Cunningham's best years ahead - McKay
Sheckema Cunningham's cut from last year's squad to the 2016 International Sport Kickboxing Association's (ISKA) Amateur Members Association World Championships spurred her into the form that climaxed at last week's United States Open, according to her coach, Jason Mckay.
"Last May, when she was cut from the squad, I had said her best years were ahead of her, but only if she put her mind to it," McKay reminded.
"She has made an incredible comeback," he remarked. "This year she will break every record, locally and internationally."
Cunningham, 31, has been enjoying a solid run of success since returning from injury to win double individual gold in continuous and clash sparring at the 2016 United States Open, two months after being axed from the squad to the ISKA Amateur Members World Champs in Stuttgart, Germany.
At this year's US Open, Cunningham, female combined martial arts team captain, led from the front with two victories in Jamaica's Caribbean Gold Cup final against perennial rivals Puerto Rico.
"After that disappointment, she has been nothing short of amazing. She stormed the US Open to win double gold, two months later, followed by back-to-back victories in New York, fighting World Taekwon-Do Federation style earlier this year."
An inspired Cunningham shone at this year's ISKA Members Association World Champs by landing double gold in Athens, Greece, in May, before leading Jamaica to their first hold on the Caribbean Gold Cup last week in Orlando.
"I told her fighting is a belief game. You have to believe you can do it and that will propel you to train and perform, which is exactly what she did," McKay pointed out, predicting that the microweight fighter will dominate her division, locally and internationally for quite a while.
Cunningham holds the record of being Jamaica's first fighter to win an International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championship medal for sparring, earning a bronze in New Zealand 2011, before Alrick Wanliss joined her in the history books at the same tournament.