Kristen McGregor opened her 2022 season with an encouraging top-five finish at the Fit Muscle Championships in Mexico last weekend (April 23). The performance sets the tone for what could be an outstanding season for the fitness athlete, who is desirous of competing at the Miss Olympia competition in December. However, she can only achieve this if she can get consistent sponsor support.

McGregor, the winner of the 2020 Miss Olympia Amateur title in the Women's Figure Category, is a former national champion and CAC Champion and is arguably Jamaica’s best female fitness athlete of the modern era. However, it has been a struggle to attract consistent sponsorship support as she strives for her career goals.

“The major challenge I face as a national athlete is corporate sponsorship. I am a bit disappointed with the responses I received for sponsorship requests seeking help to represent my country and hoping that I would have gotten good responses, even given the fact that I am a recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Award,” lamented McGregor, who is the holder of a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science from the University of Technology (UTech).

“However, I have to give big thanks to the companies that gave their generous support such as EduCom, Geolosndo, VM Group and to the contributing supporters.

“I do hope that going forward I might receive better responses from other corporations and our sporting body. The lack of support and sponsorship can impact my goals to represent Jamaica at the Olympia, as I am unable to cover the expenses related to travel and accommodation to participate in the various competitions, where I can only compete as a professional athlete in my discipline. It is my dream to represent Jamaica at the highest level of bodybuilding.”

That dream has been the fuel driving McGregor's ambitions ever since she transitioned from athletics in 2017 and what sparked her singular focus during the off-season in preparation for 2022.

“It has been nothing but hard work for every show. Hard work and focus are the common denominators for every season prep. l am in the gym every day and on diet for a maximum of 16 weeks during preparation,” she revealed.

That work paid off in Mexico.

“A top-five finish is a great accomplishment, considering the progress from last year, where I also finished in the top five in Puerto Rico Pro, and in the Tampa Pro placing 4th and 11th, respectively. However, for my first show since 2022, finishing in the top five is a great place to finish because I have already started to accumulate points toward the quantifying for the Olympia Competition,” she said.

“Only second through fifth-place finishers for each contest, depending on the tier of the contest can accumulate points. All competitors will have between September 13, 2021, to November 20, 2022, to qualify whether by placement or points for the big show in December, the Olympia held in Las Vegas. That being said, the progress has been going well.”

Too well even. In fact, she worked so hard during the off-season she might have bulked up a tad much.

"Last year was a bit different from this year, as I really didn’t get a chance to train properly for my debut and my first Pro show coming out of winning the Amateur Olympia in December 2020. I contracted the COVID virus which caused me to stop training and in the time between recovery and my first show, which was the Puerto Rico Pro, I didn’t have much time to bulk so we went straight in for competition," she said.

"I figured that was the reason I was too small because I was burning muscles while in recovery. My coach, too, reassessed and ended my season after the Tampa Pro in June and we started working on bulking up from that time. I had a wonderful off-season, no injuries or sickness so I was training right through.

"I think this time around we gained good size. I was able to condition properly without burning muscles. Coming out of this show, the judges said I was perfect in shape. However, based on how the other girls came in I was too big so I have to lose a bit more and I would be okay. So yes, I am on a good path but with that, my coach has decided on reducing by about five to six pounds more for my next show on June 17-19, 2022 which is the Puerto Rico Pro."

 

 

Newly crowned ISSA Under-16 champions St Andrew Technical (STATHS) have dedicated their victory to slain Manning Cup forward Omar Laing.

On Thursday, STATHS claimed their first football trophy in over three decades following a 2-1 triumph over the previously unbeaten Kingston College.  In fact, prior to the shock loss in the final, the North Street-based team had failed to concede a goal all season.

A brilliant Delaney Whyte free-kick blotted that copybook and gave STATHS the lead in the 25th minute.  After missing several presentable opportunities, in the first half, Kingston College did manage to pull back on level terms when Dujuan Richards scored soon after the resumption.  However, an own goal in the 54th from Anthony Ricketts sent the Purples crashing to a surprise defeat.

Laing, the leading scorer for the school’s Manning Cup team last season, was killed in a drive-by shooting incident in downtown Kingston last week.  His younger brother is currently a part of the triumphant Under-16 squad.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been confirmed to face South American giants Uruguay in a friendly international set for June 17.

The fixture will come during a busy period for the national team, ahead of preparations for the CONCACAF Nation’s League.  Prior to that, the team will be in action against the Spanish region Catalonia in another friendly international set for the 25th of May.

In five matches the Jamaicans have a losing record against Uruguay, managing just one win, which came in an international friendly in 2004.  The last time the teams met was in 2016 at the Copa América Centenario.  On that occasion, Uruguay coasted to a 3-0 win after both teams had already been mathematically eliminated from advancing to the next round of the tournament.

The Uruguayans will be using the fixture as part of preparations for the 2022 World Cup, which will get underway in Qatar at the end of the year.  The Reggae Boyz, who failed to qualify for the tournament, are currently ranked 64th in the World, while Uruguay are ranked 13th.

Hydel High was the fastest qualifiers to the Championships of America High School Girls 4x400m final at the 2022 Penn Relays at the Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The team of Alliah Baker, Brianna Lyston, Kerrica Hill and Onieka McAnuff ran an impressive 3:39.34 to lead all qualifiers into Friday’s final.

Holmwood Technical (3:41.45), Edwin Allen (3:45.29), St. Jago (3:49.50) and Excelsior (3:51.15) also advanced to the final.

The region will also have two representatives in the 4x800m final, also scheduled for Friday, as both Edwin Allen (9:13.89) and Holmwood Technical (9:23.48) advanced from the heats.

 

Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams was recently inducted onto the Champs Sports Wall of Game in Pembroke Pines, Florida, honouring those in the community who make and have made a positive contribution to local sports.

Champs Sports, part of Foot Locker, Inc. is the brand's first iteration of its new Homefield concept and is the largest of any Foot Locker, Inc. subsidiary in the world at 35,000+ square feet.

The 20-year-old Williams was inducted in a ceremony held on April 23 along with four other honourees: Mark Montimurro, Roderick Rocky Gills, Tamara James, and posthumously, Jason Stein.

“It’s always a privilege and a blessing to be honoured by the community that helped to raise me,” said the Jamaican Olympic gold medallist.

“It's also the biggest Champs store in the country so I'm humbled to be one of the first names inducted.”

Montimurro is the Head Coach at Coral Springs Charter School Softball, "Rocky" Gillis is Athletic Director at Broward County Schools and James is a former WNBA player and Mayor of Dania Beach. Stein was the Athletic Director/Baseball Coach/Teacher at JP Taravella High School.

 

 

Edwin Allen High School was the fastest qualifier to the final of the High School Girls 4x100m at the 2022 Penn Relays which got underway on Thursday morning at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

The team of the Clayton twins, Brandy Hall and Shenequa Vassell scorched the track to run a time of 44.64 to win their heat. Hydel High (46.37) and IMG Academy (47.03) were second and third fastest to the final.

Holmwood Technical (47.12), Immaculate Conception (47.15), St. Catherine High (47.56) and St. Jago (47.37) will also be in Friday's final.

Holmwood Technical’s Cedricka Williams was dominant in winning the High School Girls discus with a throw of 54.00m. Camperdown’s Victoria Christie was second with 44.88m while Ella Lucas from Warwick High School was third with 42.53m.

Edwin Allen’s Serena Cole, who ran the first leg on Jamaica’s world record-breaking U-20 girls 4x100m team at the recently concluded Carifta Games, jumped 5.98m for second in the High School Girls long jump behind Avery Lewis of Friends’ Central (6.05). Hailey Rios of Somerset jumped 5.84m for third.

St. Jago’s Annishka McDonald was third in the High School Girls' high jump after clearing 1.69m. The event was won by Spring-Ford’s Nene Mokonchu (1.72m) while Conard’s Audrey Kirkutis was second with 1.69m.

The 2022 Penn Relays will run from April 28-30.

Nicolas Lodeiro scored two late penalties as the Seattle Sounders snatched a 2-2 draw against Pumas in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Trailing to a double from Juan Dinenno, Seattle battled back in Mexico City to make it honours even ahead of next Wednesday's second leg at Lumen Field. Lodeiro's leveller came in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

This opener at Estadio Olímpico Universitario saw Dinenno take the lead with a twice-taken penalty in the 38th minute. His first attempt was saved by Stefan Frei, but the goalkeeper was ruled to have stepped off his line.

Dinenno headed in powerfully for Pumas' second goal in the 48th minute, but the comeback began when Seattle were awarded a penalty for a handball by Sebastian Saucedo, and Lodeiro drove home in the 77th minute.

Lodeiro fired into the right corner on that occasion and was handed another spot-kick deep into stoppage time.

Cristian Roldan was judged to have been fouled on the right side of the penalty area by veteran defender Efrain Velarde, and Lodeiro chose to go the same way, again beating goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera with a powerful strike.

As a teenager, Anthonique Strachan showed the tremendous potential of becoming one of the world’s brightest stars in track and field.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons insists he understands and respects the decision of recently retired captain Kieron Pollard but insists the player’s passion and desire will be sorely missed.

After nearly 16-years representing the regional team and three years in charge of both the One Day International (ODI) and T20 squads, the 34-year-old Pollard announced his decision to step away from international cricket last week.

“Skipper it is sad to see you retire from the maroon shirt so early…I completely understand,” Simmons said, addressing the issue via Facebook.

“Your ability to give players your backing and trust to deliver and your strong leadership both on and off the field was a joy to work with,” he added.

Pollard took charge of both squads in 2019 and experienced mixed fortunes during his tenure.  The T20 squad lost 21 of 39 matches and had a disastrous defense of its World Cup title.  The ODI squad on the other hand fared better, winning 13 and losing 11 of 21 matches played.  Still, Simmons hailed Pollard as a positive force for pushing players to reach their full potential and having a genuine desire to see the team do well.

“Your passion for pushing players to build on skills and knowledge of the game and more. Your unwillingness to settle for mediocrity was a pleasure to work with,” Simmons said.

“Your undoubted passion for the game and especially the Maroon Shirt together with your desire to bring success to the West Indies cricket team henceforth Cricket West Indies will be missed. You will be missed.”

Jamaica clinched a spot in the Round of 16 of the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship on Tuesday with a 3-1 win over hosts Dominican Republic at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo.

The home side jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the third minute through Maria Torreira but the young Reggae Girlz would pull level in the 30th minute thanks to a goal from Tiny Seaton.

Things stayed tight going into the second half, but in the final 20 minutes, Jamaica would pull away.

Dannique Wilson scored the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute and then Natoya Atkinson added an insurance goal in stoppage time to round out the 3-1 score line.

Jamaica now sits second in Group F behind Canada who beat Bermuda 5-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Both teams have six points from two games and face off on Thursday to determine who will advance as winners of Group F.

The Concacaf Women's Championship features 20 teams, 16 divided into four groups of four plus four teams that have already advanced to the Round of 16 through pre-tournament qualifying.

The top three teams from each group will join the four teams that have already advanced via the pre-tournament qualifying in the Round of 16 where, from there, it will be a knockout bracket to the tournament final.

The top three teams at the end of the championship will qualify for the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup which will run from October 11-30 in India.

A magnificent bowling effort from the Surrey Royals allowed them to score an easy eight-wicket win over the Cornwall Warriors in their Dream 11 Jamaica T10 fixture at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday.

The Royals chose to field after winning the toss and were dominant throughout the innings taking wickets in quick succession.

Jamaica Scorpions pacer Nicholson Gordon (3-13 from 1.2 overs), left-arm spinner Raewin Senior (2-9 from two overs, left-arm spinner Ryan Francis (2-6 from two overs) and off-spinner Peat Salmon (2-19 from two overs) were all instrumental in bowling out the Warriors for a subpar 58 in 9.2 overs.

Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Derval Green (13), opener Ockeeno Farquharson (12) and former Scorpions skipper Paul Palmer Jr (11) were the only Warriors batsmen to scratch double figures.

The chase was a simple one for the Royals despite the early wickets of West Indies batsman Nkrumah Bonner (5) and Leroy Lugg (12).

Carlos Brown (25 not out) and captain Javelle Glen (16 not out) ensured that the Royals got to their target without the loss of another wicket, ending 59-2 from 8.2 overs to secure their fourth win of the tournament.

 

 

Nashville SC have confirmed three new investors have joined their ownership group, including NFL star Derrick Henry and actor Reese Witherspoon.

Tennessee Titans running back Henry is a two-time All-Pro and has featured in two Pro Bowls, while he was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and led the league for rushing yards and touchdowns in 2019 and 2020. 

The 28-year-old has now, alongside actor and producer Witherspoon and her husband, the technology investor Jim Toth, joined the ownership group of Nashville SC, who had their inaugural season in MLS in 2020 and sit eighth in the Western Conference with three wins so far this season.

All eight of Nashville's games so far in 2022 have been played on the road, but that will change on Sunday when they welcome the Philadelphia Union to their new stadium, GEODIS Park.

With a capacity of 30,000, it is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States or Canada.

"As a kid growing up in Florida, I imagined being a professional sports owner and the opportunity to do that with an MLS club is truly a dream come true," said Henry, who was drafted by the Titans in 2016 and becomes the fourth player in NFL history to own an MLS team.

"My investment in Nashville SC is way more than financial, it's truly an investment in the city of Nashville.

"The chance to be part of a club like Nashville SC, especially after seeing what they are accomplishing in the community, was an opportunity I did not want to miss."

Witherspoon added: "As a Tennessee native, it is thrilling to see how much growth and development has come to our home state.

"One of the things that my whole family is most excited about is Nashville Soccer Club! The opportunity to go as a family and watch a world-class team compete has been such an incredible experience."

Witherspoon is not the first A-list film star to have invested in soccer in the United States, with Natalie Portman having founded Angel City FC, who debuted in the National Women's Soccer League this year. 

Tennis greats Billie Jean King and Serena Williams, along with a host of huge stars across sports and entertainment, have a stake in Angel City.

The tremendous success at the 49th Carifta Games in Kingston, Jamaica, is only another step on the pathway for the British Virgin Islands towards putting their athletes on the podium at the pinnacle of the sport.

At the Games that concluded last week, the BVI enjoyed their best-ever medal haul with four gold, two silver and a bronze medal surpassing their medal tallies from 2012 when they won five. Their medal haul saw them finish third in the standings behind Jamaica with 92 medals, 45 of them gold and the Bahamas 17. What was instructive was that BVI had the same number of gold medals, four, as their neighbours from the Bahamas.

Three of those medals were won by the imperious 16-year-old Adaejah Hodge, who the U17 100m, 200m and Long Jump to come away with the coveted Austin Sealy Award as the most outstanding athlete of the three-day meet.

But according to Steve Augustine, President of the BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA), the best is yet to come and is not too far away.

“What’s next for the BVIs, it’s back to the drawing board and putting in the work.  We have a long list of local, regional and international competitions remaining,” he said.  “While we are there, we haven’t officially arrived until we make the Olympic podium, we fell just short of this with two fourth-place finishes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.  This year, we are, of course, eyeing World U20, the Commonwealth Games and World Championships at which I am certain we will again show up.”

Augustine’s confidence stems from his belief in the BVI’s strong grassroots programme that has consistently produced world-class talents from their population of just over 30,000 inhabitants.

“The BVIs formula for success at the Carifta Games speaks of a preparation process that has taken training and mental preparation processes to a higher level, a level that is more in keeping with our competitive Caribbean counterparts,” he reveals.

“Our local club system has resulted in on-island competition whereby our athletes are pushed, much more than before, to perform at higher levels for victories.  We monitor regional performances, we are well-advised by statisticians such as Rey O’Neal, and we are aware of where we need to be performance-wise if we are to be competitive.

“Our coaches are trained and certified, our athletes are hungry and they all aspire to be the next Kyron McMaster, Chantel Malone, Tahesia Harrigan Scott, Eldred Henry and now the next Adaejah Hodge.”

Hodge, he believes, will inspire a new generation of stars given what she has managed to accomplish at the 49th staging of the Games founded in 1972 by Sealy, who was on hand to present the award to her in front of an appreciative crowd.

“Yes, this will certainly happen but I must say our people naturally gravitate to athletics and despite all the struggles we may face as a growing territory, we have never had a numbers problem in athletics,” Augustine said.

“Support from the BVI Olympic Committee, World Athletics, our government, our fan base and with sponsors such as Puma onboard, we have been able to annually attract scores of athletes into our club system.

 “The level of performance that Adaejah exhibited at the Carifta Games is a reality that our people have become accustomed to over the years.  Adaejah has been performing at the top of her age group for years.  She’s remained world ranked as a junior and she has continued to dominate at the US high school level.  Adaejah was originally scheduled to make her Carifta debut at the 2020 Carifta Games and then the 2021 Carifta Games but for obvious reasons, those intentions had to be put aside.  As it relates to our young ones, they are certainly inspired by Adaejah. It’s been this way for years and perhaps more so now.” 

Augustine is confident that in the years to come, what unfolded in Kingston in mid-April will be more the norm than the exception.

“As it relates to other talents, the truth is there is only a handful of athletes on this year’s team that won’t be back next year and as it relates to those in the pipeline, we have a handful of gifted athletes that I know will represent the BVI well and will prove that they are indeed the next Adaejah Hodge, Kyron McMaster, Chantel Malone, Eldred Henry and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott.  

“The storybook on BVI Athletics is far from finished.”

 

 

 

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