Jamaica will be represented in several sports at the first-ever Junior Pan-American Games which is scheduled to take place in the city of Cali in Colombia between November 25 and December 5, 2021.

Responding to the call made by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) earlier this year, several juniors from the so-called "smaller sports" dedicated their efforts in qualifying and have now earned a coveted place at the historic games.

Among those sports, whose athletes will don the black green and gold national colours in Cali, are Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Artistic Gymnastics, Fencing, Badminton Triathlon, Tennis, Cycling (Track), Skateboarding and Squash.

In commending the commitment of member associations and the nation's juniors, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, said: "Our associations and federations and their juniors have responded positively and with national pride to the JOA's Cali call to action for it will be for us, 'business unusual' in Cali and for them, it will be 'signed, sealed and delivered."

The JOA boss, in expressing a well-known policy of the national governing body, further stated "the JOA is giving our young sportsmen and women every opportunity to transition and be more than gold medalists - to be standard-bearers. The JOA subscribes to this ideal and Cali is certainly embracing it."

The number of local sports that will feature at the multi-sport junior games is indeed a record for the JOA and is being interpreted by its Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, as "a clear signal that the JOA's strategy of diversification is working well and that our members are inspiring their junior athletes to be history-makers and to strive for excellence."

With the Santiago 2023 Senior Pan-American Games and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games only two and three years away respectively, the JOA views the Cali games as a critical milestone. Secretary-General Foster, in giving the context, was unequivocal. "Cali is a dress rehearsal for our juniors. If you want to be at the senior shows, you have to, from now, dress for the shows, study the scripts and be able to deliver yourself on the big stages."

The stage lights in Cali will soon be turned on to spotlight over 3,800 athletes from the Caribbean and Americas - north, central and south -who will compete across 315 events in 28 sports and "Jamaica will be their centre stage and the objective is to have a leading role in this historic event," President Samuda said.

Long jump favourite Juan Miguel Echevarria was left in despair after injury prevented him from chasing the gold won by Miltiadis Tentoglou on countback at Tokyo 2020 on Monday.

Tentoglou said he was lucky to win gold in a shock result over Echevarria with a last-ditch sixth-round leap of 8.41m, beating Echevarria on countback, while Cuba also claimed bronze thanks to Maykel Masso's jump of 8.21m.

Echevarria, who had topped qualifying, had a final chance to beat the mark with his sixth attempt but could not make the jump due to injury, slumping to the floor on his knees in despair, consoled by compatriot Masso.

"It was very, very painful. I couldn't do what I usually do," Echevarria said.

"I have no words to express how I feel because I couldn't achieve what I wanted, what I have been fighting for so many years.

"I am personally not very happy with the result. I have always tried to go further."

The Greek had earlier registered a second-best jump of 8.15m compared to Echevarria's 8.09m to have the countback advantage, with his final attempt putting him ahead.

"Last attempt, I told myself to calm down and do a normal jump. I didn't expect it could be so big," Tentoglou said.

"I consider myself lucky. I was not lucky to jump 8.41m the last attempt but I was lucky to win."

The winning distance of 8.41m was well short of Mike Powell's world record of 8.95m, which has stood since 1991.

Tentoglou backed Echevarria to move on from his Olympic disappointment and one day reach the milestone.

"If someone can do the world record, it's Juan Miguel," he said. "I don't know for me. I need to do the national record first. I am not the national record holder."

Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn triumphed in the women's 100m hurdles a day after setting a new Olympic record in the semi-finals.

Camacho-Quinn won in 12.37 ahead of USA's Kendra Harrison (12.52) and Jamaica's Megan Tapper (12.55), who had an anxious wait to find out if she had claimed bronze ahead of Nigeria's Tobi Amusan (12.6) in fourth.

The Puerto Rican admitted afterwards she had her sights set on Harrison's world record of 12.2 but clipped a hurdle to thwart her.

 

TEAM USA AVOID BASKETBALL SHOCK

The United States bounced back after trailing to France in the last quarter to record a 93-82 win in the women's basketball.

France had headed the US 72-71 in the fourth quarter, but the gold medal favourites rallied with a 7-0 run to assert their dominance.

A'ja Wilson was huge in the final quarter, finishing with a game-high 22 points, along with seven rebounds and three assists, while Breanna Stewart had 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Japan booked their quarter-final spot with a 102-83 win over Nigeria, while the US will go through in top spot from Group B ahead of the quarter-finals.

HOCKEYROOS HEARTBREAK, INDIAN JOY

Australia's Hockeyroos had a perfect group phase with five wins from as many games but were stunned by India in the quarter-finals 1-0 in women's hockey.

Gurjit Kaur scored the winner from a 22nd-minute penalty corner to stun the Australians, who have not medalled in women's hockey since Sydney 2000.

Australia also lost in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016 but were far better placed in Tokyo after their exceptional group form.

India have never claimed an Olympic medal in women's hockey, finishing fourth in 1980, and will face world number five Argentina in the semi-finals.

Argentina, who have won medals at four of the past five Olympics, overcame Germany 3-0 aided by two goals late in the first half.

 

INDONESIA WINS FIRST TOKYO GOLD

Indonesia won its first gold medal of Tokyo 2020 as Greysia Polii and Rahayu Apriyani combined to triumph in the women's badminton doubles.

The Indonesian pair defeated China's Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 2-0, in a triumph that was the country's first in women's doubles, having won all other badminton events.

Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong won the all-South Korean bronze medal match against Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan 2-0.

Lyu Xiaojun became the oldest Olympic champion in weightlifting at the age of 37 to help tighten China's grip on top spot in the Tokyo 2020 medal table at the end of Saturday's action.

That victory for Lu in the 81 kilograms category led to China's fifth weightlifting gold of this year's Games and broke the record previously held by Rudolf Plyukfelder, who was 36 when winning gold at Tokyo 1964. 

China also came out on top in the women's windsurfer – RS:X event after a tense three-way battle which saw Yunxiu Lu edge out Charline Picon and Emma Wilson of France and Great Britain respectively.

Japan remain second in the overall medal standings, despite failing to add to their 17 golds, which allowed the USA to close the gap after a successful day in the pool.

Caeleb Dressel won the 100m butterfly to become only the second man to win that and the 100m freestyle at the same Olympic Games after compatriot Mark Spitz in Munich in 1972.

And Katie Ledecky won the women's 800m freestyle to become the first woman to win six individual Olympic gold medals in swimming.

The Russian Olympic Committee won their solitary gold for the day in fencing, triumphing in the women's sabre team final with a narrow victory over France to remain fourth, while Australia stay fifth thanks to Kaylee McKeown, who won the women's 200m backstroke to add to her 100m backstroke triumph.

Further down the list, Jamaica earned a clean sweep of medals in the women's 100m as Elaine Thompson-Herah pipped compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson to retain her crown as the world's fastest female.

Other notable gold medals were awarded to Team GB in the triathlon mixed relay and Poland in the 4 x 400m mixed relay, with both of those events being added to the Olympic schedule for the first time in Tokyo.

It was also a day to remember for Sweden as Daniel Stahl took gold in the men's discus, finishing just ahead of training partner Simon Pettersson to complete their nation's first one-two finish in an event at the summer Games since the men's 10,000m race walk at London 1948.

 

Jamaica completed a one-two-three clean sweep in the women's 100m sprint race in Tokyo, with gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah setting an Olympic record.

Thompson-Herah defended the title she won in Rio and became the second-fastest woman in history in the process, recording a time of 10.61 seconds.

Reigning world champion and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed silver, just .02 seconds ahead of Shericka Jackson as Jamaica completed a clean sweep which was celebrated on Twitter by Usain Bolt.

Legendary sprinter Bolt  – an eight-time gold medallist – retired in 2017, and the men's preliminary rounds struggled for big names in his absence.

 

Jamaica will have another chance of a medal in athletics, with 2019 world champion long jumper Tajay Gayle overcoming injury to make Monday's final with a leap of 8.14m.

Sweden sealed a one-two in the men's discus – Daniel Stahl taking gold and Simon Pettersson silver – while Poland won their second Olympic gold medal in a relay event in athletics, their mixed team succeeding in the same city in which their women had tasted victory in 1964.


NO LUCK FOR NOVAK

Djokovic's Golden Slam hopes were ended on Friday, and on Saturday, his medal hopes crumbled.

The world number one lost to Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who won 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in the bronze medal match in the men's singles.

For Djokovic, it was a defeat which represented the end of his campaign.

He would have had another shot at bronze in the mixed doubles alongside Nina Stojanovic, but withdrew from that match, handing the medal to Ash Barty and John Peers of Australia in the process. 

"The exhaustion, both physical and mental, got to me and it's unfortunate that in the most important matches I just didn't deliver, but I gave it all," said Djokovic, whose attention will now turn to winning the US Open to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

 

BLACK FERNS RIGHT RIO WRONGS

New Zealand's women clinched gold in the rugby sevens on Saturday, overcoming France 26-12.

The Black Ferns cruised to the final in 2016, but slumped to a defeat to rivals Australia. Co-captain Portia Woodman was pictured in tears on the field in Brazil, yet her team made no such mistake this time around.

"Crying underneath the posts was one that I looked back on, but now it's gone," Woodman said. "Not when I look at this," she added, gesturing to the gold medal around her neck.

"Yeah, we've got titles and we've won things, but I want our group to be good people and show the world that you can be a good, genuine person and still have success," Woodman's fellow co-captain Sarah Hirini said. 

"Our programme allowed that. Things like this happen because you're able to be who you are."

In the bronze medal match, Fiji defeated Great Britain 21-12.

"We are totally gutted. We really thought we could come here and get a medal, but we just weren't good enough," conceded Team GB's Hannah Smith. "Fiji really brought it to us today, so fair play to them."

DEBUT BRONZE FOR WILSON, CHINA TAKE WINDSURFING GOLD

There was joy for Britain out on the water, however, as Emma Wilson – an Olympic debutant – won bronze in the women's windsurfing.

Wilson was already guaranteed a medal due to winning four races in the lead up to the final. The 22-year-old missed out on silver as Lu Yunxiu of China kept within a boat's length to claim the gold.

Charline Picon took silver to follow up her win in Rio five years ago.

"It's amazing. I tried so hard in that race - I just kept going and going," said Wilson. "I just want to win, but any medal is amazing. I'm super happy and I just gave it everything I had."

 

CHINESE TAIPEI WIN MAIDEN BADMINTON GOLD

Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin took home Chinese Taipei's first badminton gold on Saturday with a victory over Liu Yu Chen and Li Jun Hui of two-time reigning champions China in the men's doubles final.

Their victory brought up the seventh Olympic gold for Chinese Taipei – the previous six having been split across weightlifting (four) and taekwondo (two).

Malaysia claimed their first medal in Tokyo thanks to Wooi Yik Soh and Aaron Chia triumphing in the bronze medal match.

In total, Malaysia have claimed 12 medals in their Olympic history, but are yet to clinch gold in any event.

Selemon Barega took the first athletics gold of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on a day when Novak Djokovic saw his Golden Slam hopes ended.

Barega topped the podium for Ethiopia as he saw off competition from Ugandan duo Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo on Friday.

The 21-year-old ran a smart race and had the stronger finish in him to see off pre-race favourite Cheptegei, who took silver ahead of compatriot Kiplimo.

"It means a lot to me because I have been practising a lot, not only by myself but together with the Ethiopian people," said Barega, who quickly sets his sights on future success.

"As an athlete the primary target for us is to participate in the Olympics, be a champion, and also be able to break the record.

"So I'm really thinking about future opportunities for me to achieve that, and if possible I'm also communicating with my manager about that."

There was no such joy for Djokovic as his bid to become the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam was crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic was a set and a break up but the Serbian contrived to lose eight games in a row en route to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

Germany's Zverev had sympathy for his beaten opponent, who he declared as the greatest of all time.

He said: "I know that he was chasing history, chasing the Golden Slam and chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels.

"I feel sorry for Novak, but he's won 20 grand slams, 550 Masters Series or whatever, you can't have everything.

"He's the greatest player of all time, he will win the most grand slams out of anybody on tour, but I'm also happy that I'm in the final."

Defeat in the mixed doubles means the 20-time grand slam champion will face two bronze medal matches in Japan.

 

MIXED RELAY WOES FOR USA

The 4x400 metre relay mixed event made its debut in the Olympics on Friday but it did not go well for the favourites as the United States suffered disqualification.

One of the team's baton exchanges was deemed to have taken place outside the designated zone, ending their campaign and leaving the gold medal up for grabs.

Poland qualified fastest with a time of three minutes 10.44 seconds, with the Netherlands close behind and Jamaica also in the mix.

 

SCHAUFFELE LEADS THE WAY IN RAIN-AFFECTED MEN'S GOLF

Xander Schauffele fired a 63 to move top of the leaderboard at Tokyo 2020, while home favourite Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy made big moves on Friday.

The threat of serious weather caused another delay on day two, and eventually brought an early end to play with Matsuyama among those not to finish his round.

But Schauffele, who has a big following in Japan as his mother was brought up in the country, sat pretty at 11 under as the stellar names bared their teeth at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Matsuyama was six under through 16 holes of his second round and eight under overall for the tournament.

McIlroy matched Matsuyama's round-one score but shot five under in round two and is well in the mix four shots back.

 

A LONG TIME COMING

Ma Long took gold in the table tennis as he became the first man to win consecutive Olympics titles in the event.

It was an all-Chinese final and Ma roared to victory against Fan Zhendong.

China also secured a one-two in the badminton mixed doubles.

 

IGLESIAS CAN BE CUBA'S HERO

Cuban welterweight fighter Roniel Iglesias earned a third Olympic medal after sinking American Delante Johnson with a sweep of the scorecards.

After a bronze in Beijing and gold at London in 2012, Iglesias savoured another chance to target the top step of the podium.

The 32-year-old said: "It is my third medal which is very important but what I really want is to win the gold medal. It is a historic moment for me and for my country, Cuba. I am very happy at this achievement."

Light heavyweight Ben Whittaker admitted he was a blubbering mess after securing at least a bronze medal for Great Britain. He set up a semi-final against Imam Khataev – representing the Russian Olympic Committee – after scoring a majority points win over Brazilian Keno Machado.

Whittaker was overwhelmed by the result and burst into tears at the realisation he would be taking home a medal.

"That was the hard part, getting that medal," Whittaker said. "I won't relax, but I've pushed through that first door now and all I have to do is start changing that colour. Bronze is a lovely colour but everyone wants gold."

 

DRAMA APLENTY IN WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

The quarter-finals of the women's football competition delivered on drama in a big way.

Penalty shoot-outs were needed for Canada and the United States to progress to a last-four showdown, with Brazil and the Netherlands their respective victims.

Australia won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 against Great Britain after extra time and will now meet Sweden, who knocked out hosts Japan 3-1.

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