Wed | Nov 29, 2023

‘Kobe Lawrence poised to do great things’

Published:Saturday | March 25, 2023 | 1:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Calabar’s Kobe Lawrence.
Calabar’s Kobe Lawrence.
O’Dayne Richards.
O’Dayne Richards.

Outgoing Calabar High School senior Kobe Lawrence is poised to do great things in the shot put. To hear 2015 World Championships bronze medallist O’Dayne Richards tell the tale, Lawrence could break the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships Class One record, set by Kevin Nedrick at 20.65 metres.

Lawrence set a national junior record of 20.58 metres to win the silver medal at last year’s World Under-20 Championships. In 2023, this mild-mannered superman in green and black has sprayed shots past 19 metres on 13 occasions in the five meets he has participated in. Even though the second-best Class One shot putter, Shaiquan Dunn of St Jago High is far back at 18.91m, that isn’t the indicator Richards has used to suggest the record will fall.

“I’d have to agree that the record is in danger. Looking at Kobe’s performances recently on the World Athletics site, and looking at Nedrick’s performances, shows Nedrick that year, 2017, threw 18.46m with the senior weight, and he did that later on in the year. So if we’re to use the progression from Nedrick, I would say Kobe, who threw 18.66m earlier in the year (farther than the distance that Nedrick had thrown) is in shape to throw much further,” Richards said last week.

Seniors throw a shot that weighs 7.26kg while juniors and Class One boys throw a 6kg implement. Incidentally, Lawrence’s effort with the big ball is a world under-20 leading mark.

Lawrence’s consistent winning marks – 19.86m at the McKenley/Wint Classic, 19.49m at the Queen’s/Grace Jackson Invitational, 19.80m at the S.W. Isaac-Henry Invitational, 19.76m at the Corporate Area Championships and 19.75m at the Carifta Trials – speak volumes.

“Usually when an athlete is this consistent at a certain distance, it means that he is tensioned to propel or to explode, and with the guidance of Mr Robinson, who is also a magnificent coach in preparing athletes for on-the-day performances, clearly by the history of athletes he has produced at the World Championships, at the Junior Games and even at Champs itself, I believe that Kobe could produce something special that Jamaica has never seen before,” Richards declared.

After an early loss to Jamaica College’s Racquil Broderick, the six feet two inches 271-pound Calabar thrower has emerged as the discus favourite as well, and he did the double at the recent Carifta Trials. He took the discus with a winning distance of 60.38m with Dunn reaching 56.89m for second place.

Asked if Lawrence might suffer from being so far ahead in the shot, the 2016 Olympic finalist replied, “He’s made finals on the world stage, so I don’t think the intimidation factor of Champs is too high for him to manage and he seems to be a naturally calm athlete.”

The experienced MVP champion thinks Lawrence will regain the title he last won in 2021.

“I believe he’s poised to do great things,” Richards concluded.