Kobe launches legacy
Youtube-inspired World Under-20 shot put silver medallist Lawrence keeps goals in sight
Jamaican Kobe Lawrence in action during his gold-medal performance in the boys' Under-20 discus during the 49th Carifta Games at National Stadium recently. (Photo: Observer file)

Thrower Kobe Lawrence fed his appetite for sport by watching YouTube videos at 14 years old.

From then, the Jamaican knew that he was "going to be good at it", and with perserverance and multiple medals to show a few years on, the 19-year-old was truly on his way.

"I started track and field, specifically throwing in grade eight. I just heard about the sport and went to try out for the team, made the team within a month, and within four months, I was making significant progress and decided to stick with it. That specific season 2017 to 2018 was really a big learning season for me. My results were very poor, but I understood that it is a process and I was very young at the time," the outgoing Calabar High School student said.

Lawrence said his 2018 to 2019 season was when things really started to fall into place.

Calabar High's Kobe Lawrence in full flight as he powers to gold in the high school boys' shot put at the Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, on Thursday. Lawrence's winning throw was 20.93m. (Photo: Observer file)

"It was a far better season. After a lot of hard work in my first off season, I started to win medals at meets and break records. I came second in Class Two boys' shot put at the boys' and girls' championships that year, went to the Carifta Games and got a record in the U-17 boys' discus throw, and ending out that season 18.30 in the shot put, which was a big throw for me," he continued.

Then came COVID-19 and a new challenge arrived for Lawrence and everybody in sport.

"I was having a bad season, so when it [COVID-19] hit, [I] wasn't too [anxious] to get it all over with, and I just started to train really hard for the next season, which was my first year in Class One with the big boys and a bigger implement," Lawrence said.

Lawrence, who spent a lot of time at Up Park Camp, the headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), where his father was a serving member, started his educational journey at Jessie Ripoll Primary School. He then went on to Calabar High School in 2016, where he liked "everything and the rest is history".

"My family is really supportive. My mom and dad are very proud to know that I have taken it to the level that I have and achieved so much. It makes me feel accomplished, in a sense, to know that they invested a lot in me and God has made me able to make them proud," he told Jamaica Observer.

And as his athletics career upscaled, Lawrence has established his name across various fronts of the track and field planet at the youth level. At the Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, he has left his mark.

Lawrence improved on a second-place finish in 2022 to win the high school boys' Championship of Americas shot put with a heave of 20.93 metres in April this year. He bagged the first win for Jamaica on the opening day of competition.

"I am really grateful for that victory. I think I did well. Less perfection, more authenticity," Lawrence said.

Lawrence also defended his title at the 2023 Carifta Games to win the Under-20 boys' discus throw with 60.27 metres.

And in the summer of 2021, then 18, Lawrence threw a personal best of 20.58 metres to win silver in the shot put at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.

Now, the junior thrower will be taking his talents to the University of Oregon, where the school unveiled the standout as part of its 2023 recruitment class.

"I ended up having a pretty rough early season [as] I took a few tough losses, but at the same time, I had a few successes. I broke the shot put record at the Carifta U-20 Championships then went to World U-20 Championships in Cali, Columbia, and earned a silver medal which has so far been the biggest achievement of my career, then I went on to sign with the University of Oregon that offseason," Lawrence shared.

"This current season (2023) has been good so far. I am very grateful for what I have been doing this season... I stay optimistic for great performances and I know that God will guide [me] down the right path for the rest of this season and beyond," he added.

ROMARDO LYONS , Staff reporter, lyonsr@jamaicaobserver.com

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?