Asafa Powell broke the 100 metres world record on this day 15 years ago, and the New York Rangers ended a 54-year NHL title drought in 1994.

No man has ever run faster than Usain Bolt over 100m, but Powell was Jamaica's sprint king in 2005.

The Rangers were celebrating at Madison Square Garden 26 years ago, while Canada's cricketers will not want to be reminded of this date in 1979.

We go back in time to look at some memorable sporting moments that have taken place on June 14.

 

1979 - Canada crumble at Old Trafford

A Cricket World Cup contest between England and Canada always looked like it was going to be a mismatch.

That was very much the case in Manchester, where the minnows were skittled out for only 45 - the lowest ODI score in history at the time.

Bob Willis (4-11) and Chris Old (4-8) wreaked havoc, Franklyn Dennis making almost half of Canada's runs before England took just 13.5 overs to seal an eight-wicket win.

 

1994 - Rangers rule in New York

The Rangers had not been crowned NHL champions since way back in 1940 and it looked like they may have blown their chance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Keenan's side led the series 3-1 after losing the opening match, but the Canucks rallied to force a decider.

The tension was almost unbearable for Rangers fans, but Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier were on target to secure a 3-2 victory and spark a huge party.

There has been no NHL glory for the Rangers since that triumph.

2005 - Powell keeps true to his word in Athens

A 22-year-old Powell said he was ready to break Tim Montgomery's 100m world record in Athens.

His confidence was certainly not unfounded, as he set a new mark of 9.77 seconds at the Olympic Stadium.

"It shows no-one knows how fast a man can run." Powell said after making history. He went faster another three times after Justin Gatlin had gone quicker in 2005.

Bolt holds the current record of 9.58, set in Berlin 11 years ago.

 

2007 - Imperious Spurs sweep Cavs

The NBA Finals 13 years ago proved to be one-sided, with the San Antonio Spurs dominating the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In their 40th season as a franchise, the Spurs wrapped up a 4-0 series victory with an 83-82 win in Cleveland.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 27 points as LeBron James' 24-point haul was in vain, with Tony Parker named Finals MVP for Gregg Popovich's side.

The Racers Grand Prix – Kingston Continental Tour Gold Meet, one of the biggest international meets in the Caribbean, has officially been cancelled for the 2020 track and field season.

Glen Mills, Chairman, Racers Grand Prix Organizing Committee, made the tough decision after careful observation of global sporting trends in relation to the novel coronavirus, as highlighted in a letter to the World Athletics (WA) dated Thursday, June 11, 2020.

“We are deeply disappointed to announce that the 2020 staging of the meet has been cancelled,” noted Mills.

“Especially after receiving such a great commendation from the WA. However, for the health and safety of all participants and stakeholders, we must look ahead to 2021 for the return of Racers Grand Prix. Hopefully, by then we will have sustainable engagement protocols for large sporting events in light of COVID-19.”

The meet, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Kingston, was one of ten meets in the new series designed to accommodate athletes from several disciplines cut from the Diamond League for 2020.

Racers Grand Prix is currently in dialogue with World Athletics, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the Kingston and St Andrew Metropolitan Corporation (KSAMC), sponsors Adidas and Richard Mille, and other key partners to confirm the proposed date of Saturday, June 5, 2021. 

The move is in tandem with the rationale of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, now tentatively slated for July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021.  Fans of athletics can look forward to an exciting year of track and field events.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) officially opened the doors of its new office during a ceremony held at its new location at 1 Ballater Avenue, Kingston 10 on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the all-time greats of female sprinting, has revealed that she forged her talents in the intense furnace of competition that is the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships, arguably the biggest high school track meet on the planet.

Two weeks ago a young footballer was shot and killed in Jamaica. Not long before that, the United States of America had a rejuvenation of its #BlackLivesMatter campaign following the death of George Floyd, who died after a policeman, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, camera rolling and all.

It has been heartening for me to see black people from all over the world standing, marching, kneeling, lying face down, repeating Floyd’s last words ‘I can’t breathe’ together to say enough is enough.

The reach of the Black Lives Matter movement has been incredible since Floyd’s death, reaching all over Europe, Canada, the Caribbean.

But I am now hoping that there is another type of spill-over effect.

Already, there is very little talk about the young man, Shemar Nairne, who was one of eight people murdered on a random Wednesday in Jamaica.

Nairne played football for a living and he isn’t the first sportsman to be impacted by violence. Sports can no longer stand on the sidelines (the irony is obvious here), while the ills of society go without highlight.

For a long time, sports has sought to stay out of the fray for fear that it will be used for political gain and lose its purity, its independence.

But in Jamaica, just as has been the case in other countries, sport isn’t immune to the problems of the society it grows from.

I asked the question, what will be sport’s response to the murder of Nairne and by extension the wanton violence that pervades an increasing number of spaces on the island of Jamaica?

The responses were the very generic indignation that something like this could happen and the condolences to the family. It was not a George Floyd moment.

Sports, like music, are great at bringing people together in Jamaica.

I can remember watching Shell Cup football and being able to run through the spaces between the seats as Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 to lift the crown.

The peanut vendor never had to chance his arm when selling his product to me and hope that I was decent enough to pass the money person-to-person across rows of fans to get him his due. He came to my feet to sell me the salted delights and was in no danger of blocking anyone’s view.

But then I can also remember that less than a decade later, I could not move more than a few inches either side of me when the Reggae Boyz were making their historic trek towards a first World Cup berth and the peanut vendor could not hear my screams for his attention. But Bunny didn’t mind. He was very much in the black with the number of orders he was getting. And violent crimes were down.

I say all that to say, Sports and music,  have a major part to play in getting the perpetrators of violence in Jamaica to stop.

Just as the Black Lives Matter campaign has gained worldwide traction and I witnessed as people like dancehall icon Bounty Killer waved placards in front of the US Embassy calling for an end to injustice for all black people, I want a concerted response from sports stars in Jamaica.

Football clubs, cricket clubs, track clubs must lead the way in bringing about an understanding of the importance of life.

I am fully aware of the fact that #GhettoLivesMatter is about putting an end to police excesses, but I believe the slogan can mean something bigger.

For some reason, and by ‘some’ I mean I know all the reasons but will not get into it, it is largely the poor who suffer at the hands of violence and this is a bigger statement than saying the police always brutalize the poor.

That being the case, #GhettoLivesMatter is apt.

Let’s hear the voices of the Jamaica Olympic Association, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, the Jamaica Football Association, Netball Jamaica, the Inter-Schools Sports Association, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the sports stars who fall under all these umbrellas.

Justice for Shemar Nairne. #GhettoLivesMatter      

Bahamian sprint star Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Jamaica’s Omar McLeod are set to be in action next month at the Weltklasse Zurich’s Inspiration Games exhibition event on July 9.

The cross-continent meeting will involve 30 athletes competing in eight disciplines across seven stadia. Athletes will compete in teams, with a Europe squad going up against teams from the USA and the rest of the world.

In the 150m, Miller-Uibo of Bahamas will race in Miramar, Florida, against USA’s six-time Olympic gold medallist Felix in Walnut, California, and Switzerland’s world bronze medallist Kambundji in Zurich.

Meanwhile, McLeod will take on Andre DeGrasse and Andre Vicaut in a 100-yard dash.

 Dalilah Muhammad will battle Léa Sprunger in a 300m hurdles and Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris will contest the pole vault.

Noah Lyles and Alex Wilson take on the 200m and Christian Taylor goes up against Omar Craddock and Pablo Pichardo in the triple jump.

June 10 will forever be remembered as a famous day in Italian football, as it marks the first time the Azzurri conquered the world and Europe.

It is also a date on which Al Geiberger made history on the PGA Tour and Sebastian Coe set an 800m world record that went unbroken for 16 years.

Many French Open tennis finals have been held on this day, but the battle between Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe in 1984 stands out.

This was also the date on which the first University Boat Race, one of the oldest annual sporting events in the world, was held in London.

 

1829 - Oxford win first University Boat Race

The University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, England's most prestigious higher-education bodies, has been held annually on the Thames since 1856. The only exceptions were caused by the First and Second World Wars (no races took place from 1915-19 and 1940-45) and in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.

The very first such event took place back on June 10, 1829. Oxford triumphed by nearly two lengths in around 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

Cambridge got revenge at the second race, seven years later, and they still lead the overall standings 84-80.

 

1934 - Italy win home World Cup

The second football World Cup took place in Italy 86 years ago, under the shadow of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime.

The host nation triumphed after a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in scorching temperatures in Rome, Angelo Schiavo scoring the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.

Italy tasted more success at a home tournament on this date in 1968, winning their only European Championship to date with a 2-0 defeat of Yugoslavia, a match also played in Rome.

That fixture was a replay after the teams had battled out a 1-1 draw two days earlier at the same Stadio Olimpico venue.

 

1977 - Al Geiberger cards sub-60 round

Geiberger claimed 30 professional wins in his career including the PGA Championship in 1966, but he is widely remembered for becoming the first player in history to card a score of 59 in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

His bogey-free second round helped him to win the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in 1977, even though it was the only round where he shot under 70.

That round of 59 has been equalled nine times since and beaten only once: Jim Furyk carded a 58 final round at the 2016 Travelers Championship.

 

1981 - Sebastian Coe sets 800m world record

Coe produced a run for the ages in the 800 metres on June 10, 1981 in Florence.

His world record of one minute and 41.73 seconds lasted for 16 years until Wilson Kipketer twice recorded lower times in 1997, and it was not until August 2010 that David Rudisha went even faster.

Coe remains the joint-third fastest man to run the distance in history – Nijel Amos equalled his time at the 2012 Olympics in London. That run by Amos was only good enough for silver, since Rudisha took the gold with a world record of 1:40.91, which still stands.

 

1984 - Lendl defeats McEnroe in Paris

McEnroe had the chance to silence those who questioned whether he could cut it on clay when he reached his first French Open final in 1984.

He took the first two sets against Ivan Lendl, who had lost all four of his previous major finals, but things unravelled as McEnroe's famous short temper got the better of him.

Lendl triumphed 3-6 2-6 6-4 7-5 7-5 for his first of eight grand slam singles titles, three of which came in Paris. McEnroe never made a Roland Garros final again, although he did win at Wimbledon and the US Open – his last major victories – later in the year.

Yohan Blake’s YB Afraid Foundation has collaborated with The Sandals Foundation to deliver new living accommodations for wards of the Mt. Olivet Boy’s Home in Walderston in Manchester.

The new facilities scheduled to be completed in November 2020, will include multi-purpose play areas and an artificial turf football field. Once completed it will become a critical tool in a thrust to raise the standard of care for wards of the state in Jamaica to unprecedented levels.

Blake, the 2011 100m world champion, started the YB Afraid Foundation in 2011 with a mandate to support organizations and develop programs that address the educational, physical and mental health and social needs of underprivileged youth, enabling them to develop into outstanding citizens and role models in society.

He told Sportsmax.TV that the project takes him closer to achieving his vision of providing safe spaces for the island’s underprivileged youth.

“I am very proud to be able to do this. It is a life-long dream and I really believe it is only the beginning,” said the 2012 double Olympic silver medallist.

“I have to thank my Richard Mille family and my Sandals family and everyone who has been so generous and has helped. Those people inspire me to be better and to do more. I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can go and spend some time with the boys.”

Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation Heidi Clarke said they were excited to be on board with the project that Jamaica so desperately needs. The foundation, she said, has been managing the execution of the project and helping the YB Afraid Foundation realize its vision.

She revealed that the project contained components that were important to the Sandals Foundation. These included the rehabilitation of the existing structures transforming them into a HEART-certified woodwork-training centre on the property and a halfway house that can accommodate wards that age out when they turn 17.

“We saw the need to create spaces that are inspirational, to uplift these young men coming from difficult situations. We feel strongly that if we provide them with an environment to develop holistically they can reach for the stars. The sky is the limit for them,” Clarke said.

 

 

Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic champion and former 100-metre world record holder, believes Canada has to confront its own issues of racism.

On October 3, 2019, eight of the world’s best female runners lined up for the final of the Women 400m final at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Among the eight were Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo and an exciting young talent Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain. Also among the finalists were 2017 champion Phyllis Francis, Wadeline Jonathas of the USA, Stephenie-Ann McPherson of Jamaica, and the Polish pair of Justyna Święty-Ersetic and Iga Baumgart-Witan.

They were about to be role players in what was one of the greatest races of the championships and one of the fastest of all time.

About 15 months earlier – July 20, 2018 - about 6000 km away in Monaco, Naser and Miller-Uibo had set the stage for their much-anticipated clash in Doha.

In a stirring battle inside the Stade Louis II, the Bahamian running in lane 6 was pushed to a personal best 48.97 by the young Bahranian - running in lane 5 - who also delivered a lifetime best of 49.08s, clearly demonstrating that she was getting a lot closer to getting a leg up on the towering Bahamian star.

It was the only loss Naser suffered over 400m in 2018.

Fast-forward to October 3, 2019, when Naser is one again in lane 5. This time, however, Miller-Uibo is running in lane 7. Jackson is in lane 3.

People across the globe were expecting something special. Many, including me, smelled a possible upset. Naser had looked strong coming into the final, I daresay as good as Miller-Uibo, the favourite.

The only question in my mind was whether the two 400m legs Naser ran to help Bahrain to the bronze medal in the mixed relays a few days earlier had sapped whatever energy she had left in those powerful legs of hers.

When the gun went, it was immediately clear that Naser was going to be a real threat. She powered down the backstretch steadily closing the gap until she was on the Bahamian’s shoulder with just over 100 metres to go.

Naser then slung off the curve into a three-metre lead over Miller-Uibo and held her immaculate form to cross the line in 48.14 and the claim the gold medal.

The 48.14 was a world-leading time, an area record, a personal best and the third-fastest time in history. Only East Germany’s Marita Koch 47.60 and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvílová 47.99 have run faster.

Like the rest of us who witnessed it, Miller-Uibo, who had just run the sixth-fastest time in history (48.34), sat stunned at what had just transpired.

For weeks, the race was the topic of many conversations as we discussed whether the 35-year-old world record was under legitimate threat.

So imagine my dismay when last week Google alerts brought my attention to the fact that Naser had been provisionally suspended under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code.

Whereabouts violations make little sense to me.

The World Anti-Doping Agency requires that athletes fill out a form online that says where they will be for an hour each day. This allows doping control officers to locate and conduct out-of-competition tests on an athlete.

If an athlete misses three tests in a 12-month period, it is tantamount to a doping violation and the athlete, if found culpable can be banned for up to two years. Mind you, it does not mean an athlete has been doping but it also does not mean they have not.

However, it is the duty of the athlete to ensure that the update their whereabouts. It is not that hard. In this age of smartphones, an athlete can update his or her information on the fly because, in reality, things can change in a hurry.

In recent times, a number of Caribbean athletes have run about of this code. Jamaican cricketer Andre Russell and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye have been suspended for missing tests.

Track and field athletes know how important it is for them to uphold the integrity of their sport. The flood of doping cases over the past few decades have served to badly taint the sport that it is hard to trust performances because you never truly know.

It has got so bad that even Usain Bolt’s times have been called into question even though he has never failed a dope test in his outstanding career.

So, it is shocking to me that an athlete could manage to miss three Tests in a year. In the case of Naser, it was four, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), who also claim that Naser’s third missed test was under investigation while she was powering her way to victory in Doha.

What is even more disappointing is that the gravity of the situation seems to be lost on the young woman.

“It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat,” she said.

“Hopefully, it will get resolved because I really don’t like the image. It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Her comments are shocking to me.

“It can happen to anybody”? It should not be happening. The life of the sport depends on athletes upholding their end of the bargain. Athletics has fallen steadily down the pecking order and is struggling to attract sponsors and it is because of things like this.

In addition, no, it is not going to be fine because now like so many other outstanding athletic performances, there is now a huge cloud of suspicion over that amazing time and incredible race, a cloud that will remain forever over it no matter the outcome of the AIU investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser insisted she has "never been a cheat" after being provisionally suspended, describing her three missed doping tests in a 12-month span as "normal".

Naser was charged with whereabouts failures in a statement released by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) this week.

Nigerian by birth, Naser switched allegiance to Bahrain six years ago and won 400m gold in 48.14 seconds – the third-fastest time ever – at the World Championships in Doha back in October.

Speaking on an Instagram Live video, the 22-year-old said: "I've never been a cheat. I will never be.

"I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don't want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.

"This year I have not been drug tested. We are still talking about the ones of last season before the World Championships.

"Hopefully, it'll get resolved because I don't really like the image, but it has happened. It's going to be fine. It's very hard to have this little stain on my name.

"I would never take performance-enhancing drugs. I believe in talent, and I know I have the talent."

World Athletics rules stipulate that athletes will be guilty of a violation if they have a combination of three missed tests or filing failures across a 12-month period.

Athletes face up to a two-year ban for whereabouts violations.

Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste is confident her compatriot Khalifa St Fort is ready to take off, following a recent move to Florida-based coach Lance Brauman, at Pure Athletics.

The 22-year-old St Fort has spent most of her career so far being conditioned by former T&T top sprinter Ato Boldon, who also operates out of Florida.  St Fort trained alongside young Jamaican rising star Briana Williams.

The young sprinter had a stellar start to her competitive career after claiming a silver medal at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics, behind America's Candace Hill.  She went on to claim 100m gold at the 2015 Pan American Junior Athletics Championship.  St Fort was chosen for the 2015 World Championships in Athletics as a relay alternate for the 4×100 metres relay, where the team broke the Trinidad and Tobago national record.

Things, however, tailed off a bit for the young runner and her and Boldon parted ways last year.  Baptiste, however, believes the young sprinter is slowly getting back to her best.

"Khalifa is somebody that I have admired in terms of her work ethic, her dedication to always want to be well. In some ways, Khalifa reminds me of myself and I just think that she, with the right environment and the right training, she can be a world-beater,” Baptiste said in a recent interview with T&T radio station i95.5fm.

 “I'm excited for her and I'm looking to see what next year holds. She's been doing very well and you know it's a bunch of 'Trinis' here which just makes things easier for her.”

The 2019 Women 400m World Champion Salwa Eid Naser has been provisionally suspended for not making herself available for doping tests.

Naser was charged under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code that relates to whereabouts violations, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics.

Athletes are required to provide regular updates on their whereabouts to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.

A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found or were not where they said they would be when testers arrived.

Three missed tests over a period of 12 months are the equivalent of a doping violation.

At the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the Nigerian born runner stormed to victory in a world-leading 48.14s, the third-fastest time in history upsetting gold the medal favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

 If a case is proven against her she could miss next year's Olympics set for Tokyo, Japan.

Winning three All-American awards has helped take the edge off a frustrating end to the 2019/2020 NCAA athletics season for University of Texas sophomore Julien Alfred.

There have been rumours that World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is no longer being coached by the MVP Track Club and the man who brought her to stardom, coach, Stephen Francis.

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