Edwards lose despite gutsy display
LONDON, England - After a courageous and gutsy display against a more experienced opponent Jamaica’s Kenneth Edwards must wait and hope to see if he will get the chance to fight for a bronze medal in the ‘repechages’ of the men’s over 80Kilo division of the taekwondo competition at the ExCel Arena in London.
Edwards went down 4-6 to China’s Xiaobo Liu including a warning penalty in the first of three two minute rounds.
Edwards will now have to wait until later today to see whether the Chinese who is ranked number four in the world will advance to the finals then he will get the chance to face off with the other first round losers for the bronze.
Edwards who had the large crowd cheering for him from the second round onwards with several Jamaican flags flying in the audience rued his chances as despite him being the aggressor with several flying kicks the giant Chinese was cautious, scoring single points and backing off.
The Jamaican scored the most significant blow of the contest, a shot to the head of his opponent that accounted for three big points bringing him back in the competition.
Despite trailing 0-4 after the first round and 0-5 early in the second, Edwards said he did not panic, "No I did not change my game plan, I am way more experienced now, more composed; that would have affected me a year ago, I normally would charge in but it showed a maturity in my game."
Jamaica Olympic Association's president Mike Fennell who was in the audience, hailed Edwards'; performance as "outstanding he has represented the country well."
Edwards said the Chinese fighter's height advantage gave him the edge.
"He would commit more because of his longer reach so the head shot would have been vital to counter, he was very cautious he kept running and holding and that threw the game plan off a little bit," he said.
He said however, the game plan drawn up by coach Alvin Bernard factored in the disparity, "We planned for the height and that’s what got the head shot in significantly, if he wasn't clinching and holding so much our inside work would have been more effective, he is a very strong fighter and its hard to get a 200lb man off you... We tried to go body, body, body then head but the head shot was a far reach."
He described his first Olympic experience as "Fantastic, absolutely great…for Jamaica to come here and showed what we are made of against the Asian Champ and number four in the world, was great," adding "the crowd support was tremendous and it really boosted me a lot and I felt comfortable in there in front of millions of people."
His future he said was bright, "I just have to keep developing in the sport, hopefully with some proper funding and little more support my game will be lifted, travel some more and gain more exposure."