Sun | Aug 14, 2022

Kobe Lawrence follows history-making shot with discus final today

Published:Saturday | August 6, 2022 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Kobe Lawrence in discus action at the Carifta Games in Kingston, Jamaica earlier this year.
Jamaica’s Kobe Lawrence in discus action at the Carifta Games in Kingston, Jamaica earlier this year.

A COMBATIVE performance by 18-year-old shot putter Kobe Lawrence made World Athletics Under-20 Championship history for Jamaica in Cali, Colombia on Monday. However, Lawrence said the drive to the nation’s first-ever World Under-20 shot put medal...

A COMBATIVE performance by 18-year-old shot putter Kobe Lawrence made World Athletics Under-20 Championship history for Jamaica in Cali, Colombia on Monday.

However, Lawrence said the drive to the nation’s first-ever World Under-20 shot put medal began a year ago as he rode the athletes’ bus to the team hotel after placing eighth at last year’s championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

“From last year, right after I competed, and I was on the bus on the way back to the hotel, I told myself that next year I’m going to do better,” he recalled, with this year’s silver medal safely in hand.

On Monday, Lawrence powered his way to the historic runner-up spot with a personal best of 20.58 metres.

Coached by renowned throws expert Julian Robinson at Calabar High School, Lawrence stepped into the lead in round two with a distance of 20.36 metres.

On reflection, the Calabar sixth former said, “I thought I would need to do more because the guys are really good. So, when I got that one, I was like, okay, I’m into the top eight now so let’s get a good mark to be sure of medals.”

He was right. Throws by American Tarik O’Hagan and German Noah Lauria soon relegated him to third but the Jamaican wasn’t finished and secured the silver in round five.

His efforts in Cali extended his best from the 20.02 distance he mustered to win the Carifta Games title in Kingston in April.

“It felt great. I knew it was a good one,” he said happily.

His improvement is the outcome of focused work by Lawrence under Robinson’s direction.

TOP PRIORITY

Adept at both shot and discus, they chose the iron ball event as the top priority for Cali.

“My shot was inconsistent this year. My coach Julian Robinson said, coming into this championship, we should focus on it because I was doing both of them. So, coming here, Coach said focus on the shot and I did that and it worked out.”

Told of the unique nature of his achievement, Lawrence replied, “It feels good. I’ve been working very hard for this, been praying for this moment, so I have to thank God and I’m really grateful.”

The future mechanical engineer hopes his performance in Cali will pave the way to more success.

“At the end of my career, I would like to get a medal at the World Championships or the Olympics,” he said.

That would place him in elite Jamaican company with 2015 World bronze medal winner, O’Dayne Richards.

Lawrence will be in action today in the discus final, having qualified with a distance of 57.18 metres on Friday. He arrived in Cali as the world number five at 62.67 metres, with teammate Christopher Young at number six with a 2022 best of 61.66. Even though he has focused on the shot for Cali, the shot put history maker said, “I feel good. I feel confident going in.”

Young will also be in the final.