Celebrating the outstanding achievements and enduring legacy of one of Jamaica's greatest athletes, Dr. The Honorable Mrs. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce OJ, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and a five-time 100m world champion, is set to receive The University of the West Indies (UWI) Alumni Exemplar Sports Award for 2023 on Friday night.

 This prestigious accolade is a testament to Fraser-Pryce's unparalleled athletic prowess, unwavering discipline, dedication, tenacity, and sportsmanship.

The award will be presented at the UWI Gala, marking the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the institution. The recognition underscores Fraser-Pryce's remarkable journey, from her days as an Honorary Graduate of the University of the West Indies, where she showcased brilliance both on and off the track.

In 2016, Fraser-Pryce received the Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, a testament to her exceptional contributions to the world of athletics and beyond. The University of Technology also conferred upon her an Honorary Doctor of Laws, further solidifying her impact on the academic and athletic spheres. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Technology with a Bachelor's Degree in Child and Adolescent Development with honours.

 

Fraser-Pryce's illustrious career has been adorned with numerous awards and accolades, reflecting her excellence on the global stage. She clinched the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's Golden Cleats Award for Female Athlete of the Year four times (2009, 2012, 2013, and 2015).

Additionally, she secured the RJR National Sportswoman of the Year award in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019 and 2022.

 Her international recognition includes nominations for the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2022. She finally won the prestigious award in 2023.

One of the defining moments of Fraser-Pryce's career came in 2013 when she achieved an unprecedented feat in track and field. She became the first woman in history to win the Triple World Sprint Championship, securing gold in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m at the Championship in Moscow. This remarkable achievement earned her the title of IAAF Athlete of the Year.

Beyond her athletic prowess, Fraser-Pryce has been recognized for her contributions to society. In 2008, she was conferred with the Order of Distinction, Officer Class, by the Government of Jamaica. The same year, she received the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for excellence in Sports. In 2010, she was named the 1st UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Jamaica and the Grace Goodwill Ambassador for Peace. In September 2014, the Prime Minister of Jamaica bestowed upon her the title of Ambassador at Large for Jamaica.

As Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce accepts the UWI Alumni Exemplar Sports Award, the celebration not only honors her extraordinary athletic journey but also recognizes her indelible mark on the global stage as a symbol of Jamaican pride and excellence.

In a strategic move to fortify its organizational structure and propel the Racers Grand Prix to new heights, Chairman Glen Mills proudly announces the appointment of Mr. Devon Blake as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of this esteemed Track and Field event, effective November 1, 2023.

Chairman Mills expresses unwavering confidence in Mr. Blake's ability to significantly contribute to the growth and triumph of the Racers Grand Prix. In a statement to the organizing committee, Mills asserts, "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Devon Blake as the Chief Executive Officer of the Racers Grand Prix. This move aims to streamline responsibilities and tasks, allowing Mr. Blake to operate under my supervision, reporting directly to me throughout his tenure."

Devon Blake, a highly regarded figure in sports administration and management, brings a wealth of experience to his new role. As a Motivational Speaker, Customer Service Trainer, and Selling Skills Trainer, Blake has already made substantial contributions to the Racers Track Club, serving as the Technical Director since 2020 and Social Media Manager since 2022. His previous role on the Racers Grand Prix management team saw him overseeing social media operations, ticket management, ushers, gate management, and magazine production.

 

Mr. Blake boasts an impressive academic background, holding a Diploma in History/English from the Mico University College and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and Management from the University of the West Indies, Mona. Currently pursuing a Master of Science in Sport Administration/Management at UWI, Blake was also a Volunteer Lecturer in the Mico Pre-University Men’s Program.

As CEO of the Racers Grand Prix, Mr. Blake's responsibilities include enhancing revenue from sponsorship and gate receipts, providing recommendations for cost reduction in event staging, supervising ticket production and sales promotion, integrating technology for improved fan engagement, and undertaking specific assignments within the Technical Committee.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the new role, Mr. Devon Blake states, "I am honored to take on the role of CEO for the Racers Grand Prix. This event holds a special place in the world of track and field, and I am committed to working closely with Chairman Mills and the entire organizing committee to elevate the meet to even greater heights."

Chairman Mills echoes this excitement, stating, "Mr. Blake's wealth of experience and proven track record make him the ideal candidate to lead the Racers Grand Prix into a new era. I have full confidence in his ability to enhance the event's success and contribute to the development of athletics in Jamaica and beyond."

The Racers Grand Prix, conceived by Chairman Glen Mills, stands as a premier Track and Field Meet showcasing top talents from the Racers Track and Field Club, Jamaica, and around the world. The event plays a pivotal role in the development of Jamaica's athletics and the Racers Track and Field Club.

The most recent staging on June 3, 2023, witnessed exceptional performances from athletes like Noah Lyles, Shericka Jackson, and Wayde Van Niekerk. The next edition is scheduled for June 1, 2024. The Racers Grand Prix holds the esteemed status of being a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver level event, attracting top-tier athletes globally.

 

 

 

British Virgin Islands sprint sensation Adaejah Hodge has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Georgia.

From Douglasville in Georgia, the 17-year-old student at Montverde Academy had several options of where to continue her academic career but eventually decided to return ‘home’.

Hodge has had an outstanding junior career during which she established a number of records for the BVI. At the 2022 Carifta Games in Jamaica, Hodge won the 100m, 200m and long jump and was awarded the prestigious Austin Sealy Award given to the most outstanding athlete of the meet.

In April 2023, she equaled Tahesia Harrigan’s national record for the 100 metres, running 11.12 seconds but later that month, made it all her own when she lowered it to 11.11 seconds in Lubbock, Texas.

She also owns the islands’ 200m record when she ran a time of 22.82 at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August 2023 when she qualified for the semi-finals becoming only the third ever female athlete from the British Virgin Islands to achieve this feat.

Running indoors in March, Hodge set a national record of 22.33 in the 200m. The time is also an Area U18 and U20 record.

Hodge is the latest Caribbean athlete to choose UGA in the coming academic year. US Virgin Islands athlete Michelle Smith and talented Trinidadian twins Sanaa and Sole Frederick have also chosen to attend the University of Georgia next fall

Jamaican Olympian Christopher Taylor has revealed uncertainty over his future as a track and field athlete following the 30-month ban imposed on him by the Athletics Integrity Unit. The 24-year-old Taylor, a finalist in the 400m at the Tokyo Olympics, was charged with evading, refusing or failing to submit a sample and was banned effective November 16, 2022.

His period of ineligibility will end on May 15, 2025, when Taylor will be 26 years old.

Taylor, speaking with Nationwide Radio (NNN), expressed his frustration at the reality that he will miss almost three years of his career when he will be at his peak.

“I haven’t made a decision about my future as yet but deep down I don’t feel I belong in this sport anymore because of the whole experience I had, I don’t think I have a place in this sport anymore,” he said.

The incident occurred during an Out-of-Competition Testing attempt in Kingston, Jamaica, on November 16, 2022, where Taylor failed to submit to sample collection as required by the Whereabouts information provided.

According to the NNN report, the 2018 World U20 400m silver medalist claims that the doping control officers arrived at his home shortly before 6:00 am when he was about to leave for the airport for an 8:00 am flight and was in the process of filing new whereabouts information since he was leaving the location he had initially entered into the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).

 

He claims the doping control officers informed him that since he did not complete the update overnight they would have to go through with testing him. He said he takes the blame for believing that if he did allow the officers to test him, it would only go down as a missed test for which there would be no sanction.

Athletes have to have three missed tests for it to be considered an anti-doping violation.

Taylor’s actions initiated an AIU investigation, and on January 10, 2023, they informed Taylor of the potential failure to comply, issuing a Notice of Investigation. Taylor, through his legal representative, expressed a willingness to discuss an admission of committing an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) without prejudice. Consequently, he accepted a Provisional Suspension starting from January 19, 2023.

During an interview with AIU representatives on February 2, 2023, Taylor provided his explanation for the circumstances surrounding the possible failure to comply. The AIU conducted additional follow-up inquiries, leading to the issuance of a Notice of Allegation of ADRV on May 25, 2023, specifically for evading, refusing, or failing to submit to sample collection.

On June 1, 2023, Taylor confirmed his request to discuss an admission of committing an ADRV without prejudice. The AIU, Taylor, and the World Anti-Doping Agency entered into a Case Resolution Agreement, whereby Taylor admitted to the ADRV, leading to a 30-month period of ineligibility starting from the violation date, November 16, 2022, until May 15, 2025.

Additionally, Taylor's competitive results from November 16, 2022, until January 19, 2023, are disqualified, including the forfeiture of any associated medals, points, and prize money/prizes.

Jamaica's Olympic 110-metre hurdles bronze medallist Ronald Levy now faces the possibility of a four-year ban after his B sample returned positive for two banned substances.

This confirms the finding in Levy's A sample by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from an out of competition test last month, in Canada.

It is understood that GW501516-Sulfoxide and GW501516-Sulfone, are the substances found in Levy's sample.

A four-year ban would rule the 31-year-old Westmoreland native out of next year's Paris Olympics, as well as the next two World Athletics Championships editions in 2025 and 2027.

Levy, who also has a 2018 Commonwealth Gold medal in his accolade, had earlier this month confirmed being notified of the adverse analytical finding on November 3, and vowed to defend his integrity, as he "is certain he did not knowingly breach the rules."

The USA is set to bring the largest contingent of runners for the 2023 staging of the Reggae Marathon: Half Marathon & 10K event set for Negril from December 1 to 3, while Jamaica will have the second largest number of participants this year.

Twenty-five countries have already registered to be in Jamaica for the world-renowned race, including Austria, Bahamas, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Panama, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and USA.

“The excitement is building. We cannot wait to welcome these runners and walkers to our beautiful island of Jamaica. In fact, the event has become a calendar event not only for the fact that it is hosted to international standards, but because of the beauty of the Negril beachfront and the weather,” said Mr. Alfred Francis.

As of this year, the annual run and walk event, known as Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, will no longer offer an in-person marathon race.

According to Mr. Francis, it had become necessary to restructure the event as “we have been constantly challenged to provide the same level of runner care to our marathoners as those participating in the Half Marathon & 10K events. “

He said discussions regarding the change had been on the table for some time, but the Board of Directors of the world-renowned sporting event took the decision to offer the marathon virtually, while keeping the in-person Half Marathon & 10k event as part of the local brand’s offerings.

“Of course, we are disappointed that we have had to discontinue the marathon race of this popular run/walk. With this change, we can now focus comfortably on providing the best experience for the participants in our Half Marathon & 10k events, as well as to our supporters and partners", Mr. Francis said.

Many runners from Europe, Canada and USA have opted to participate in the virtual marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K events and will submit the results of their race to receive the race swag, consisting of a race bag, T-shirt, and a medal.

Participants in this year’s Half Marathon & 10K in Negril can expect a fun event in the company of repeat runners from all over the world, many of whom have become friends.

Race Day will also feature the Silver Birds Steel Band and popular Reggae artiste, Yaksta, as part of the fun.

On-line registration for the Half Marathon & 10K races will remain open until November 30, while on-location registration in Negril will continue on December 1 and 2.

The US Virgin Islands’ multiple time Carifta gold medallist Michelle Smith has signed with the University of Georgia.

Smith, who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, is ranked as the number 3 recruit in the Class of 2023 in the United States, making her one of the most sought-after athletes in the USA.

The 17-year-old claimed a pair of gold medals at the 2022 Carifta Games in Kingston with 58.61 to win the U-17 Girls 400m hurdles and 2:10.78 to win the 800m. Smith returned a year later in Nassau to repeat her success, this time in the U-20 Girls section with times of 57.69 and 2:09.72.

Also in 2022, she came fifth in the 400m hurdles final at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia in 57.48.

In 2023, Smith won her first two national senior titles. At the St. Croix Educational Complex High School on July 9, Smith ran 11.83 to take the 100m title before running 57.44 to claim the 400m hurdles crown.

Later in July, Smith claimed the 400m hurdles and 800m double at the NACAC U-18 Championships in Costa Rica with times of 56.99 and 2:09.90, respectively.

She followed that up with a silver medal in the 400m hurdles at the Pan Am Under-20 Championships with 57.99 in August and 57.53 to finish fourth at the Pan Am Championships in November.

She ran a personal best and national record 56.66 at the Texas Tech Corky/Crofoot Shootout in Texas in April.

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah will not be training with athletes of the Elite Performance Track Club in Kingston but will instead train separately under the guidance of the club’s Coach Reynaldo Walcott.

Informed sources have indicated that the athlete will have separate training schedules with Walcott ‘going to’ Thompson-Herah in a private setting after he completes his duties with Elite Performance at the Ashenheim Stadium at Jamaica College each day. Walcott reportedly shared the news with the athletes in group on Thursday morning.

Prior to the recent developments, Thompson-Herah, who owns her own gym equipment, trained at the National Stadium at Kingston’s Independence Park.

Andi Sports Management, the agent representing Thompson-Herah, who won a historic 100/200m double at both the Rio 2016 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, announced on Monday that the 31-year-old athlete will now take instruction from Walcott.

“Out of difficulties grow miracles. Happy Monday,” the sprinter posted on Instagram as if in celebration over the development.

The move represents a quick-turnaround from her much-publicized separation from Coach Shanikie Osbourne after both parties could not agree on terms of compensation for a long-term arrangement.

Osbourne had assumed coaching duties for the five-time Olympic gold medallist after the Jamaica National Athletics Championships in July and shepherded the injury-plagued sprinter to her best times of the now-concluded 2023 track season.

After Thompson-Herah finished fifth in the 100m final at the championships in a relatively pedestrian 11.06, Osbourne had got her running fast again clocking times of 11.00, 10.92, 10.84 and 10.79 in consecutive races to end her season on a high.

Following her split from Osbourne, Thompson-Herah’s husband, Derron, revealed in an interview on Sportsmax late last week that a new coaching appointment was not far off. The surprising announcement came on Monday morning.

The news of the choice of coach was a surprise given Thompson-Herah’s contentious relationship with five-time World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has been coached by Walcott since early 2020. The relationship between the former good friends became increasingly strained while both were members of the MVP Track Club and was what eventually triggered Fraser-Pryce’s departure from the club to join what eventually became Elite Performance.

 

 

 

Fastest 200m woman alive, Shericka Jackson, described Saturday as a “special and awesome day” after receiving an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Technology at their graduation ceremony.

“It was truly a special and awesome day yesterday (Saturday). I am grateful and happy to be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UTECH,” Jackson said in an Instagram post on Sunday.

“It is indeed a big moment. I sincerely want to thank all who were involved in the nominating process for making this moment possible. To my amazing family, friends, sponsors and supporters, thank you for the unconditional love and support. I appreciate it very much. Thank you, Dr. Shericka Jackson,” she added.

The 29-year-old successfully defended her 200m world title in Budapest in August with a 21.41 effort, the second fastest time in history.

“The rewards for working diligently, persevering and focused can come from unexpected sources,” Jackson explained before offering some encouraging words to her fans.

“Be encouraged. If your faith is strong, there is always hope for you. There are many ways for each of us to contribute towards building a better nation and encourage everyone to pursue their dreams no matter what the circumstance,” she added.

Jackson was named recently by World Athletics as one of five finalists for the 2023 Women’s World Athlete of the Year award.

 

As she resumes her preparation to defend her Olympic titles at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, Elaine Thompson-Herah will be guided by Reynaldo Walcott at Elite Performance Track Club. The announcement was made the double-double Olympic champion’s agents Andi Sports Management on Monday.

Thompson-Herah, who recently separated from interim coach Shanikie Osbourne is a contentious parting of ways, will once again be in the same training group as two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman alive courtesy of her 10.54s 100m win at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon in August 2021, expressed gratitude to her many supporters, who stood by her during her recent much-publicized departure from Osbourne’s group.

According to the statement released by her agent, Ms Thompson-Herah remains as “dedicated as ever to her craft, demonstrating an unequivocal focus on the path ahead. Her commitment to excellence is unwavering and she is resolute in her pursuit of the double Olympic titles she so triumphantly earned.”

In a glittering celebration of athletic achievement and community impact, the 2C2W Athletics Academy is gearing up for its seventh annual awards ceremony and gala dinner and dance at Mirelle's in New York on December 1.

The prestigious event will honour a stellar lineup of Jamaican and Caribbean sports personalities, including track and field coach Fitz Coleman, former JAAA's President Dr. Warren Blake, current JAAA's President Garth Gayle, former New York Institute of Technology coach Peter Zinno, and several other distinguished individuals.

The brainchild behind these renowned awards, Clive Walters, provided insights into the evolution and significance of the ceremony. Initially conceived in 2017 to recognize coaches on World Coaches Day, the event has evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of contributions to sports, community, and leadership.

"This year we have included sports medicine, sports administration, outstanding alumni from GC Foster, and, of course, coaches," Walters explained. "We want to be inclusive and recognize the changing dynamics of the sports world. We've expanded our categories to acknowledge individuals making significant contributions at various levels of sports."

Among the honorees, the legendary Peter Zinno, known for his influential role in recruiting Jamaican athletes and Dr Dorothy Hudson-Gayle, stand out.

"And then we have our own Fitz Coleman. We have Dr. Warren Blake for sports medicine, Mark Biggins for leadership, and lawyers, recognizing the legal aspect of sports, as well as community involvement," Walters added.

Coach Coleman, who has coaches Hansle Parchment to Olympic gold, two World Championship silver medals and a bronze, said news that he was being awarded came as a surprise but he is grateful to have been recognized.

“It came basically out of nowhere but I feel very honoured, extremely honoured, and I appreciate Clive and his team’s effort to put this together and make this possible,” the esteemed coach told Sportsmax.TV.

“You get involved in sport because you love what you do and you think you have something to contribute. I got involved because I loved the sport and I felt I had something to contribute. Getting accolades was not on the agenda; that was not something I thought about, it was just getting involved and doing what I could so when this comes along it is definitely something that anyone would be proud of so I am very grateful to Clive and his team for this award. I really appreciate it.”

This year's awards reflect a holistic approach to acknowledging those who impact the sports arena in various capacities. Walters highlighted the importance of recognizing associations, singling out the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for its global success.

"The JAAA has competed with the biggest brand countries in the world and been very successful. The brand of the JAAA is so big, and it's not just run by itself. It's run by people and volunteers," Walters praised.

Also among the distinguished individuals to be honoured are Basset Thompson, Raphael Ney Jean Francois and Michael Higgins.

The ceremony aims to showcase appreciation and recognition for individuals and organizations contributing at the community, national, and international levels. Walters expressed the essence of the event as a time to "recognize them and have a good time."

Congratulations are in order for reigning two-time world 200m champion Shericka Jackson as she was awarded with an honorary Doctorate of Law Honoris Causa by the University of Technology (UTECH) at their graduation ceremony on Saturday.

Jackson, the second-fastest woman of all time over 200m, won her second World 200m title in Budapest in August, breaking her own championship record of 21.45 when she sped to a winning time of 21.41. She capped her incredible season winning the Diamond 100m and 200m crowns in Eugene, Oregon.

She also produced times of 21.48 at the Brussels Diamond League, 21.57 at the Diamond League Final and 21.71 at the National Championships. Jackson also produced a personal best 10.65 to defend her Jamaican 100m title in July.

Jackson was recently announced by World Athletics as one of five nominees for the 2023 Women's World Athlete of the Year award.

Talented Trinidad and Tobago sprint twins Sanaa and Sole Frederick are headed to the University of Georgia in the coming academic year, the Athens-based NCAA Division 1 university announced on Friday.

Though Trinidadian the girls live in the United States and attend the Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Both 17-year-old girls run the 100m and 200m. Sanaa, who has a personal best of 11.33 in the 100m, finished third in the event at the 2023 Carifta Games in the Bahamas in April, running a time of 11.65. She went two places better in the 200m which she won in 23.60.

She and Sole were members of the T&T 4x100m relay team that won the silver medal at the Games.

She followed up that performance with a bronze medal run at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August, clocking 11.48.

No slouch herself, Sole has personal best times of 11.60 for the 100m and 23.41 for the 200m.

In May, the sisters along with Southwest DeKalb High School twin brothers Isaiah Taylor and Xzaviah Taylor combined for 13 of the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) 46 medals at the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Track Championships.

Jamaica’s Tonyan Beckford will be attending the University of Kentucky next fall.

The talented Edwin Allen and Jamaica 400m hurdler, who boasts personal bests of 57.14 in the 400m hurdles and 52.88 over 400m, has signed a letter of intent to join the programme that already has former Hydel High star athlete Oneika McAnuff on its roster.

The NCAA Division 1 track and field powerhouse announced the signing on their Instagram account on Thursday.

Already a national representative at the junior level, Beckford is a 2023 Carifta Games 400m hurdles silver medalist and was also a member of Jamaica’s 4x400m relay team that won the silver medal at the U20 Pan Am Games in August.

The University of Kentucky has produced some of the world’s best athletes including two-time World Championship gold medalist Abby Steiner of the United States and Olympic and world champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico.

 

 

 

Jamaican 400m runner Christopher Taylor has been suspended for 30 months by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), SportsMax.tv has learned.

Earlier this year, Taylor was charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for violating the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Anti-Doping Code Article 2.3, after a six-month investigation determined that the 23-year-old evaded a doping test in November 2022.

WADA Anti-Doping Code Article 2.3 states: "Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection. The Evading Sample collection, or without compelling justification, refusing or failing to submit to Sample collection after notification as authorised in applicable anti-doping rules."

Taylor was reportedly contacted in November 2022 by anti-doping officials who had turned up to conduct a test at the location that he had indicated on his whereabouts form.

However, when the officials arrived, Taylor was not at the listed location and had not updated his whereabouts information. Instead, Taylor was at the Norman Manley International Airport, waiting to catch a flight that had previously been booked on his behalf.

Athletes who are a part of the registered testing pool are required to provide certain information, which is used by anti-doping organisations to locate athletes for out-of-competition testing.

If an athlete is deemed to have violated WADA Anti-Doping Code Article 2.3 which speaks to "Evading, Refusing or Failing to Submit to Sample Collection", a two or four-year ban is mandatory.

One year of the 30-month suspension has already elapsed.

Taylor, a finalist at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, will be eligible to compete again as on May 2025.

He last competed in August 2022.

 

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