The decision by the University of Technology (UTech) not to renew the contracts of their sports coaches, citing challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to have exposed ongoing tensions between the university’s Sports Director Orville Byfield and personnel running the school’s track programme including Head Track Coach Paul Francis.

Francis’ elder brother, MVP coach Stephen Francis, believes UTech’s decision not to renew the coaches’ contracts, among other things, creates the impression that Byfield is trying to destroy the university’s track programme.

Sportsmax.TV reported exclusively on Monday that UTech has not renewed the contracts of all its sports coaches, a move that Dr Kamilah Hylton, Dean of the Faculty of Sports and Science, described as a temporary measure.

“We have not made any final decision. We are waiting to hear from Intercol (Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association) and a directive from the Acting President (Professor Colin Gyles) in terms of how many students will be allowed on campus,” said Dr Hylton speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Monday night.

“We have to make decisions on how they (athletes) would train in a safe manner,” she said while explaining that training sessions would have to abide by established COVID-19 protocols, meaning athletes would have to train in smaller groups, adhere to the required physical distancing requirements and other related safety measures.

Among the coaches, whose contracts were not renewed were those of Francis and his elder brother Stephen. However, Stephen has continued to prepare some athletes from the MVP Track Club, which has an MOU with the university to use the school’s Papine campus as a training base.

It then begs the question: if MVP athletes are able to train why then would the university not allow the collegiate track athletes to do the same, especially since MVP, through negotiations had provided UTECH with funding for the programme from PUMA. Sources indicate that the funding amounts to about US$30,000.

Stephen was at pains to find an explanation.

“Discussions are being held at a higher level to sort out this situation so I don’t want to say anything which would compromise the whole thing but it does seem to be, on the face it, a very puzzling decision,” said Francis while speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Thursday morning at Stadium East in Kingston.

Asked to comment on whether there were underlying issues between the director of sports and MVP that could have influenced the decision to impact the sport that has brought tremendous success to the university, Francis said:

“As far as I know there is no problem between MVP and Byfield. The problem is between Byfield and the UTech track programme; in that, he is giving off signs that he doesn’t think that the programme should exist.

“Maybe he wants to be the coach, I don’t know what the reason is. He has not shown a tendency to be cooperative and even though it might sound improbable, a lot of people close to programme believe he is trying to destroy the programme.”

Byfield, a track coach who has worked with Kingston College, St. George's College and Hydel High, among other high schools, joined the staff at UTech around 2008 as a sports lecturer. He was appointed Director of Sports in October 2018 following the departure of Anthony Davis.

“I think there has been a lot of upheavals since Byfield became the Director of Sport. He doesn’t seem to have the role of a normal Director of Sport, which is to maximise the performance of the teams that the school puts out,” said Francis, who was reluctant to provide details of the afore-mentioned upheavals.

“Certainly in athletics, there are a lot of stumbling blocks that he puts in the way and I don’t think anybody can argue that he is trying to maximize the performance of the UTech student-athletes, certainly not in track, probably not in football, and based on the performance in most of the sports.

“So I don’t know what he thinks his job is and I don’t know what his job has been defined as but it is not what you would expect from a person in charge of collegiate sports programmes. It is what it is so we have to find a way to work around him and work around whatever it is that he is doing.”

In response, Byfield said Francis’ comments came as a surprise.

“I don’t know what he is talking about. This is news to me,” Byfield told Sportsmax.TV on Thursday afternoon. “Both of them (Paul and Stephen) work with the university. No concerns were raised to me. It’s the first I am hearing of this.”

He added that if the Francis brothers have any concerns they should take the matter to Human Resources and have those concerns addressed.

Speaking on KLAS Radio on Wednesday, the UTech sports director indicated that he did not unilaterally make the decision not to renew the contracts of the Francis brothers or the other coaches.

‘This was a collective decision from the university. Based on what is going on at the university at this point in time the university has decided to temporarily suspend the contracts, or not renew the contracts until the university can sort out how we are going to deal with everything for the academic year,” he said.

“The coaches will just have to be patient. We want to have our coaches here with us. Our coaches have been doing a good job for the university and we would love to continue to have them.

“These times are unprecedented so the university has to take certain precautions on how we manage and maintain certain things.”

Meanwhile, as it relates to the current situation, Francis said MVP will have to step in to help those track athletes who might be left out in the cold because the programme has been suspended.

“As it is now, if it happens that no change occurs it will not really stop anything because I guess MVP would have to take up UTech’s slack in trying to develop these athletes because UTech normally provides for them a place in school and also some accommodation for some of them,” Francis said.

“MVP would have to take up the slack in terms of making sure that the athletes who are supposed to come on board in September that they are not denied an opportunity because some of them would have decided to come to UTech even though they had opportunities abroad so it’s not fair for us not to honour their commitment.”

The UTech track programme has produced the like of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson, Elaine Thompson, Tahjay Gayle, Jenieve Russell, Shericka Jackson and Asafa Powell, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

Briana Williams has signed a three-year deal to become a Digicel  brand ambassador.

Asafa Powell has been paying child support to Amita Persaud-Webb but the mother of his child wants the former 100m world record holder to pay more.

Former West Indies opener Wavell Hinds is the new president of the 141-year-old Kensington Cricket Club. Hinds, the president and CEO of the West Indies Players Association was the sole nominee for the post as outgoing president Dave Cameron did not seek re-election.

Hinds was subsequently approved unanimously during the cricket club’s annual general meeting and election exercise at the clubhouse on Thursday, July 23.

Hinds, in his brief remarks following his elevation, urged the members of the club to “protect the assets of the newly upgraded facility.” He also wanted to the club to “continue with its development programs from under 15 all the way to senior”, adding that the club must maintain its core values of integrity, respect and rich in spirit, talent and love.

Hinds also invited with the support of the membership gathered, to appoint Cameron, President Emeritus, which allows him to be a part of the new executive.

Cameron served in the role of president since 2001 and has been a member of the club for just about four decades. In his remarks, he thanked the community, membership and the partners of the club for their support. He succeeded the late Vincent Wong and Noel Silvera.

Cameron is firm in his belief that Kensington can be transformed into a “modern-day sporting organization with a great business partnership aimed at creating world-class players.”

Meanwhile, Hins’ executive that will include  Radcliffe Daley – 1st Vice President;  David Bernard Jr – 2nd Vice President;  Carole Beckford – Secretary;  Guatam Kumaraswamy – Treasurer;   Wayne Lewis – Assistant Secretary;  Marlon Kennedy – Assistant Treasurer;  and Brian Blair – Club Captain.

 Lorna Litchmore, Raymond Smith, Delbert Gayle, Jamie Hay and Ryan Francis will serve as executive members.

During the last three years, the club won three major trophies and are the defending Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) T20 champions. In the incomplete, senior cup competition, the team played four matches this season that was cut short because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With two Olympic 100m titles, four World Championship 100m titles and a 200m title, and a World Indoor title among 18 global medals, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has had a legendary career. However, it took a trip to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan to light the flame that propelled her to success.

“I came back home with a fire,” the 33-year-old icon told former Miss Jamaica Universe and Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillips on Phillips’ YouTube show Odyssey.

In the video that has so far garnered almost 55,000 views, Fraser-Pryce revealed that when she joined MVP Track Club, she was still not certain that a career in track and field is what she wanted to pursue.

Even when she was selected to be a member of the Jamaican team, she was still uncertain that this was her path in life.

“I only wanted to go, to go. I was so nervous. I was unsure of who I was at the time…still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” she said.

“If anybody had asked me at the time what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t say an athlete. It was just there; an opportunity.”

Her indecision about what path she wanted to follow manifested in how she trained during those early days.

“I got to training late most days, didn’t go to the gym because me did believe me was a go get tough. I went to practise and never completed the workouts. That changed when I went to the World Championships,” she said.

However, before the change occurred, Osaka proved to be quite difficult for the then 19-year-old upstart from Wolmer’s Girls. In Japan, she was a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that won the silver medal that year.

However, when she was told that she was running she said she cried because she didn’t want to run. The occasion also unsettled her.

“Separate and apart from that you’re thinking that this is a big thing and I didn’t want to mess it up,” she said.

History will recall that she did not mess things up. Instead, a new reality dawned on her.

“I think what it did for me was that I saw something different. It is almost as if my eyes opened up to a reality that ‘them people ya wuk hard, you nuh’. You see the grit, the glory, you see defeat, you see so many different things, emotions, people crying when they crossed the line.”

It wasn’t all bad though. There were great benefits to being a member of a medal-winning team.

She remembers sitting in the stands cheering teammate Veronica Campbell chasing down the USA’s Tori Edwards but just coming up short at the line. The USA won gold in 41.98 while Jamaica was a mere 0.03s behind in 42.01. Belgium was third.

She happy for what was her first medal but also because “Me inna di money,” she said laughing.

As a member of the relay squad, Fraser-Pryce collected her share of US$40,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2008 at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships in Kingston, a relatively unknown sprinter called Shelly-Ann Fraser stunned a nation when she finished second in the 100m behind Kerron Stewart, who clocked 10.80. Her time of 10.82 was a surprise to many but the bigger surprise was that she beat her more celebrated compatriots Sherone Simpson (10.86) and Veronica Campbell Brown, who was fourth in 10.88.

 There was a national outcry for Campbell-Brown to replace the greenhorn from the MVP Track Club. Surely, she would not be able to go to Beijing and do better than Campbell-Brown, the seasoned campaigner who won gold over 200m in Athens four years before and the 100m title in Osaka in 2007.

Stung by the naysayers calling for her head Fraser silenced them by becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title as Jamaica finished 1-2-2 in the finals. She would go on to win another Olympic 100m title four years later in London and just last year won an unprecedented fourth 100m title in Doha in 2019.

A 200m World title and an Olympic 200m silver medal have cemented her a legacy as arguably Jamaica’s greatest female sprinter and one of the best of all time.

She now says that she forgives those naysayers because she understands why they did.

"I’m not gonna say I blame them. I cannot because at the time Veronica was a sure thing,” Fraser-Pryce said during an interview with Yendi Phillips on her YouTube show Odyssey, Untold Journeys with Yendi.

“Looking back now I cannot say I would have sit down in my days and be at home and somebody say ‘Veronica naw run’ and me would a probably take that. Me woulda say ‘No, mi waan Veronica run,” said the four-time 100m World Champion.

“I remember watching that Olympics, 2004 Olympics, at home. Veronica was the standard. So I cannot imagine that they would have said anything different and I understand.

 I have forgiven all of that. I have moved on because I understand that while it shouldn’t have happened based on the rules, I understand where everybody was coming from and I think at the end of the day, I’m glad that I was able to open the doors for younger athletes to understand that anything that you set out to achieve, your age, it don’t matter. When you’re ready, you show up, and you go out there and you go after it.”

Ryan Foster, the Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will take on the additional role of Chairman of the Red Stripe Premier League’s Cavalier Soccer Club.

Foster, who is also President of Skateboarding Jamaica Limited and a director of the Jamaica Paralympic Association, brings a wealth of knowledge to the position of the club founded by the late national player and coach Leighton Duncan. Cavalier won the country’s top-flight league in 1981 and has a long and distinguished record in the country’s top flight.

“I am humbled to be appointed Chairman of this noblest club, Cavalier SC,” said Foster. “One of the first things I want to achieve along with the other executive members is to bring a sustainable corporate structure to the overall operation of the club, to develop a clear culture of goals and objectives that will be articulated in our operation and through our players and members of staff.

“Running a club in the RSPL is a difficult one if you are not nimble and flexible enough to monetise your assets and to find creative ways of generating sustainable revenues. This certainly has to be coupled with incentivising your players and coaching staff for performance on the field of play.”

Cavalier, which is characterised by its youthful influence and passing game, were finished eighth place in the 2019/20 RSPL standings,  two places outside the play-off spots – when COVID-19 forced a postponement and eventual cancellation of the season.

Foster noted the club’s strong technical capabilities, led by Rudolph Speid and their goal to fortify its structure.

“We have a strong technical team led by Mr Speid and now we have to develop a structure to support our technical play, but also one that encourages discipline, integrity, teamwork and fair play,” he stated.

 “No club in this league can survive without a strong development programme, (not only) through our youth system, but one that develops players who can matriculate to higher needs to not only benefit them but Cavalier.

“Looking forward to this task and I have always had a passion to help others achieve and self-actualise,” Foster underlined.

Speid, who served as the club’s chairman while serving the capacity as head of coaching for about a decade, explained their decision to add Foster to Cavalier’s team.

“It was a whole thrust for the company to broaden its management structure to ensure that we are keeping up to international standards and in line with what is required to move the club forward in a positive way to keep up with international clubs,” said Speid.

“By streamlining the club along with Mr. Thomas (Andrew), who is the president, we decided to bring in a chairman and then shift my responsibilities from being the chairman to become the Sporting Director.

“So because of his competences in business, sports and just generally what he has achieved for himself over the years, we thought he would be a good candidate to become the Chairman of our club,” Speid noted.

As a professional in business management, Foster is a former CEO of Tastee Limited, former Head of Business Development for Hardware & Lumber, former Treasury Operations Manager, First Global, the first Jamaican member of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) Finance Commission, Chairman of Wolmer’s Preparatory School, Chairman Express Canteen Services Limited and Chairman Cre8 Event Management Company.

“He will be concerned with governance, ensuring that our structures are maintained. We have different structures now, finance structure, marketing structure, technical structure, administrative structure,” Speid explained.

“We have been successful over the last couple of years and we wanted to improve on that as we go along. So those are some of the reasons we thought that he’d be a good Chairman. And then free me up to do different things as the past Chairman that will be more beneficial to the club,” he reasoned. “It’s really just trying to copy the best governance practices why we decided to go that route and we couldn’t find anybody more qualified than him.

 “What we’re doing is to give people more individual functions so they can focus. One of the reasons why we do it is to give players an opportunity too. We kind of paint ourselves in a storyline that is you want to play national football or go overseas Cavalier is the best place to come because we are geared towards that. That’s a storyline we want to keep so there’s all for a player who is very good and wants to go further,” Speid said.

“One of the biggest things about Cavalier is that there was a research done on all the professional clubs in the world and Cavalier was the ninth youngest professional club in the world, number one in CONCACAF.

“Once we segregate like we’ve done and give everybody different functions … it gives me more time so I can go away and get myself more educated in football,” said Speid. “This segregation is so key at this moment.”

 

Romeo Monteith, Jamaica’s National Rugby League coach is looking to 2021 as he aims to get the Reggae Warriors primed and ready for their debut at the Rugby League World Cup scheduled for October 23 to November 27 in England.

Briana Williams will close out one chapter of her career on Wednesday with an eye on a future that involves college and the pursuit of what promises to be a successful professional career.

 The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the recent passing of the Jamaican sprint pioneer, Isis Clarke-Reid.

Clarke, who was 100 years old, died at her home in Florida on Monday.

 “I am sad at the passing of Isis Clarke-Reid, an extraordinary woman who helped to lay the foundation for what Jamaica has achieved in track and field. I had received news of her failing health and had been making preparations to visit her overseas when the COVID crisis disrupted international travel,” Minister Grange said.

“Long before Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown or Merlene Ottey, there was Isis Clarke, competing on dirt tracks; setting and breaking records; and helping to establish Jamaica as a serious competitor in the sport.”

Isis Clarke was a versatile athlete, competing in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and 80 metres low hurdles. 

She first represented Jamaica in international competition at the 1938 Central American and Caribbean Games held in Panama City. There, she, Gertrude Messam, Rhona Saunders and Beryl Delgado won the bronze medal in the 4x100 metres relay. At the 1946 CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, Clarke was a member of the Jamaican team that won the silver medal in the 4x100 metres relay, running with Cynthia Thompson, Hyacinth Walters and Cynthia Llewlyn.

She was also a strong advocate for women in athletics, which she described as being ‘good for health’ in a 1938 newspaper quote.

“As a nation, we are grateful for the part that Isis Clarke-Reid, the ‘Champion Girl Sprinter’ played in Jamaica’s sports development.  We are thankful for her long life—100 years—and the inspiration that she has been and will continue to be,” Minister Grange said.

“I offer sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) officially opened the doors of its new office during a ceremony held at its new location at 1 Ballater Avenue, Kingston 10 on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

Has Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce switched coaches and camps once again as she continues to prepare for what will be her final Olympic Games?

If not, why is she reportedly training separately from her MVP teammates?

The recently minted four-time 100m world champion is, according to eyewitness accounts, now training under the watchful eye of Reynaldo Walcott at Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston while MVP’s athletes train at the nearby Stadium East facility.

Walcott, who coaches at St. Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz, Jamaica, briefly coached the two-time Olympic 100m champion after she left the club following the 2016 Rio Olympics campaign.

The Digicel Ambassador returned to the MVP track club in early 2017, eventually going on to win her fourth 100m world title in Doha in 2019 under the brilliant guidance of Coach Stephen Francis.

In response to queries from Sportsmax.TV, the athlete’s management has been mum on the issue.

Bruce James, Fraser-Pryce’s manager, said he was unable to comment on whether Walcott was once again coaching the woman many believe to be the greatest-ever female sprinter. Walcott also declined to comment when questioned by Sportsmax.TV on Thursday. “I cannot comment on that,” he said.

However, in the past few days, Fraser-Pryce’s name was reportedly on a list of athletes approved to train at Independence Park inside the National Stadium. Moreover, several individuals not affiliated with MVP, but who still declined to go on record, told Sportsmax.TV that looking on, they saw Fraser-Pryce training alone under Walcott’s watchful eye as recently as yesterday (Wednesday).

Sources indicate that Fraser-Pryce has not been at the MVP training site for several days. Some MVP athletes, those sources said, believe an injury is the reason for her absence.

The “Pocket Rocket’ first came to prominence at the MVP track club in 2008 when she surprised many by finishing second at the Jamaican National Championships in 10.82s behind Kerron Stewart but upstaging veterans Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown, who finished third and fourth, respectively.

At the Beijing Olympics that year, she won the 100m in 10.78, becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title. She followed up that performance by winning the first of her four 100m World titles in 10.73s at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

She would go on to Moscow in 2013 where she won the treble (100m, 200m, 4x100m) and then defended her 100m title in Helsinki in 2015.

She battled a debilitating toe injury at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won a bronze medal in the 100m before temporarily parting company with the club.

The joint national 100m record holder will be attempting to win a third 100m Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed until 2021 because of the Coronavirus COVID19 pandemic.

 

 

Jamaica's 2019/2020 football season in - nationally and at the parish level - has been cancelled and declared null and void, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts said in a statement on Friday.

With a focus on rebuilding for the 2020 CPL season, the beleaguered Jamaica Tallawahs franchise has opted to retain four players including star player Andre Russell for the new season.

The University of Texas-bound Kevona Davis said Jamaica missed something special this past March when the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) cancelled the annual Boys and Girls Championships because of the threat of the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

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