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Cunningham all set for ISKA World Champs

Published:Monday | March 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Sheckema Cunningham

TOP female martial artist Sheckema Cunningham is among the Jamaican fighters hoping to fly the country's flag high on the medal podium at September's International Sport Kick Boxing Association (ISKA) Amateur Members Association World Championships, set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

The September 13-15 championships will be the second major international martial arts tournament hosted by Jamaica following the 2014 International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup at the same venue.

Cunningham, who, historically, won an individual bronze medal in sparring at the ITF World Championship in New Zealand, 2011, says that she is looking forward to going one step further and being nominated for the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year award should she bow out after striking gold in September.

The 32-year-old capped a successful 2017 by winning double gold at last May's International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) Amateur Member Association World Champs in Greece. She followed up by leading Jamaica to a Gold Cup title and double gold at the US Open in July.

However, she said that she was at a loss after getting a sectional award from the RJR Sports Foundation but, not considered for the major title.

"I won both events entered at the ISKA World Championships in Greece and both at the ISKA US Open, points and continuous sparring. There is nothing more I could have won in ISKA," she lamented.

Cunningham's coach, Jason McKay, believes that non-Olympic events are being undermined, pointing out, "Last year, Subrina Richards won both top medals in ISKA and WAKO and didn't make the general category, so it appears non-Olympic martial arts do not qualify.

"However, I believe the people who make these decisions are, generally, good people, so I am optimistic this will be resolved soon, hopefully, before we host the ISKA worlds in September."