Calabar High School’s Christopher Taylor delighted with a record run on the opening day of the 106th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships inside the National Stadium.With six finals on the card, Jamaica College (JC), though, are expected to lead at the end of today, with yesterday’s curtain-raiser giving little indication of the fierce race to the titles that await.Still, yesterday was not without its fair share of ‘oohs’ and aahs’, and the main reason: Taylor.It says something that his run surprised nobody inside the National Stadium because of course, when your name is Christopher Taylor, you break records.The wiry Calabar standout missed the record mark at last year’s Champs, but wasted little time in erasing Devaughn Baker’s (JC) time of 46.64 set in 2013 with a smooth 46.33 in yesterday’s boys’ Class Two 400m heats.”Yes, I wanted to break the record today,” he confirmed afterwards. “That was my intention, and I am happy I was able to get it done.”Kingston College’s Akeem Bloomfield was also impressive, frighteningly, as he jogged the final 100m or so and stopped the clock at 48.36 to win his Class One boys’ 400m heat. Let’s not forget that he is responsible for that 44.93-run last year, and despite his injuries over the past 12 months, it is hard to see another winner in this event.St Elizabeth Technical High School’s (STETHS) Junelle Bromfield has certainly been a class act this season, and she was comfortable in qualifying from her Class One girls, 400m heat in 53.63 seconds.She is expected to do battle with Holmwood’s Ashley Williams, who clocked a solid 55.07 in winning her heat, with another medal favourite, Edwin Allen’s Shannon Kalawan, the fastest qualifier with a time of 54.37 ahead of Hydel High’s Taqece Duggan, 54.85.Jamaica College’s high-flyer, O’Brien Wasome, is comfortably through to today’s boys’ Class One final (5:50 p.m.), where he is expected to dominate and pick up some valuable points for the 2011 champions.Wasome produced his best jump this year, disturbing the sand at 7.74 metres, a clear demonstration that he not only intends to defend the title he won last year as part of a JC horizontal jumps sweep, but also to break Leon Gordon’s 28-year-old record of 7.87m.He is followed into the final by Calabar’s Leroy Paige, 7.17m; Tasrico Bell (Vere Technical) 7.14m; KC’s Dameon Creary, 7.11m; Campion College’s Lorne Barrett, 7.10m and Paketo Dudley (JC), 7.10m, among the top qualifiers.Earlier, Vere Technical’s Avery Pryce a bronze medal winner at Central Champs was most impressive in qualifying to today’s Class Two girls shot put final (5:30 p.m.), after registering a 13.90m mark in yesterday’s preliminary round.Next best was Buff Bay High’s Ashtina Dobson, 13.08m, with St Jago’s Shania Scott also booking her spot with a 12.13m effort.Delarno Beckford (Happy Grove) was the best qualifier to the boys’ javelin Open event with a mark of 56.94m, with Petersfield High’s Kevin Nedrick, 53.68 and Morant Bay’s Tyrik Sewell, 53.09m, showing themselves to be a cut above the rest of the field in yesterday’s qualifying.Gold medal favourite Brittany Anderson (Vere) is the fastest qualifier to the next round in the girls Class Three 80m hurdles, winning her heat in 11.43. Winsome Harris (STETHS), 11.48, Codesha Lewis (Vere), 11.51, Ackera Nugent (Excelsior), 11.61 and Kimeone McLeod (St Jago), 11.69, are the top qualifiersLast year’s Class Three champion, Shanette Allison (Holmwood), looks ready to take her shot after graduating to Class Two, after topping all qualifiers in the 100m hurdles in 13.59. The Manchester High pair of Sidney Marshall (13.86) and Daszay Freeman (13.92) are also through to the next round, as are Casheena Chen (Wolmer’s), 13.94 and Edwin Allen’s Khamoy Farquharson, 13.97.After dominating Class Three for the last two seasons, Edwin Allen’s Annia Ashley, 5.68m, was impressive in booking her spot in the Class Two girls long jump, with Monief Heslop (Camperdown), 5.54m, Shiann Salmon (Hydel), 5.50m and Rhian Chong (Alpha), 5.44m, also showing good form.In the Class I girl’s high jump preliminaries, Hydel’s Britny Kerr (1.60m) is safely through to the final where she will face St Jago’s Athaliah Boyd and Tissanna Hickling; as well as Hydel’s Samara Spencer, Alpha’s Gabriel Foster and Petersfield’s Colistia Baker, who also cleared 1.60m in qualifying.Competition is set to start at 8:30 a.m. today with the preliminary round of the Class Four girls long jump.
SAMMY CRITICAL The meeting was also attended by current men’s T20 captain Darren Sammy, who criticised the board following the final of the T20 World Cup in India earlier this month. The WICB said that only recently, it took the decision to review all governance reports to determine if there were relevant parts that could still be implemented. The Patterson Report, authored by former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, was produced in 2007, but its main recommendation of a Council of Stakeholders, comprising 23 members, has been ignored by the WICB. “The one recommendation that has not been favoured by the current, or the previous board, is the adding of another layer to the existing body,” the board said. “That has been the bane of contention in recent times, with a few groups calling for the dissolution of the board.” Despite the heavy criticism it received, the board maintained it had performed well. “The board, so far, has lived up to its promises, and while that is being done ‘let’s trust the process’.” ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC): Regional governing body, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), has once again pushed back on growing calls for its dissolution, claiming yesterday that it had “lived up to its promises” and urging the region to “trust the process”. Referring to “small groups” that were “clamouring for its dissolution”, the board, in a statement, defended its stewardship, repeating the argument that it had already implemented 90 per cent of all recommendations from the various commissioned governance reports. The fact that it had opted not to restructure along the lines suggested by the Patterson Report was not enough reason to justify dissolution, the Dave Cameron-led WICB contended. Further, the board pointed to the Under-19 team and the senior men’s and women’s Twenty20 World Cup teams and said their recent success was proof of the board’s efficiency. “In under 100 days since the start of 2016, three teams from the West Indies in two formats won three world titles,” the WICB said. “That accomplishment has come as part of the high-performance programme implemented just over two years ago. That there are small groups clamouring for the board’s dissolution is reason to ask. What more could a region want? “The acceptance of an average of 90 per cent of all the commissioned reports received have been implemented, minus adding another layer of bureaucracy cannot justify calling for the board to be dissolved. “Instead, the small groups should consider, among other things, promises made by governments to contribute to the growth of cricket by hosting matches or international series; continuing to facilitate development that aids in the growth of the sport; creating a more enabling environment for movement around the region; revitalising cricket in the schools across the region; (and) assisting in the setting up of territorial academies.” The board statement comes one day after several West Indies legends, including Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Sir Vivian Richards, and Sir Andy Roberts issued a joint statement backing the CARICOM Governance Panel recommendation for the dissolution of the WICB and also calling for the immediate resignation of the board of directors. Outstanding former players Deryck Murray, Charlie Griffith, and Desmond Haynes were also among the group, which met in Grenada last week to discuss the matter. The legends also met with Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, the chairman of CARICOM’s subcommittee on cricket, who has been at forefront of the push for the WICB to be restructured. read more
Jamaica’s Winthrop Graham clocked 47.74 seconds to win a silver medal in the men’s 400 metres hurdles at the 1991 IAAF World Championships in Tokyo, Japan. Zambia’s Samuel Matete captured gold in 47.64.
LONDON (AP): IAAF President Sebastian Coe said yesterday that his sport faces a “long way back” before it can restore trust and credibility amid the “dark days” of the bribery, extortion and doping cover-up allegations that are shaking track and field. In an interview with The Associated Press, Coe also discounted though didn’t rule out completely the possibility of banning Russia from international competition because of its record on doping. “I’m never saying never, but my instinct is that these things are better changed through engagement not isolation,” he said. Coe spoke a day before the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) releases the findings of its independent investigation into allegations of widespread and systematic doping in Russia. The WADA report will add to the crisis enveloping the sport after Coe’s longtime predecessor as IAAF president, Lamine Diack, and two other people were placed under criminal investigation in France on corruption charges related to Russian doping cases. “I’m just angry, bloody angry,” Coe told the AP in a telephone interview. “I’m angry about the position our sport is in today. I’m shocked, I’m angered and dismayed. These are dark days.” “We shouldn’t kid ourselves,” he added. “It’s going to be a long way back to rebuilding trust.” COMPLETE REVIEW Coe, the British middle-distance great who organised the 2012 London Olympics, was elected in August to succeed Diack, who headed the International Association of Athletics Federations for 16 years. Coe said he had immediately initiated a complete review of the IAAF, which will now deal with the current allegations. “I will have a raft of reforms in place and ready for the approval of the council in two weeks’ time,” he said. “Everything is under review. I’m more determined than ever to create a sport that is accountable, responsible and responsive.” Diack was taken into police custody last Sunday and released two days later after being charged with corruption and money laundering, suspected of taking more than €1 million (US$1.1 million) to cover up positive doping tests. Diack’s legal adviser at the IAAF, Habib Cisse, and Gabriel Dolle, a doctor who managed the IAAF’s anti-doping programme, were also detained and charged with corruption. The IAAF ethics commission also confirmed that Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, Dolle and two Russian officials were facing sanctions in connection with helping a Russian marathon runner avoid a doping ban before the London Games. Coe served for eight years as a vice president under Diack and often praised him, calling him the IAAF’s “spiritual president” before replacing him as leader. He also defended the IAAF’s anti-doping programme, saying that 69 athletes in track and field out of a total of 85 in all sports have been sanctioned since the federation’s biological passport programme was implemented in 2011. read more
Since the start of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) season, Portmore United have not played at their customary Ferdie Neita Park home ground in St Catherine.Portmore played their first game of the season at Spanish Town Prison Oval. However, the majority of their seven home games have been contested at the Juici Park Field or at Middlesex International College, both in Clarendon.This move has left some football observers and even Portmore United fans to conclude that the club, formerly known as Hazard United – who played out of Clarendon before moving to St Catherine in 2003 – intends to re-establish its allegiance with the Clarendon FA.Surface is under renovationHowever, Portmore’s general manager, Clive Marshall, refutes that claim and explained that their reason for not playing at Ferdie Neita Park this season is because the surface is under renovation and they are only halfway through the project.”No,” Marshall declared when The Gleaner asked if the club intends to return to their original parish. “We are waiting until Ferdie (Neita) is ready. It’s just to get Ferdie Neita up and running again.”It has been two years since that rumour (returning to Clarendon) has been running. The truth is, we are doing some remedial work on Ferdie Neita and the weather (drought) has been holding us up. Hopefully, we can get a few more showers (rain) like we got the other day, and, by January, we can be back at Portmore,” he continued.Even though the former champions have had to endure the disadvantage of not playing at their regular home venue, it has clearly not affected them greatly. They currently lead the standings and have won two and drawn their last three at home and have won four of their last five matches.”We were trying to get the PLCA to change the fixture because we wanted to use Prison Oval as our alternative, but every time we have a home game, Rivoli have a home game as well, and that is why we have to be all over the place,” Marshall explained.”Ferdie (Neita) is 50 per cent through its completion, it just needs water. We planted some new grass seeds and got it fertilised, it’s just for it to get constant water and then roll it, and by early in the year we should find ourselves playing games over there again,” he stated. read more
Competitive game The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) has reintroduced a mini basketball programme in order to resuscitate the sport locally. The programme, which came back last September, has the blessings of the Jamaica Basketball Association and is being conducted islandwide in schools and communities, noted Calvin Dennis Martin, co-ordinator of the programme. “The programme started last September, bringing basketball to schools and communities. The feedback has been good so far, as the youngsters have been turning out and are eager to learn,” Martin told The Gleaner. Martin also said that they have been to parishes such as Hanover, St James, St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew to date, but intend to cover the other parishes as well. “Basketball seems to be dying, so the plan is to resuscitate the sport here,” Martin added. An Under-13 Mini Basketball tournament was held over three weekends and ended last Saturday, with Rae Town Warriors beating Majesty Lakers 14-11 in the final at Breezy Castle in Rae Town. Damion Robinson of Rae Town was voted MVP of the tournament. He scored a game-high eight points in the final to lead his team to the trophy. Coach of Rae Town Warriors, Rolondo Moodie, said the game was highly competitive as the youngsters played hard. “Basketball never really seems to be an important sport in Jamaica, so this is a good move to highlight the sport. The game was competitive, but our team dug deep and came out the victors in the end,” Moodie said. Moodie and Deveraux Preston of Majesty Lakers are both recent graduates of the JBA/INSPORTS coaching certification course. Meanwhile, the INSPORTS All-Island Community Football League continued last Sunday, with matches in Westmoreland and Kingston and St Andrew. The results read: Whithorne 0 Walks Road 0; Pullet Lane 0 Bastard Cedar 0; Roaring River 0 Friendship 3; Cornwall 2 Deans Valley 0; V-Cup 1 Georges Plain 2; Blackness 0 Bath 0; Three Miles River 3 Frome 3; Petersfield 3 Shrewsbury Legend 0; Belgium 1 12th Street 0; Harmony Town 0 Darling Street 1; Park 3 New Market 1; Majesty Gardens 1 Drama 0; Hagley Park 2 West Side 1; Conscious United 0 Parade Gardens 0; Caribbean Striker 0 Progressive Youths 0; and Zim Strikers 6 Vision 2. read more
The boxing fraternity worldwide is mourning the death of Jamaican boxing promoter and businessman Lucien Chen.Chen died at age 88 in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday. He had been residing in the United States for several years.The Jamaican was well known in boxing circles all over the world, and ruled the boxing landscape locally for decades. Boxing was not his only love, however, as he was an avid fan of horse racing and owned several horses. He was also a skilled bridge player and, at one time, was the head of Track Price Plus, a leading local book-making company.He was innovative and did things in boxing that no other promoter would dare to try. He brought some of the biggest names in boxing here, and one recalls Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Beecham, and Simon Brown, who graced our shores at his invitation. He also worked with local boxing stars who made it to the top, and these included Bunny Grant, Percy Hayles and Richard Clarke, as well as well known world champions Michael McCallum and Trevor Berbick.He was associated with Berbick in the negotiations for his world title fight with Mike Tyson, which earned for Berbick his biggest pay-day of US$2-million. Although he was not the promoter for the Sunshine Showdown between George Foreman and Joe Frazier, he played an important role in getting the fight to take place here in 1973, and was part of the group that put the card together.successful promoterHis ring savvy and knowledge of boxing enabled him to be the most successful promoter to have graced these shores, and he will go down in history as the man who introduced Dinner/Boxing to Jamaica. Frustrated that he would hold massive shows in the National Stadium, National Arena and at Sabina Park and end up losing money at the gate, he took boxing to the controlled area of a hotel ballroom.He would arrange an attractive televised boxing card, which would be preceded by cocktails and dinner, and for which all tickets were sold in advance. He was also able to garner attractive sponsorship packages that ensured that the event would make money. On many occasions, the proceeds were donated to charities. On at least two occasions, he donated the proceeds of his shows to needy boxers.Before boxing, he was very successful in the insurance business, after which he moved into bookmaking when it became legal. He owned local bookmaking company Track Price Plus, with some colleagues, and this was an area in which he was very innovative.His House of Chen Restaurant on Knutsford Boulevard was a showpiece, and was well patronised by sports people. He entertained many overseas boxers there, before and after their fights. His son, Lenny, who followed in his footsteps in both boxing and the bookmaking business, disclosed that Chen was ailing for some time and died peacefully. He has left a tremendous legacy in boxing and has set the bar high for those who will try to follow in his footsteps. read more
MANCHESTER, England (AP):It sums up the erratic nature of this season’s Premier League that a match between Chelsea and Manchester United has been relegated to a mere sideshow just as the title race is getting interesting.Instead, this weekend is all about whether Leicester can pull off their biggest shock yet and finally be recognised as genuine title contenders.Leicester, who battled relegation all of last season, take a three-point lead to Manchester City tomorrow in a match between the top two sides in the league. A victory would guarantee Leicester at least a five-point lead with 13 matches remaining.Surely that would make them team favourites for the title and set up one of the most unlikely story lines in English football history.”It’s not a coincidence we’re top of the table,” Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater said. “This is team spirit at its highest. We won’t stop believing.”We’re staying on the ground but if we carry on the way we are, then why not have the belief (to win the league)? It would go down in history surely.”Even a draw would be fine for Leicester, who visit another title challenger in Arsenal the following weekend before a benign run of games.City, though, will want to send a message to Leicester’s upstarts and collect a fourth straight win in all competitions to take over in first place on goal difference.Seeking a third league title in five years, City have extra motivation for the run-in – giving departing coach Manuel Pellegrini a successful send-off after it was announced this week that Pep Guardiola would the club’s manager from next season.MANCITYBUILTTOWIN”Manchester (City) are built to win the title, to win the Champions League,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said yesterday as he continued to downplay his team’s chances of winning the league.Asked who will win the title, Ranieri chuckled and said with a smile: “The others.”City said yesterday that captain Vincent Kompany is back in training after a six-week layoff with a calf injury.Chelsea – the defending champion – and Man United – a record 20-time champion – already are also-rans in the title race, although United will boost its ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League with a win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. United is in fifth place, five points off the Champions League qualification spots and 10 points behind Leicester.Chelsea is 13th and can probably forget about making up ground to the European positions in the top five.Arsenal is winless in its last four league games and has dropped to fourth, behind Tottenham on goal difference, ahead of a visit to Bournemouth on Sunday.Also tomorrow, it’s: Liverpool vs Sunderland; Aston Villa vs Norwich; Newcastle vs West Bromwich Albion; Swansea vs Crystal Palace; and Southampton vs West Ham.Wayne Rooney often scores goals in bursts and the Manchester United striker is in the middle of another hot streak.He has scored seven goals in seven games after his latest strike, in a 3-0 win over Stoke on Tuesday that relieved pressure on manager Louis van Gaal.”He has his momentum,” Van Gaal said about Rooney, “but also the team is now playing more for him, I think. We have to wait and see where he goes with this rhythm of making goals, with this then he is a fantastic striker.” read more
Coaches in the central region are expressing disappointment with an event schedule change – prompted by sponsors Digicel – which now has all but two track finals being contested on the second day of competition at the Central Championships.The two-day meet, which forms part of the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, gets under way today at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.Previously, several of the finals, including the 100m and 1500m events, were contested on the opening day of competition. However, chief organiser Chester McCarthy explained that every consideration was given to athlete safety and that there is ample time and facilities to aid in their recovery between events.”Some coaches may decide to either switch around athletes or pull athletes because of the changes,” McCarthy admitted.”What we used to do in the past is to have a number of finals done on Day One, but now, you will find that the 100m and 200m, for instance will take place on the same day. The major reason is that they are both (Digicel) Grand Prix events and the sponsors wanted it to be that way, so they wanted all the Grand Prix events to be focused in terms of finals for the last day for media purposes, and so on,” McCarthy explained before pointing to the systems put in place.”Even though Boys and Girls’ Champs is over five days, you will find that a lot of athletes will compete in three finals on the final day at Champs. Some of these events will be a one run – a straight final. Some coaches are overly concerned, but I don’t think it is as bad as some people make it out to be,” he added.”Also, remember that the sponsors have put in place things like ice therapy, which will help in the recovery there is an ice bath set up for all athletes. This was never there in the past, so a lot of consideration has been given.”SHOULD NOT HAVEBEEN ALLOWEDStill, for experienced Manchester High coach Jerry Holness, these changes should never have been allowed.”What about the athletes who double and possibly compete in relays, are we going to have them do all of those events on one day?”People cannot allow sponsors to dictate to them,” said Holness. “As organisers, you have to stand up to the sponsors and meet them somewhere along the way. You can’t just because they are going to give you a little money to run the meet you are going to accept anything without thinking about the athletes. I think it’s crazy!”We will probably end up using someone who won’t go to Champs to run some of the events, too,” said Holness.Michael Dyke, coach of defending Central and Girls’ champions Edwin Allen High, was also critical.”At this point, there is nothing that we can do. The coaches will just have to make the adjustment depending on the value they put on the meet,” said Dyke. “It may help to deplete the quality to the extent that you might not see some of the persons you would want to see competing, or they may just end up doing just one event.”I mean, running a sprint double on the same day, for instance, is not a good idea, and there are three sprints – 100m, 200m, and 400m – plus the relays. Management is going to be very important, so it’s up to the individual coaches and teams to manage their athletes to the best of their ability,” added Dyke. read more
The real battle for this year’s Red Stripe Premier League title will begin this weekend.Semi-final action will kick off next Sunday with promoted Portmore United facing Humble Lion in a semi-final first-leg match at the Effortville Community Centre in Clarendon. Match time is 3:30 p.m.The other first-leg semi-final will see defending champions Arnett Gardens tackling last season’s beaten finalists, Montego Bay United, at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in the Monday night encounter, starting at 8:40 p.m.Both semi-finals are expected to be close and exciting.Portmore United, who ended the preliminary round with the most points have, under the guidance of head coach Jeffrey Hewitt, played some good football during the first three rounds. They will look to players such as captain Omar Daley, Ewan Grandison, and Ricardo Morris to give them an early advantage.On the other hand, Humble Lion, who are being guided by Vassell Reynolds, will rely on Wolry Wolfe, Ricardo Cousins, and Levaughn Williams.On Monday, fireworks are expected when Arnett visit Montego Bay.Arnett’s coach, Jerome Waite, will look to key players like Vishinul Harris, captain Oneil Thompson, and Kemal Malcolm.Montego Bay United’s coach, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis, will counter with ace goal scorer Owayne Gordon, Dino Williams, and Allan Ottey. read more