Barbadian swimmer, Alex Sobers, has set a new national record in the Men's 200m Freestyle.

Competing earlier today, Sobers smashed his previous record of 1:48.35, set earlier this year. The 22-year-old, swimming out of lane 7, in heat 2, finished in a time of 1:48.09 to finish 6th.  The heat was won by Romania’s David Popovici who touched home first in a time of  

1:45.32.  Second place went to Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic, who recorded a time of 1:46.26.  Both men advanced to the event’s semifinals.

For Sobers, the result follows up on the second-time Olympian’s 7th place finish in heat 2 of the Men’s 400m Freestyle yesterday. He finished in a time of 3:59.14 seconds. Sobers failed to advance to the semifinals in any of his events.

Meanwhile, his teammate, Danielle Titus also finished 6th in her heat today. The Olympic debutante hit the pool for the Women’s 100m Backstroke and finished with a time of 1:04.53. She did not advance to the semifinals. That was her only event.  The event was won by Moldova’s Tatiana Salcutan who was first in 1:01.59, with McKenna DeBever Elliot second in 1:02.09.

Decorated Jamaica swimmer, Alia Atkinson, failed to qualify for the semifinals of the 100m Breaststroke on Sunday, in what was one of the slower heats.

Competing in Heat 3, the Jamaican swimming sensation clocked 31.48 seconds in her first 50m and held a slight lead over the field at the halfway point.  She, however, faded in the last few metres and returned to touch the wall third, with a time of 1:07.70 seconds.  Atkinson’s second leg split was timed at 36.22.

The heat was won by 19-year-old Lithuanian Kotryna Teterevkova who clocked 1:06.82 to touch first, in the process securing her spot in the semifinals with one of the top 16 fastest times.  German swimmer Anna Elendt also qualified from the heat after finishing second with a time of 1:06.96.

Atkinson was competing in a remarkable fifth straight Olympics.

The fastest time of the round was recorded by South African Tatjana Schoenmaker who smashed American Lilly King’s five-year-old Olympic record, clocking 1:04.82 to win heat five.

The semifinals will get underway on Monday at 8:50 pm.

Barbadian Olympic bronze medallist, Obadele Thompson, has revealed that he was overcome with a sense of relief after crossing the line third at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The historic bronze medal was the first for the sprinter and first for Barbados as an independent nation, but the sprinter had battled through his fair share of disappointment prior to securing the breakthrough.

Before that, Thompson had finished outside of the medals at the previous four major games (3 World Championships and 1 Olympics) and even before that fourth at the World Junior Championships in 1994.

Finally, though, his hard work did off in Sydney.

“Crossing third was a huge relief.  I had placed fourth at so many other championships.  I came fourth at the World Youth Championships, fourth in 1996, in the 200, when Michael Johnson set his amazing world record.  I came fourth the year before, in 1999, in the 100m and 200m,” Thompson told SportsMax.Tv’s InCaseYouMissedIT.

“To be able to cross the line and finally know I was going to be on the podium was a big deal, and to know that Barbados, never seen our flag raised at a global championship of that magnitude before was an amazing feeling,” he added. (Watch full interview below)

Still, the former athlete, as tends to be the case, admits that he also felt some amount of disappointment as the results of the race could have been even better.

“It was also disappointing, I knew I was in better shape, coming to the Olympic Games with an injury that I sustained about six weeks before and I had to come off the European circuit after running really well in the 100m.  The only person that was beating me was Maurice Green,” Thompson said.

“Having to leave the circuit, dealing with the injury, and not knowing if I would be able to compete, it was also a blessing to have made it down that track.”

 

 

 In just two days, team Jamaica has received news of two unexpected injury blows to start the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

2018 Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion, Aisha Praught Leer, has revealed via social media that she injured her left knee in training on Sunday, which later turned out to be a torn meniscus.

The athlete will, however, still attempt to compete at the Games after taking an injection to the joint.

"I will line up in Tokyo.  When I arrive I will get fluid drained from my knee and take a cortisone injection (this is legal, and my surgeon understands and supports me in this)

The unfortunate injury occurred during what she described as one of the ‘best workouts’ of her life.  The athlete explained that she felt excruciating pain as if something had torn.

“I tore my meniscus (a complete, off the bone root tear) on Sunday at training—a freak, shocking accident. I heard and felt a painful pop doing a drill but then proceeded to do one of the best workouts of my life. On Wednesday I got an MRI, then sat in quiet disbelief with Joe Bosshard as the doctor told us I need surgery ASAP.”

The always-smiling athlete is scheduled to compete in the 1500m that is set to get underway on Sunday, at 7:35 pm.  Naturally, she is heartbroken because she will not be able to compete at her maximum ability.

“I want to keep believing in the possibility of achieving the wild dreams I store deep in my heart. The reality is they will not happen in Tokyo—running to my ability is simply not possible on a knee without stability. This is the most challenging reality I have faced in my career,” Praught Leer said.

“We did nothing wrong. As I said, this was a freak accident. But now all of my silent work, the beautiful, hard-earned fitness, does not have a chance to see the light of day. The triumph I have visualized so vividly is—poof—gone in one step,” Leer lamented.

Although she understands that unexpected injuries are a part of sports, it is still a tough reality for her to accept.

“I understand this is sport—just sport. I know the truth that I am more than an athlete. But this sport means everything to me. This is my life’s work, my purpose, and my first true love. I am heartbroken.”

The athlete, who created history, being the first Jamaican to win gold in the steeplechase event at the Commonwealth Games, insists she will be proud to represent the country despite not being in top shape. 

“You will see me smiling in Tokyo with Jamaica on my chest because the honour of representing my country is one of the greatest I’ve had in my little life.”

On Thursday, news broke that gymnast Danusia Francis had suffered an injury to her left knee, which later turned out to be a torn ACL.  Francis will not be able to compete in her events.  She will, however, symbolically take part in the Uneven Bars event but will not attempt a dismount.

 

 

 

Jamaica gymnast Danusia Francis is unsure of when she sustained a competition-ending knee injury, and will only be able to symbolically compete in Saturday’s competition, but insists she remains proud to represent the country regardless.

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a torn ACL on Friday and will now only take part in the Athletics Gymnastics Uneven Bars event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.  Even so, the gymnast will not be able to fully compete as she will be unable to do a dismount routine.

 “I hope to do some sort of bar routine just to get a score on the board but without a dismount, it won’t be a competitive score, but I’ll be happy to see Jamaica represented at the Olympic Games and I still feel very proud to be wearing the Jamaican flag,” Francis told the press.

“The knee, I think, is getting worse and worse, so I can’t really tell you the exact time when the ligament damage occurred, but I found out today what it actually was and it will drastically affect my competition, unfortunately.”

  The Artistic Gymnastics competition is set to start tomorrow with the Uneven Bars finals for women taking place on Sunday.  The athlete will miss out on competing on the Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, and Vault.

 The gymnast admits the injury had come as a huge blow.

“I’m really upset to have hurt myself. I have been so prepared for this competition mentally and physically up to this point so to, at the last hurdle, be injured is disappointing. Luckily, the medics have taken really good care of me and I’m sure they will continue to do so.”

 

Jamaica sprinter Yohan Blake will have his hands full at the Tokyo Olympics not just taking part in two events on the track but also serving as a panelist for India Broadcasters Sony Sport.

The 31-year-old, who will be competing in his third Olympics, will participate in the 100m and 200m sprints.  Blake was once thought to be the heir apparent to illustrious compatriot Usain Bolt and holds the seconnd fastest times ever recorded over both events.

Following hamstring injuries in 2013 and 2014, however, he has failed to replicate that kind of form in recent years.  In fact, in Tokyo, he will be looking to make it on the podium at major games for the first time in nine years.  Whether he gets among the medals or not, however, the sprinter could already be considering what’s next.

“I am very excited to associate with Sony Sports as an expert panelist on their live wrap-around studio show, SPORTS EXTRAAA, and take fans closer to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.  Not only will the viewers in India watch me proudly represent my country at the Games but they will also watch me provide insights on the performance of the world's finest on the grand stage,” Blake told South Asian news agency ANI.

The programs will be broadcast all across India.

 

 Jamaica gymnast, Danusia Francis, will be unable to compete in the majority of her scheduled events for the Tokyo Olympics after suffering a torn ACL.

Francis, the country’s lone competitor in Artistic Gymnastics, was scheduled to take part in the four-event Women’s All-Round competition on Sunday.

After suffering a knee injury, however, the 27-year has had to alter those plans.  The results of an MRI, taken in the Olympic Village on Friday, showed that the damage to the joint was worse than hoped for.

As a result, Francis will only be able to compete on the Uneven Bars, which is the apparatus that is least likely to cause further damage to the injured joint.  That means the athlete will skip the Vault, Balance Beam, and Floor exercises.

Francis is the second female gymnast to represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games following in the footsteps of Toni-Ann Williams, who at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was the first female gymnast to compete for Jamaica at the Olympics.

The gymnast was able to qualify for the Games based on her performance at the 2019 World Championships.  She finished among the top 20 athletes who were not on a qualifying team. She ranked ninth in the group of competitors.

The Jamaican sprinter is looking for her third Olympic 100m gold.

The individual who returned a positive COVID-19 test result ahead of the West Indies second ODI against Australia has been confirmed to be a non-playing member of the West Indies staff.

The match between the teams, which was scheduled for the Kensington Oval today, was postponed shortly after the toss as news of the positive test reached the units.

According to the existing COVID-19 protocols all players, management teams, and match officials will return to their hotel rooms where they will isolate before undergoing a round of PCR testing.

According to Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, a decision will be taken on when or if the match can resume once the testing is completed.

“Everyone will be retested later today.  In the meantime, everyone will have to stay in isolation until the results of those PCR tests are confirmed,” Grave said.

“We’ll make a further decision when the match can be replayed at a later date, once all the test results are back in, which will hopefully be by tomorrow morning.”

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0, after securing a 133 runs win via the DLS method in the first match on Tuesday.  

The second ODI between the West Indies and Australia was suspended due to a positive COVID-19 case. The match was set to get underway at Kensington Oval in Barbados this afternoon.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first but there was a delay at the start of play. Shortly after, it was reported by ESPN Cricinfo that play was suspended and all persons in the bubble will go into isolation.  The identity of the person who tested positive has not been revealed.

West Indies legend and commentator, Ian Bishop tweeted, “Unfortunate. It’s the risk taken in these testing times. Hope the person is not to. (sic) Adversely affected”.

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0 and were hoping to close out with a win today.

In game one, Australia posted a score of 252 for 9 in a game reduced to 49 overs. Captain Alex Carey top-scored with 67 while Ashton Turner added 49.

Leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr. was the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 39 from his ten overs. In reply, the Windies were skittled out for just 123 in 26.2 overs. Kieron Pollard was the top scorer with 56 while fast bowler Mitchell Starc picked up his 8th five-wicket haul, finishing with 5 for 48 in 8 overs.

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, has urged the team to show more fight on the back of a disappointing loss to Australia to open the ODI series between the teams on Tuesday.

Despite the high of coming off a dominant T20I series, the Windies were crushed by 133 runs, via the DLS method.  Batting first, Australia made 259 for 9 but in response, the West Indies could only muster 123 all out and were at one stage, 27 for 6.

For his part, Pollard, who only just returned to the team, made a battling 56.  In an innings where four batsmen were dismissed without scoring, the captain could have used more of that grit from the rest of the team.

“I was disappointed with our overall batting performance, not being able to chase down 250 from the position that we were in,” Pollard told members of the media.

“I didn’t think we showed enough fight or enough courage.  They are going to come hard at us, it’s an experienced bowling attack that they have so we need to fight as a team and as individuals when we go out there.”

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc was the dangerman for the tourists after ending with figures of 5 for 48.

Former 100m world record holder and Olympic champion Donovan Bailey believes Jamaica’s women could sweep the blue ribband event in Tokyo.

Heading into the women’s 100m, it is the Jamaican trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson who have clocked the fastest times over the distance this year.

Out front, is reigning world champion and two-time winner of the event Fraser-Pryce, with her best time of 10.63, which was recorded last month.  The time was the second-fastest time ever recorded over the distance and fastest in 33 years.

Next up, reigning Olympic champion Thompson-Herah has a season-best of 10.71, a run that she recorded a few weeks ago.  American sprinter Sha’carri Richardson is next on the world's top list with her time of 10.72, which was recorded in April.  Richardson will, however, miss out on the Games after testing positive for marijuana last month.

Jackson, formerly a 400m specialist, had a breakout performance in the sprints last month where she recorded a personal best of 10.77, at the country’s national trials where she was second behind Fraser-Pryce.  The fourth-fastest this year, by an athlete, and certainly puts the 27-year-old firmly in the conversation.

“The women’s 100m will be won by Shelly-Ann Fraser, that's my personal favourite.  I really think Jamaica has the opportunity to sweep.  I think Shericka Jackson has something up her sleeve,” Bailey said during the SportsMax.Tv special series Great Ones.

“We know Elaine will be there, but I think Shelly-Ann is going to get up and keep Elaine out, but I think Shericka Jackson has something for somebody,” he added.

In addition to their fast times this season, all three Jamaicans have the experience of standing on the medal podium.  Fraser-Pryce won the event at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, while Thompson-Herah won the 2016 edition.  It will be Jackson’s first time competing at the event, but she claimed a bronze medal in the 400m at the 2016 Rio Games.

“I was looking forward to this race because I really wanted to see Sha’Carri Richardson under the spotlight with the greatest sprinters of this generation.  I was looking forward to that,” Bailey said.

“The men’s final is open but the women’s final for me is a little more straightforward.  When the lights shine bright, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will not back down.”

 Costa Rica and Jamaica delivered an exciting, tight game, but in the end, it was Costa Rica who took the 1-0 win and top spot in Group C on Tuesday night at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The game was delayed a little over two hours due to inclement weather, but it had no effect on the explosiveness and pressure both Costa Rica and Jamaica showed within the first few seconds of the match. Neither side wasted any time in starting to look for a goal.

For the first 15 minutes, it was an intense back and forth with some dangerous shots close to the goal that had the fans on edge, but no goals were scored.

The Costa Rica goal was under attack from the Jamaicans during the final minutes of the opening half, but Costa Rica GK Leonel Moreira denied Jamaica from opening the scoring.

It was the same story into the second half, with Jamaica probing for a goal, and in the 51’, Jamaica forward Andre Gray blasted a shot straight onto the post.

Costa Rica answered almost immediately with a play that started with a slide tackle win for the Ticos and a flawless pass from  Ariel Lassiter into the box that found Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz heading into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Costa Rica in the 53rd.

Things got complicated for the Ticos in the 72nd when Moreira got a straight red card for a handball outside the box, leaving Costa Rica with 10 men with at least 20 minutes left in the match.

The Reggae Boyz continued to attack and pressure in Costa Rica’s half looking to score again and again, but with no luck, leaving Costa Rica as the group winner.

 

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