Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

“It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

“From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

“The horse is an easy horse to ride, quiet and very easy to deal with. He is cool and kind and (as long as) a horse is cool and kind that’s a whole heap of horse,” Steadman added.

Nipster clocked the fastest St Leger win since War Zone’s race record 2:05.2 in 1996 while foiling Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid.

“We are disappointed (for Wow Wow) but I am happy for the owner because he believed in the horse,” was Subratie’s take on Nipster denying Wow Wow the chance at becoming the third Triple Crown champion in four years – after She’s a Maneater (2017) and Supreme Soul (2019) -- at Caymanas Park. 

I love it when everybody wins. But, I really love seeing women win more.

Elaine Thompson-Herah rediscovered her best form, after a tough three years battling injury, and captured our attention with a stunning performance last week, after winning the women's 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome.

After the race, the double Olympic champion explained that the changes to the track season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed plenty of challenges. Nevertheless, she motivated herself and dug deep to find her best.  And I respect that.  We should all respect that.

Female competitive gamers would love some of that kind of respect, but for them, it is a hard to find commodity. Their work environment is full of challenges, yet they often overcome numerous obstacles to achieve their goals regardless.

Chiefly, male gamers often devalue their female counterparts. Competitive gamer Sashaun Bailey knows all about that.

While playing Call of Duty mobile, male gamers assume Sashaun plays it for attention or she isn’t the one actually playing. Either way, they try to make her feel less than a ‘real gamer’.  It’s a common practice by male gamers, especially if women are playing on a smartphone. 

Although the gaming world can be is a hotspot for harassment, for everybody, women often feel it more. Studies show that a female’s voice in the ‘Halo 3’ game is three times more likely to get negative comments than a male voice, regardless of performance. Sashaun can attest to that because once male players hear her voice, they instantly start firing nasty and rude comments in her direction.

“I’ve gotten some pretty bad comments. I’ve gotten disgusting stuff, the racist stuff. I’ve been called the ‘N’ word... the ‘go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich comments'," she explained.

In the gaming community, the abuse and derogatory comments directed at female players is called ‘flaming’.  But Sashaun has her way of dealing with it.

“A lot of these guys try to distract me with their comments and their rude conversations, but I just stay focused and kill them. If I can’t, I mute the whole thing, so I won’t hear anybody.” 

Sashaun isn’t alone in adopting that strategy. In most cases, female players conceal their identity to avoid harassment. According to Audrey L. Brehm(2013) research paper, Navigating the feminine in massively multiplayer online games: gender in World of Warcraft, many participants in ‘World of Warcraft’ pretend they have a malfunctioning mic to avoid participating in voice chat during a game.

At the same time, when she’s not masking femininity, she’s embracing it.

Sashaun admits to being a bit of a tomboy but she knows competitive gaming is a male-dominated sport and so, the majority of her views from live streams are from men.

Knowing that fact often drives an effort to make their videos as appealing as possible for female gamers. Especially because viewers can donate money if they like what they see.

“A lot of girls use their femininity as an advantage in different ways. For me, I like to keep things simple by exercising/staying in shape because naturally, people want to see a good-looking girl play games - especially if she’s really good.”

 Her video content ranges from playing games while lounging to dancing in tights. One viewer from Sashaun’s live stream opined, “it's less about the game and more about seeing the girls.”

Winning for many female gamers looks like just like this: in the end, it comes down to redeeming feminine qualities that face ridiculously unfair scrutiny on a daily basis.

However, there are growing concerns that female gamers oversexualising their content, and that it can influence how the gaming community sees women in general.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

 

The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has called on JFF Technical Chairman, Rudolph Speid, to resign from the post, citing what they deem to be multiple conflicts of interest.

Speid was appointed to the post earlier this year, but KSAFA has pointed to several other post appointments that he also holds at the same time as problematic.

“Currently you are a member of the Board of Directors for the JFF, Chairman of the Technical Committee, leads the operations of the JFF’s Coaching School, Chairman of the newly formed Jamaica Coaches Association, member of the Leadership of the Jamaica National Premier League (JNPL) and owner / major

shareholder in Cavaliers Soccer Club.  This long list of involvement consists of clear lines of conflict of interest,” the letter stated.

The letter went on to point out that, as it relates to Jamaican football, the conflicts have caused an inability to view ‘important policy matters objectively’ and also took umbrage to what has been deemed a ‘lack of respect and

regard for stakeholders.’ The body has promised to escalate the matter to the Jamaica Football Federation if Speid refused to accede to the request.

Jamaica’s Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) has sought consensus and some direction from high school coaches regarding the possibility of staging the popular Boys and Girls Championship next year.

The event, which is typically staged in the month of March, was cancelled this year due to the credible threat of being a coronavirus super spreader event.  Since then, ISSA has announced the suspension of all school competitions scheduled for the Christmas term.

With no creditable solutions coming to the fore as yet regarding the best possible ways to returning to the staging of high school sports, amidst the pandemic, concerns had been raised regarding the protentional of next year’s event being cancelled as well.

In a letter issued to the coaches, ISSA was quick to point out that the December term cancellations had no impact on next year’s event.  But, in light of the need to satisfy restrictive COVID-19 protocols for staging the event, the body also pointed out that creative solutions were needed in order to host the competition.

“ISSA has cancelled all ISSA competitions scheduled for the 2020 Christmas term.  This decision, however, does not have any impact on the staging of the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships,” the letter read.

“However, the national COVID-19 protocols dictate that if Champs 2021 is to be a reality, then adjustments have to be made to the general structure and scheduling of the meet.  These changes could possibly have implications for the number of athletes, classes, events and days of Champs 2021,” it continued.

“We, therefore, invite each group of regional coaches (as per Regional Meets, Western, Central, Eastern, Corporate) to meet virtually amongst themselves and discuss possible suggestions as to what the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Champs may look like in the context of COVID-19.  It is expected that from the regional discussions, coaches will submit their suggestions via an appointed team leader by email.”

The coaches will have until October 2, to submit their suggestions.

 The onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic led to sports coming to a standstill in March.  Since then quite a few have restarted. Horse racing restarted back in June. The first Test cricket match between the West Indies and England began in early July. The Jamaica synchro team started recruiting and training swimmers last month.

For some, however, the silence surrounding their immediate future is deafening.  And, in the meantime, athletes continue to suffer significant losses from a lack of opportunity.  As of now, volleyball is one of those sports.

Middle blocker for the Venus Volleyball Club, Rojey Hutchinson, is an athlete who finished university recently and was hoping to gain more from sports competitions right after.

Hutchinson graduated from the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, in late 2019, and secured his diploma in mechanical engineering.

 He attended the university on a volleyball scholarship and has never forgotten that fact. “Volleyball got me where I am today. It gave me the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures, and gave me the opportunity to attend university on a volleyball scholarship,” Hutchinson explained.

 After completing his studies at UTech, Hutchinson looked forward to competing in the Venus International tournament that was scheduled to take place on March 20 – 22. However, due to the onset of the virus, the tournament was cancelled.

 The cancellation of the event that would have featured seven male and eight female teams— from Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, and Jamaica, adversely affected Hutchinson. Admittedly, he looks forward to the tournament every year and knew he could have readily exploited the opportunities presented to him during this time since school was out of the way.

He explained, “the Venus International Tournament is something we as volleyballers look forward to every year. We get to meet people and see the way they play volleyball. The tournament is played at a higher level than what we are used to in Jamaica with our local teams.”

“It helps me to be more selective with my shots and it also helps me to be more disciplined on the court. We are playing against some of the top clubs in countries that are very good at volleyball and some of these guys played in the pro league and also on their national team.”

The volleyballer, who has been playing with the Venus Volleyball Club for five years, says he hasn’t been training and has “no idea when volleyball will resume.”

And neither does the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA).

According to JaVA, they cannot say for sure when volleyball competitions will resume since they’re still having discussions with the Ministry of Sport.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Universe Boss Chris Gayle is excited about the release of his new music video done in collaboration with British Indian singer Avina Shah. 

 Alex Robinson, the former Calabar and Wolmer’s Boys track star, who I’ve known since he was born, taught me one of life’s greatest lessons.

We attended the same church and were grounded by similar principles, and in an interview, I did with him in 2015, he spoke about his struggles with injury and disappointment. During that interview, he uttered this gem, “life doesn’t end when we pause”.

It shook me to my core.

That same year he picked up a bronze medal in the Class One Boys 110 metres hurdles as Calabar ran away with Boys’ Champs.

I’ve never forgotten about that statement, and in this year of years, it resounds in the most telling ways.

When the 2020 ISSA Boys and Girls track and field championships were cancelled because of COVID-19, I knew that it was for the best as the country needed to have been extra cautious in that initial stage when we knew very little about the coronavirus. Keeping Champs the way we knew it would have been akin to setting off a biological bomb in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica.

This is an event that sees well over 30,000 people in attendance from all over the island and the world. Tracing COVID-19 after that sporting spectacle would have been difficult… as is the situation now… but I digress.

The announcement of the cancellation of the championships affected me in ways I didn’t quite expect.  It’s not because I get to miss out on covering the event, but I know many of your stories. The commitment to your craft is an art. Many of you see it as a way of either furthering your education, coming out of poverty, or both. The same can be said of many of my young footballers who won’t be taking part in the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions this year.  This hurts me, but not as much as it hurts you, I’m sure.

But life doesn’t end when we pause.

How do you cope during this time? Always keep in mind that you’re not alone in this situation. And, if you feel you are alone, you shouldn’t be. Remember you are a part of a school community, which is there to mould, uplift, teach, and advise you through varying circumstances. I know it’s scary that your teachers and principals are learning as they go through this pandemic, but this is your time to reach out and to let them know how you feel. They won’t be able to adapt unless they know your situation. So do not suffer in silence. Your school should also have access to information in regards to your nutrition.

You’re not allowed to give no as an answer when called upon in class, so your school should endeavor to find solutions to the issues you have. It’s difficult to move the needle sometimes, but when you do, it opens a lot of doors.  This should be your quest as future leaders of your family and community.

You must also continue to work hard at your craft. However, in actively pursuing training, the same commitment must be made for schoolwork. Organize with your school’s physical education department to see how training and exercise can be done while adhering to safety protocols. Staying at home and jogging on the spot can do only so much and no more.

However, keep in mind that you must be protected, so training with masks on when you can’t avoid social distancing is imperative. It’s not ideal, but it is better than doing nothing.  Remember the main reason you’re protecting yourself is for your family. Going home to mommy and daddy or your grandparents without the virus is a massive win.

Quite a few of you elite athletes are associated with clubs, which should not be playing a dormant role at this time. These clubs have access to fields and recreational areas that must be utilized. Encourage them to operate a schedule where a limited number of you can take part in training throughout the day. If your club cannot accommodate this… find a club which can.

And finally, endeavor to utilize your environment to get your goals. Growing up in Allman Town in Kingston, Jamaica, was a challenge. However, I was fortunate enough to align myself with people who meant me well. Most of that alignment came from the church I attended. My church played cricket, I did commentary at their games, and those tapes were used as my resume. And at the age of 17, I got a job offer from Radio Jamaica. Life.

Your circumstances don’t determine your outcome in life. And, life indeed doesn’t end when we pause. There is always a path to success. Your success is defined by your attitude and ultimately your commitment to a cause.

I’m longing to say your names on commentary again.

 

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

President of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), Keith Wellington, is urging student-athletes to continue training for their various disciplines, in order to be in a position to capitalize on any opportunities to compete in this academic year.

The governing body for Jamaican high school sports has already cancelled all sporting activities for the remainder of 2020 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the island.

According to Wellington, ISSA is now using the period to assess what events, including the ones that were scheduled for this semester, could be held next year.

He pointed out that sports like table tennis and swimming are among the favourites to see competition first in 2021.

Wellington suggested that sports like basketball, football, netball and track and field might be the most difficult to stage.

Specifically speaking to the popular ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, Wellington told the Commentators podcast, “I know that a lot of people would have said athletics provides for social distancing.”

“On the field of play it does but if you think of our track and field activities, it doesn’t have to be that way, the norm is that you have persons travelling right across the island, thousands of kids from dozens of communities across the island,” he added.

“That is something that would be difficult in this time because you could have somebody from Hanover travelling to Calabar to participate in a meet…they come into contact and right away you have a spread right across.”

Speaking with Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers, Wellington also made it clear he did not see testing as an option, at the moment, for any sport given the financial costs associated. 

However, the man who took over the top job in June 2019, says he is committed to ensuring that student-athletes across as many sports as possible get opportunities to compete.

To athletes, he said, “all is not lost.”

“We define luck as preparedness plus opportunity. Right now, there is little opportunity, but you still have a responsibility to be prepared so that when that opportunity comes you will be lucky.”

“I would say to them (athletes) to do all that you can to prepare yourself mentally and physically to play sport. We at ISSA are serious about providing that opportunity to make your luck and we are going to do whatever we can to provide you with the opportunities in whatever format.”

 

Well-respected retired cricket umpire John Richard Gayle died peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 15 in the presence of family members. He was 96 years old.

Affectionately called Johnny, his involvement with sports as a cricketer began at Highgate in St. Mary in 1953 while sharing his agricultural duties at the Orange River Agricultural Station. At first, cricket was a weekend past time and he became a member of the Highgate Cricket Team. 

In his desire to remain in close contact with the game he loved from he was a youth saw him successful in passing the written examination set by the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association in 1964, the first Umpiring organisation to require recruits to pass a written test before they could officiate in a match. As expected, he did not confine his service to the field of play as he was deeply involved in the administration and training of recruits.  His commitment to the game as an Umpire since 1964 and as an Administrator from 1970 to 2004 was exemplary and worthy of emulation. His contribution to the sport was recognised by the Government of Jamaica when he was conferred with the Order of Distinction in 2000.

After serving as a member of the Managing Committee of the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association and as Treasurer, he was elected  Secretary in 1970, a position he held for 20 years while simultaneously occupying the post of Area Vice President of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association for 8 years and later as Secretary for 17 years.  He was then elected President of the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association in 1990 and served in this capacity unopposed for 12 years.

After several years officiating in the various local cricket competitions, he was appointed for his first regional first-class match in 1970 – Jamaica vs Barbados, during the 1966-1987  Shell Shield cricket competition, the glorious years of West Indies first-class cricket, when six territorial teams contested the competition.  When Gayle spoke of this match he said: “ This was the most thrilling contest in the history of inter-territorial cricket. I was happy to be involved in this tournament as an umpire for sixteen years 1970 to 1986.”

On February 16,  1972, his ambition to Umpire a Test Match was realised when he was appointed along with Douglas Sang Hue to officiate in his first Test Match at Sabina Park – West Indies vs New Zealand when Lawrence Rowe created history. Then in 1986 and 1987  -West Indies vs England and New Zealand followed by Shell Shield matches in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

On the recommendation of the West Indies Cricket Board, he was invited to Belize, Cayman and Toronto to conduct Umpiring Seminars along with Douglas Sang Hue and to give an account of their experiences during their years of service.  During his period of administrative service, he enjoyed a cordial relationship with all those administrative contemporaries, both at home and abroad.

 After his retirement from officiating in first-class matches in 1990, after serving for 20 years, he continued to umpire in local matches and as a referee in regional matches at Sabina Park and acted as the television replay official during the West Indies vs England Test Match in 1998 at the same venue.

During his career, he officiated in 32 first-class matches, 3 tests, several limited over matches and served as emergency umpire on many occasions. 

Among the many awards are the Gleaner Independence Cup, presented annually by the Jamaica Cricket Association for exemplary service on 4 occasions, the Carreras Sports Foundation Certificate of Merit, the Private Sector Organisation/Jamaica Civil Service Award for Sports, the St. Elizabeth Home Coming Foundation Sports Award, the Parish of his Birth, the Shell Shield Cricket Award, in addition to other special awards from Trinidad and the Cayman Islands, for being instrumental in forming their Umpires Association. 

He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Jamaica Cricket Association, the Jamaica and the United States of America Umpires Association in addition to being made an Honorary Member of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association.  He was also presented with a citation from the President of the Borough of Brooklyn in recognition of his service to Cricket and was inducted in the United States of America Cricket Hall of Fame in Connecticut in 2011 along with Lawrence Rowe, who he was associated with on two memorable occasions. 

Johnny was an avid reader of cricket history.  He has written several articles relative to Umpiring for inclusion in the Biennial Magazines of the West Indies Umpires Association,  in commemoration of its 70th year of existence, a body reputed to be the second oldest umpiring organisation in the world surpassed only by the Cricket Umpires Association of Victoria.

Regarded as a consultant on matters pertaining to local umpiring and because of his longevity and long association with this indispensable, but controversial facets of the game, his advice, knowledge and opinion were highly respected. 

His contribution to agriculture in Jamaica cannot be overlooked as he spent his entire working life in the Ministry of Agriculture. He was trained at the Jamaica School of Agriculture which was then at a site now occupied by the University of Technology. He worked and later managed the Beverley Research Station in St. Ann and used this opportunity for his cutting-edge research on the crop pimento. He wrote the book “PIMENTO The Allspice Story”. He has been hailed by Kenneth Magnus, CD, PhD. Professor Emeritus, University of the West Indies, Mona, to quote,  “Johnny Gayle is a retired expert in the tree crop pimento, one of Jamaica’s ‘best in the world’ products. His agronomics expertise and experience with this crop leaves us with a blueprint on how to proceed with its agricultural future.”  He did everything with perfection and thoroughness.

 In 1952, Johnny was married to Marjorie Jefferson, who passed away in 2019, after 67 years of marriage, and was the proud father of 3 children – Errol, Ruth (aka Leith) and Everton (aka Val). He is a very loved grandfather to his grandchildren, other relatives, and friends.

Jeff Miller has spoken highly of Jermaine Blackwood and sees him as part of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad in the next season of the Hero CPL.

There are many famous quotes that talk about the inevitability of change. 

They all say, “change is inevitable” and I agree. 

After all, in this fast-paced world, things are constantly developing, constant changes in technology means we are always having to adjust to keep pace with a rapidly evolving world.  

Those who can adapt are often more likely to succeed while those who can’t often get left behind. 

In my own field, the advent of social media and the tools that assist with easy dissemination of information have meant a change in attitude and approach to how content is created for traditional media. 

But in my field and many others, there are people who constantly resist change for whatever reason. 

I must admit, change isn’t always good and so it can sometimes be difficult to determine when change is necessary as opposed to when to maintain the status quo. 

In sports, many athletes are faced with this dilemma. As a teenager, which sport should I focus on? I think I could be world-class at a couple and then at the highest level what’s my best position or what is my best event? Those are questions many athletes constantly ask themselves. 

The answers are never easy to find and that is exactly why when an athlete makes drastic career alterations and still finds more success they should be lauded. 

I think about former Jamaican hurdler Danny McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic 400 metre hurdles silver medallist.  

Before Danny was a hurdler, he was a more than competent flat 400 metres athlete. 

By the time he ran his first ever race over 400m hurdles, in April of 2003, Danny was already an Olympic 400 metres finalist, an Olympic mile relay silver medallist, four times an IAAF World Championship mile relay silver medallist, an IAAF World Indoor mile relay champion and also 400 metres bronze medallist. 

To say he had carved out a solid career is an understatement. 

But clearly Danny felt he could have achieved more from the sport of track and field. However, his personal best at 400 metres was 44.90 seconds, set in 1995. 

If he wasn’t going to run much faster, which was unlikely at 31 years old when he changed events, then it’s unlikely he would have done much more than appear on a few Jamaican relay teams. 

So, he took the bold step despite little to no hurdling experience. 

I won’t chart the race by race improvements he made between April 2003 and his Olympic silver medal performance at the Athens Games in 2004 but I will say his rise was meteoric. 

In his first year of contesting the event, he won the Jamaican title, improved to 48.30 seconds, and finished fourth at the World Championships in Paris France. 

And so, it wasn’t a massive surprise that he was a contender when the Olympic Games rolled around in 2004. 

With eventual champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and American James Carter favored to battle for Gold, many felt McFarlane was running for bronze. 

But the 32-year-old timed it perfectly, running a personal best 48.00 seconds to win his semi-final and when Carter blew up down the stretch in the final, McFarlane pounced and captured a deserved silver. 

My recollection of Caribbean voice Lance Whittaker, “and McFarlane looks as if he will get silver – and he does,” as his voice raised almost in shock.   

One thing we all remember from that Danny McFarlane performance is that it was far from perfect. 

His 400 metre hurdles journey from 2003 to the point of his retirement as a 40-year-old in 2012 was characterized by less than perfect hurdling. 

While he improved over time, for the most part, his hurdling could be described as jumping. 

But he jumped his way into the hearts of Jamaicans who adored him because of his willingness to try something new, to embrace change, to fight, and when technique failed to turn to heart. 

For all that and more, Danny McFarlane isn’t just a lesson for 2004 but a lesson for life. 

Danny isn’t just a lesson for track and field or just for sport but a lesson for all endeavors.  Danny, we salute you and say thank you for teaching us all a valuable lesson.  

 

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes Andre Russell will be back with the team for the 2021 season of the Hero CPL, despite the latter’s outburst earlier this year that this would be his last season with the team.

 In general, the idea of what a woman should look has become a problematic issue, increasingly within our current societal framework.  In athletics, it seems to be no different.

Women’s tennis legend Serena Williams once said: “I think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles, being made fun of, or called unattractive.”

While not implicitly stated, appearances are also judged and discriminated against in athletics.  Women with conditions like hyperandrogenism tend to have bigger muscles due to high natural levels of testosterone and are as such, in my opinion, singled out for discrimination by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules.  Despite the fact that it is how they were born.

  In fact, women who compete with such conditions can be subject to gender verification testing should ‘suspicions’ arise. Hyperandrogenism or androgen excess is a medical condition characterized by excessive levels of testosterone in the body and the condition affects approximately 1% of elite female athletes.  Such embarrassing stipulations not only serve as a barrier to some women competing but also as a deterrent to getting involved in the first place.

In a recent chat with the Olympic Channel, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah credited fellow athlete Dutee Chand for helping put India on the global athletics stage.

Thompson-Herah gushed over the idea of athletes from other countries vying to claim a space on the global athletics map, in hopes of proudly representing themselves and their country.

“As an athlete, I think that is really exciting and great to see them coming in to deliver and perform well,” said the Olympic champion.

Having come from an impoverished community to become one of the world’s best, Thompson-Herah knows all about challenges.  Even now she battles with a nagging Achilles injury that has affected her for a good portion of her career.

For athletes like Chand, the list of obstacles can be even longer.  Thompson-Herah pointed to the athlete’s first language as another likely barrier to perhaps sharing nuggets of wisdom.

“English is not the native language for her,” Thompson-Herah explained.

“It is kind of hard to translate everything to another person who doesn't speak English, but Dutee is getting to know more and getting better each time.”

But in her short time competing as an athlete she has overcome an even bigger one.  One that were it not for her grit and determination, could have meant the end of her competing.

In June 2014, after she won two gold medals at the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in the 200 metres and 4 × 400 m relays, Chand was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India revealed that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.  Chand challenged the gender testing policies and on July 26, 2015, the court ruled in favour.  The IAAF, as a result, temporarily suspended the hyperandrogenism regulations.

Consequently, she qualified for the 2016 Olympic games without having to alter her natural hormone levels.

The issue was, however, far from concluded. After further analysis in April 2018, the IAAF announced new eligibility regulations for female runners setting an upper testosterone limit, which applied to the 400m, 800m, and 1500m events.  Chand was left unaffected by the revised regulations and has her eyes set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  The rule amendment did, however, impact another woman, South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya. 

The three-time World Championship gold medallist and two times Olympic champion could no longer compete in her preferred 800m event after the new IAAF "differences of sex development" rules that required athletes with specific disorders of sex development, testosterone levels of 5 nmol/L and above, and certain androgen sensitivity, take medication to lower their testosterone levels.  Semenya, like Chand, contested the decision but lost the case at both the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and appeal at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.  She has considered switching to the 200m event.

September is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) awareness month.  PCOS is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age and is one of the conditions that can affect these elite athletes.  When women have PCOS, they may have excess male hormone (androgen) levels.

Sports governing bodies should accept the fact that some women naturally produce higher levels of testosterone and those who do should be allowed to compete. When will women just be allowed to be women?

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Reigning Olympic sprint double champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, insists a recent battle with injury and past major games disappointment has only served to strengthen her resolve and determination.

The 28-year-old runner was the toast of the Rio Olympics in 2016 after smashing the competition by speeding to blazing wins in the 100m and 200m sprints. It seemed the Jamaican was only destined for major success from there on in, but things have not quite unfolded in that manner. Just one year later, despite heading into the World Championship 100m final with the fastest time in the world that season, 10.71, Thompson-Herah finished a disappointing fifth place.

Two years later, at the 2019 edition of the World Championship, she was again at the top of the world charts, tied with a season-best 10.73 with teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. However, while Fraser-Pryce went on to excel with a gold medal-winning 10.71, Thompson-Herah finished fourth in  10.93. The athlete has also in-between struggled with an Achilles injury, which has affected her explosiveness and comfort on the track.

“Sometimes it may be a little bit stressing to be a top athlete facing all these obstacles,” Thompson-Herah told the Olympic Channel.

“You can’t produce the times that you normally produce, and you may not be able to get a medal at a championship. Sometimes you sit and you wonder, why me? Or why is this happening,” she added.

“Disappointments do come, but as I said, I have to continue to work hard because I didn’t go to a championship to lose, it was just beyond my control. We just have to use those disappointments to motivate. And that’s key. Disappointment makes you better and stronger.”

Rallycross trailblazer Fraser McConnell and his friend Ishmael Moodie, who is also his coach, are about to launch an affordable version of that genre of racing in Jamaica that will entice engagement from the average Jamaican.

Dubbed Yard Man Racing, the genre is also intended to create a gateway for the introduction of rallycross racing to Jamaica.

For the uninitiated, Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars.

However, unlike the traditional genre, where tens of thousands of Euros or more, are spent preparing cars for competition, the Jamaican version will have one significant difference.

“Yard-Man Racing is going to make racing affordable, exciting and accessible again. The cost of racing in Jamaica has gone up way too much,” said McConnell, who has already built a rallycross track on the Tru Juice Farm in St Catherine.

The process is simple. Find a two-wheel drive, non-turbo car no older than a 1995 model and spend less than JMD$350,000 to make it race-ready.

“To keep the sport honest, we have put a price tag on the cars. You don’t want someone to come in and money be the factor,” Moodie explained.

“The factor should always be the driver and that will also ensure that we will have an entertaining day of racing when you have a lot of cars because the cost is down and it will be wonderful for the development of rallycross in Jamaica.

“The cars are cheap enough and there are many, many out there. We have four ongoing projects right now, one is nearing completion, the others; we are doing the budget to get it together and finding the parts. We want to show everybody that it can be done and we are available to tell how it’s done.”

The friends, who are hoping for a November start, explained that they developed the concept during their travels to Europe while McConnell was competing in rallycross racing.

McConnell recently created another bit of history when finished second overall in the Supercar class at the Rallycross Nordic series in Denmark won by his teammate Oliver Erikksson.

They had been in Europe racing after the RX2 season in the United States was cancelled because of challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “It is just our curiosity about the sport and the openness of the Europeans to tell us where it came from so we could see how it developed,” said Moodie, who revealed that the larger plan is to bring rallycross to Jamaica.

“Fraser has done an excellent job to let people know about it but when its grassroots, when people see juniors driving in it for years and you are invested in it, is when I believe one day we could bring real rallycross to Jamaica.”

He has a clear vision of where the sport could be in Jamaica over a relatively short period.

“I believe we will see in our first year, 40 cars but by the time we peak I am hoping for more than 200 cars on a weekend,” he said.

An interesting element of Yard Man Racing is what happens at the end of each race.

“At the end of each race, you are allowed to place a bid on the car for about JMD$5000 which gives you an entry into the lottery to buy that car. If your name is drawn out of a hat, you have to buy that car for JMD$300, 000,” McConnell said.

“That keeps costs down because a man isn’t going to spend all they have on the one car and it makes the field a lot more equal.”

 

 

 

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