Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
SHECKEMA Cunningham of Future Leaders Karate and New York Seido's Paul Williams were crowned grand champions at Saturday's Seido Open International karate tournament at the University of Technology's auditorium.
Cunningham, defending grand champion and captain of Jamaica's female combined martial arts team, won her fifth straight title by dispatching all who dared challenge her on way to the 2012 crown.
However, the veteran Paul Williams, who was beaten last year by Ningen's Kenneth Edwards, who is now away in the United States training for the Olympic Games, also won a fifth title, but was pushed to the limit by the younger local fighters.
Williams started off slowly and was actually behind on points in his first fight with lightweight champion Adrian King of Ningen Karate and Jamaica's male combined team. The Over-40 champion fought in a tough three-way round robin against heavyweight champion Kevin McDowell of Sidekick Taekwondo and lightweight champion King.
The younger fighters put Williams to the test, but the highly rated United States-based champion used his experience and power to defeat his local rivals.
His first fight with King went into overtime and sudden death. Against McDowell, Williams' power punching was too much for the heavyweight champion's ribs. Renowned for his powerful kicks, McDowell nary got a chance to unleash against his older rival.
Wolmers' Boys won the high school competition after defeating Jamaica College, Calabar and the much-vaunted Kingston College.