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.

 

 

 

Olympic hopefuls for the Tokyo Olympic Games have expressed delight about an expedited JMD$40 million injection by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) under its ‘Olympic Invest’ programme, to fund their preparation and qualification.

Among them was 2016 Olympian Yona Knight-Wisdom, who underlined the impact on preparation created by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“2020 has, of course, been difficult for everybody, but particularly for athletes in so many ways - spending so much time away from normal training, losing the chance to earn prize money from competitions and also the exposure that big events can bring. So it’s great to finally be back in full-time training, preparing for whatever 2021 brings,” said the diver based in the United Kingdom.

“But to have the financial backing of the JOA will help to give me that extra bit of motivation to work hard every day and be ready to compete to my highest level when the time comes,” the 25-year-old added.

Kinght-Wisdom created history in becoming the first athlete to represent Jamaica in Olympic diving competition at the 2016 Rio Games. He explained that additional JOA funding will allow him to focus unilaterally on competition.

“This investment will allow for me to get more physiotherapy to help look after my body, as well as to help pay for day-to-day training expenses such as travel, which means I can focus on the important things,” he said.

“Hopefully this support will allow all of us to represent Jamaica to our highest level in Tokyo, because I believe a successful Olympics will bring joy and lift the spirits of the island as we come out of this terrible pandemic.”

Tafari Whitter of Skateboarding Jamaica Limited, who is hoping to become the nation’s first Olympic skateboarder believes the funds being made available will ease difficulties created by COVID-19.

“I am very proud of the JOA family on the fast track of 40 million dollars for athletes’ preparation, due to COVID making things hard for most of us,” said Whitter.

“The JOA family managed to still keep things under control throughout these rough times and that is why I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunity of being part of history. Love you Jamaica. Let’s go to Tokyo. I am so, so proud of the JOA family.”

Martial artist Alton Brown has his sights firmly set on Olympic competition in karate. He is the number-one ranked male karate athlete within the Caribbean and number two in his division across Pan America and number 22 in the world.

“I have my eyes firmly set on two objectives; qualification and medal success at the Tokyo Games and legacy within Jamaica Karate following the Games. This additional funding from the JOA will have a vital impact on my ability to continue to pursue and successfully reach those goals,” Brown said.

“The movement towards qualification at these Games has been four years in the making and would not be possible without the JOA’s support at key moments throughout this journey. In addition, the efforts of the Jamaica Karate Federation, under the leadership of Tony Robinson, have been instrumental in getting us to this moment.”

Brown explained that the rigors of qualification demands monetary support.

“Since 2018, the financial burden to the athlete of participating in the karate qualification process for Tokyo has been unprecedented, with almost 20 events taking place across five continents,” he shared.

“We have adapted well to the COVID-19 Pandemic, utilizing relationships we hold with national teams across the Caribbean and Europe to continue development. This funding will not only allow us to be present at the final qualification events from February 2021, but also maximize the relationships we hold with other national teams, to ensure vital partner training opportunities necessary to continue to produce world-class results.

“The world is taking note of Jamaica Karate and this additional funding will allow us to finish the race and make Jamaica proud,” said Brown.

 

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.”

Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has settled the balance of outstanding medical bills for Olympian Kemoy Campbell.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts has heaped praised on Reggae Boyz Coach Theodore Whitmore, whose team defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Tuesday rebounding from their 3-0 loss to the same opponents on Saturday, November 14.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz turned the table on Saudi Arabia with a come-from-behind 2-1 win, in Riyadh, on Tuesday.

The victory comes on the back of the Jamaican national team suffering a 3-0 loss on Saturday, which served to make it a difficult return to international football after a months-long break.

On Tuesday, it was once again Saudi Arabia that struck first, in the 29th minute.  Abdullah Al-Hamdan finished off a sweeping counter-attacking move that had resulted from a poorly cleared defensive effort.

This time, however, the Jamaicans struck back through English-based player Daniel Johnson, in the 64th minute.  Loosely marked at the edge of the area, the player’s superbly shot curler nestled into the top corner of Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Yami’s goal.

Playing with much more confidence than the first encounter, the Jamaicans would get the all-important goal in the 34th minute.

Striker Javon East caught the Saudi Arabia backline in possession and surged to goal before lifting the ball over Al-Yami.  The match marked a special milestone for Jamaica coach and former national player Theodore Whitmore as he was coaching his one-hundredth game for Jamaica's senior team after a stellar career where he played over 100 games.

West Coast Fever shooter Jhaniele Fowler has capped off an incredible year by being crowned the club’s 2020 Most Valuable Player for a second consecutive year.

The Jamaican shooter also claimed the Player’s Player Award for the third consecutive year at Saturday’s event at RAC Arena.

Fowler finished the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season with 965 goals, the most in the league for the third year running.

Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich congratulated Fowler on another outstanding season.

“Jhaniele is a truly deserving winner of the MVP award. She has consistently performed at the highest level, under immense pressure and against world leading defenders. Her elite level of execution is a reflection of her dedication, hard work and leadership” Marinkovich said.

“Jhaniele is a true professional on and off the court. She has made significant sacrifices to play in the 2020 season and with that she certainly ensured that she made the most of that decision. 

“We are incredibly proud of what she has achieved at our club. Knowing the professional she is I am looking forward to seeing what she can do to evolve her game and take into the next season.”

Notwithstanding the presence of athletes like Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman, two of the world’s fastest men, 100 and 200m world-record holder Usain Bolt does not believe his records are under threat.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz showed plenty of rust in a difficult return to international football, with a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday.

The game was the first for the national team since COVID-19 restrictions led to the temporary stoppage of international football.  The team, for the most part, seemed largely out of sorts.

The dominant hosts took the lead from the penalty spot in the 10th minute, after Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller coughed a poorly taken attempt back in the path of Salem Al-Dawsari who tucked the ball into the net the second time of asking.

More self-inflicted damage came on the stroke of halftime, after an under hit back pass eventually ended up at the feet of Saleh Al-Shehri who beat a backpedaling defense before slotting past Miller in the 44th minute.

Firas Al-Buraikan added to the Jamaicans misery in the 77th minute when he tapped the ball into an empty net.  Another turnover in midfield led to a backpedaling Jamaica backline once again being unable to deal with a counter attacking Saudi Arabia. 

Prior to that moment, the level of the team’s play had gone up a notch following the introduction of overseas-based Jamaicans Ravel Morrison, Leon Bailey, Michael Hector and Bobby Reid.

The value of the sport industry globally is estimated at US $488.5 billion. The breakdown per region globally is also estimated to look like

 · Europe, Middle East & Africa 48 per cent

· North America 38 per cent

· Asia and the Pacific 13 per cent

· Caribbean and Latin America 6 per cent

 This odd number makes it up to 105 per cent (for the Math experts), but this is what I will be using as my guide for this conversation.

 We want to look at the Caribbean Sport Industry, one which, over the years, has made a considerable impact on the field of play, but has not in any way scratched the surface of its potential of its economic earnings.

 The key success factors for sport as an economic driver, looks at

 · Events

o Tickets

o Media Rights

o Sponsorship

· Apparel and Equipment

· Fitness and Training

· Venues, Food & Beverage, Betting

 In the region, cricket has been the most consistent to fulfill any of the above economic activities listed above. With 10 international cricket venues across the region, Cricket West Indies (formerly West Indies Cricket Board) has hosted other cricketing nations across the region.

 TV Rights are considerable for incoming tours from India, Australia and England for the most part. While the revised Super50 and 4-day Championship have been able to attract a sizeable amount. With the standard expenses of CWI estimated to be about $45million annually, the rights deals use that as a base to negotiate from. The figures have really never been made public, but we guess the incoming India tours attract the highest amount. Ticketing and Sponsorship are next in line and then a gear deal.

 The region has an impressive list of elite athletes in several sporting disciplines. These range from cricket, track & field, netball, basketball, swimming, volleyball, football among others. The brands in the region should be prepared to invest.

 The world recognizes our athletes and we should too. There are a host of products and services that can be aligned with the overall performances (on and off the field). Agents and Managers should collaborate to seek the support as they package our athletes who represent the region consistently.

Two important calls

1. Sport Ministers should meet before the end of the first quarter 2021 and devise a policy plan to upgrade its policy guidelines, while seeking to look at overall preparation for International competitions in Football, Netball, Tack and Field, Cricket and the other major sporting event

2. I am challenging the agents and managers based in the Caribbean to assemble and discuss the packaging methodologies for the current elite athletes and teams, while looking at the athletes they are preparing for the future

 Well maybe three, I am calling out to the major Caribbean Brands to have their marketing teams re-consider investment opportunities for elite teams and athletes.

 On another matter

 A 2018 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report says the Latin America and the Caribbean lags in sport spending. The report stated that “the region could get a development boost from sport activities that improve the region’s social and health benefits.” The report also warned that the programs must be “properly designed and monitored.’

The report also showed that the region needs to spend more on sport, “not just to produce better athletes, but also to foster happier, less violent and healthier societies. To gain the social benefits, there is need for better sport programs and evaluate those that already exist.”

 The full report is available here https://www.iadb.org/en/news/idb-report-underscores-social-benefits-sports-development-warns-against-program-design-flaws

https://www.iadb.org/en/news/idb-report-underscores-social-benefits-sports-development-warns-against-program-design-flaws

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 World Championships discus silver medalist is now in a race against time after undergoing surgery on his wrist to repair a damaged ligament suffered during a recent fall.

Dacres, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games, revealed his wrist in a cast on social media after reportedly undergoing surgery on the weekend while announcing that he had started his own YouTube channel.

With the rescheduled 2020 Olympic set to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021, a mere eight months away, Dacres could be hard-pressed to be healthy in time as there is the chance that his repaired wrist could take as long as six months to heal. There is chance, however, that he could be fully healed before then.

His coach, Julian Robinson is optimistic that the 2018 Commonwealth champion and national record holder will be able to recover in time.

“There is some physical work that we can do on the intervening period. We will try and maximize that,” he said.

“However, the throwing part will have to start after he has recovered. When that is, I don’t know. Time will tell. I am praying that its sooner rather than later.”

The affable 26-year-old is Jamaica’s most successful thrower. He became the first Jamaican to win a World Championship medal when he claimed silver in Doha in 2019. In 2018, perhaps his most successful year as a professional athlete, Dacres won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and the NACAC Championships in Toronto, Canada.

He is the 2015 Pan Am Games champion and has a national record of 70.78m set in Rabat on July 16 2019. He is the only Jamaican to ever throw 70m in the men’s discus.

Since its reopening, the Area 51 Digital Lounge has been hosting a weekly competition called 'Climb Di Rankings: Soccer Satdezz' where players put their skills to the test with the FIFA 2020 video game series.

The survivors of the first round will earn the title of 'ultimate hombres'. After this, they move on to other rounds until there's a winner.

As the owner of Area 51, Milton Pellington, explains the tournament is different from other FIFA competitions.

“It's ultra-hard to win. The victor would have to prove himself to be the best of the best in what we have designed to be the most gruelling version of a FIFA competition any player can engage in,” Pellington explained.

Though future competitions will explore other genres of games, FIFA was chosen to spearhead the competition because of its mass appeal.

 "The fervor and passion for the sport in real life is carried over into the digital version perfectly," Pellington said.

Still, there was a low turnout last Saturday.

Pellington posited, "because of Covid-19, we have to intentionally limit our participants."

While players still had fun, a greater turnout increases the chances of developing and exposing tons of excellent players.

"The reason we've dreamed up this FIFA furnace is to test gamers and push them to go beyond the limits of ordinary gaming, so as to be competitive on the world stage. Esports is a big opportunity for recognition and revenues but it's currently one that will not be grabbed with both hands if our players are mediocre. Climb di Rankings aims to be the 'Ninja Warrior' for FIFA so that when our guys take to the world stage they do exceptionally well," said Pellington.

'Climb Di Rankings: Soccer Satdezz' happens every Saturday starting October 31st.

 

There has been a delay to the departure of Jamaica’s senior football team due to the Covid-19 lockdown in England and immigration issues in Saudi Arabia. The delegation should have left Jamaica today but because of the changes, the majority of the delegation from Jamaica will now leave on Saturday, November 7.

Members of the local delegation are to be tested for Covid-19 today.

The departing delegation scheduled to leave from the Norman Manley International Airport at 3:13 pm Saturday, will overnight in Washington DC, USA and leave for Riyad on Sunday, November 8. Meanwhile, the players based in Europe will travel from their respective locations to Riyad.

The majority of the delegation from Jamaica and Europe are expected to arrive in Riyad on Monday, November 9. On arrival in Saudi Arabia, the delegation will go into immediate quarantine for three days at the Holiday Inn Izdihar Hotel.

According to the JFF, the overall epidemiological situation could be described as controlled all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government applied strict measures in the early outbreak of the virus in the Kingdom with partial lockdown including airport closures and these measures paid off with cases going steadily down to 357 as of October 26 from a peak of 4919 back in June.

Jamaica is scheduled to play the two friendly internationals on November 14 and November 17.

Mixed Martial Arts fighter Matthew ‘Gold Lion’ Colquhoun is scheduled to take on Mark Martin on December 4, in Kansas, in a fight to be televised globally.

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