There is one reliable rule when it comes to living well: eat healthily.  Schezelle Fleming, rugby coach at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in Trinidad and Tobago has ingested that lesson and now wants others to do the same.

In addition to teaching the basics of the fast-paced sport, Fleming enlightens the boys and girls of the benefits of healthy eating during rugby training. Giving health advise to children between the ages of 11 and 17 can promote lifelong healthy habits.

Talking about eating healthy is good but Fleming also wants to put it into practice and her food company 'Happy Oat' will make that possible after every training session.

"I plan on providing them with 'Happy Oat minis' when we start back training next year, as well as embark on some nutritional food projects with them," she said.

 Fleming started the 'Happy Oat' in 2017.  Happy Oat is a company that manufactures healthy treats.  However, in 2018, Fleming went on a hiatus and the business stalled.

"The load was too overwhelming. It was challenging to manage my job, my son, rugby, and a business in all aspects," she admitted.

With all the downtime provided by the Covid-19 pandemic, Fleming revisited the venture but "this time in a much more organised manner."

The oatmeal muffins offered by the Happy Oat have an impressive selection of flavours, namely Banana Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Walnut, Cranberry, Mixed Nuts (Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, and Almonds), Carrot Raisin and Coconut.

In addition, "Happy Oat muffins do not have any wheat, dairy, eggs or added refined sugar. They are also extremely moist and filling, but not heavy," said Fleming.

Recently, customers were given the option of adding agave, a plant-based sweetener, to their muffins for extra sweetness.

"As research shows, it [agave] is low on the glycemic index (which means it’s diabetic friendly)."

"I liked the agave because I didn’t have to use as much to sweeten unlike honey," she noted.

The general feedback from customers is positive.

Fleming says customers are blown away by how moist and tasty the muffins are for 'healthy food'.

She describes it as "the most precious feedback" because she loves being able to provide quality options, especially because she is the only person running the operation.

"Currently, the Happy Oat team is just me - the happy baker, social media marketing/content creator, manager etc," Fleming said.

Nevertheless, Happy Oat is growing. So much so that Fleming expects it to become one of the official sponsors of the South East Port of Spain Secondary School rugby team.

Happy Oat's delicious muffins are available at the recently opened Fitt Street Market.  The Fitt Street Market supports local food businesses and is located at the corner of Fitt Street and Ariapita Avenue in Port of Spain.

 Wanting more people to opt for healthy snacks is one thing but producing healthy snacks that put people in a good mood, rather than leaving a bad aftertaste is another and Fleming is glad she found the recipe.

 

 

 

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has backed the team to rebound following a disappointing five-wicket loss to open its three-match T20I series against New Zealand on Friday.

For his part, Pollard crafted a masterful unbeaten 75 as the team posted 180 for 7, but in the rain-affected fixture the hosts chased down the total with a 179 for five response from 15.2 overs to win via the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Despite setting a reasonable total there will be plenty for the West Indies to ponder in the loss.  They got off to a fast start after racing to 58 without loss in 19 balls courtesy of Andre Fletcher’s 14-ball 34, following his dismissal the team lost five wickets in 11 balls.

In chasing down the target, Jimmy Neesham and Devon Conway led a New Zealand recovery, pulling the team back from 63 for 4 mid-way the seventh over to get a comfortable victory in the end.  They were aided by plenty of wayward bowling.  Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams being were particularly culpable. Paul bowled five no-balls while giving up 39 runs from his three overs while Williams’ half volleys saw him being taken for 33 runs from two overs.

“We will continue to fight, hopefully, we will get over the line and set up an exciting third match for the final game,” Pollard told members of the media following the match.

“We definitely have to look at our plans and come back, in terms of the bowling aspect of it and try not to lose wickets in clusters, these are conversations that we continue to have but as cricket goes sometimes these things play a part.”

Newly minted Jamaica international and Aberdeen defender, Greg Leigh, confesses he is eager to prove his worth, as the Reggae Boyz target a return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 22 years next summer.

Leigh made his debut for the national team against Saudi Arabia last week, taking part in both the 3-0 loss and the 2-1 win.  The 26-year-old made a decent impression at wing back and is already eager to be a part of future matches.

The matches were the first for the national team following a months-long break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.  There is little time to ease their way in, however, as the Jamaicans will already have their eyes on a big 2021, which will include participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but more importantlywill mark the start of the team’s World Cup qualification campaign.

 “We have World Cup qualifiers in June and then straight into the Gold Cup in July. In the World Cup group we have Costa Rica, Mexico, and the USA,” Leigh told The Press and Journal.

“There is another trip in March to Catalonia, so hopefully I can play well enough to stay in the plans,” he added.

“It would mean playing all through next summer, but that’s something you consider when you want to play international football.

“The prospect of playing in a World Cup is above everything else, it would be a massive thing. I want to commit to it and do everything I can to help us get there.”

General secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, has claimed the unusual situations emanating from the coronavirus pandemic complicated the association’s planning efforts for the recent tour of Saudi Arabia.

The JFF came under heavy criticism from head coach Theodore Whitmore, team captain Damion Lowe and a host of others for a wide range of issues that occured on the team’s middle east tour.  Some of the problems included the unavailability of players due to coronavirus testing, unpaid match fees, and incorrect seat bookings.

In arguing the JFF’s case, however, Wint pointed to the peculiarity of the current situation surrounding travel and restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

“We thought we were at a stage to have the proposals signed, but unfortunately they came back with some concerns.  I think some part of it was reasonable because they were going into an environment which was not a usual situation, where the match fees that we generally agree to we did not agree to because the fact is that we were going into Saudi Arabia during the COVID pandemic, which put another spin on the issue,” Wint said in a recent interview with the SportsMax Zone.

While insisting he understood the coach's situation, with not having some key members of the team available in time for the first match, Wint pointed out that in some regards the JFF was in uncharted territory.

“During the time of COVID, it’s not a perfect situation.  You are encounter things you never encountered before.  The fact is that we had players reaching days late, because of the fact that flights had to be changed, they had to re-do their COVID tests and all different issues because borders were closed left right and centre."

The Jamaica national team lost the first game 3-0, before rebounding with a 2-1 win in the second.

Windies head coach Phil Simmons admits to being pleased by increasing pressure placed on batsmen to perform, with competition for spots in the line-up beginning to heat up.

Recently the duo of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer returned to the batting line-up, but there was no room for the out of form Shai Hope, once a staple of the batting order.  With Bravo looking to be in good form on his return to the line-up and some displays of consistency from the likes of Sharmarh Brooks and Roston Chase, Simmons hopes the tussle for places leads to steadier performances in the future.

“It’s a case where everybody is under pressure.  We are getting more and more of a group of batsmen where everyone is competing for four or five places,” Simmons told members of the media via an online press conference from New Zealand.

“With the likes of Hetmyer coming back in and Bravo coming back in, after missing the England tour, Shai Hope is not here.  You are getting a group that is fighting for three or four positions in this case,” he added. 

“So, it is putting pressure on them to perform, that is what we want.  If you perform you will be there and the performance we are talking about is 100s, big 100s that is what we keep singing to the players.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons insisted he was not overly concerned by the struggles of the bowling unit to take wickets in the first practice game last week.

It was tough going on day one of the first tour match, for a Windies bowling unit that included top strike bowlers Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph.  Of the trio, Joseph was the only one to take a wicket in the first innings as New Zealand A put on 308 for 3 before declaring.  Gabriel did claim a wicket in the second innings of the drawn match.

The coach, however, believes the consistent threat of the bowling unit over the past several years speaks for itself and remained more concerned about the team's batting, which has been far less assured during the same time period.

“Over the years we have seen that the bowling has been our strength,” Simmons told members of the media from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“If in these two matches, the one that’s gone and the one tomorrow, the batsmen can get into form and get into the line that we want them to, I’m not worried about the bowlers.  The bowlers are always up to the task in the Test matches for a few years now,” he added.

Led by a century from returning batsman Darren Bravo the West Indies did put in a solid performance with the bat after scoring 366 in their first innings.

 

West Indies T20 opener Andre Fletcher insists the team does not sweat about its current position in the world rankings, which stands at 9th despite being two-time world champions.

Heading into the series against New Zealand, which bowls off on Friday, the Windies will stand a full three places below their hosts on the global charts.  In terms of world titles in the format, however, it is the West Indies who lead having claimed two, with New Zealand yet to win one.  Fletcher does not believe the rankings will influence the team; in terms of the way it operates playing cricket internationally.

“Sometimes it’s tough winning two World Cups and ranking at 9th in the world.  It’s kind of unbalanced but we will get back up there with the ranking as long as we continue to play our brand of cricket,” Fletcher told members of the media.

“I don’t think anything will change, we’ll continue playing our brand of cricket,” he added.

Of course, one disparity that could account for the difference between the titles and world ranking is the fact that the West Indies often has key players missing for T20 internationals, due to other T20 league commitments or injury.  They remain the only team to have claimed the title on two occasions.

Jamaica sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah has been included in a shortlist of five athletes in contention for the World Athletics 2020 Female Athlete of the Year.

Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc upon the international track and field calendar, the Jamaican managed to put together a series of strong performances.  Thompson-Herah ran unbeaten over seven races in which she also set a world-leading 10.85 over the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome. She also closed the season with a strong 10.87s in Doha.

Making the final five with Thompson-Herah are Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia) Sifan Hassan, Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir, and Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela).  Gidey set a world record of 14:06.62 over 5000m and was second in the 5000m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Hassan also set a world record in the one hour run as well as a European record of 29:36.67 over 10,000m, the fourth-fastest performance in history.  Jepchirchir won the world half marathon title and twice broke the world half-marathon record, while Rojas was undefeated in four triple jump competitions indoors and outdoors and broke the world indoor triple jump record with 15.43m.

The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2020 to be staged as a virtual event on Saturday 5 December and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel, its Facebook page, and via Twitter.

 

 

 

The resurfacing of Jamaica’s National Stadium track and a similar project at Catherine Hall Sports Complex are scheduled to get underway in coming months, according to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

Both projects will fall within the remit of a government maintenance program geared towards ensuring that money is set aside for upgrading the island's stadiums.  According to Grange, resurfacing work at the National Stadium is expected to begin “any time now, with Catherine Hall Sports Complex penciled in as a priority for the next year.

According to Grange two factors will determine when the work gets going at the National Stadium.  The first is the fact that the track has to be laid on a completely dried surface, and the process must therefore await the end of seasonal rains.  The other factor is the ability of the manufacturers' representatives, BSW of Germany, to leave Germany to come to Jamaica to supervise the project and that will depend on COVID restrictions.

“The material for the resurfacing of the Stadium track is on site. Upgrading after 10 years of usage is now necessary for the track to retain its Class 1 certification by World Athletics, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations. The track was laid in 2010 with a projected lifespan of eight years. But because of maintenance and care we were able to extend it by another two years to 2020,” Grange said.

 “The Government is putting a maintenance/replacement program to ensure that there is money for upgrading stadiums. It is through such a plan for the National Stadium that we have money for a new track. Money was actually put aside for the National Stadium because of proper planning and going forward we will be using that approach for upgrading of the facilities.”

Returning West Indies batsman Darren Bravo crafted an enterprising century to anchor the team’s efforts on day two of the three-day First Class match against New Zealand A on Friday.

Bravo made 135 from 214 balls as the regional team ended the day at 329-6, inching 21 runs ahead of the Blackcaps' first innings total of 308 for 3 declared.  Bravo, 31, one of the most capped members of the West Indies Test squad on the Tour of New Zealand with 54 matches behind him, batted a little more than 4½ hours at the crease after he started the day on eight. Bravo raced towards his hundred in a volley of strokes, mostly off left-arm spinner Michael Rippon.

 In reaching the target, Bravo struck 13 fours and five sixes and formed a third-wicket partnership with Shamarh Brooks that was worth 122.

Brooks made 80 from 152 balls, with the team also receiving contributions from newly appointed vice-captain Roston Chase who made 41 from 62 balls.  The New Zealand bowling line-up did not feature anyone likely to gain selection for the official matches and no bowler claimed more than one wicket.

The first Test between New Zealand and West Indies starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test begins on December 11 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

 

Scores

New Zealand A 308-3 declared (R Ravindra 112, H Nicholls 76, D Conway 46no, J Carter 41no) v West Indies 329-6 (D Bravo 135, S Brooks 80, R Chase 41) in Queenstown.

 

 

 Haitian soccer federation president Yves Jean-Bart was banned from the sport for life on Friday following accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players.

The FIFA ethics committee found Jean-Bart guilty of “having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors” from 2014 until this year.

The 73-year-old official was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.1 million).

Jean-Bart has denied the allegations, which involve national team players, including minors. The local Haitian judicial system so far has refused to file charges, with a judge declaring last week there is no evidence.

The accusations were first revealed by British newspaper The Guardian in April.

Haiti follows Afghanistan in having its long-time soccer leader expelled from the sport by FIFA after players in the women’s national teams alleged widespread sexual abuse.

An appeal will be filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a spokesman for Jean-Bart said in a statement.

“FIFA’s decision is a travesty of justice and purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals," spokesman Evan Nierman said.

The abuse is said to have happened at the country’s national training center at Croix-des-Bouquets, which FIFA helped fund. It was known as “The Ranch.”

As the head of Haitian soccer since 2000, Jean-Bart “wielded huge power … and has high-level connections into the government, political and legal systems,” Human Rights Watch said.

Haitian state authorities have been urged by the advocacy group to investigate the allegations and protect the players, who also said they were intimidated and threatened.

“This is not a case of one bad apple," Human Rights Watch global initiatives director Minky Worden said ahead of the FIFA verdict. "Athletes have testified that many other officials in the Haitian Football Federation — officials responsible for their safety — either participated in sexual abuse or knew and turned a blind eye.”

Three other Haitian federation officials have been suspended from work while FIFA investigators gather evidence: technical director Wilner Etienne, national center girls' supervisor Nela Joseph and assistant coach Yvette Félix.

FIFA said Friday that federation officials are accused of being “principals, accomplices or instigators” in the systematic abuse.

World players’ union FIFPro praised “the extraordinary courage of the survivors, victims and witnesses.”

The union said Haitian soccer officials misused their power “to lure in young children, often from impoverished backgrounds, so they could groom, manipulate as well as sexually and emotionally abuse them.”

Jean-Bart had been “actually investigated and cleared” by the judicial system in Haiti, his spokesman said.

"FIFA failed to review actual evidence, which is why Dr. Jean-Bart expects to be fully exonerated and reinstated after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Nierman said.

In the appeal case of Afghan soccer official Keramuddin Karim, CAS upheld FIFA’s punishment and said: “With his appalling acts, he had destroyed not only their careers, but severely damaged their lives.”

Last week, an investigative judge in Haiti ruled that authorities found no evidence to press charges against Jean-Bart despite the allegations.

In the Nov. 12 ruling made public this week, the judge noted that the government’s investigation included visits to the national training center and interviews with certain players. He wrote that none of the accusers identified any victims and that human rights organizations “shined for their absence” when asked to meet with officials as part of the investigation. He did not identify those organizations.

Marie-Yolène Gilles, executive director of the human rights group Fondasyon Je Kler, told The Associated Press that she was disappointed in the ruling and disagreed with it.

“If you have money, you’re able to get justice,” she said.

Justice officials in Croix-des-Bouquets could not be immediately reached for comment.

Gilles said victims have the right to appeal the ruling, but it wasn’t known yet if they planned to do so.

Since the allegations were revealed, FIFA has pledged to work on safeguarding players in an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has praised players and several teams in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for their continued support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The symbolic gesture of taking a knee in support of racial equality spread around the globe an adopted by many sports in the aftermath of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police earlier this year.

To some extent, the symbolic action has fizzled out in the sport of cricket, with some teams claiming other more concrete options in pursuit of equality are being pursued.  The WBBL has, however, continued to support the gesture and Taylor has been appreciative of it.

 "We have been taking a knee throughout the whole tournament and I am so pleased with the support I got from my teammate, it was really fantastic,” Taylor, who plays for Adelaide Strikers, told the Daily Telegraph.

“Sometimes I even forget, and Megan Schutt will say to me; Stafanie, don’t forget we’ve got to take a knee,” she added.

Taylor also thanked Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes for statements made by the teams and praised individual players from other teams for adopting the gesture.

“While I wish that all players from all eight teams competing in the WBBL this year were taking a knee, BLM is a global movement and I’m proud that cricket is helping to stamp out racism on and off the field.”

 

 

Kings XI Punjab co-owner, Ness Wadia, has made it clear that he believes West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle should start from ball one next season, as analysis surrounding the team’s unsuccessful campaign continues to unfold.

Kings XI narrowly missed out on securing an Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff spot after finishing 6th in the overall standings.  The team, however, got plenty of plaudits for an improbable run, which saw it win five games in a row after getting off to a 1-6 start.

Kings XI’s rapid ascent from the bottom of the table was fueled by the re-introduction of Gayle into the line-up.  The West Indian had been left on the bench for the first seven games of the season.  He was not picked for the first five, with a bout of food poisoning ruling him out for the next two.  Gayle fired immediately once he was inserted into the line-up, ending with 288 runs at an average of 44.14 and a high score of 99.

“The team management did what it thought was best for the team.  It is important to back experienced players and Gayle has demonstrated that he should play every game next season,” Wadia told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The owner also had high praise for team captain and leading scorer KL Rahul, suggesting that some of Kings XI’s struggles could be based on the fact that it is a newly assembled unit.

“It’s a new captain, new team with lots of fresh faces, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t.  The auction is coming up soon and we would be looking to plug gaps in the middle order and our bowling,” Wadia said.

“K L has been with is for three years and there was a reason we went after him so aggressively.  He has proved us right.”

 

 

 

 

 Politeness and kindness are qualities that would typically be miles away from any association with the sport of rugby. But, Schezelle Fleming, a rugby coach at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School, in Trinidad and Tobago, it seems would beg to differ.

Following the disruption of sports because of COVID-19, Fleming started writing children's books focusing on themes like behaviour.

 She wanted to share some important life lessons with young boys between the ages of three and seven and so, published her first book 'Like Big Boys Do' in June.

As the name suggests, the book 'Like Big Boys Do' acts as a guide for little boys becoming big boys, and the lessons are a far cry from what Fleming preaches on the pitch about tackling.

An excerpt from the book reads: "But of course there are times when I get quite upset. Like when a friend takes a toy I wasn't done with yet. Instead of kicking and screaming, I breathe and count - 1, 2 and I calmly use my words like big boys do."

Fleming admits the endeavor was inspired by her son.

"My son inspired me to write my book 'Like Big Boys Do'. He loves to read and is a stickler for 'Mummy, the book said...'," Fleming shared.

 The former rugby player is also in the midst of writing another book. This time about honesty “because let’s be honest, it’s very common for children to explore the world of lies when they get to a certain age. Even though it’s a natural part of their growth, it still helps to show them why it’s important, to tell the truth,” said Fleming.

Though the messages that are found in the books are seemingly different from the ones rugby sends, Fleming believes rugby does not necessarily have to be overly aggressive.

"I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,” she said.

 “It’s not about being excessive, it’s about being assertive and confident,” she noted in an article titled, 'Fleming: I feel like rugby is a sport that helps you find that balance,' published by World Rugby.

One way rugby can encourage balance is by regulating training. As a rugby coach, it's Fleming's duty to ensure the environment is appropriate for building capable players.

Along with inadequate clubs and rugby tournaments for girls, the narrative that rugby has to be overly aggressive hinders female participation in the sport and, "convincing their parents that the game isn’t 'too rough' for them to play" is a conversation Fleming has often.

Fleming introduced rugby at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in 2018 and coaches both a girls’ team and a boys’ team. She also teaches Spanish there.

 

 

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