Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare has been provisionally suspended after a positive test for human growth hormone. She was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics on Saturday.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said Okagbare tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 19. The AIU says it was only informed of the finding on Friday, after Okagbare had already run in the 100-meter heats at the Tokyo Games.

The AIU informed Okagbare of the finding and her provisional suspension on Saturday morning.

Okagbare won her heat in 11.05 seconds at the Olympic Stadium to progress to the semis.

St. Lucian Swimmer, Mikaili Charlemagne, has set a new national record in the women’s 50m freestyle.

Despite failing to advance to the semifinal round, Charlemagne who competed earlier today swimming out of lane 5, in heat 5, finished 2nd with a time of 26.99, lowering the previous national record of 27.27 which she had set in 2019.

The heat was won by Cameroon’s Norah Elizabeth Milanesi who was clocked a time of 26.41 and Fiji’s Cheynne Rova rounded out the top three finishers with a time of 27.11.

Also competing in the heat was Antigua’s Samantha Roberts, who finished 6th, touching home with a time of 27.63, her fastest time since 2016.

This was the first time Charlemagne has competed in the Women’s 50m Freestyle at a major senior competition since 2017 when she participated at the World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary.

Charlemagne, who recently turned 18-years-old, is a student-athlete at Springfield College in the United States. She is the second St. Lucian swimmer to compete at this year’s Olympics, her teammate Jean-Luc Zephir competed yesterday in the Men’s 100m Freestyle, finishing his heat in 6th place.

 

 

Simone Biles explained how her mind and body were "simply not in sync" as she discussed her withdrawal from the team and all-around gymnastics finals at the Tokyo Olympics.

The four-time gold medallist from Rio registered the lowest score of the first rotation in Tuesday's team event before leaving the arena. After returning, it was announced she would not be involved in the remainder of the competition.

Biles used her Instagram account to provide further details on her mental health on Friday, as she attempted to describe the different aspects that go into performing at the highest level when dealing with a mental block.

"For anyone saying I quit, I didn't quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here," Biles wrote on her story. "I don't think you realise how dangerous this is on a hard/competition surface. Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health.

"It's honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind [and] body in sync.

"Literally cannot tell up from down. It's the craziest feeling ever, not having an inch of control over your body."

Biles initially accompanied her question-and-answer session with two videos, which she subsequently deleted, that showed her failing to perform her double twisting somersault dismount off uneven bars during training.

The multiple world champion, who said she had been practicing at an unspecified location in Tokyo, explained her struggles relating specifically around twisting.

"Sometimes I can't even fathom twisting," she continued. "I seriously cannot comprehend how to twist. Strangest and weirdest thing as well as feeling.

"What’s even scarier is since I have no idea where I am in the air, I have no idea how I'm going to land or what I’m going to land on – head/hands/feet back."

The 24-year-old has qualified for the four individual finals in Tokyo, with the vault and uneven bars taking place on Sunday, although her participation remains in doubt.

Fellow American athlete Jeff Henderson, who won gold in the long jump at Rio five years ago, insisted mental blocks are not a new phenomenon within professional sport, while also expressing his pride in Biles for speaking so openly about her situation.

"Almost every athlete [has these problems]. They just don’t speak on it," Henderson told Stats Perform.

"Every athlete goes through a mental breakdown or [has to] figure out their brain, what to do, over-thinking - that’s every athlete.

"I think it should be awareness for every athlete to have that issue because it’s a huge thing to be protective of. If you’re not protective of your mental [state], you’re not going to do anything physical.

"There's nothing wrong with that. Any athlete would say take your time, relax, get your mental right come back when you’re going to be ready. Every athlete would say that."

Three members of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic team have tested positive for covid-19, following a routine Saliva Antigen test at the Olympic Village.

Long jumper, Andwuelle Wright, and 400m hurdler, Sparkle-Ann McKnight, will not compete at the Games in Tokyo after their covid-19 tests returned positive results. A coach, Wendell Williams will also miss the games, after becoming the third positive result.

With less than 24-hours to compete, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee revealed the breaking news via social media.

“Two Team TTO athletes and one official received positive test results following daily routine Saliva Antigen tests at the Olympic Village. This came following two Nasopharyngeal PCR verification tests in accordance with established TOKYO2020 COVID-19 protocols, countermeasures, and guidelines.

The three members have been placed into quarantine at an approved hotel facility for foreign athletes and officials.

Former Carifta gold medallist and Trinidad and Tobago’s national long jump record holder, Wright, also confirmed the news via social media. The aspiring athlete is disheartened by the circumstances but is happy that he is healthy and well.

“The Olympics has come [and] gone for me and my heart hurts more than anything else. I am devasted, confused and heartbroken. My coach and I both tested positive for COVID-19 virus days before I had to compete, after receiving six (6) negative test and I had to withdraw from the games,” he posted.

“More Importantly I’m okay although I don’t know what “okay” looks like right now but I’m happy to be alive and breathing.”

23-year-old Wright, who is from Tobago, said he was fully vaccinated and was not showing any symptoms during his time at the Olympic Games.

“[I was] experiencing zero symptoms of this virus also being fully vaccinated, meaning my Olympic dreams and everything we worked hard towards was shattered.”

McKnight, previously represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics, reaching the semifinals on the second occasion.

Williams was a former Trinidad and Tobago national long jump record holder. He held the previous mark of 8.14m since 1999. However, Wright leaped to an impressive 8.23m to eclipse the feat his coach had achieved.

Jamaican Super-Heavyweight, Ricardo Brown, came up short in his bid for a medal as he lost in a first-round bout to India’s Satish Kumar, by split decision.

Four judges scored the fight in favour of Kumar and one scored it for the Jamaican.

Brown, popularly known as ‘Big 12,’ had a slow start, losing the first round on all the judges’ scorecards and never really recovered from there.

He showed more intent and tried to pick up the pace in rounds 2 and 3 but ultimately didn’t do any significant damage as Kumar, who fought a more technical fight, was able to come away with the win.

Kumar, a two-time Asian Championships bronze medalist, was cut on the forehead after an accidental clash of heads in the 3rd round but kept his composure, and avoided some potentially devastating right hands from Brown, to seal victory and advance to the quarterfinals, one step closer to an opportunity at a medal.

He will next face reigning world and Asian Champion Bakhodir Jalovov of Uzbekistan on Saturday.

Brown, 31, was a bronze medalist at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, and was seeking to become Jamaica’s 1st boxing medallist at the Olympics.

 

Guyana’s Chelsea Edghill has confessed to bursting with pride after becoming the first female table tennis player from the English-speaking Caribbean to play at the Olympic Games.  

The former Caribbean women’s under-21 champion made her Olympic Games debut last Saturday, defeating her opponent Sally Yee of Fiji in the preliminary round.  Edghill won that battle emphatically, beating Yee 11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8.

However, the 24-year-old then suffered a straight-sets defeat at the hands of 17-year-old Yubin Shin of South Korea, in Round One of the Women’s Singles on Saturday.

Overwhelmed by the feat, the Guyanese international shared her experience with SportsMax.tv.

“It was a very happy and emotional feeling to be the first Guyanese to play in the Olympics for table tennis, it’s a huge honour and a huge feat,” Edghill said.

“I am really happy and elated to be able to accomplish such a feat, it’s indescribable how it feels.  I am full with pride, I am very proud to represent Guyana and touch the stage, and very proud of the history I made for Guyana,” she added.

Edghill and swimmer Andrew Fowler were Guyana’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, last Friday.

Bermuda’s Flora Duffy inscribed both the names of herself and her country in the history books on Tuesday, after claiming a gold medal in the Women’s Triathlon.

Duffy finished the three-discipline event in a time of 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 36 seconds to win gold ahead of Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain and Katie Zaferes from the USA.

“I can’t quite believe it. Olympic Champion,” Duffy remarked on social media, as she became the first person from Bermuda to win an Olympic gold medal.  The country had previously gotten on the medal podium through the exploits of Clarence Hill, a boxer who claimed bronze at the 1976 Olympics.  Duffy has taken them to the very top.

Her winning gold also interestingly makes Bermuda, with a population of approximately 62,000 people, the smallest country to ever win an Olympic gold medal.

“I think the whole of Bermuda is going crazy, that’s what makes it so special.”

 Duffy, who also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, went into the Tokyo Games as the favourite to win gold and delivered.

“It’s been a heck of a lot of pressure, I would never recommend being an Olympic favourite but it’s all worth it now.”

 

 

Barbadian swimmer Alex Sobers has announced that he is taking a break from the sport after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Sobers competed in two events in Tokyo. The two-time Olympian first took part in the Men’s 400m Freestyle, where he finished 7th in heat 2, in a time of 3:59:14. His other event was the 200m Freestyle where came 6th in heat 2, but in the process set a new national record of 1:48:09.  The time beat his previous record of 1:48:35. He, however, did not advance to the semifinals of either event

Even before hitting the pool on Saturday, however, Sobers was the centre of attention for the Barbadian public.  Many were left irate by the prediction of veteran journalist Mike King who cast doubt on the athlete’s prospects of advancing at the Games. The article was met with fierce backlash from angry Bajans who voiced their opinions on social media, they accused King of undermining the efforts of the 22-year-old. It is unsure whether the controversy had anything to do with his decision.

Another Barbadian journalist, Anmar Goodridge-Boyce, quoted Sobers via his Twitter handle, as saying, “I am just going to take a break and if I miss the sport, I will come back. If I don’t, I feel like I’ve definitely achieved everything that I set out to do”.

 Sobers first competed at the Olympic Games at Rio 2016 in the men’s 400 metre freestyle. He swam a time of 3:59:97. He did not advance to the semifinal.

 

 

Guyana 400m sprinter, Aliyah Abrams, will approach competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games with fresh zeal after taking full advantage of the enforced break from the sport the coronavirus provided last season.

Like many others the Guyana national champion found herself upended with heavily disrupted training sessions, the majority of meets cancelled, and even eventual postponement of the Olympics.  Still, she endeavored to make the best use of the situation and found unexpected benefits.

“Despite the Games being cancelled and a whole lot of meets being cancelled it was the reset that I needed,” Abrams told SportsMax.TV.

“Sometimes you just need to step away from track and pursue and do other things that you enjoy.  When you come back to doing it, you can rekindle that flame that you had,” she added.

“A lot of things of things were shut down but I got a chance to spend some time with the people I love and recover my body and my mind.”

For the 24-year-old, Tokyo will represent her second appearance on track and field’s biggest stage, and in addition to being in a better frame of mind, she is also feeling in better physical shape.

“It’s been five years from 2016 to the 2021 Olympics, I was able to compete internationally and do well at Worlds and at Pan Ams, so I have more experience, I’m in better physical shape as well.  I’ve also run faster than I did heading into the first Olympics,” Abrams said.

The quarter-miler, who has a personal best of 51.13, has targeted cracking the 50-seconds barrier in Toyko, but in a highly competitive field that may not be enough to earn a place among the top eight women in the world.  Win or lose though, the plucky athlete certainly intends to give it her best shot.

“I haven’t been running the third 100 of my race the way that I want to this season, so I have been working on how to better execute that.  The problem has been the second part of my race.  Once I set that up, I’ll be in good standing,” Abrams went on.

On her Olympic debut in Rio, Abrams exited the competition in the first round, she has much higher targets this time around.

“My ultimate goal this time around is to make it to the final that would be a success for me."

 

 

Veteran swimmer Alia Atkinson shared a few words with her fans after her final race at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The Jamaican took to Instagram and wrote, “It’s funny. Looking back, the years went by so fast and before I realized it, I was looking at the end of it. A question that was asked after my swim today was: Would I give it all up for an Olympic medal? And honestly, I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. All the ups and downs has made me who I am today (though at times it feels like there are more downs than ups), but it taught me how to get up and God taught me how to smile through it all."

 Atkinson, who made her Olympic debut in 2004, finished third in heat 3 of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke but only just missed out on a semifinal spot. She recorded a time of 1:07:70, which was the 17th fastest, meaning she finished just outside of the qualifiers, with only 16 places up for grabs. It was her only event of the Games.

 “My x5 Olympic journey ends here, but the Olympic medal is still waiting for some Jamaican girl/boy to claim it. I know you can, so keep pushing," she wrote.

 The 31-year-old has not won an Olympic medal for Jamaica, but one of her most notable performances was at the Olympic Games.  At London 2012, she finished fourth in the 100m Breaststroke. She beat Canada’s Tera van Beilen in a swim-off to make it to the final after the two were tied in the semifinal. She then went on to clock 1:06:93 in the final to become the second Jamaican to finish in the top four of an Olympic swimming event.

She ended her Instagram post by writing, “To the future Jamaican Olympic swimming medalist: “I hope the road was/is less rocky for you. If so, then I have indeed succeeded. We have waited a long time for you, so thank you for staying true and carrying the fly high."

Atkinson has indicated that she has not retired fully from swimming and this is just the end of her Olympic journey.

 

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.”

 

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