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.

 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.

Jamaica has suffered an injury blow ahead of the start of the Tokyo Olympics this weekend.

The artistic gymnastics competition for women is scheduled to begin on Sunday morning in Japan (Saturday night in the Caribbean)

Members of the country’s 62-member team are arriving in Tokyo ahead of the games that officially begin tomorrow morning and right off the bat, it appears as if injury is playing an early role.

Gymnast Danusia Francis has revealed that she had an injured left knee. The severity of the injury is unknown but she is still managing to get her practice sessions in albeit with some amount of caution. The athlete, only the second female gymnast to represent Jamaica at the Olympics, posted pictures on her Instagram account knee on Tuesday and again on Wednesday that showed her heavily bandaged knee.

On Friday morning, she confirmed what the pictures were showing when she posted, “The arena is stunning. Unfortunately, I do have a knee injury so only bars today, but happy with my performance and enjoyed myself out there.” It is unclear whether she suffered the injury prior to or after her arrival in Japan.

She also posted a video of herself leaping and landing with stability, which might be an indication that the injury is not too severe.

Francis is expected to perform well at the Olympics on the strength of outstanding performances in her routines in Spain in June while competing for gymnastics club Xelska.

“My performances were really good. I was extremely happy with my bar routine, I got a really good score there, and then my vault was good,” she said at the time.

“I did make a mistake on (the) beam but as I mentioned, I was only supposed to do three of the events and the beam was a last-minute decision so I was a bit flustered and it was kind of an uncharacteristic mistake so nothing that I can’t fix.”

 

 

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.

 

Mount Pleasant FA and Molynes United battled to a thrilling 2-2 draw in their Jamaica Premier League encounter at the UWI/JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence in Kingston on Sunday.

Former National Under-20 striker Nicholas Nelson (4th) and Sergino Frankson (87th) scored for Molynes United while Kesslon Hall (47th) and Liston James (50th) replied for Mount Pleasant.

The share of the points resulted in Mount Pleasant having five points in sixth spot from four games while Molynes United are in 10th with two points from three games.

Both teams started the game under new coaches with Englishman Walter Downes taking over from Paul Davis at Mount Pleasant while Anthony Patrick replaced Calvert Fitzgerald at Molynes United.

It was a dream start for Patrick as Nicholas Nelson pounced on a headed pass by his brother Jermy Nelson and toe-poked home ahead of the flat-footed defender Osani Ricketts. Mount Pleasant responded with two goals in three minutes in the second half by Kesslon Hall and Liston James.

Hall tapped home after McCalla’s header squeezed under Molynes’ goalkeeper Roje Williams even although it seemed destined to get over the line.

Shortly after, James carried the ball unchallenged out of defence and played the ball out wide. He then continued his run into the opponent’s box to be on the end of Francois Swaby’s cross and nodded home.

However, just when it seemed Downes would kick off his coaching stint in Jamaica with a win when Frankson found space at the back post and fired home from a corner to pull Molynes United level.

“We started the game on the right foot, how we wanted to play because we analyzed our opponent and we made some changes to our team and got the first goal,” Molynes United assistant coach Andre Daley explained afterwards.

He said poor concentration hampered their flow in the second half.

Meanwhile, Downes thought his team started too slowly probably because of the logistical issues they experienced while on their way to the match.

“We didn’t start the way I would have liked but our approach to the second half was much better. We had a disruptive journey here today but it was no excuse still,” Downes said.

Nicholas Nelson of Molynes United was named Man of the Match.

Two goals in four minutes spurred Cavalier to a 3-0 win over Arnett Gardens as actions continued in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) at the JFF-UWI/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Saturday.

After playing second fiddle for most of the game, Cavalier struck decisively in the 52nd minute when Shaniel Thomas slotted home from a Ronaldo Webster cross. Four minutes later, Melvin Doxilly’s scissor kick made it 2-0. Thomas would his second goal in the 79th minute slotting home from close range after Dwayne Atkinson’s shot rebounded off the crossbar.

It was a brilliant build-up involving Atkinson, who combined well with Kamoy Simpson to split the Arnett backline.

The win meant that Cavalier moved to the top of the JPL standings with seven points from four games while Arnett Gardens remained in eighth spot on three points from three games.

It was their first loss to Cavalier in their last five meetings, Arnett Gardens should have taken the lead in the sixth minute when Steve Clarke picked out Renaldo Cephas in the box but the latter dragged his shot wide.

They would dominate the half taking 11 shots at goal. Cavalier, meanwhile, failed to register a single shot.

Arnett began the second half well with Hardley Barnes firing just wide in the 48th minute.

However, Cavalier gradually began to turn things around and ended the game brilliantly by a margin that could have been wider Shaniel Thomas’ goal not been ruled out for offside.

St Lucian defender Melvin Doxilly, who started in midfield, was named Man-of-the-Match for his scissor-kick goal.

“It was an amazing goal. I told myself I will score today and I want to say thanks to the Most High for making me score my goal today,” said Doxilly.

Meanwhile, Cavalier’s assistant coach Everdean Scarlett was happy for the win. “It’s a game of two halves. The first half they had the better of us but at half-time, we went in and made some changes. We decided that we are going to press Arnett more and get into the spaces,” said Scarlett.

Losing coach Alex Thomas said his young team still has a lot to learn.

“We have to learn to play both halves, first and second. We played a wonderful first half and in the second we came out flat and gave up some simple goals. But we have to learn, they are young and we are in a rebuilding process and we just have to keep working.”

Jamaica long jumper Tajay Gayle looks set to add an Olympic medal to the gold he won at the 2019 edition of the World Athletics Championship in Doha.

The Jamaica national champion’s best distance this year is 8.29, well short of the 8.60 recorded by world leader, Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou in May.

However, track and field analyst and SportsMax.tv Tokyo Take host Leighton Levy believes the jumper's improvements in other areas will make him a force to be reckoned with when he faces the field in Tokyo.

“I think Gayle is going to fly in the long jump and be among the medals, gold even,” Levy said on this week’s episode. (See full episode below)

“His improved speed is an asset and once he makes the adjustments on the runway for that additional speed, we are in for a spectacular performance from Gayle.”

The jumper has, in fact, shown off plenty of improved speed after recording new personal bests in both the 60m and 100m sprints this season.  Gayle ran 6.78 in the later in February but was even more impressive in the 100, clocking 10.18 to shave huge chunks off his previous personal best of 10.74.  Gayle’s personal best of 8.69, in the long jump, was set in 2019.

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