Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated that more local sports could soon resume on the island, after a series of meetings that prompted a change of heart from the government.

So far, in the wake of the pandemic, only a series of selected sports have resumed with horse racing and selected track meets listed among them.  In the main, however, the majority of sports have remained shuttered since around last May, as part of efforts to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Among the more popular sports yet to resume are the National Premier League and the majority of high school competitions, which encompasses popular competitions like the Manning and daCosta Cups.  Holness, however, believes that while things will not necessarily return to normal, there is now a very likely way forward.

“Prior to now, the policy was not to allow sporting events,” Holness told parliament on Tuesday.

“We contemplated this over two days.  We had our COVID meeting on Friday and again on Monday and the decision is that sporting events can be allowed under conditions,” he added.

“The minister of local government, the minister of sports, the minister of public health will in due course explain what these details are.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Ministry of Health and Wellness have been locked in negotiations for weeks regarding the return of the premier league.

 

The 43rd staging of the MILO Western Relays that had been scheduled for Saturday, February 13, has been cancelled, organizers said citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

2015 World 100m hurdles gold medallist, Danielle Williams, is expected to open her season in the United States, at the American Track League Indoor Series, next month.

The upcoming appearance will be the first for the 28-year-old sprinter since she pulled the plug on her 2020 season, in May, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the international track and field schedule.

The American Track League, which is part of the World Athletics Silver Tour, gives professional athletes an opportunity to return to competition as preparations begin for an Olympic year. 

The meet, which is staged in four-parts, ran off in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Sunday.  2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 110m hurdles, Omar McLeod, who raced in the 60 metres, was one of several Jamaicans who took part on the opening weekend.  The list also included the likes of Tyquendo Tracey, Senoj-Jay Givans, and Christopher Taylor.  The meet will continue with the next three installments on January 31st, February 7th, and February 14th.

Williams, the 2019 Diamond League champion, is based in South Carolina in the USA where she trains with coach Lennox Graham at Clemson University.

Out of favour West Indies batsman Shai Hope and brother Kyle will be among three players to miss out on the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, after returning positive COVID-19 results in the latest round of PCR tests.

The Hope brothers, who would have represented Barbados Tridents, will be joined on the sidelines by left-handed opener Trevon Griffith who was part of the Guyana Jaguars batting line-up.  The latest round of tests was conducted on Sunday.

The Barbados Pride have already named Zachary McCaskie and Tevyn Walcott as replacements for the Hopes, while Kemol Savory has been named as the replacement for Griffith in the Jaguars squad.

The trio will remain in their respective territories where there will be required to follow local COVID-19 protocols.

All other members of the Barbados Pride and Guyana Jaguars squads returned negative COVID-19 tests and will undergo second tests on Thursday, January 28 before travelling for the tournament, as part of CWI's established protocols.

The CG Insurance Super50 Cup will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from Sunday, February 7 to Saturday, February 27. On opening day, Leeward Islands Hurricanes will host arch-rivals Windward Islands Volcanoes at CCG.

 

Jamaica's 4x100m relay World Championship medallist, Jura Levy, has hopes of rehabilitating her career after overcoming a troublesome spell with injury and a recent move to Legacy Athletics Track Club.

The 30-year-old, former outstanding Vere Technical high school sprinter, was part of a bronze medal-winning national team at the 2017 World Championships in London.  A double injury blow experienced during the 2018 and 2019 seasons has since interrupted the athlete’s progression.

The sprinter is back to feeling in top shape, however, and the combination of a not-so-busy 2020 season, which was heavily impacted by the pandemic, and the recent move to Legacy has her feeling positive about the future and targeting a return to prominence by securing a spot on the national team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I would like to make the Olympics team and get my personal medal,” Levy told Talking Sports.

The battle for the top three individual spots will be fierce, with decorated World and Olympic medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, all things going to plan, all but confirmed spots.  Former 2018 double World U20 sprint champion and promising prospect Briana Williams is also expected to figure prominently in the race.  Levy, however, refuses to count herself out.

“I don’t think any trials or championships is ever easy, but I’ve been there before and I’m putting in the work to get there.  So, come June I hope to secure a spot on the podium,” she added.

“My goal is to finish top three but if I make the Olympic team, I will still be ok, hopefully with a personal best.”

Undefeated WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. has expressed the hope of one day fighting in Jamaica, a place to which he still has strong connections.

Although the 30-year-old pugilist was born in the United States, his father Errol Spence is a Jamaican who still has roots in the town of Axe and Adze in the parish of Hanover.

Last month, the boxer scored a unanimous victory over number one contender Danny Garcia, in his first fight since a serious motor vehicle accident in 2019.

While the boxer will be content to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labour, for now, he admits staging a fight in his ancestral home sometime in the future would be a dream come true.

“I want to fight in Jamaica.  Hope I can make that happen, hopefully, it will be a big event where I still have all of my titles.  It’s something that I really wanted, it something that my dad wanted me to do as well.  It’s something we talked about even when I was an amateur so hopefully, we can make that happen,” Spence Jr. told Talking Sports.

“I think I will be able to fight there.  I want to be among those great names.  Guys like Mike McCallum, guys that could really fight.  His name was the body snatcher and I’ve watched him sometimes, how he went to the body well, how tough he was.”

The last major fight in Jamaica came in 2012 when Jamaica's Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, defeated Daulis Prescott at Jamaica's National Indoor Sports Centre.

 

 

Three-time national shotgun champion Christian Sasso and four-time national female champion Wendy McMaster are eager to take to the course their respective rivals today at the David East Memorial Shoot at the picturesque Murphy Hill Estate which overlooks the town of Ocho Rios in St Ann.

Sasso, however confident, will have to look out for his rivals, who include six-time national champion Shaun Barnes as well as Ray McMaster, Craig Simpson and Robert Yap Foo.

The Ladies section also promises to be competitive with McMaster expecting to be challenged by her daughter Aliana, Marguerite Harris and Renee Rickhi.

Mention must be made of the Juniors who have been posting wins against some of the island’s top shooters.  Juniors such as Danzell Knight, Mark Desnoes, JJ Ralston and David Wong are expected to be engaged in heated battle throughout the day.

The shooters will compete in various classes including A-E, Junior A-D, Sub-Junior, Ladies and Hunters or beginners.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be a number of changes to the 2021 staging of the tournament. The usual two-day event will now be held in one day in order to reduce the contact time among the shooters.

There will be no hospitality on the course and no after-shoot prize-giving lyme. The wearing of masks will be mandatory and shooters will be subjected to temperature checks on entering the venue.

There will also be no shooters briefings and fewer shooters will be allowed on the course at any one time.  This means that there will be two start times (9:30 am and 1:30 pm), which will lead to a longer day overall but makes for easier social distancing with fewer shooters on the course.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has hailed former national striker for being a man that played the sport played the sport with his heart and soul and one that has gone too soon.

Shelton, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2018, died on Friday after being found unresponsive at his home.  He was 35-year-old.

Shelton, who was a prolific goal scorer for the country’s national team, holds the record for the most goals after registering 35 goals in 75 appearances.  32 of his goals came in matches that the team won. The deceased player began his career for the national team against Saint-Martin in 2005 and created history by being the first man to score four goals on debut.  His final goal for Jamaica came against Guatemala in 2012.

 “Shelton was a goalscorer of repute on who Jamaica depended on for many victories,” the release read.

“The Jamaica Football Federation like the rest of the country was saddened when he was diagnosed with ALS and many hoped and prayed for a miraculous recovery. He played with his heart and soul for Jamaica as well as for his school and clubs and he will always be remembered for that.

The JFF extends heartfelt condolences to his family and to the KSAFA family in this difficult time.”

Jamaica Premier League football club, Harbour View, where recent departed national striker Luton Shelton spent his formative years, has described his loss as heart-wrenching.

Shelton died on Friday after a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He was 35 years old.  In its release, the club chronicled the player’s rise from an eager youth representative to becoming the country’s all-time leading scorer.

“His late father, Luton Shelton Snr., brought him by the hand to coach Ludlow Bernard at an All-Prep vs All-Primary Final at Sabina Park in 1997 to play for Harbour View Football Club (HVFC) in the Under 14 Competition. The Tivoli Gardens resident began his journey, then accelerated his development through Under 16 Colt's, Manning Cup, and All Manning while attending Wolmer's Boys School. He quickly climbed the ladder to KSAFA Minor League, Under 20, and Premier League, attracting the glare of the national coaches,” it stated.

“International football came calling early and he embraced it with scoring a record 4 goals on debut. From there he never looked back as the goals flowed in buckets to surpass then-leading national goalscorer Paul 'Tegat' Davis, to hold the current record of 35 goals.”

Shelton represented Harbour View in Jamaica’s National Premier League between 2003-2006, scoring a healthy 44 goals in 43 appearances.  During his time at the club, he was part of the 2006-2007 Premier League championship team and also helped capture the CFU Club Championship in 2005.

The forward signed for Sweden’s Helzinberg, in 2007, and went on to play nine years abroad at various clubs, including a brief stint in the English Premier League with Sheffield United.  He returned to Harbour View in 2017 but was forced to retire soon after suffering injuries and later being diagnosed with the disease.

“As he returned home to HVFC, he battled training and match preparations as injuries interrupted, but at the National Stadium on February 20, 2017, he lit up the floodlights with a goal made in heaven as the bright 'Star Of The East' shone one more time to equalise against Tivoli Gardens FC. He never returned to the field after halftime.

Fond memories of a career filled with scorching runs, dribbles, and a ton of goals remind us of the man, the goalscorer, and the legend Luton George Kieshawn Shelton. Rest in eternal peace; your goal was well scored."

Tributes have poured from around the globe for former Jamaica striker, Luton Shelton, who died on Friday, after a battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Shelton, who was 35 years old, spent several years plying his trade abroad between 2006 and 2015, where he represented six clubs.  On Friday, many of those clubs that once celebrated when his lighting speed resulted in breathtaking goals, paid homage to the fallen striker.

 Prominently featured among them were Swedish club Helsingborgs IF, English club Sheffield United and Norwegian football Vålerenga, along with world governing body FIFA.

Shelton represented Sheffield between 2007-2008 where he made four Premier League appearances towards the end of 2006-07, that included a debut against Manchester United but the club was relegated that year.  He then scored four goals in 21 outings the following season.  Famously, the striker was part of a famous 2-1 FA Cup win against Manchester City when the ball deflected to him having hit a balloon.  The Blades paid tribute to Shelton with a message posted to the club’s official website.

"Sheffield United is saddened to hear reports in the Caribbean indicating the passing of our former striker, Luton Shelton, aged just 35.

"In recent years he has bravely battled Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

"The condolences of all at the Blades are with Luton's family at this difficult time."

Vålerenga, where the player scored 17 goals between 2008 and 2011, also memorialized the player.

"The sad news (of) Luton Shelton's untimely passing has reached us.

"He had ALS and was only 35 years old. Our thoughts go to his family and friends. Rest in peace Luton, in Valerenga you will never be forgotten."

Helsingborgs IF, who first signed the player from Jamaica Premier League outfit Harbour View, in 2006, took to social media platform Instagram to express their condolences.

“We have been reached by the tragic news that our former player Luton Shelton has fallen asleep at the age of 35 after a period of fighting the disease ALS.

Our thoughts go to his relatives. Rest in peace, Luton!”

Through its official Twitter website, FIFA declared that global football was in mourning, following the passing of the young Jamaican.

"FIFA and World Football are mourning today.  Jamaica’s all-time top scorer Luton Shelton has passed away.  He was 35 years old.  Rest in peace, Luton."

Jamaica middle-distance runner, Aisha Praught-Leer, has signed with sporting goods giants Puma ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held later this year.

The 31-years-old Praught-Leer is Jamaica’s record holder in the 3000m Steeplechase event and represented the country at the 2015 and 2017 IAAF World Championships, as well as the 2016 Olympics, where she qualified for the final.

In addition, the athlete also captured gold in the event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.  Praught-Leer has, however, contemplated switching events to try her hand at competing in the 1500m. 

The athlete had hoped to make her 1500m Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games but like many others had to set aside those plans as the event was postponed due to the onslaught of the coronavirus.  She has already begun her quest to qualify for this summer's Games by targeting three events, the 3000m steeplechase, 5000m, and 1500m.  She currently has personal best times of 15:07.50 in the 5000m, 9:14.09 seconds in the 3000m steeplechase, and 4:05.52 in the 1500 metres.

Praught-Leer previously represented Under Armour after signing a contract with that brand in 2017, earlier this month, however, she announced via social media that her contract with the company had come to an end.

The premier fundraising event of the David 'Wagga' Hunt Scholarship Foundation, (DWHF), The “Jamaica David 'Wagga' Hunt Annual Red Carpet Ball,” will be held virtually this year, on Sunday, January 31, 2021, at 7:00 PM and will be streamed live on YouTube.

Bengaluru FC coach Naushad Moosa insists the club parted ways with Jamaica international Deshorn Brown in order to allow the player to search for more playing time.

The 30-year-old forward recently completed a move to top-flight Indian team NorthEast United, away from Bengaluru, who he joined last year on a one-and-a-half-year deal.  Brown scored three goals in 17 appearances and increasingly found first-team football hard to come by.  

Moosa replaced outgoing coach Carles Cuadrat, as the club looks to begin a rebuilding process, that has seen the former B-team coach step up as head coach.

"When you talk about Brown, as a club we want to help the player. Now if you see Ajay (Chhetri), he is getting playing opportunities with East Bengal. Brown was not getting enough playing time (at Bengaluru). So, for his development, we should allow him to go and play [elsewhere]. We thought we should help him get more playing time," Moosa said.

Brown will be looking to regain his goalscoring form with the Highlanders who will be without Kwesi Appiah who is set to miss the rest of the season with an injury.  The Jamaican has previously played for the likes of DC United and Colorado Rapids.  It is hoped will be able to link up with Idrissa Sylla and Luis Machado. 

Brown has played 14 games for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz since making his debut in 2013.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica track and field star, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, does not anticipate that age will be a barrier to achieving success when the 2021 Olympics finally rolls around.

 At 34, Fraser-Pryce will be one of the oldest women lined up to face the starter's gun, should the event eventually be staged in Tokyo later this year.  The 32nd Olympiad was initially slated to be staged last summer but was postponed due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The postponement of the quadrennial event has meant another year of training and preparation for some legendary athletes facing another race, the one against time.  The situation will not be an entirely new one for nine-time World champion and two-time Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce.  In 2019, at the age of 32, she became the oldest female sprinter to win a 100m world title.  In that event, by comparison, silver medalist, Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith was nine years her junior.  Showing herself to be very much at the top of her game in 2020, however, despite the havoc the global pandemic wrought on the international schedule, Fraser-Pryce is clearly in the mood to defy the odds yet again.

“Yes, I’m 33, but if I can come back from having my son and be able to stand on the podium, my age is not going to stop me.  I’m still going to work hard.  I’m still going to be committed and I’m grateful for the years of experience I’ve had,” Fraser-Pryce told the BBC.

"I'm probably older than most of the women in the race but so what? I'm just focusing on getting the job done and being happy."

Legendary West Indies batsman, Brian Lara, has pointed to a performance that emanated from one of the uglier, darker moments of a largely sparkling career as one of his most memorable.

In one of a few instances the batting star was not greeted by applause and gestures of widespread adoration on his sojourn to the crease, Lara was booed by the Sabina Park crowd when strode out for the second Test of the 1999 Australia tour of the West Indies.

During a tumultuous period for the Windies, the issue for some home fans stemmed from what they believed to be disrespect shown to bowling legend Courtney Walsh in what they deemed to be a hostile takeover of the captaincy by the Trinidadian.  Walsh, who was appointed captain in 1994, served as captain for 22 Test matches before being replaced by Lara in 1998.  On the back of a heavy loss to Australia in the first Test and having also previously been whitewashed by South Africa, The Prince found himself occupying the unusual status of public enemy.

His response, a classy, shot-filed 213, which would go on to underpin a massive 10 wicket win at Sabina Park to level the series, it must be said, went a long way in lightening the mood.

“Everyone says the 153 was second maybe to Sir Don Bradman’s (Against England at Melbourne in 1936-1937), maybe post-war, one of the better innings, but a week before that I was in Jamaica where we played against Australia in that second Test match,” Lara told 7Cricket.

“We came off scoring 51 in the fourth innings in Trinidad and I stood there in Jamaica, I was given the captaincy for two Test matches, on probation, never before had that happened in the history of West Indies cricket…that 213 in Jamaica was for me (special) in terms of not just batsmanship but my inner strength to come out of that situation I was in,” he went on.

“I was facing expulsion as the captain, of course, I was going to be playing, the captaincy was not that important to me that I wouldn’t play, but the threat of the expulsion and the fact that everyone was sort of jeering against me, in the Caribbean, was just unbelievable.”

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