Is WADA's four-year ban on Russia a just decision?

By December 10, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Jamaican Olympian Shevon Nieto welcomes son Jaysha King Jamaican Olympian Shevon Nieto welcomes son Jaysha King

    Two-time Jamaican Olympian Shevon Nieto and her husband Jamie have announced the birth of their first child, a son, Jaysha King Nieto, who was born on August 10.

    "On August 10, 2020, we welcomed the birth of our baby boy, Jaysha King Nieto. My world has now been made complete with this precious gift from God and the most amazing husband and now father @jamienieto," Shevon posted on her Facebook page late Thursday night.

    Nieto, 37, represented Jamaica in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.

     Shevon Stoddart married USA high jumper Jamie Nieto in 2017. Jamie suffered a spinal injury in 2016 which left him paralyzed.

    Earlier this year, Nieto, who is now pursuing a career as a singer entered the talent show America's Got Talent singing her song Through the Good and the Bad, that was dedicated to her husband. Her performance was praised by the judges including the world-famous Simon Cowell. She was four months' pregnant at the time.

    However, she eventually withdrew from the competition after concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus caused a delay in production as well as concern for the safety of her unborn child.

    "After the first round, which was pretty amazing. It was one of the best moments of my life. I was definitely looking forward to the next round. Even though Covid was there we waited to see what would happen, but when we realized that the virus was getting worse...the producers, they knew that that would be a concern. They wanted to make sure that I was also safe and I was also comfortable. It was bitter-sweet. I really appreciate the opportunity to being on the show."

     

     

     

     

  • 'Puzzling decision' exposes tension between UTech track coaches and sports director 'Puzzling decision' exposes tension between UTech track coaches and sports director

    The decision by the University of Technology (UTech) not to renew the contracts of their sports coaches, citing challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to have exposed ongoing tensions between the university’s Sports Director Orville Byfield and personnel running the school’s track programme including Head Track Coach Paul Francis.

    Francis’ elder brother, MVP coach Stephen Francis, believes UTech’s decision not to renew the coaches’ contracts, among other things, creates the impression that Byfield is trying to destroy the university’s track programme.

    Sportsmax.TV reported exclusively on Monday that UTech has not renewed the contracts of all its sports coaches, a move that Dr Kamilah Hylton, Dean of the Faculty of Sports and Science, described as a temporary measure.

    “We have not made any final decision. We are waiting to hear from Intercol (Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association) and a directive from the Acting President (Professor Colin Gyles) in terms of how many students will be allowed on campus,” said Dr Hylton speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Monday night.

    “We have to make decisions on how they (athletes) would train in a safe manner,” she said while explaining that training sessions would have to abide by established COVID-19 protocols, meaning athletes would have to train in smaller groups, adhere to the required physical distancing requirements and other related safety measures.

    Among the coaches, whose contracts were not renewed were those of Francis and his elder brother Stephen. However, Stephen has continued to prepare some athletes from the MVP Track Club, which has an MOU with the university to use the school’s Papine campus as a training base.

    It then begs the question: if MVP athletes are able to train why then would the university not allow the collegiate track athletes to do the same, especially since MVP, through negotiations had provided UTECH with funding for the programme from PUMA. Sources indicate that the funding amounts to about US$30,000.

    Stephen was at pains to find an explanation.

    “Discussions are being held at a higher level to sort out this situation so I don’t want to say anything which would compromise the whole thing but it does seem to be, on the face it, a very puzzling decision,” said Francis while speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Thursday morning at Stadium East in Kingston.

    Asked to comment on whether there were underlying issues between the director of sports and MVP that could have influenced the decision to impact the sport that has brought tremendous success to the university, Francis said:

    “As far as I know there is no problem between MVP and Byfield. The problem is between Byfield and the UTech track programme; in that, he is giving off signs that he doesn’t think that the programme should exist.

    “Maybe he wants to be the coach, I don’t know what the reason is. He has not shown a tendency to be cooperative and even though it might sound improbable, a lot of people close to programme believe he is trying to destroy the programme.”

    Byfield, a track coach who has worked with Kingston College, St. George's College and Hydel High, among other high schools, joined the staff at UTech around 2008 as a sports lecturer. He was appointed Director of Sports in October 2018 following the departure of Anthony Davis.

    “I think there has been a lot of upheavals since Byfield became the Director of Sport. He doesn’t seem to have the role of a normal Director of Sport, which is to maximise the performance of the teams that the school puts out,” said Francis, who was reluctant to provide details of the afore-mentioned upheavals.

    “Certainly in athletics, there are a lot of stumbling blocks that he puts in the way and I don’t think anybody can argue that he is trying to maximize the performance of the UTech student-athletes, certainly not in track, probably not in football, and based on the performance in most of the sports.

    “So I don’t know what he thinks his job is and I don’t know what his job has been defined as but it is not what you would expect from a person in charge of collegiate sports programmes. It is what it is so we have to find a way to work around him and work around whatever it is that he is doing.”

    In response, Byfield said Francis’ comments came as a surprise.

    “I don’t know what he is talking about. This is news to me,” Byfield told Sportsmax.TV on Thursday afternoon. “Both of them (Paul and Stephen) work with the university. No concerns were raised to me. It’s the first I am hearing of this.”

    He added that if the Francis brothers have any concerns they should take the matter to Human Resources and have those concerns addressed.

    Speaking on KLAS Radio on Wednesday, the UTech sports director indicated that he did not unilaterally make the decision not to renew the contracts of the Francis brothers or the other coaches.

    ‘This was a collective decision from the university. Based on what is going on at the university at this point in time the university has decided to temporarily suspend the contracts, or not renew the contracts until the university can sort out how we are going to deal with everything for the academic year,” he said.

    “The coaches will just have to be patient. We want to have our coaches here with us. Our coaches have been doing a good job for the university and we would love to continue to have them.

    “These times are unprecedented so the university has to take certain precautions on how we manage and maintain certain things.”

    Meanwhile, as it relates to the current situation, Francis said MVP will have to step in to help those track athletes who might be left out in the cold because the programme has been suspended.

    “As it is now, if it happens that no change occurs it will not really stop anything because I guess MVP would have to take up UTech’s slack in trying to develop these athletes because UTech normally provides for them a place in school and also some accommodation for some of them,” Francis said.

    “MVP would have to take up the slack in terms of making sure that the athletes who are supposed to come on board in September that they are not denied an opportunity because some of them would have decided to come to UTech even though they had opportunities abroad so it’s not fair for us not to honour their commitment.”

    The UTech track programme has produced the like of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson, Elaine Thompson, Tahjay Gayle, Jenieve Russell, Shericka Jackson and Asafa Powell, among others.

     

     

     

     

     

  • No injury worries for Miller-Uibo - athlete pulled out of meet as precaution No injury worries for Miller-Uibo - athlete pulled out of meet as precaution

    Bahamian quarter-miler Shaunae Miller-Uibo pulled out of Monday’s Star Athletic Sprint Showcase out of an ‘abundance of caution’ and not a major injury, the athlete’s manager Claude Bryan has revealed.

    The 26-year-old Nassau native has had a strong season to date.  She posted a then 100m world-leading 10.98, before returning to post 21.98 the next day, over double the distance, at the USA’s Back to the Track meet, three weeks ago.  The times saw the sprinter join elite company, with just four women who have run sub-11s in the 100m, sub-22s in the 200m, and sub-49s in the 400.

    On Monday, however, the athlete did not present in that kind of form and crossed the finish line, in the preliminaries, in fourth place, with a sub-par 13.56 seconds.  Sha’Carri Richardson clocked the fastest qualifying time of 10.95.

    Miller-Uibo did not show up for the final, which was won by Richardson in 10.83. Her absence prompted fear the athlete may have sustained an injury.  Miller-Uibo’s manager Claude Bryan, however, revealed it was “just a mild discomfort so she opted for caution.”

    He further confirmed that the athlete would not be looking to shut down the season, without finishing up as scheduled.

    “We’re looking for other low-key opportunities for her to wrap up the season.”

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