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Lawrence hopes to prove his 'weight' in gold

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer
Ackeem Lawrence

ACKEEM LAWRENCE believes that he has the formula to change silver into gold at the International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) Amateur Members Association World Championships.

"It's all in the weight," he said, explaining his approach for the September 12-15 international tournament set for the Montego Bay Convention Centre. Lawrence, 25, has two silver medals hanging at home, reminders from Greece 2017 when he fell one place short in continuous and points sparring at the ISKA Amateur Members Association World Champs.

"With ISKA, you find the competitors are really strong. Those persons are usually heavier than I am. The categories weren't my weight class," he explained, pointing to his pair of silver medals and continuous sparring bronze won at this year's US Open in Orlando, Florida, another ISKA tournament.

Preparation under way

"Greece was my first time at an ISKA World Champs. I fought -63 kilos, lightweight. However, I am going down to -60 kilos, which is also part of gearing up my preparation for the ITF World Cup a week later in Australia, at which I will be fighting -57.0," Lawrence summarised.

"Winning bronze at the US Open, I was fighting among those 150lb and below. In Greece, I was at 130lb but probably still seven pounds below the -63 category.

Convinced he has the right formula, the young man, who won an individual black belt microweight bronze and team-sparring gold at home in 2014 when Jamaica historically hosted the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup, is confident that he will prove his 'weight' in gold this time around.

"At home preparing, my intention is to make the lightest category in ISKA, -60 kilos, which will make the playing field more level," he said.

At the 2014 World Cup in Montego Bay, Lawrence, a consistent ITF fighter, finished third in the microweight division behind Canada's many-time world champion, Maxime Bujold, and fellow Jamaican Alrick Wanliss, who won silver.

He also fought as part of the team that historically won black belt sparring gold at home, beating teams from Canada and Argentina.