Cunningham strikes double gold
Microweight Sheckema Cunningham won a historic double gold for Jamaica at the 2017 International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA) Amateur Members Association World Championships on Saturday, exceeding her own expectations and that of the coaching staff in Athens, Greece.
After taking the continuous-sparring title on Thursday, Cunningham returned on Saturday to hand Jamaica their fourth gold of the event in points sparring, moving the island's tally at the tournament to six medals - four gold and two silver.
Ackeem Lawrence, along with Akino Lindsay, who won Jamaica's first gold on last Wednesday's opening day, closed the tournament on Sunday with silver medals in points sparring.
Cunningham was overjoyed with her achievement, the second ISKA-sanctioned tournament at which she was winning double gold in less than a year, having also won the double at last July's United States Open.
However, winning two ISKA world titles was more than she had bargained for in Athens on her first attempt at the ISKA Amateur Members Association World Championships.
"It's a joy winning both divisions. Coming here, it was always the intention. To pull it off, I didn't know I could have done it, but with the preparation I got from my coach, Jason McKay, anything was possible," she said.
Cunningham, 31, who was plagued by a leg injury which had kept her out of competition for much of 2015, hopes she remains healthy to defend her titles on home soil next year when Jamaica hosts the championships in Montego Bay.
"Next year, In Jamaica, it's gonna be a tough battle. Fighting on home ground is always pressuring, but it's something I am looking forward to defending," she added.