St George's pull one back, Lawrence sizzles at Seido
St George's College on Saturday denied many-time defending champions Calabar High a clean sweep of the 2016-17 McKay Security Jamaica Taekwondo Association High School League, taking the 41st Seido Open title 3-1 at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium.
Cancellation of the Shai-Tai Kickboxing Open, postponement of the Jamaica Taekwondo Association Open - due to the death of Mandeville's Harry Chin-Hing - and Ningen Karate's decision to host a closed tournament in May, saw Calabar winning their sixth consecutive title with a 4-1 aggregate.
Though Calabar were already declared league victors, St George's, the team that had pressed the champs to the end in 2015-16, produced a never-say-die display to pull one back on the lads from Red Hills Road.
First, Howard Aris beat Tervin Hartley to put St George's 1-0 up. Calabar responded by sending out captain Trevor Webb Jr, who levelled the score at 1-1 against Kevon Kidd.
St George's then showed their depth by calling on Jemar Costley, who used his experience to take out Daniel Azan, swinging the score back into the Light Blues corner at 2-1.
Calabar's Akiel Reid proved no match for St George's Miguel Hamilton, who made it safe, denying their rivals bragging rights of a sweep.
Sponsor Jason McKay said Calabar learnt a valuable lesson in the final match.
"Never underestimate your opponent. It's all about pride and bragging rights. Nobody wants to lose. You're only as good as your last fight," he said.
BEATING HEAVIER RIVALS
Meanwhile, Jamaica Taekwondo's Ackeem Lawrence, the tournament's lightweight champion, produced a scintillating display of speed to sweep the Grand Champion crown, beating heavier rivals.
Lawrence first stopped many-time champion Paul Williams of New York Seido before getting by heavyweight Taekwondo teammate Richard Stone, setting up a thriller with defending grand champion Chris Sinclair of New York Seido.
Both fighters were evenly matched, trading blows at lightning speed that had the judges often calling points for both men at the same time. However, after two grueling rounds, Lawrence managed a narrow one - point victory.
Chief Instructor of Seido Karate, SeiShihan Tony Robinson, said the Grand Championship fight between Lawrence and Sinclair was "a wonderful display of clean fighting between two closely matched fighters who showed great respect to each other".