Ainlsey Walters, Gleaner Writer
OLYMPIAN Kenneth Edwards landed in England on Tuesday confident of medalling in the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Cup after his creditable showing in London 2012.
Edwards surprised the nation with a commendable performance against China's 6' 7" Liu Xiaobo in the first round of an historic tae kwon do Olympic debut for Jamaica and relishes his chances at his third World Cup.
The Olympian is among a team of 14 Jamaican competitors in Brighton, England, for the October 4-7 World Cup. Microweight Alrick Wanliss historically won gold in 2008, a feat Edwards believes he is capable of repeating as a heavyweight.
Edwards reached the quarter-final in Italy 2008 but lost to a fighter from the Netherlands.
Though carrying an ankle injury, the flashy-kicking 26-year-old said reverting to his customary ITF-style fighting, from that of the Olympics World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) feet-only format, should take some pressure off his testy ankle.
"I am feeling good, just a little ankle pain. It's a different kind of fight. It's not all foot fighting like WTF," he said.
"I can use my hands and it requires a little less strain on the ankle. The doctors gave me the go-ahead and I was already booked for the competition. I am on painkillers, so I'll be all right," he added.
Edwards is confident of making the final where he could very well meet an old rival, New Zealand's Carl Van Roon, who is no stranger to Jamaica, having featured in two knockouts at the International Sports Karate Association Busta Gold Cup at the National Indoor Sports Centre in 2008.
"I think my chances are very good," Edwards remarked. "I expect to medal. The top contender is Carl Van Roon. We've faced each other before. Right now we're 2-2. I guess this would be the tie-breaker if we make it to the final," he added.
Edwards beat Van Roon live on ESPN 3 in 2010 at the US Open's Night of Champions, winning the ISKA heavyweight World Continental championship.
However, he lost the rematch to the New Zealander in a team match in Vietnam last year.