Briana Rollins-McNeal, the 2016 Rio Olympics 100m hurdles champion has been banned for five years by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Athletics Integrity Unit starting August 15, 2020, for tampering with the results management process.

It was the second violation for the 2013 World Champion, having been banned for a year in 2016 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after missing three drugs tests - two of them after she forgot to update her whereabouts details when she was attending a fete of honour in her hometown and travelling to the White House to meet the President Barack Obama.

However, the athlete has filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which has stayed the sanction until they have heard her case. CAS will hear the full case and make a ruling before the start of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 23.

This will allow her to compete at the USA Olympic trials which end on June 27. Should CAS uphold the ban, Rollins-McNeal, 29, will be banned until August 2024, which means she would also miss the Olympic Games in Paris, France.

 

A 23-member Reggae Girlz squad assemble in the United States tomorrow without inspirational captain Khadijah Shaw for two upcoming international friendly games as part of the 2021 Women's National Team Summer Series hosted by the US Soccer.

The local delegation from Jamaica will depart on Thursday, June 3 out of Montego Bay at 2:20 pm.

The squad will have a camp in Houston from June 4-7 after which it will relocate to the host hotel.

Jamaica will play number 38 ranked team Nigeria on June 10 and World champions the USA on June 13. Both games will be played at the BBVA stadium in Houston, Texas. The games will be the first for the Jamaican team since they participated in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers in February 2020 and they will do so without their prolific striker Shaw.

Jamaica's number-nine, the leading scorer for Bordeaux in the Division 1 Féminine, the highest division of women's football in France, has reportedly asked for time to recover from what was an intense season in which the team fought successfully for a Champions League spot.

Shaw was the joint-leading scorer, alongside PSG’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, with 21 goals for Bordeaux, which finished third in the division.

Meanwhile, five new players have been named to the squad including Rebecca Spencer of Tottenham Hotspur, Drew Spence of Chelsea, and Shania Hayles of Aston Villa as well as Mikayla Dayes of the University of Maryland and Satara of FC Austin Elite.

They will join 14 veterans who represented Jamaica at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

According to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), once the teams arrive in Houston both for training camp as well as the tournament, they will operate under a highly controlled environment that will include testing on arrival for the camp and testing at the host hotel.

The staging of the official training and matches will fall under the comprehensive US Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with CONCACAF Return to Play Protocols. The JFF has also developed protocols for the training camp in keeping with these guidelines.

The full squad comprises Sydney Schnieder (Washington Spirit FC USA), Rebecca Spencer (Tottenham Hotspurs FC), Chantelle Swaby (Glasgow Rangers) Konya Plummer (Orlando Pride), Allyson Swaby (AS Roma), Deneisha Blackwood (Houston Dash), Havana Solaun (Carolina Courage), Chinyelu Asher (Washington Spirit FC), Olufolasade Adamamouken (University of Southern California), Drew Spence (Chelsea FC), Peyton McNamara (Ohio State University), Sashana Campbell (Petah Tikva), Tiernny Wiltshire (Maccabi Emek Hefer), Jody Brown (Florida State University), Shania Hayles (Aston Villa WFC), Gabrielle Gayle (South Alabama), Kayla McCoy (Training with Glasgow Rangers), Vyan Sampson (Charlton FC), Cheyna Matthews (Racing Louisville), Yazmeen Jamieson (Unattached) Tiffany Cameron (Ferencvaros), Mikayla Dayes (University Of Maryland), and Satara Murray (FC Austin Elite).

The pre-tournament camp which is mainly financed by the JFF has received support from the Bob Marley Foundation, the Reggae Girlz Foundation, Cool Runnings based in Houston, Arm Wave and Wisynco with its Wata brand.

 

Mark Elliott, the Director of Track and Field and Cross Country at Clemson said there is an all-around excitement in response to the news that the university will no longer discontinue its men’s track and cross country programme.

Focus on details helped Kemba Nelson run a personal best 100m time and a decent 200m at last weekend’s West Coast Classic in Tucson.

Nelson, a junior at the University of Oregon, clocked 11.18 to win the 100m well clear of teammate Jasmine Reed who stopped the clock at 11:48. California’s Ezzine Abba ran 11.52 for third.

An hour later, Nelson would finish second in the 200m, beaten by UCLA’s Shae Anderson who clocked 22.96 for the win. Nelson ran a creditable 23.03, sandwiched by Anderson’s teammate Makenzy Pierre-Webster, who clocked 23.51.

Nelson expressed her satisfaction afterwards.

“I am happy with races! Big PR for me. Great opener as well,” said the former UTech sprinter, whose previous best was 11.49 in Kingston in June 2019.

“In the 100, I was more focused on execution. Staying patient with the drive phase and not rushing the race.”

She wasn’t too perturbed by her 200m loss seeing that her time was also a personal best.

“Though it was an hour after the 100 it was a good race too. I definitely have a lot to work on. But it’s a part of the sport. You win some, you lose some. Just have to get back to work.”

Nelson is having an outstanding first year on the US Collegiate circuit. In March she was the NCAA 60m Indoor title in a personal best 7.05s, a time that made her the fifth-fastest Jamaican woman indoors behind Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Slightly disappointed over her times on the weekend, Kiara Grant believes there is no reason why she should not break 11 seconds this season as she plans to fight through a competitive field to make Jamaica’s team to the Olympics this summer.

Based on how well she has been training, “there is no reason why I shouldn’t break 11 seconds,” she said.

The 20-year-old Grant, a junior at Norfolk State University, ran 11.29 for second place in the 100m and 23.25 to win the 200m at the Gamecock Invitational at Gregger Park on Saturday.

“This was my opener. I could have been better but they’re okay times for an opener,” she said, “so I know what I need to fix in practice. It’s to see how I can lower my times before regionals asap.”

She has about two weeks to those regionals and she believes that is more than enough time to get the required work in. “I have two meets to get those times down. I am a lot stronger and I have been putting the background work, so with the right competition I can get my times down,” she said confidently.

Grant, who has a personal best of 11.04, said she was expecting to run 11.1 or 11.0x on Saturday and around 22.9, said running her intent to go faster is not just for regionals but for the much bigger event this summer.

“That’s the biggest goal right now. I am up for the Olympics. It doesn’t get better than that. That’s why I am working on getting my times down,” she said.

“Sha’ Carri Richardson ran 10.7, we have to do something over these next two weeks. We have to apply some kind of pressure,” she declared.

 

 

Oregon’s Kemba Nelson continued to demonstrate how rapid progress at Oregon on Saturday when she ran a windy 22.79 over 200m to win at the 42nd Annual Aztec Invitational in San Diego, California.

The United States sealed a fifth consecutive win in all competitions as goals from Giovanni Reyna and Christian Pulisic secured a 2-1 friendly win over Northern Ireland. 

In the first-ever meeting between the two nations, USA went ahead after 30 minutes when Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reyna sent a deflected effort past Conor Hazard. 

That was Reyna's second goal in four appearances for his country, with his strike making him the youngest player to score an away goal for USA (18 years and 135 days) since Pulisic against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in September 2016 (17 years and 350 days).

Pulisic doubled the visitors' advantage in the 59th minute, stroking home from the penalty spot after he had been brought down inside the area by Daniel Ballard. That was the Chelsea man's eighth goal involvement in his last 10 appearances for his country (five goals, three assists). 

Substitute Niall McGinn pulled one back for Northern Ireland in the 88th minute but it proved too little, too late for Ian Baraclough's side, who are winless in their last 12 matches across all competitions.

The two players in Reggae Boyz delegation who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus have now tested negative. However, two other players including one who is based in England have tested positive and have been isolated 48 hours before they face off against the United States in an international friendly.

According to a statement from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), another test was done today Tuesday, March 23 “as per UEFA match day minus two protocol”.

 Those results will be available tomorrow.

“The protocols are being strictly followed in the hotel and every individual is constantly reminded of his responsibility by the team medical personnel and team manager Roy Simpson,” the JFF said.

“The team now has a physiotherapist in the form of Nico Reishofer, an Austrian. The first training session in Austria was scheduled for 6 pm today.

 

Two members of the Reggae Boyz delegation in Austria for their international friendly against the United States on Thursday have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, the Jamaica Football Federation announced today.

The members of the delegation were tested when they arrived in Austria earlier today.

The players have been isolation in their hotel rooms in keeping with UEFA protocols while they await another test before any activity can be initiated.  All the players subsequently took a PCR Covid-19 test with the results due 12 hours later.

Ten England-based players including Adrian Mariappa and Michael Hector, are among those who are now in Austria.

 

 Former Wimbledon FC defender, Andy Clement, will serve as a physical trainer for the Jamaica national team ahead of its friendly international against the United States in Austria next Thursday.

Clement, who currently plies his trade with Mount Pleasant football club, will be forced to stand in after both the national team's regular trainers Lamar Morgan and Jason Henry did not make the tour.  Henry was not able to travel with the team after reportedly not managing to secure a contract in time.

Clement was suited for the job as being an Englishman he does not need a Schengen visa to enter Europe.  The team was originally expected to depart the island for the US this weekend, after completing a four-day training camp at the Horace Burrell Academy.

However, the JFF was forced to quickly alter plans after it was discovered that applications for travel to Austria had to be done in person at the current time.  The delegation, as a result, hastily departed the island on Tuesday in order to meet a Wednesday morning appointment for Schengen visas at the Austrian Embassy, in the United States.  The group was as a result without both a physical trainer and physiotherapist, important members of the support staff.

The local contingent of the Jamaica national football team was forced to hastily depart the island on Tuesday, hastily scrapping a camp that was to be held at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre over the next few weeks.

According to a release, the issue was caused by the fact the Austrian Embassy, in Washington, would not accept digital applications.  As such all players and officials who wished to secure the relevant documentation for the trip were required to be present at the embassy by 9:00 am on Wednesday, March 17.

Originally, the 14-man all locally-based players were to take part in the camp at the academy before departing for Austria this weekend to meet up with the rest of the squad, which consists of overseas-based players.  The JFF expressed disappointment with the unexpected turn of events.

“The JFF was indeed disappointed that an environment that would have allowed our players to once again begin to practice their craft could not be fully utilised at this time,” the organisation said via its release.

“The Federation sincerely thanks the Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, as well as officers at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their extraordinary support in establishing protocols and procedures for the camp. We remain very grateful for the work done and the cooperative spirit that has developed on both sides,” it added.

“These protocols will still be utilised going forward as the national team prepares for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.”

The match against the USA is scheduled for the Stadion Wiener Neustadt, in Austria, next Thursday.

Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) said it is disappointed but understands the reasons for the cancellation of the 2021 Penn Relays that were set to run off from April 22-24, 2021.

 The Reggae Boyz are set to face the United States in Austria in an international friendly on March 25, as the team ramps up preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

JFF President Michael Ricketts made the announcement during a virtual press conference earlier today.

Due to the current conditions related to the global pandemic, the match will be conducted under the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and will be played without fans at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt.

Ricketts said the JFF will be attempting to have a camp leading up to the match in Australia. They are to apply to the government for an exemption to the ongoing Covid-19 protocols. If not, they will try to leave for Austria on March 20, so the team will be able to spend a few days preparing in that country.

The meeting between the two teams will be the first since they clashed in the semi-finals of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Nashville, Tennessee on July 3, 2019. The USA won that encounter 3-1 courtesy of two goals from Christian Pulisic and another from Weston McKennie.

Shamar Nicholson netted for Jamaica.

Jamaica had won a previous encounter 1-0 when the teams met in a friendly on June 5, 2019, in Washington D.C.

Since 1988, the teams have met 26 times with the USA holding a 16-3-8 overall record.

Only 13 new positive cases of COVID-19 were detected by MLB in its initial round of COVID-19 testing ahead of full-squad spring training, the league announced on Friday. 

The new cases represent 0.3 per cent of the 4,336 intake tests as players and staff reported to team facilities in preparation for spring training games.

Nine of the 13 positive tests were produced by players, while four came from staff members. The 13 positives were spread among 11 teams.

MLB also announced that once players have cleared intake testing they will continue to be tested regularly, and 2,298 additional monitoring tests have been processed without any new positives. 

Pitchers and catchers for all teams had already reported to team facilities in Arizona or Florida. Most clubs plan to start full-squad workouts on Monday, with the first spring training games scheduled for Sunday, February 28.

The 2021 MLB regular season will begin April 1 under a number of coronavirus safety and testing guidelines.

Olympic and World 400m champion Kirani James has revealed that while his Grave’s Disease is under control he is not yet certain when he will open his season despite the fact the Olympics are only six months away.

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