Lawrence grabs bronze Down Under at ITF World Cup
Microweight Ackeem Lawrence of Kingston Taekwon-Do Centre got Jamaica's medal haul under way by winning bronze in -57.0 kg sparring on Wednesday's second day at the September 26-29 seventh International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup now on in Sydney, Australia.
Jade Dewar, 16, from Mandeville Taekwon-Do and Mount St Joseph Catholic High, won Jamaica's first junior medal, silver, after falling to New Zealand in the final.
Olympian Kenneth Edwards, Sheckema Cunningham, Nicholas Dusard, and Donald Francis are among the McKay Security-Courtleigh Hotel-sponsored team at the Quaycentre in Sydney's Olympic Park, aiming for Jamaica's best-ever showing at an ITF world event on foreign soil.
Lawrence had also won microweight bronze at home when Jamaica hosted the ITF World Cup in 2014, finishing behind Canadian Max Bujold and his Jamaican teammate, Alrick Wanliss Jr.
"The fights were good fights. It wasn't the medal I was expecting but I am still proud of my performance. They were some pretty gruelling rounds, but it was all due to good preparation. I hope next time it will definitely be the gold," said the 23-year-old, who won ITF Pan-Am gold in 2014 and is gearing up for a shot at further glory at next year's ITF World Championships in Germany.
Lawrence first fought his way past Malaysia's Weng Chung and Hugo Andueza from Chile before going down in extra time to the division's eventual winner, Axle Vargas, from Argentina.
Dewar, who had won silver in 2015 at the New Jersey Open, but was appearing at her first ITF world tournament in four years, described the experience as "eye-opening".
Meanwhile, Dusard, an ITF Pan-Am gold medallist, along with Edwards and Francis, who won ITF gold as a junior in Jamaica 2014, were up for third-day action.