Head coach of Jamaica’s Under-17 Reggae Girlz, Hugh Bradford, says his team is ready ahead of their first game of the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship Qualifiers.

The young Reggae Girlz will tackle Anguilla at Sabina Park on Saturday before taking on Grenada on the 28th and Panama on the 30th at the same venue. All three games start at 6:00pm Jamaica time.

Bradford says the team is as ready as they can be with the time they’ve had to prepare for the fixtures.

“They are as ready as they are going to be with the time we have to train,” Bradford told SportsMax.tv.

“I saw progress in being with them through the week but that’s the time we had so that’s as ready as we are,” he added.

When questioned about the style of play his coaching staff would like to see from the girls, Bradford preferred a possession-based approach.

“We would like to see them possess the ball and keep it going from our end to the other end. We would like them to be able to move the ball around and be in control of the tempo of the game,” he said.

Getting through these qualifiers is the first step for the team to match what they were able to achieve in last year’s Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship where they got all the way to the quarterfinals before losing 0-4 to eventual champions, USA.

Bradford was not with that group but his hope is that they can at least match what was done in 2022.

“My hope is that we keep making it through the rounds,” he said.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz made history at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup where they became the first Caribbean team to advance to the Round of 16 before losing 0-1 to Colombia.

“Absolutely,” was Bradford’s response to whether or not his team was inspired by the exploits of their senior counterparts.

“They were very excited to watch the senior team play and so I’m sure they’re coming out wanting to do something similar but football is funny so you have to see how things go but they are definitely inspired by them,” he added.

Jamaica will be in Group E of the qualifiers alongside the aforementioned Grenada, Anguilla and Panama. The winners of the group will advance to the 2024 Concacaf Under-17 Women’s Championship.

 

 

 

 

 Sport development requires co-operation and synergistic partnerships and the collaboration between the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the Jamaica Lacrosse Association (JLA) is poof positive of this.

A strong partnership between the local governing Olympic body and its member in a joint bid to host the Pan American Lacrosse Association‘s Sixes Tournament, resulted in success with Jamaica set to host in November what both sporting bodies have labelled “A Lacrosse Explosion in Jamrock.”

President of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association, Calbert Hutchinson, in reflecting on the partnership quoted Robert Louis Stephenson saying, “Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.”

He went on to relate it to the JLA’s experience with the JOA saying “the JLA is staying awake by giving thanks to those who have and continue to provide support and guidance.”

JOA President, Christopher Samuda, in lauding the JLA  in converting the sport locally into a household name and for its partnership with the JOA, said “The vision of the JLA has led to a pioneering blueprint in sport development as both bodies join forces in hosting an international event that will be financially viable for our member while giving the sport a well earned fillip and profile locally and globally.”

Sport will remain or only become sustainable if its business and commercial value are understood and synergies created that fuel real development.

JOA Secretary General and CEO,  Ryan Foster, in underscoring the value of this partnership remarked that “this is the first business of sport framework of its kind in the local Olympic movement where the JOA and the JLA are shareholders engaging in a  commercial space  with a mutual commitment to monetize the sport while investing solidly in its human stock so as to  secure for the JLA capital for its players, dividends  for the association’s coffers and tangible brand benefits.”

The Sixes tournament later this year promises to  be a “November to remember” event and as a preface to it there were fireworks  recently in San Diego at the World Championships  where the Lacrosse Jamrock warriors created an explosion by defeating fancied European and Oceana teams to gain a historic berth in the quarter finals, the only Caribbean, Central and South American team to cement that position on the world stage.

“Lacrosse continues to explode with energy and dynamism and the JOA is pleased to be with them as history making feats are ignited” Samuda said.

The sport locally in the last four years has made tremendous strides under the Hutchinson led administration and internationally it has been gaining currency. With such progress, the advocacy of the JOA and JLA for it to become an Olympic sport is now an action item on their joint agenda.

Natoya Goule-Toppin ran 1:58.89 to claim her ninth Jamaican 800m title on day four of the JAAA/Puma National Senior and Junior Athletics Championships at the National Stadium inn Kingston on Sunday.

The multiple-time Olympic and World Championship finalist comfortably won ahead of 1500m champion, Adelle Tracey, who ran a season’s best 2:01.11. Clemson’s Jessica McLean was third in 2:05.76.

On the men’s side, Rajay Hamilton, who entered the championships as Jamaica’s leader in the event with 1:45.91, got the better of last year’s winner and the national record holder, Navasky Anderson, with a 1:47.28 effort.

Anderson ran 1:47.67 in second while Mississippi State’s Tyrese Reid ran 1:48.45 for third.

 

 

Jaydon Hibbert successfully defended his men’s triple jump title on day four of the JAAA/Puma National Senior and Junior Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday.

The 18-year-old Arkansas freshman, who already won the SEC and NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles this season, produced a best effort of 17.68m, a stadium record, for the win. Jordan Scott was second with a best jump of 16.32m.

Hibbert will enter the Budapest World Championships in August as one of the favorites for gold. He is currently the world leader in the event courtesy of his personal best and world under-20 record 17.87m done to win the SEC outdoor title in May.

 

In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, MVP Track Club's iconic coach, Stephen Francis, has firmly closed the door on the possibility of five-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah returning to the club.

Thompson-Herah's career has faced a downward spiral since her departure in October 2021, and despite public opinion suggesting a reunion could revive her floundering fortunes, Francis emphatically stated that she would not be welcomed back. To be clear, despite her current struggles, Thompson-Herah has never publicly expressed any interest in returning to MVP.

Thompson-Herah's extraordinary accomplishments at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where she secured the sprint double with record-breaking performances, solidified her status as one of the greatest sprinters in history. However, her decision to leave MVP Track Club shortly after her Olympic triumphs left many questioning her motives and the impact it would have on her career.

Explaining her departure back then, Thompson-Herah highlighted her desire for personal growth and the need to take charge of her own destiny. She expressed gratitude for the support she received in her earlier years but emphasized the importance of making choices that aligned with her best interests. "What I want for myself, to better myself, was not provided. So, I have to find ways to get it done," she said, reflecting on her decision to move on.

Coach Stephen Francis, a renowned figure in the track and field world, responded to inquiries from Sportsmax.TV about Thompson-Herah's potential return to MVP Track Club. His answer left no room for ambiguity. "No. The way she left and the comments that she made and the fact that she has yet to accredit any member of the MVP staff who paid her a lot of attention and went through a lot of sacrifice to get her healthy enough to run and to do what she did in 2021," Francis stated, clearly outlining his reasons for refusing her return.

Francis continued, expressing his disappointment that Thompson-Herah failed to acknowledge the efforts of the MVP staff, instead attributing her success solely to her husband and other factors. "She didn't say anything about that from MVP. No, that never sits well with us. Even if she had said, ‘Thanks, to MVP. You know, I'm really grateful, we would have been fine. But right now I would take back any of my former athletes but not her, No," he emphasized.

The public had hoped that a reunion between Thompson-Herah and MVP Track Club would reignite the spark that had propelled her to Olympic glory. However, Francis's unwavering stance has shattered those hopes. With Thompson-Herah's career floundering in recent years, the absence of her former coach's guidance and support poses significant challenges for her future endeavors, especially in light of her recent signing with Puma.

Thompson-Herah now faces an uphill battle as she seeks to reclaim her position at the top of the sprinting world. Without the familiar structure of MVP Track Club and the guidance of Coach Francis, she will need to dig deep to find the motivation and resources necessary to revive her career.

 

 

Jamaican investigators said more arrests are to be expected following fraud charges laid against three employees of the country’s Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) involving more than USD$1 million on Wednesday.

The Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) announced that they have arrested and charged three men in connection with a USD$1.45M (JMD$222m) fraud racket committed at the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) between 2011 and 2017.

The three – Andrew Wright, Rudolph Barnes and O’Neil Hope - have been charged with a variety of offences including conspiracy to defraud, acquisition, use and possession of criminal property, engaging in transactions involving criminal property and larceny as a servant.

Wright is the promoter of the internationally popular Chug IT and French Connection parties.

All three, MOCA said, are alleged to have been part of a team of former employees of INSPORTS, who wrote, signed and cashed fraudulent cheques for payees who were neither employees nor contracted workers of the entity.

The suspected fraud and other irregularities were detected by INSPORTS in 2017 during an examination of their financial records. The matter was then reported to MOCA triggering an investigation.

Major Basil Jarrett, MOCA’s Director of Communication, expects that there will be additional arrests in connection with the case.  “These arrests are the first set of arrests as MOCA currently has warrants out for several other individuals,” said Barrett, who in a statement praised MOCA’s partners, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), for the critical role they played in the investigations.

“These types of investigations are complex undertakings requiring thoroughness and collaboration so it took a meticulous approach, led by MOCA’s investigative teams, to examine all the leads and uncover all the evidence required to make these arrests and bring these charges”.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange said the arrests are an indication of the efforts to regularize operations at INSPORTS since she assumed responsibility for the entity in 2016.

“I have noted the arrests and charges brought by the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency as part of a long-running investigation into serious irregularities that took place several years ago at the Institute of Sports. I await the outcome of the process,” she said.

“On my return to government in 2016, I received a Special Audit of the Institute of Sports by the Auditor General, which showed an organization that was continually breaking the law, badly managed and in need of urgent transformation.

I understand that the arrests and charges are linked to that period when INSPORTS was considered a rogue agency.

Under our watch, the Institute of Sports is a completely transformed agency with improved internal controls, is well-run and delivering its mandate of developing sports at the grassroots.”

 

 

Kingston College and Hydel High emerged as the respective Boys and Girls title as the 2023 ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships came to an end at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

For KC, it is a second consecutive title and their 34th overall while for Hydel, it is a first title breaking an incredibly dominant eight-year run for Edwin Allen.

KC finished with 366 points, comfortably ahead of runner-up Jamaica College (299 points) while the top five was rounded out by Calabar (207 points), St. Jago (118.5 points) and STETHS (116 points).

Hydel finished with 279 points to top the Girls standings by only two points ahead of former champions Edwin Allen while the rest of the top five was rounded out by Holmwood Technical (202 points), St. Jago High (178 points) and St. Catherine High (116 points).

Some of the standout performances on the final day included Calabar’s Shaquane Gordon complete the Class 2 100m-110m hurdles double by running 13.42 to claim gold ahead of KC’s Kahiem Carby (13.59) and Daniel Clarke (13.80).

St. Jago secured the top two places in the Class 1 final through Demario Prince (13.42) and Andre Harris (13.79) while JC’s Daniel Beckford ran 13.83 for third.

St. Jago also had success in the Class 3 100m hurdles as Marquies Page ran 13.38 for victory ahead of Vere Technical’s Shawn Palmer (13.40) and St. George’s College’s Jahzi Walters (13.62).

World Under-20 silver medallist Alexis James of Petersfield ran 13.39 for victory in the Girls Class 1 100m hurdles ahead of St. Catherine High’s Asharria Ulett (13.59) and Edwin Allen’s Tonie-Ann Forbes (13.61).

In Class 2, Hydel’s Jody-Ann Daley completed an unprecedented 400m, 100m hurdles double by running 13.70 for victory ahead of St. Jago’s Bryana Davidson (13.89) and Excelsior’s Shelley-Ann Taylor (13.92).

The Class 3 80m hurdles was won by Wolmer’s Girls’ Tiana Marshall in 11.29. St. Catherine’s Akeelah Ellis ran 11.48 for second while Edwin Allen’s Angel Robinson ran 11.52 for third.

Wolmer’s Girls also took top spot in the Class 4 70m hurdles through Jadea Harris who ran 11.05 to narrowly beat Immaculate’s Ayanna Blake (11.08) while Excelsior’s Cordelia Gabbidon ran 11.30 for third.

In the field, KC’s Daijon Budhai threw 47.40m for gold in the Class 2 Boys discus ahead of Denzel Phillips of JC (45.98m) and Clarendon College’s Jospeh Salmon (43.33m).

JC’s Jaidi James took gold in the Class 2 Boys high jump with a clearance of 1.95m. Jonathan Grant’s Michael Neil was second with 1.90m while Kabiki Thomas of Wolmer’s Boys was third with 1.90m.

Three men were clear of 2.05m in the Class 1 Boys high jump, with KC’s Aaron McKenzie coming out on top ahead of JC’s Chavez Penn and St. Mary High’s Ovane Williams.

Moving into the 4x100m relays, the Class 1 Boys event was won by overall champions Kingston College in 40.01 ahead of St. Jago (40.40) and Edwin Allen (40.59).

Calabar took the crown in Class 2 in 40.41 ahead of KC (40.58) and St. Elizabeth Technical (40.74) while St. Jago won in Class 3 in 43.11 ahead of Wolmer’s Boys (43.12) and KC (43.21).

Hydel ran 44.33 for victory in the Girls Class 1 Girls final ahead of Edwin Allen (44.77) and Holmwood Technical (45.71).

Class 2 also saw Hydel take the title in 45.01 ahead of St. Jago (45.95) and Holmwood Technical (46.43).

Wolmer’s Girls continued their excellent Class 3 showing at the championships by winning the final in 45.81 ahead of Excelsior (46.41) and Edwin Allen (46.72).

Mount Alvernia won an extremely exciting Class 4 final in 48.54 ahead of Holmwood Technical (48.59) and St. Jago (48.83).

In the final Girls event of the championships, Edwin Allen won in 3:31.78 ahead of Hydel (3:34.57) and Holmwood Technical (3:36.46).  Hydel entered the race with a four-point lead over Edwin Allen knowing a medal would secure their maiden hold on the title.

Jamaica College ran 3:09.31 to win the Boys 4x400m ahead of Edwin Allen (3:10.09) and Kingston College (3:11.46).

Jamaica College’s Malique Smith-Band and Hydel’s Alana Reid took home the Class 1 200m titles on the fifth and final day of the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Smith-Band added to his silver medal performance in the 400m by producing his second personal best at the championships, 20.90, to win the title ahead of St. Elizabeth Technical’s Javorne Dunkley (21.40) and teammate Jaiden Reid (21.52).

The Class 2 Boys crown was taken by KC’s Tahj-Marques White, who ran 21.44 to complete the 200m-400m double. White’s teammate Nyrone Wade was second in 21.96 while Ainsley McGregor of Wolmer’s Boys ran the same time as Wade for third.

100m bronze medallist Shaun Lewis of STETHS went two better to win gold in the Class 3 final ahead of St. Jago’s Rayj Reece (22.93) and Calabar’s 400m champion Christopher Ellis (23.20).

Hydel’s Reid, who smashed Veronica Campbell’s Class 1 100m record when she ran a national junior record 10.92 to win the 100m on Wednesday, completed the sprint double with a 23.08 effort on Saturday. Wolmer’s Girls’ Mickayla Gardner was second in 23.89 and Holmwood Technical’s 400m champion Rickiann Russell was third in 24.16.

The Class 2 Girls final was won by Hydel’s Shemonique Hazle in 24.36, the same time as Lacovia’s Sabrina Dockery in second while Bridgeport’s Brittney McCormack was third in 24.73.

Wolmer’s Girls’ Natrece East turned the tables on Edwin Allen’s Theianna-Lee Terrelonge in the Girls Class 3 final after Terrelonge got the better of her in the 100m. East ran 24.20 to win while Terrelonge ran 24.64 for second. Hydel’s Onetta Mitchell was third in 24.92.

Immaculate Conception’s Kayla Johnson completed the Class 4 sprint double with a winning time of 25.29 ahead of Hydel’s Gabrielle Morgan (25.54) and Clarendon College’s Tresha-Lee Sutherland (25.58).

At the time of publishing, Kingston College had a 41-point lead over Jamaica College after 32 events scored while, on the girls side, Edwin Allen had a one point lead over Hydel after 37 events scored.

 

 

Holmwood Technical’s Cedricka Williams and St. Jago's Abigail Martin were both in record-breaking form on Tuesday's first day of the 2023 ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Williams, a finalist at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi two years ago, threw 53.22m to break former Edwin Allen standout Fiona Richards' Class One discus record 53.04m, set in 2017, with her only throw in flight one of the preliminaries.

Her record would last only a few hours, however, as Martin broke Williams' record with a 55.19m effort in flight two, setting up an interesting clash between the two in the final.

A confident Tobias Levy dominated the Jamaica Squash Association's national junior trials for the U19 and U17 age groups for girls and boys at the Liguanea Club in Kingston. The trials ran from Friday March 17 to 19 with 16 players vying for spots to represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Junior Squash Championship in July.

Competing in the U19 category, Levy, who also benefitted from a walkover, won three of his other four matches in straight sets but was taken the distance by Arjan Trehan, who eventually lost 5-2. At the end of it all, Levy won 15 of 17 games for a winning percentage of 88 per cent.

Alex Chin, meanwhile, was second with a 12-8 win-loss margin while Rhys Greenland was third with 11-9 margin.

Levy credits his dominance on the court to his work ethic.

"I have been playing squash since I was young. I have been dominant from I came on the scene,” he said. “I would say my racquet skills and how smart I am on court definitely puts me above everyone else. I think I understand the game very well. I have been training hard. It's not just talent, I have been training hard from when I was young so it helps me stay dominant,” said Levy, who said winning the U19 category was crucial.

"It means a lot, especially because I get to go represent my country as the best player in the junior age. It also feels good because I have a lot of competitors that are out for me and train hard to beat me but I keep training hard and play well so I stay dominant."

Thomas Overton won his three matches to top the Boys U17 ahead of the very competitive Lucas Thompson.

Savannah Thompson emerged top of the Girls U19 matches after beating Eleanor Hind in straight sets 3-0 before beating Katherine Risden 3-2.

Risden finished second overall.

Sanjana Nallapati did not drop a game to come out the victor in the Girls U17, despite being pushed by Mehar Trehan, who won half her six matches.

Nallapati said that it was tough to play her.

"Mehar and I go far back. It's always a tough battle because we are family and going against family is very tough because you don't want to whip them,” she said.

“With the two of us it’s always a five setter. It’s been that way for a really long time and its never really known who is going to win. This time Mehar played phenomenally. I thought I played well as well. We definitely played at a high intensity like we usually do.

"For the Caribbean Championship I hope to do extremely well."

 

 

 

Vice President of the Jamaica Squash Association expressed optimism about Jamaica’s chances of doing well at the Caribbean Championships.

"We have some strong players here in these categories, experienced players who have been to the Caribbean tournament before,” said Levy, who is also chairman of the selection committee.

“I think we have a good opportunity to win a couple of categories and hopefully also the team event. Hopefully we can bring home the Caribbean trophy this year for the team event and one or two of the individual events as well. It would be great."

The trials for the U15, U13 and possibly U11 players, will be held in June.

Briana Williams has withdrawn from Saturday's 60m dash at the 2023 Gibson/McCook Relays currently ongoing at the National Stadium in Kingston.

According to insiders, the Olympic relay gold medallist was withdrawn as a precautionary measure after feeling some discomfort in training.

Williams was supposed to go up against Kemba Nelson, Tina and Tia Clayton, Kerrica Hill in a much-anticipated early season clash over the short sprint.

Williams opened her season at the Camperdown Classic two weeks ago winning the 60m dash in 7.22s.

 

Briana Williams is set to run another 60m this month and two 200m races in March as she continues preparations for the championship year ahead.

Four-time Jamaican national champion Traves Smikle attributes off-season changes to his training and becoming a father for the first time as the main factors behind his world-leading throw at the King of the Ring meeting at Excelsior High School in Kingston on Saturday, February 11.

On his fifth throw of the competition, the 30-year-old Smikle blew past his previous best of 67.72m to record a new best mark of 68.14 to claim victory over his former Calabar High teammates Fedrick Dacres (66.32m) and Chad Wright (59.94).

Obviously chuffed at establishing a new mark in the ultra-competitive world of discus, Smike expressed gratitude.

“I feel happy about it. For a good while I have been trying to hit a throw over 68; it’s unreal (laughs) but I am grateful,” said the 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who for the past few years, has battled to overcome injury and other life challenges.

With those issues hopeful behind him, he and Coach Julian Robinson plotted a new path for the coming season, especially with the new qualifying standards set by World Athletics as well as him becoming a father for the first time.

“Preparation, with each year as you get older, as you get more experienced, will vary and my coach and I, we spoke extensively on a few things that we would change to see if we could get better throws this year,” Smikle revealed.

“The qualifying mark is 67m, so immediately the mindset had to change as well because the standard has risen; physical changes, changes in the gym; overall a different approach for this season, I think that is what gave me and I have a little one now so there is motivation all round,” he said. “And it was a good series too; 64, then 66 on the second, foul, 66, third, foul and 68 on the fifth and then a foul again on the sixth.”

Saturday’s result has caused him to have a positive outlook for the season ahead.

“Overall, things are looking good,” said the NACAC champion, who finished a runner-up to Dacres in his opening meet in Manchester in January with a throw of 63.98m, “just to see where I was with the changes.”

The next step, he said, is finding those big marks more consistently.

“I am looking to be more consistent over the big marks because in the world of discus, if you’re not throwing 68/69m it makes no sense, so I am looking to be consistent throwing those marks and throwing them when it counts,” he said.

 

The Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball League - Winter Season gets underway on Saturday at the National arena at 6:00 pm. Defending champions Elite Horizon will try to stave off competition from the likes of Elite Waves, Elite Rivers and Elite Storm. 

The league will feature double-headers on Saturdays and Wednesday until the final week when matches are scheduled for Friday January 27 and Sunday January 29 with the top two teams competing for the title.

Paulton Gordon, President of the Jamaica Basketball Association welcomed the start of the league while saying that it is very good for the local basketball scene as it gives opportunities to many local players who get to play with professionals and get exposed to the game at a higher level than is currently available in Jamaica. 

League President Wayne Dawkins was very optimistic about staging the league in Jamaica for the second time, following up on the Summer League last year.  He said that the quality of the players who are drawn from Jamaica (50% of each team are Jamaicans), the USA, Canada, Barbados and Nigeria (who are all professionals) are ready to play ball and entertain the Jamaican audience while creating opportunities for the local players to improve on their game and eventually get contracts abroad. 

Some of the players involved include USA's Tyran Walker, his countryman Brandon Armstrong and Jamaicans  Antjuan McFarlane and Duante Millis. Bobby Gray, MVP of the last season, also returns.

Fraser McConnell believes his dominating performance in the Nitro Rallycross fourth leg in Los Angeles on the weekend, is an indication of how much he has grown in the sport. However, he said he has no plans to be complacent now that he has won his first meet.

The 24-year-old Jamaican won his Group E heat on Saturday at the Glen Helen Raceway and then took his first-ever win on Sunday. In doing so, he defeated his more seasoned rivals Robin Larsson, Andreas Bakkerud and Oliver Bennett.

So impressive was his dominance on the weekend that some pundits have begun to see him as a near-future champion.

He told Sportsmax.TV that a lot of hard work has gone into him making progress this season.

“I have made a step forward. I have been working towards that and I knew we always had it in us to have the result come to fruition but it’s easier said than done,” he said.

“For everything to come together on the weekend just like that is really special. We won every single race and were by far the fastest out there the whole weekend, so I am very pleased to be able to represent Jamaica on that level with that level of dominance.”

He warned that now that he has won his first-ever Group E meet, means that he is going to be resting on his laurels.

“The key is to grow and keep going forward, not get complacent and keep working towards even better results,” said McConnell, who arrived home in Jamaica on Tuesday night telling local media that it was great to break through on the circuit at Glen Helen. (See video below)

“It’s a good feeling. We have been scratching at the door for a long time and had our foot in close enough a lot of the time but we never got to seal the deal and stand on the top step but to do it twice this weekend with the top qualifier and the P1 in the final was a great feeling and we are going to aim to do this more often and keep winning some of these,” he said, nodding toward the trophy he was holding.

 

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