey with the champion Jamaican national team in the Amerigol LATAM Cup 2019 tournament, held this year in Florida between September 6-8.

Mr Williams made a crowd funding appeal to help him get to try outs for the Jamaican team in Canada during July, but he was only able to join the squad for a late try out in Florida ahead of the tournament.

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The gamble paid off and he is ecstatic to have been part of the team which took home the cup undefeated.

Mr Williams said: “I went out to America not knowing what the outcome was going to be and it just paid off for me. I feel like I’m part of history now.”

The crowd funding appeal helped Mr Williams to raise £1,950 to fund his journey.

The hockey player was raised in foster care, but was able to qualify for the Jamaican team because his mum was from Kingston, the Caribbean island’s capital city.

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“She would have been over the moon to see her son play for her country,” he said.

Mr Williams, a former Come Dine With Me star, added that the Jamaican team’s victory had already had an impact on the future of ice hockey in the country.

Oxford Mail:

Marlon Williams has previously played for the Oxford City Stars as well as other teams.

According to Radio Canada International, investors are now interested in building an ice arena in Jamaica to prepare to compete in the Winter Olympics in the future.

The team also had the backing of prominent public figures from the island nation, including the bobsleigh team made famous by the 1993 comedy sports film Cool Runnings.

The high stakes nature of the team’s final against Colombia would make a fitting film according to Mr Williams.

As the final bell was sounded, the two teams were drawn 2-2, and it went to penalty shootouts before Jamaica was declared the victor.

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The tournament was the first time most of the squad had met, but they all gelled quickly.

“I would say we met up as acquaintances but left as brothers,” said Mr Williams.

Most of the team members were from Canada and the USA and were eligible to play for Jamaica due to their heritage.

There was also one other player from the UK who had travelled from the north of England.

Mr Williams, who plays for several teams including Oxford University, said he has suffered with anxiety for years despite his friends thinking of him as ‘a smiley, larger than life’ character.

He said the tournament was a “mammoth task” because of the high standard of competition, but returning home victorious had had a huge effect on his self-esteem.