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Cunningham Wins ISKA Title On ESPN3
Sheckema Cunningham on Saturday 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, who on Thursday had captained Jamaica's female combined team to victory over Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago in an endurance-sapping round robin, showed no sign of fatigue when she graced the stage at the US Open, the world's biggest martial arts tournament.
Despite falling behind in the first quarter against Serrano, Cunningham rallied and caught the Argentine with successive turning kicks to the midsection.
Cunningham's historic win was her second huge international success in a year. Last year March, the Future Leaders Karate star became the first black woman to medal at the International Taekwondo Federation World Championships when she won a bronze in New Zealand.
Her victory on ESPN3 should be included in a rebroadcast for a special highlights show on ESPN2, prime time on August 3, 10, and 17.
Cunningham is the third Jamaican to feature on the Night of Champions at the US Open.
Coached by Jason McKay, Cunningham has been unbeaten locally for the last four years and has led Jamaica's female combined martial arts team to five consecutive victories in national showdowns.
Jamaica's presence on the Night of Champions has been historic on each occasion. In 2010 Kenneth Edwards, now preparing to represent Jamaica at the London Olympics, got a recorded spot.
Last year, Nicholas Dussard fought live and defeated Argentina's Estanislao Serrano to be crowned world lightweight continuous sparring champion at the tournament which was also beamed to millions worldwide.