Ainsley Walters, Gleaner Writer
Sheckema Cunningham again stamped her name in the martial arts record books by landing gold in the microweight division at the Dutch Open in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, yesterday.
The Jamaican was the only non-European and lone female black competitor among the 750-strong line-up of competitors at the Open.
She was one of three Jamaicans competing at the tournament. Tashauna Grannum and Adrian Moore completed Jamaica's contingent, which had Jason McKay travelling as coach.
Cunningham made history in 2011 when she and Alrick Wanliss won bronze at the International Tae Kwon Do Federation World Championships in New Zealand.
Last year, she became the first Jamaican woman to win an International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) world title when she defeated Argentina's Anna Serrano live on ESPN3 during the US Open's Night of Champions at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Cunningham's victory yesterday was her first European championship gold. McKay described her performance as outstanding, considering she was being trained to peak in July.
"She is the world's best at this weight, and you can expect more from her later this year," he said.
Cunningham said her training paid off in the Netherlands.
"We really emphasised cardio for the last five weeks, so the climate change didn't really affect me.
"The snow and five-below-zero temperatures really made the weight loss required to compete difficult to attain, but I feel great. It was hard, but I was well prepared," she said.