Former junior champion, Julian Morrison broke through to win his first senior national title at the recent 2022 All-Jamaica Senior Squash Championships held at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston. Meanwhile, Mary Mahfood returned from her hiatus to win a second women’s singles crown.

The absence of nine-time national champion, Chris Binnie, made it a more open contest in the men’s draw with Morrison, a former Junior Caribbean champion, Jonathan Walker, along with Tahjia Lumley and 2009 Champion, Dane Schwier, among others all in contention for the title.

Morrison dispatched Schwier 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 in the semi-finals where Walker toppled long-time rival, Lumley 8-11, 11-1, 11-3, 7-11, 11-6 as the respective winners earned a place in the championship final for the first time their individual careers.

With everything to play for, the in-form Morrison held off Walker in a no-holds barred battle of skill and will. No sooner had Morrison taken the first game 11-9 than Walker came roaring back to even the score, winning the second 11-9.

 The younger Walker then looked set to secure the lead in the third but Morrison dug deep and rallied for another 11-9 win. The hard-fought third game tipped the scales in Morrison’s favour and after a number of unforced errors from his opponent, he claimed the fourth game 11-6 to win his first All-Jamaica Senior title.

The competition among the women was equally competitive.

Returning to competitive action for the first time since winning the Women’s title in 2015, Mary Mahfood fought off the challenge of promising junior player, Katherine Risden, 11-9, 11-2, 11-7 in the quarterfinals before toppling the number-one seed and reigning All-Jamaica Under 19 girls champion, Savannah Thomson 7-11, 11-2, 3-11, 12-10, 11-7 in a bruising semi-final to book her spot in the finals. 

In the title match, Mahfood went head-to-head with the number two seed, rising star, Mia Todd, who had a more straightforward route to the final. She did not drop a set as she dispatched Nathlee Boreland 11-4, 11-3, 11-3 in the quarterfinals and then Melissa Lue Yen 11-5, 11-4, 11-6 in the semi-finals. Mahfood, however proved to be a much greater challenge and although Todd took the first game, the former champion recovered form to win 7-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-8.

Other category winners included Kyle Gregg who beat young Aman Dhiman, 11-8, 15-13, 8-11, 11-8, to take the Men’s B title, and Nabeel Jawad who prevailed in a round robin fixture to win the Men’s C draw.

In the Men’s Over 40 category, Jerazeno Bell beat Mark Haddad 11-2, 11-2, 11-5 while Brian Yong turned back Warren Burrowes 7-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 11-5 to win the Over-50 title.

Tahjia Lumley and Melissa Lue Yen placed third in the Men and Ladies main draws, respectively, with Lue Yen beating Thompson 11-4, 12-10, 8-11, 10-12, 11-2 and Lumley winning 11-5, 12-10, 7-3 after Schwier retired injured in the third set.

Additionally, Mia Todd won the David Bicknell Award for exemplary performance and sportsmanship in the Ladies Competition while Allan Roper won the Tony Burrowes Award, the corresponding honour for the men.

 

Olympian Grace Jackson, Marie Tavares and Edna Atkinson will be honoured at the 19th staging of the Wesley Powell Track and Field Meet set to be held on December 10 at Excelsior High School in Kingston.

At the launch of the meet on Wednesday, organisers said that in keeping with the special focus on Women in the sport by World Athletics, Jackson, the 200m silver medalist from the 1988 Games in Seoul and who, for many years, has served as the Wesley Powell meet director will be recognized along with Tavares, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Honorary Secretary, first woman to hold that post at the JAAA, and Atkinson, a retired teacher for her service to Excelsior High School.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 8:30am and will have 71 events for high school and collegiate athletes in the 150m, 300m, 600m, 1000m, 3000m and 5000m. There will also be 4x300m relay, long jump, high jump, shot put and javelin.

Excelsior has the only full-size 9-Lane 400m track in Jamaica which was laid before the track at the National Stadium in 1961.

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz lost 2-1 to Paraguay at the Kingston’s National Stadium on Sunday in what was the second of two international friendlies. The Reggae Girlz won the first encounter against their South American opponents in Montego Bay on Thursday, November 10.

First-half goals from Celsa Sandaoval and Ramona Martinez in the 16th and 35th minutes, respectively gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at half-time before Khadijah ‘Bunny’ Shaw pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 61st minute.

Glaring errors by the Jamaica’s gifted the Paraguayans their two goals against a wasteful Jamaican team that missed several opportunities to score.

Deneisha Blackwood’s errant back pass was seized upon by Sandaoval, who beat an advancing Rebecca Spencer in the Jamaican goal before shooting into the bottom right hand corner.

The second 19 minutes later resulted in a poor pass from Havana Solaun, which gave the Paraguayan forwards to spread the ball wide before a cross found Martinez free inside the box to smash home from close range.

Head Coach Lorne Donaldson said he was not surprised by the slow start. He said he saw it coming given that the girls were not sharp during their warm-ups and it showed in the opening 20 minutes of the game.

He explained, however, that the match was not all about trying to win as there were several players that the coaching staff wanted to take a look at before finalizing the squad for the World Cup still nine months away.

“Our camp is a little bit different from Paraguay. We are still looking at stuff. We are still looking at players, so obviously we want to win but it is not going to be at all cost for this camp because we have to give some players a look, so stuff is going to be a little bit off and that was evident in the first 20 minutes,” he said.

Among the things that we “off” was the Reggae Girlz shooting. Chances fell to Drew Spence and Shaw in the first half but were either blocked missed entirely.

Spence’s 13th minute shot was parried by goalkeeper Christine Ricalde while Shaw dragged one past the far post just two minutes later.

Siobhan Wilson’s cross fell to Paige Bailey-Paige, whose shot from inside the box was charged down by a defender. Allyson Swaby also had a shot from two yards blocked by Ricalde.

Three changes made at the resumption of play resulted in Jamaica being more organized and stable defensively. Vyan Sampson replaced an ineffective Solaun and Atlanta Primus came on to replace Kayla McCoy in midfield while fullback Tiernney Wiltshire replaced Malikae Dayes.

Bailey-Gayle and Wilson were substituted for wingers Cheyna Matthews and Rachel Jones in the 59th minute, the latter making an immediate impact.

Jones’ driving run down the left flank and resulting cross led to the handled ball from which a penalty was awarded allowing Jamaica back into the game.

The changes, Donaldson said, were a direct result of the team’s inability to control the game and limit the number of turnovers, which invariably but the defence under pressure.

“If you see, when we came out in the second half there were two changes in the midfield because we couldn’t control the game, we couldn’t anything. We were passing the ball to the next team, so that’s a part of saying this would never work or this is not going to work,” he said while lamenting the poor finishing that ultimately cost the team.

“Should we have knocked some goals in, maybe we should have but such is football. To us, it’s preparation and the end product is what we are looking at.”

Donaldson said this was the last window when the coaching staff would be looking at new players. He indicated that by the next camp they should have the 30 players from which the final squad will be selected for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

JAMECO Equipment Company Limited (JAMECO), a subsidiary of the Stewart’s Automotive Group, sponsored a 27-seater bus to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in response to the recent call from President Michael Ricketts for more corporate support.

On Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at the Jaguar Land Rover Showroom on Arthur Wint Drive in Kingston, the King Long bus, valued at JMD$7.3 million and branded in the national colours, was handed over to the JFF.

In attendance were JFF President Michael Ricketts, General Secretary Dennis Chung as well as JAMECO General Manager Brian Pengelley.

JAMECO becomes the exclusive official transportation sponsor of Jamaica’s National Football Teams through this arrangement with the JFF. With the largest fleet in Jamaica, the management company is the preferred, top-tiered, full-service supplier of motor vehicles, construction equipment and consumables for many consumers.

“The JFF had lost their last bus and they didn’t have anything to transport the teams. We became aware of their appeal to Corporate Jamaica to support the teams and we had a vehicle here that we thought would suit their needs,” said  Pengelley.

This recent backing by Stewarts Automotive Group is the latest manifestation of its support to the JFF. Since 1998 when Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz historically qualified for the FIFA World Cup in France, Stewart’s Automotive Group has been providing transportation and financial support to the JFF.

In 2012, under a renewed and expanded sponsorship valued at JMD$30 million, Stewart’s Automotive supplied the JFF with two vehicles.

Newly appointed JFF General Secretary Dennis Chung highlighted that Stewart’s Automotive’s support of the JFF over the years has been key to the continued development of local football.

“Stewart's has always been a very strong supporter of the JFF and Jamaica’s football and has been, therefore, instrumental in our development over the years, to where the JFF is an iconic brand internationally,” he said.

For a year, JFF will provide a driver and fuel, while the bus will be fully insured and maintained by JAMECO with an option to renew.

Pengelley is hopeful that JAMECO’s gesture will inspire others in Corporate Jamaica to support national teams.

“We are hoping that the rest of Corporate Jamaica will see that we are jumping in to support and will bring to the party whatever they can. For us, it’s a matter of nationalism and playing our part in building Jamaica and its sporting fraternity,” he said.

Chung expressed his gratitude at the donation.

“The JFF is grateful to Stewart's for the donation of the bus, which they have also graciously fully wrapped in the JFF colours.”

This donation comes at an opportune time as this is an especially critical period as Jamaica’s Senior Women’s team has qualified for their second consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup and will be facing Paraguay in two international friendlies in the coming days.

“This will get a far way in assisting the various national football teams as transportation is one of the most important ingredients in developing a successful football programme. Immediately, this provides assistance to the senior women's team, which has two matches against Paraguay on the 10th and 13th of November, as they prepare for their historic second consecutive qualification for the World Cup next year.”

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Digicel Foundation recognized Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) for their exceptional performance at the recent 2022 USA Games and Unified Cup recently at the SOJ Multipurpose Sports Complex in Kingston. Recognition plaques were awarded to over 45 SOJ members, which included athletes and support staff.  

Jamaica’s team returned with 12 medals from the games held in Orlando, Florida from June 5 – 12. The team participated in swimming, bocce and athletics. Meanwhile, the SOJ football team, who did not concede a goal all tournament, went on to win the Unified Cup after beating Paraguay 2-0 in the division-one final at Keyworth Stadium in Michigan on Saturday, August 6.

Digicel Foundation Chair Jean Lowrie-Chin lauded the team for their recent victories overseas noting that their “talents were still bright despite the two years absence from competitions as a result of the COVID pandemic.”

Mrs Lowrie-Chin also regarded the SOJ athletes as Jamaica’s heroes. “We congratulate the Special Olympics leaders, coaches, team leaders, parents and most of all the athletes for bringing glory to our country Jamaica land we love. With Heroes Day coming up, let me say to you, you are our heroes.”

Chairman of SOJ, Aldrick McNab commended Digicel for “delivering so much love and support for Special Olympics Jamaica”. He added, “Digicel knows how to treat a family well as it was their idea to show appreciation for the recent achievements of two of our teams that represented Jamaica so well in the international arena.”

Noting the importance of partnership to SOJ’s success, the Executive Director of SOJ, Coleridge ‘Roy’ Howell, also thanked Digicel for their continuous support of the SOJ. Mr Howell highlighted Digicel’s support to SOJ during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “We had setbacks during the pandemic as there were shutdowns and lockdowns. However, with Digicel’s help, we were able to maintain constant communication with our athletes and offer virtual training that focused on keeping our athletes in shape and movement.”

 Mr Howell declared that the team is now preparing to give their all at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, scheduled for Berlin, Germany in 2023 adding that SOJ is “very excited to showcase to the world once again the many talents of our athletes.”

 The presentation of the plaques to the SOJ is one of Digicel Foundation’s month-long activities to celebrate Special Needs Awareness this October. Other activities include virtual lunch-hour sign language classes and free Deaf Can coffee for all Digicel employees at the Digicel Headquarters in Kingston.

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago confirmed their spot in the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town with a 43-27 win over the USA at the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Wednesday.

The Trinidadians went into the game with five wins from five knowing another win would confirm their spot in the World Cup next year.

They came out swinging, opening a 10-point gap by the end of the first quarter to lead 18-8. That gap swelled to 14 by halftime as they held the Americans to only five baskets in the second quarter to lead 27-13. Trinidad & Tobago doubled the USA’s score as it was 38-19 by the end of the third quarter. The Americans won the fourth quarter 8-5 but the damage was already done.

Goal attack Joelisa Cooper’s 20 goals from 24 attempts and goal shooter Afeisha Noel’s 15 goals from 16 attempts means T&T will join Jamaica, who have already qualified based on rankings, in next year’s World Cup, with one more Americas spot yet to be confirmed.

“We did what we came to do,” said Trinidad & Tobago head coach Kemba Duncan.

Even with a spot in the World Cup sealed, Duncan says a goal of the team is to finish the qualifiers undefeated. Their remaining games are against Barbados on Thursday and Jamaica on Saturday.

“We have to remain disciplined, execute our game plans and support each other on the court.”

T&T beat the Cayman Islands 60-21 earlier on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, goal shooter Faye Agard’s 44 goals from 47 attempts helped Barbados get past St. Vincent & the Grenadines 57-36 for their fifth win in as many games. They also beat Grenada 60-38 earlier on Wednesday.

The Bajans were behind 10-12 after the first quarter before making a remarkable 15-point turnaround in the next two to lead 43-26 heading into the fourth, eventually winning 57-36.

“After the first quarter, I realized that what I wanted wasn’t happening so I introduced wing attack Brianna Holder into the game because I wanted to add more speed,” was the response of Barbados head coach Margaret Cutting when asked how they were able to turn it around.

They are within striking distance of confirming their spot in next year’s World Cup alongside Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago and will look to cement their place when they meet the Trinis on Thursday.

“We had two games today so we’re going to go back to our hotel, have some ice baths, have our dinner then go back to the drawing board and plan for tomorrow’s game,” she added.

Wednesday’s other games saw Jamaica beat Grenada 74-48 and the Cayman Islands get a 47-42 win over Antigua & Barbuda.

Thursday’s other games will see St. Lucia tackling Jamaica, St. Vincent playing Antigua & Barbuda and USA playing the Cayman Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada are the early leaders in the points standings after day two of the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Center in Kingston on Monday.

Trinidad & Tobago got their third win in as many games with a close 49-42 win over St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

In a back-and forth opening quarter, the teams traded baskets throughout, with T&T coming out 10-9 leaders. They stepped up the tempo in the second quarter to enter halftime with a 28-19 lead before a spirited third quarter effort from the Vincentians meant the score was 37-30 in favor of T&T entering the last quarter. St. Vincent & the Grenadines were able to get the lead down to as low as four but turnovers at crucial times meant that Trinidad & Tobago walked away with a seven-point win to move to six points from three games.

Goal shooter Afeisha Noel led the way for T&T with 32 goals from 37 attempts while goal attack Joelisa Cooper had 17 goals from 19 attempts.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines were led by goal shooter Mary Ann Frederick’s 42 goals from 48 attempts.

Trinidad & Tobago head coach Kemba Duncan credited her team for recovering from a difficult third quarter to pull out the win.

“We made some errors but they were able to keep their head in the game and stay steady knowing that they came in at a higher rank and maintain the discipline needed to get the win. They did a good job keeping it together,” she said.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines head coach Godfrey Harry lamented the team’s turnovers after getting as close as they did in the fourth quarter.

“I think the players got a little to anxious and, because of that, we kept giving up the ball. It was a hard game but it was in our grasp and we allowed it to get away from us,” he said.

Grenada joined T&T on six points from three games thanks to a 62-29 win over Antigua and Barbuda while hosts, Jamaica, hammered the United States 70-16 in the other games on day two.

Tuesday's day three will feature a top-of-the-table clash between Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago, Cayman Islands playing hosts Jamaica, United States tackling Barbados and St. Vincent & the Grenadines facing St. Lucia. 

 

 

 

Connie Francis, the head coach of Jamaica’s senior netball team was effusive in praise of the young, inexperienced team that soundly defeated a game St Vincent and the Grenadines team 74-35 in an exhibition match at the Americas Netball Qualifier at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday night.

Led by Jhanielle Fowler, the best shooter in the world, the Sunshine Girls was comprised of Goal Attack Amanda Pinkney, Wing Attack Quannia Walker, Centre Abigale Sutherland, Wing Defense Tafiya Hunter, Goal Defense Kimone Shaw, and Goal Keep Theresa Beckford.

Passing at speed before feeding Fowler and Pinkney in the circle, Jamaica quickly established a lead in the opening quarter 18-8 with Fowler scoring 11 goals. Pinkney added six goals before being subbed off for Gezelle Allison who played the rest of the half.

Francis explained afterwards that taking Pinkney out early in the game was at the request of the player who was feeling the frantic pace.

“She indicated to us that she was winded and it was only fair for us to pull her because we have eager players willing to go out there and play,” the coach said.

“I thought that she was really having a fantastic game but you could see that the intensity from attack to defense was not there so we pulled her and re-inserted her and she came in and she did a really fantastic job.”

Allison’s entry into the game caused a temporary disruption to the flow which resulted in several unforced turnovers. However, she quickly settled in to support Fowler who was not at her sharpest missing five shots by the half-time break as Jamaica widened their lead 42-15.

Pinkney returned as a replacement for Fowler to start the third quarter and demonstrated her natural shooting skills scoring 25 from 30 for the game as Jamaica took a 61-24 lead into the final quarter.

Jamaica outscored their opponents 13-11 in the final stanza to secure an easy win before a vociferously vocal crowd.

Francis said the close margin between the teams in the final quarter was caused by a couple of factors.

“I think it’s just how we take care of the ball. We had lots of ball in our possession and we gave up some. It’s about sticking to the tactical play because at times St Vincent had this front play and it was really giving us some form of headache,” she said, “but we keep reinforcing that we have to recognize and do allow the coaching staff to say people are making a run because of this particular play, but overall I think that this young bunch, six debutantes in a game like this, this is the type of exposure that we need to give our young players to grow in order to make the final cut for Cape Town.”

The Netball World Cup will be played in South Africa next summer.

During the game, St Vincent and Grenadines head coach Godfrey Harry frequently switched out their attacking players, which created some problems for the inexperienced Jamaican team. Chief among the disrupters was Joseann Antoine whose movements off the ball challenged Jamaica’s defenders, who struggled to keep up with her.

She was the best of the scorers for her team netting 17 goals from 20 attempts and got good support from Shellise Davis, who scored three goals from five attempts.

Francis conceded that the frequent substitutions did create problems.

“I thought that their players actually were making an impact. I thought that was really a good tactical play because the first change that he made it really inspired their team and they were having a run at us so it’s for us to recognize when teams come up with tactical plays and making changes that we just stick to the game plan and keep pushing forward in order to put more points on the board,” she said, while praising her girls for facing up to the challenge.

“It’s a young team. We just have to big them up for all the effort because I thought that we were contested. The Vincent and the Grenadines team is not an easy team. Not because the scoreboard didn’t reflect that; I thought that it was not a true reflection of what was happening on court but all in all I love this bunch of young players who came in and gave 110 percent.”

In other games on Sunday night, Trinidad and Tobago defeated St Lucia 63-25, while Grenada came from behind to beat the Cayman Islands 50-40. Meanwhile, the USA defeated Antigua and Barbuda 34-22.

 

 

Despite concerns over his Jamaica Premier League champions Harbour View FC having a target on their backs this season, head coach Ludlow Bernard believes his team is prepared enough to get off to a good start to the 2022/2023 season which gets underway in just over a week’s time.

Harbour View opens its title defense against newcomers Chapleton Maroons at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex in Arnett Gardens and Bernard knows that to go from being underdogs to defending champions can bring unwanted pressure and is a cause for concern.

“It has to be a concern because some of the players will be in a territory that they are not accustomed to,” he told Sportsmax.TV at the launch of the 2022/2023 Jamaica Premier League season at Chillin Restaurant and Bar on Holborn Road in Kingston on Thursday night.

“What is even going to make it even more challenging is that we will be going to the oppositions’ venues.”

However, Bernard, who in 2021 became the first coach to win titles with a high school team (Kingston College) and the Premier League title, believes the expected pressure could make the team better.

“Development-wise I think it’s good for them. It’s good that they get that kind of experience but I think we would have prepared them well over the last season to deal with the rigours of relegation, going to the opposition home venue and the thrust and grind of the league itself so we are looking forward to it and we will be prepared.”

Harbour View lost a couple of players in the form of influential mid-fielder Shamar Dyer who is now playing in Antigua and Phillan Lawrence, who has not reported back to the club for reasons unknown.

 However, they have bolstered the roster with Trayvon Reid, goalkeeper David Martin, Romario Palma and Demar Rose, who Bernard believes will be a good addition to the club.

“Demar Rose is somebody that I have worked with before and a player that I admire and think would fit into our system so we expect that the fire-power will be there and we are looking forward to a good start,” Bernard said of the midfielder who came up through the Harbour View FC youth system having played with the Stars of the East from the U13 through to the U20 programmes.

A good start, Bernard continued, is going to be instrumental to the club enhancing their chances of a winning sixth Premier League title this coming season.

“The aim is to get out of the blocks as quickly as possible because there will be a break in November and we don’t want to get caught behind,” he said.

“Preparations have been a little bit behind. I think, probably, we need a couple more games but the experience that we have I think we should be able to manage ourselves in the early rounds at the start.”

 

 

 

Veteran coaches Glen Mills, Fitz Coleman, Michael Carr and Wayne Long will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards for long and distinguished service during a ceremony set for Thursday, October 6, which is celebrated as National Coaches Day.

The Jamaica Football Federation has expressed sorrow at news of the passing of former national player Chris Zaidie who died on Sunday after a prolonged battle with lung cancer.

 The 55-year-old Zaidie played briefly for Jamaica between 1992 and 1993 but excelled at St George’s College High School where as a player he won the coveted ‘triple’ in 1983 and 1984. The triple comprised the Manning Cup, Walker Cup and the Olivier Shield.

 “The JFF joins the local football fraternity in mourning the passing of former national player Christopher Ziadie, who died peacefully in the United States on Sunday,” the JFF said in a statement Monday.

 “Christopher was an individual who cherished the game and gave many years to its development whether as a player or administrator in another instance.

 “He wore his emotions on his sleeves and was not afraid to stand up for his teammates in any situation. Chris played with distinction for various clubs and institutions both locally and internationally, but was most proud and honoured to play for Jamaica.

 “We know that his passing will not only leave a void in our lives but in the hearts of all those who knew him. The President of the JFF, Michael Ricketts, conveys sincerest condolences to his family and close friends, especially at St Georges College where his exploits were first recognized.

May his soul rest in peace.”

Zaidie represented Kingston Lions and Boys Town FC locally. He also coached Jamaica’s U20 team in 1999 as well as at Jamaica Premier League team Waterhouse FC.

He leaves behind two children.

Andrew Price has been appointed as Head Coach of Calabar’s Manning Cup team, the school announced in a statement on Friday.

Price is a seasoned coaching professional with over 30 years of experience as a player and coach.

He was the National Premier League’s Coach of the year in 2012 and was the assistant coach of the Reggae Girlz team that participated in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

Additionally, Price continues to mentor and support youngsters through the Boys’ Town Football Club, with whom he has been associated for the past 20 years.

According to the statement released by Calabar on Friday, Price will be “responsible for the overall football programme and for coaching the Under-19 football team to develop students’ skills so that they may excel in football.”

The statement continued: “He is expected to deliver a competitive programme that contributes to the holistic development of the students in keeping with the school’s objective of producing rounded, capable young men with excellent leadership skills.”

Calabar are three-time winners of the Manning Cup with their latest triumph coming in 2005.

 

Toyko Olympics triple gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah said her 22.75 200m run at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee meet on Saturday was about shaking the rust off as she continues on her quest to win her first gold medal at the World Championships in Oregon this summer.

Now that he has finally been able to train consistently after two years of disruption caused by the global pandemic, Traves Smikle produced his best throw in three years to achieve the qualifying mark for this summer’s World Athletics Championships at the second JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Smikle, the 2018 NACAC silver medallist, threw a season-best 66.60m for the victory, his best throw since he threw 67.57m in January 2019. It was the perfect birthday present for Smikle, who revealed afterwards that it was a welcome reprieve from a tough past couple of years.

“The last two years have been crazy with the pandemic and everything. It was very difficult to get into a training flow and now that things are better, not perfect but better, my coach and I got some consistent work in,” said Smikle, who won JMD$90,000 for the win.

“For the season I have been averaging 64/65m. We have been knocking at the door and we finally got it (the qualifying mark) today on my birthday and I am happy about that.”

Noticeably bigger than he has been in previous years, Smikle revealed that his increase in size is also part of his coach Julian Robinson’s plan for him to throw farther this year.

“One of the things my coach wanted me to do is put on a little more weight and we are doing some explosive work, trying to keep consistent with training and today we saw the fruits of our labour,” he said.

Smikle’s throw makes him Jamaica’s best thrower this year ahead of his training partner and friend, Fedrick Dacres, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion and 2019 World Championships silver medallist and, at least for now, gives him bragging rights in the Reckless Control training group.

Dacres, he said, is sure to use it as motivation to throw beyond the 65.98m he threw at the same venue just over a week ago, the next time he competes.

“Fedrick is a phenomenal athlete and we have been training hard, he has been working hard and we are on track. It is only a matter of time before he hits a big throw,” Smikle said of Dacres.

“Both of us have been averaging over 65m and we just want to work hard and respect each other. I am pretty sure he has seen this mark and it is going fire him up to get something big so the next time we compete, it’s going to be a good one.”

The Surrey Royals were crowned champions of the inaugural Dream 11 Jamaica T10 tournament after securing a four-wicket win over the Surrey Kings, at Sabina Park, in Kingston on Thursday.

The Kings got to a competitive 110-7 after the Royals won the toss and elected to field first.

That total would’ve been a lot different without a crucial 52 off 32 balls from opener Kennar Lewis.

The Jamaica Tallawahs opener’s innings included one four and five sixes.

Pete Salmon (2-17), Raewin Senior (2-14), and Ryan Francis (2-29) were the best bowlers for the Royals.

The Royals reply looked in bad shape at 63-4 off 5.4 overs before an enterprising knock of 37, off just 14 balls, from Carlos Brown left them needing 18 runs from 17 balls for victory at the time of his dismissal in the eighth over.

Salmon (21 not out) and Jamie Hay (6 not out) then held their nerve to carry the Royals over the line at 114-6 off 9.1 overs.

Leroy Lugg (21) and Romaine Morris (15) also contributed with the bat for the champions, while Andre Dennis with 2-25 was the most successful bowler for the Kings.

 

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