Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Lawrence’s shot silver will inspire others – Vassell

Published:Friday | August 12, 2022 | 12:07 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Lawrence
Lawrence
Vassell
Vassell
1
2

The historic World Under-20 shot put silver won last week in Cali, Colombia, by Kobe Lawrence will inspire others. That’s the word from Michael Vassell, the godfather of the local throws movement. Vassell believes with field events on the rise,...

The historic World Under-20 shot put silver won last week in Cali, Colombia, by Kobe Lawrence will inspire others. That’s the word from Michael Vassell, the godfather of the local throws movement. Vassell believes with field events on the rise, Jamaica could have a wonderful team on duty at the 2024 World Under-20 Championships.

Lawrence, a Calabar High School sixth-former, gave Jamaica a medal in the shot put for the first time since the World Under-20 Championships began in 1986. Vassell, who was on coaching duty with the team in Cali, said, “This is a landmark achievement and I will say this is a long time coming. This is a dream of mine where I saw that Jamaica can compete on the world stage with everybody.”

Lawrence threw a personal best distance of 20.58 metres to secure the silver with American Tarik O’Hagan taking gold at 20.73m and Tizian Noah Lauria, the latest in a long line of capable German throwers, pocketing bronze with 20.55m.

Vassell was lavish in his praise of the 18-year-old shot putter and his coach Julian Robinson. “I tell Julian every time I see him that he has been doing a fantastic job with the youngsters at Calabar. His seniors and his throwers, especially on the male side, have pushed us into the eyes of the world and it’s one of the things I think we can just work together, support each other and keep on moving Jamaica forward.”

Robinson has scored with discus throwers Fedrick Dacres, Traves Smikle, Kai Chang and 2021 Olympic women’s finalist Shadae Lawrence.

Asked to put Lawrence’s silver in perspective, the man who coached Chad Wright to the 2021 Olympic men’s discus final was emotional.

“I think Bouwaghjie Nkrumie running a 10.02 seconds National Junior Record for the 100m was great for me but seeing that silver and seeing Jamaica finish in front of Germany at a world meet was indescribable,” Vassell said.

Headed by team leader David Riley, the Jamaican team came close to topping the medal table in Cali, with six gold, seven silver and three bronze medals.

“The fact that we are now taking teams with people who are competing in throws, jumps and not only on the track shows that in the next two years, in Lima, Peru, where the World Under-20 Championships is going to be held, we’re going to have many other youngsters who will be inspired and motivated by this,” Vassell predicted. “Not only throwers but also our other field event athletes, our jumpers, Brandon Pottinger in the high jump final. We are becoming a true powerhouse in track and field.”