Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda welcomes discussions to possibly include cricket in the Olympic Games for a second time in its history, as he believes it will provide the much-need shot in the arm required to move the sport forward, financially and otherwise, from a Jamaica and Caribbean perspective.

With the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set to deliberate new sports to be welcomed into the fold, cricket is said to be among those being strongly considered for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

According to reports, men’s and women’s Twenty20 cricket is heavily favoured to make the cut to become an Olympic sport for just the second time since the 1900 Paris Games, as IOC president Thomas Bach is reportedly a big fan of bringing the sport on board, given its mass appeal in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Those three nations are by no means world-beaters in other Olympic sports, but if cricket was included for 2028, the tournament would no doubt command the attention of sports enthusiasts, especially with England, Australia and New Zealand, expected to be involved.

However, it is understood that organisers would only allow cricket at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles under the condition that flag football –a non-contact version of American football –would also be added to the Games.

Still, Samuda believes cricket being considered is a win, in and of itself for the sport, and if it does in fact get included in the 2028 multi-sport showpiece, the move could have a far-reaching impact on Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, especially at a time when there are overwhelming concerns about the failure of West Indies cricket.

“The JOA welcomes discussions on the inclusion of cricket on the agenda for the LA 2028 Olympic Games as an expression, not only of inclusivity, but also of global sport maturing in response to diversity and imperative of engaging a fraternity which has, as others, become highly commercial,” Samuda said.

“A sporting, but also, a cultural institution in the lives of West Indians, a name historically inherited with colonialism which geopolitical historians now show a preference for the Caribbean.

“Cricket’s inclusion will give the sport in Jamaica and the Caribbean a well needed fillip and an opportunity for capital to commercialize the sport for its own sustainability without compromising Olympic values, for at the JOA, we celebrate character and merit as pre-requisite to rewarding monetarily,” he told Sportsmax.tv.

The number of sports contested at the Olympic Games has rapid increased in recent times.

With the addition of golf, some 38 sports were played at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, but that number jumped to 46 at the Tokyo Games, as 3x3 basketball, BMX, karate, rugby sevens, baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing and speed climbing were all added.

The number will drop to 45 for next year’s Paris Games with the culling of baseball/softball and karate, while breakdancing has been included for the first time.

Twenty20 cricket already enjoyed somewhat of a test run at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with an eight-team women’s tournament.

Barbados was a part of that historic tournament which saw Australia, India, and New Zealand, winning the medals.

On that note, Samuda weighed in on the views of whether Jamaica and other Caribbean islands would compete individually or collectively under the West Indies umbrella.

“The debate as to whether the Caribbean should compete as individual countries, as obtained in the Olympic movement, or collectively as the West Indies, should consider that independence encourages the development of talent and accentuates a national identity and pride which are priceless qualities of nationhood,” Samuda shared.

“As small as we are in the Caribbean with bigger countries having an unfair numerical advantage, our instincts at surviving and our ability to do so admirably, has been demonstrated in other sport such as football and track and field,” he added.

In any case, Samuda pointed out that once the business model of the sport is properly aligned with the prospects, then the potential exists for positive spinoffs, financial and otherwise, from a qualifying tournament alone.

“Cricket still has the ability of mass appeal and its inclusion in the Olympic Games will serve to deepen its capital, and the playing of qualifying tournaments, if the sport’s business model is right, will heighten interest across generations and gender and attract investment,” he reasoned.

“Sport is a qualitative investment in the human capital and there are many social and cultural values that can be learnt at the crease over and above the boundaries of sport,” the JOA president noted.

Outsider Essential Quality burst the bubbles of her more favoured rivals, as she turned the third running of the Winston “Fanna” Griffiths Classic into a procession at Caymanas Park on Saturday.

Another levelheaded ride by jockey Raddesh Roman saw the Oral Hayden-owned and trained chestnut filly, proving the class of the three-year-old Graded Stakes contest in a gate-to-wire performance over 9-1/2 furlongs (1,900m) at long odds of 30-1.

With not much pace present in the race, the indication was that Fitzroy Glispie’s overwhelming 4-5 favourite Money Miser (Shamaree Muir) or stablemate Princess Sharon (Paul Francis) would have dictated terms on the headline, but the connections of Essential Quality had other ideas.

From the one draw in the nine-horse field, the Sensational Slam-Texas Missy progeny, was sent straight to the lead by Roman, with Princess Sharon and Burlap (Javaniel Patterson) in tow, as the flashed past the clubhouse turn and hit the backstretch.

At that point Money Miser, though more than five lengths behind, seemed fairly comfortable and poised to make a late strike when the leaders falter.

But that was not to be as Roman and Essential Quality quickened past the five-furlong mark and later opened up a gap on Burlap, who tried but failed to apply pressure on the leader leaving the half-mile.

From there, it was Essential Quality against the clock as the filly barely look winded when she straightened in the homestretch and even found when asked by Roman, who later eased up and stood tall in the saddle for the rest of the way.

She completed the distance in 2:03.0, after splits of 25.1, 49.4, 1:14.2 and 1:40.1.

Princess Sharon stayed on for second nine lengths behind, while Richie Rich (Reyan Lewis) and Money Miser (Shamaree Muir), both inevitably hit top stride but were a long way off the winner in third and fourth respectively.

The Ham Stables-bred Essential Quality in landing the lion’s share of the $3.75 million purse, registered her third career win in eight starts.

Meanwhile, trainer Peter-John Parsard and jockeys Tevin Foster, Phillip Parchment, and Reyan Lewis each had two winners on the 10-race card.

Parsard saddled Sunshine Cat (Oneil Mullings) in the seventh race and Rojorn Di Pilot (Omar Walker) in the 10th event.

Foster’s winners were the Michael Marlowe-conditioned Jack of Spades in the second race and Anthony Nunes’s Captain Calico in the fifth. Parchment won aboard Steven Todd’s Magical Mood in the third race and Traditional Boy for trainer Gordon Lewis in the sixth.

Lewis won the fourth race aboard Sensational Satin for trainer Byron Davis, and the eighth with Jason DaCosta’s Lion of Ekati.

World champion Marileidy Paulino of Dominican Republic extended her rich vein of form in the women’s 400 metres with another victory at the Wanda Diamond League meet in Xiamen, China on Saturday.

Paulino, running from lane five, made her move off the curve and swept by Jamaica’s long-time leader Candice McLeod, to stop the clock in 49.36s. McLeod stayed on for second, equaling her season’s best 50.19s.

American Lynna Irby-Jackson (50.45s) was third, as she got by the tiring World Championships bronze medallist Sada Williams (50.95s) of Barbados.

Jamaica’s Kishane Thompson clocked a new lifetime best 9.85s for second in the men’s 100m, behind American Christian Coleman, who equalled the World Leading time of 9.83s at the Wanda Diamond League in Xiamen, China on Saturday.

Thompson, who has been holding good form since his first sub-10 second clocking at Jamaica’s National Championships in July, produced a top performance, which not only shattered his previous personal best of 9.91s, but also makes him the fastest Jamaican this year. He overtook Oblique Seville at 9.86s.

Additionally, the 22-year-old Thompson’s time also makes him the sixth-fastest Jamaican of all time. Only Usain Bolt (9.58s), Yohan Blake (9.69s), Asafa Powell (9.72s), Nesta Carter (9.78s) and Steve Mullings (9.80s), have gone faster.

While Thompson’s achievement, which makes him the 22nd fastest man of all time and also earned him a spot in the Diamond League final, may come as a surprise to many, his coach Stephen Francis did indicate that there was more to come after his one-round run at the national championships.

“He would have run significantly faster but the most important thing is that he feels healthy and can look forward to the rest of the summer. Our plan is to ensure that next year, in the Olympic year, he will have the necessary race experience and a different attitude to tackle the full program,” Francis said then in an interview with Sportsmax.tv.

Thompson just failed to get back to Coleman, who equalled Noah Lyles World leading time, as they competed in a slight tailwind of 0.4 metres per second. American Fred Kerley (9.96s) was third.

Meanwhile, the other Jamaicans, Yohan Blake (10.04s), Rohan Watson (10.18s), were sixth and ninth respectively, while Ackeem Blake, who seemingly picked up an injury finished at the back of the pack in well over 25 seconds.

Grenada’s Kirani James signalled that he is gradually getting back to his competitive best, as he clocked a season’s best 44.38s in winning the men’s 400 metres at the Wanda Diamond League in Xiamen, China on Saturday.

James, who was disqualified for a lane violation at the recent World Athletics Championships, ran his usual well-paced race from lane four to stop the clock in the winning time, which betters his previous season’s best of 44.50s.

He just edged American Quincy Hall, who was also given the same time, while Jamaican Rusheen McDonald (44.82s), was third. Another Jamaican Zandrion Barnes (45.29s) finished eighth.

Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson says his team will not only draw inspiration from senior Reggae Girlz Fifa Women’s World Cup exploits, but more importantly, build on the positives from their own Gold Cup campaign to achieve future success.

Hallgrimsson’s sentiments came as he named a 23-player squad for the upcoming Concacaf Nations League tournament, where they will be hunting qualification for next year’s 48th edition of the prestigious Copa America to be staged in the United States.

The Boyz, who will contest League A of the Nations League, are grouped with Suriname, Haiti, Honduras, Cuba and Grenada.

They are scheduled to open their account on home soil against Honduras on September 8, before tackling Caribbean rivals Haiti, four days later. Both games are scheduled for the National Stadium.

Following those games, Hallgrimsson’s side will play away to Grenada on October 12, before visiting Haiti on October 15.

To get to the Copa America, the Jamaicans are required to finish in the top six, as such, they will need to secure one of two spots from their group to progress to quarter-finals.

Should they do so and go on to win their quarter-finals fixture, the Boyz would automatically secure berth to Copa America, however, if not, then they would take the playoff route for a second shot at qualification.

With that in mind, Hallgrimsson, alluded to the Reggae Girlz, who became the first male or female team from the Caribbean to contest the knockout rounds at a World Cup since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

On the way to that accomplishment, the Girlz held top-ranked France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and also secured a first ever World Cup win with a 1-0 scoreline over Panama.

“A lot of positivity surrounds Jamaica’s football at the moment, the Girlz performance should give us energy for our games and we should try to use that to our benefit to go forward. But before I go forward, I want to look back at the Gold Cup, we were very satisfied with that tournament and we got even more positivity from analyzing those games,” Hallgrimsson said during a press conference on Friday.

“We feel that we are getting stronger as a unit and as a team. We had some good performances from players, some were new faces at the tournament with very little preparation period prior and we know those players will grow into the team and play an even bigger role than they did in the Gold Cup. So lot of positives, if we talk tactically, we know we can improve in areas like our attacking game, as well how we possess the ball,” he added.

On that note, Hallgrimsson only made four changes from that Gold Cup squad with Jonathan Russell, Kaheem Parris, Javain Brown and Kemar Lawrence being replaced by Tayvon Gray, Kasey Palmer, Greg Leigh and former Arnett Gardens standout Renaldo Cephas.

The American-born Gray, 21, who currently represents New York City FC, won the MLS Cup in 2021 and Campeones Cup in 2022. The right-back also represented the United States in multiple games at the youth level.

Aware that Jamaica contested the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, the Icelandic coach is hoping to also achieve the feat during his tenure, as he believes playing at that level will be integral to their preparations for a shot at making the 2026 World Cup.

“As I said we were very pleased with the Gold Cup so there are not much new faces for this camp. Time spent together is hugely important to us, so again qualifying for the Copa America will help us even more in preparation for the World Cup,” Hallgrimsson declared.

“Firstly, we want to win and be number one in Nations League. That is one thing, it is just an extra spice that doing well in this competition will give us a chance to play in the Copa America, an even bigger competition than the Gold Cup.

“In the process of growing as a unit, it is really important that we qualify for competitions like this to keep the growth going. So, we are just preparing ourselves playing in big tournaments like this,” he reasoned.

Moving up the Fifa rankings is another component of added significance for Hallgrimsson, who again made note of the Reggae Girlz rise from 43rd to 37th, as well as his team’s own move from 66th to 58th.

“Fifa ranking means a lot in national team football today. For example, in the Nations League the top four ranked teams United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama, don’t need to play in the group stage, they automatically qualify for the quarter-finals and that is a huge benefit for them.

“So we want to be in that position to not need to play a whole group stage to be able to play for top four. We want to be top four in the ranking and I would say if we get to 40, it would be a huge success for us,” Hallgrimsson noted.

Squad: Goalkeepers –Andre Blake, Jahmali Waite, Conniah Boyce-Clarke

Defenders –Damion Lowe, Tayvon Gray, Ethan Pinnock, Amari’i Bell, Di’Shon Bernard, Dexter Lembikisa, Adrian Mariappa, Greg Leigh

Midfielders –Kasey Palmer, Joel Latibeaudiere, Daniel Johnson, Kevon Lambert, Bobby Reid

Forwards –Leon Bailey, Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray, Dejuan Richards, Cory Burke, Shamar Nicholson, Renaldo Cephas

Barbados Royals shook off their hefty defeat to Trinbago Knight Riders and returned to winnings ways in the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL), as they bettered reigning champions Jamaica Tallawahs by six wickets at Kensington Oval on Thursday.

The Royals won the toss and again opted to field first, but unlike it was again the Knight Riders on Wednesday, it proved an inspired decision on this occasion, as tidy bowling from Jason Holder, in particular, restricted the Tallawahs to 160-7.

Holder grabbed two wickets for 19 runs in four overs and Afghan spinner Qais Ahmad had two for 42 from his four, against Shamarh Brooks’ 41-ball 78 and Imad Wasim’s 33 from 24 balls.

Young left-handed batsman Alick Athanaze and Laurie Evans, then anchored the Royals reply with an 89-run third wicket stand that propelled them to 161-4 with an over to spare.

The 24-year-old Athanaze hammered three sixes and seven fours in his 48-ball 76, while Evans had four boundaries in his 30 off 26 balls.

Scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 160-7 (20 overs); Barbados Royals 161-4 (19 overs)  

Sent to bat, the Tallawahs struggled to find their boundary-hitting rhythm, especially after Holder accounted for captain Brandon King (one) and Englishman Alex Hales (12), in between overs.

Kyle Mayers earlier had Kirk McKenzie (seven) caught by Evans and the Jamaican franchise was reeling at 23-3 at that point.

Brooks and Raymon Reifer tried to repair the damage and started out well, putting together 54 for the fourth wicket. However, Reifer (16) fell with the score at 77, as he played all over a delightful deliver from Ahmad and was bowled.

Still, Brooks, who slammed four sixes and seven fours in his knock, found another useful partner in Wasim, as they added another 54 runs for the fifth wicket to add some semblance of respectability to the Tallawahs innings.

After Brooks holed out to Rovman Powell off Ahmad, the hard-hitting Fabian Allen (two) was undone by a beauty from Dutchman Roelof van der Merwe, bowling his slow left-arm spin, and Wasim, who had two maximums and two fours in his knock, was run out off the final ball of the innings. 

The Royals were always favoured to overhaul the target on what was a decent batting strip, coupled with the dew factor coming into play, provided they didn’t crumble like they did against Knight Riders.

When Wasim and Chris Green combined to remove the opening pair of Rahkeem Cornwall (17) and Mayers (four) –both of whom are yet to really fire this season –a sense of déjà vu may have hit the Royal fans that they were in for another disappointing night.

But Athanaze and Englishman Evans ensured it was not so. The young Dominican played the aggressor, as he took Tallawahs top trio of Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Salman Irshad to task with some lofty blows showing decent foot work and innovation in a mature innings.

Though Green had Evans caught by Amir midway the 16th over and Irshad bounced back to have Athanaze caught by Hales on the fine leg boundary, the damage was already done and whatever hopes Tallawahs had of a batting collapse, were erased by Rovman Powell and Jason Holder, who ended unbeaten on 10 and nine, respectively.

Despite the win, the Royals remain fifth in the standing on five points, same as fourth-placed Tallawahs, who have a slightly better net run-rate. St Lucia Kings (six points) head the pack, ahead of Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinbago Knight Riders, who are also on five points each.

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots are at the foot of the standing on two points.

Action will resume on Saturday with a triple header –Amazon Warriors against Patriots at 8:00am Jamaica time, Barbados Royals women against Trinbago Knight Riders women at 2:00pm and Royals against St Lucia Kings at 6:00pm.

Though welcoming the 2-1 win which puts his team in a handy position heading into a break, Cavalier’s Technical Director Rudolph Speid was far from satisfied with his team’s overall execution in a lukewarm Concacaf Caribbean Cup against AC Port of Spain at Sabina Park on Thursday.

In fact, Speid believes the time off augurs well for the Jamaican outfit currently going through a rebuilding phase, as they intend to use it to good effect to improve certain aspects of their game.

While Jalmaro Calvin (8th) and Christopher Ainsworth (60th) got the goals for Cavalier, Port of Spain seemed the more dominant team at one point, but for their faulty shooting and some good glove work by Vino Barclett in goal for Cavalier at times.

However, the Trinidad and Tobago team ended with some consolation, courtesy of captain Duane Muckette’s 71st-minute strike.

With the win, Cavalier, who drew their opening contest 1-1 with another Trinidad and Tobago outfit Defence Force, assumed pole position in Group A on four points. Defence Force, who defeated Golden Lion of Martinique 1-0 on Wednesday, also moved to four points, but are second with an inferior goal difference.

Dominican Republic representative Moca FC are third on three points, with Golden Lion and Port of Spain, still without a point.

Speid agreed as much that his players lacked fitness and their drop in performance at certain points in the game, could have proved costly.

“It’s a new team and we’re trying to rebuild, but it’s three points and we were able to get them. This is our second game of the season, so you have to give and take. We’re not pleased, but we have another match on (September 19th) and we’ll put in some work to that end,” Speid said in a post-game press conference.

“We were doing some things wrong, but then in the second half, we kind of fixed it, but it’s a long road. We’re happy for the break so we’ll move on and get better as we progress,” he added.

After Calvin fired home from a Ronaldo Robinson assist, Cavalier, instead of pressing home the early ascendancy, opted to sit back and absorb consistent pressure, forcing their St Lucian goalkeeper Barclett to do more than he would have hoped.

In the 15th minute, Port of Spain’s midfielder John Paul Rochford was allowed space and time on the ball to get a right-footed shot off from a distance which was parried by Barclett diving full stretch to his left.

Cavalier again rode their luck in the 26th minute when defender Jeovanni Laing was dispossessed deep inside their quarters, paving the way for Che Benny to test his accuracy with a clever effort that kissed the crossbar on its way out.

Port of Spain again went close to pulling level on the stroke of the half-time interval, but Barclett again came up big with reflex save to deny Tyrone Charles, who twirled his way around two defenders to make space for the right-footed shot.

Things were a bit more balanced on the resumption, as Cavalier again showed life on the attacking front and caused a few problems for their Trinidadian counterparts.

But it wasn’t until the hour-mark that they extended the lead from a well-worked counterattacking play. It was orchestrated by Calvin, who picked out an unmarked Ainsworth at the top of the 18-yard box and the young player, sporting the number 11 jersey, maintained his composure to put a left-footed effort beyond Marvin Phillip in goal for Port of Spain.

Down, but not out, Port of Spain fought on bravely and pulled one back through Muckette, who expertly headed past the well-advanced Barclett, who was left in no-man’s land.

Port of Spain’s Head Coach Walter Noriega also rued his team’s sub-par display.

“It’s a disappointing result. I think the boys didn’t execute in the attacking play because we dominated possession, but possession doesn’t win you games. We’ll work on the finishing part and the execution,” he shared.

For their next assignments, Cavalier will play host to Moca on Tuesday, September 19, while Port of Spain will host Golden Lion a day prior.

Despite another gallant effort in the men’s javelin throw, Grenada’s Anderson Peters had to settle for fifth in the event at the Wanda Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.

Peters, the 2019 and 2022 World Champion, who failed to defend his title in Budapest, struggled for rhythm in his series, registering 78.78m, 78.41m and 77.82m, before hitting his best mark of 81.01m on his final attempt.

The event was won by World Championships bronze medallist, Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, with a mark of 85.86m which came on his final attempt, as he denied newly minted World champion Neeraj Chopra (85.71m) India. Chopra’s mark was also on his final attempt.

Germany’s Julian Weber (85.04m) was third.

There was never any question about whether or not two-time World 200 metres Champion Shericka would win the event at Thursday’s Wanda Diamond League, and though she didn’t promise a record time, many eyes were on the clock as she approached the finish in Zurich, Switzerland.

In the end, the Jamaican, showing very little signs of fatigue, stopped the clock 21.82s in a slight 0.8 metres per second head wind.

Jackson stormed off the curve and later opened up in the stretch run, leaving Great Britain’s Daryll Neita (22.25s), to finish best of the rest, with American Kayla White (22.33s) in third.

Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, who early contested the 100m, placed sixth in 22.65s.

Meanwhile, American Noah Lyles, also extended his rich vein of form, as he closed fast to top the men’s event in 19.80s, ahead of compatriot Erriyon Knighton (19.87s), with Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes (19.94s) in third.

Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey and Natoya Goule-Toppin finished third and ninth respectively in the women’s 800 metres at the Wanda Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.

With none of the medallists from the World Athletic Championships in Budapest present, the event was left for the pickings, and it was Great Britain’s Laura Muir that proved best of the lot on the day, as the Jamaicans produced contrasting performances in their bid.

Muir, who assumed the lead at the 200m mark, left the field in her wake, as she went on to win in 1:57.71, ahead of Australia’s Catriona Bisset (1:58.77) and the fast-finishing Tracey (1:59.05), who left it late.

The front-running Goule-Toppin, who took the lead at the bell, faded into ninth in 2:00.10.

Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey and Natoya Goule-Toppin finished third and ninth respectively in the women’s 800 metres at the Wanda Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.

With none of the medallists from the World Athletic Championships in Budapest present, the event was left for the pickings, and it was Great Britain’s Laura Muir that proved best of the lot on the day, as the Jamaicans produced contrasting performances in their bid.

Muir, who assumed the lead at the 200m mark, left the field in her wake, as she went on to win in 1:57.71, ahead of Australia’s Catriona Bisset (1:58.77) and the fast-finishing Tracey (1:59.05), who left it late.

The front-running Goule-Toppin, who took the lead at the bell, faded into ninth in 2:00.10.

Jamaica’s Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah signalled some semblance of improvement, as she clocked a season’s best 11.00 seconds for third behind newly minted World Champion Sha’Carri Richardson in the women’s 100m at the Wanda Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday.

Thompson-Herah, who has been struggling to get back to her best after battling injury, ran a well-paced raced from a tidy break, but couldn’t get back to Richardson, who continues to display her superb form this season.

The American won in 10.88s, with another Jamaican Natasha Morrison (11.00s), running her heart out from lane one, to edge Thompson-Herah for second.

Thompson-Herah’s time bettered her previous season’s best of 11.06s, and though it is well off her personal best of 10.54s, it signals a step in the right direction since she started working with Shanikie Osbourne on a provisional basis.

Meanwhile, Shashalee Forbes (11.2s), the other Jamaican in the event, placed fifth, while Anthonique Strachan (11.39s) of the Bahamas failed to figure on this occasion, placing ninth.

Jamaica's Olympian Keanan Dols made the difficult decision to retire from competitive swimming due to a chronic knee injury. But Dols is not leaving without hope, as he is taking the lessons learnt in the pool over the years and applying them to the next chapter of her life.

At 25 years old, Dols –who was born in Savanna-la-mar before moving overseas where he grew up in Sarasota, Florida –would have loved to parade his skills at another Olympic Games for the Caribbean Island, but opted not to go against his bodies will.

As such, he swapped his swim trunks for the coaching cap, joining the staff at Villanova University, where he will assist in shaping what he hopes will be the next generation of top-class swimmers.

"Coaching has been the plan for a few years now. Initially I was planning to start coaching after Paris (Olympic Games), but I’ve dealt with some chronic knee issues over the past few years, as well as some hip issues this past season so I made the decision to retire after the college season and begin my move into coaching," Dols told SportsMax.tv from his base in the United States.

"I learnt a lot during my time as an athlete and those experiences have definitely eased the transition as I can draw on that knowledge of the sport and rely on the people who have helped me along the way. I spent some time as a volunteer assistant with the University of Kentucky and Stanford university which were invaluable experiences that aided my decision," he added.

During his career which started in 2015, Dols represented Jamaica at numerous regional and international events, where he won several medals and established a number of national records. however, the biggest highlight of his career was the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where he swam the 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley (IM), respectively.

He last sported the national colours at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England and subsequently transferred from Pennsylvania to University of Kentucky to finish off a career which he now reflects on with a great sense of pride.

"I’m definitely very proud of my career. There were ups and downs, but every experience was great as they came with lessons and also served as motivation along the way, so I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished. If I could change anything though, it would probably be taking a bit better care of my injuries as they came along," Dols noted. 

Still, getting to the high point of his career was by no means easy and required unwavering self-motivation, so while reflecting on his journey, Dols also had some encouraging words.

"When working to achieve your dreams, it is important not to limit yourself. Set your goals as high as possible and even after you achieve them, you have to keep setting the bar higher, always strive to raise the standard of your previous performance," he reasoned.

That said, Dols, who has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in supply chain management, is eager to serve as a great young mentor to Villanova's athletes both in and out of the pool, as his attention to detail is expected to be a great asset to the school's programme.

"I’m extremely excited to be joining the staff at Villanova. It’s a great opportunity to learn and grow as a coach and I’m excited to get to coach a great group of young athletes, who are people first and athletes second," he said.

"I’m very much looking forward to this season and I feel that I bring some high-level international experience and good perspective on elite level training to make a difference," Dols ended.

As the Honorary Consul of Jamaica in Uruguay, Jorge Andres Elissalde felt it only fitting that he made the trip down to the Caribbean Island to not only enjoy the sun, fun and excitement, but also to play his part in assisting Sandals Foundation to give back to its community.

Elissalde was among the over 70 individuals that made the trek from various countries to strut their stuff in the Sandals Latin American Travel Agents Golf Tournament, which is used a driver for participants to experience and, later sell Jamaica as the destination of choice for sports and tourism.

As fate would have it, Elissalde's team which included Jorge Barbut, Jose Cabrera and Leonardo Curutchague, finished tops at the four-man scramble format, two-day event with a final score of 60 over nine holes. They scored 33 on the first and 27 on the final day of the competition.

They won ahead of the Brazilian team of Breno Luz, Ricardo Dantas, Denilson Milan, and Raphael Abreu, which scored 28 on the first day and 37 on the final day to finish five-strokes behind on 65 at the Sandals Golf and Country Club.

"I am very proud to be the Honorary Consul of Jamaica and I am happy that we had the chance to come here and not only participate in the Sandals tournament, but also to see what the foundation is doing because we know they do a lot of good for the people here, especially in the Ocho Rios region. So, it's always a pleasure to play our part and we also won which is double the excitement," Elissalde told SportsMax.tv. 

Besides the friendly competition between others from Mexico, Panama, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, among others, Elissalde reiterated the serious side of the golf tournament, as the side shows raised US $316 for the Sandals Foundation which might seem a small figure but will go a far way in helping those in need.

Mauricio Fuerte (Closet to the Pin Men), Antonio Perez Verdia Rubio (Longest Drive Men), and Taryn Stanton (Longest Drive Women), won those side events.

Beyond that, the travel agents also brought with them books and other school supplies to be distributed in the community.

"Jamaica is a destination that not many Uruguayans know, it is a beautiful country with beautiful people and so doing this (tournament) is one way of basically opening the doors so those Uruguayans can experience Jamaica through us and then they will be more eager to come and visit," Elissalde reasoned.

"So what Sandals is doing is very good, it's a mix of sports and tourism and, more importantly, the fact that they use these golf tournaments to raise funds for the foundation is incredible and giving back is always something that many people gravitate towards. So again, we are very happy to play our part," he added.

During his visit, Elissalde also paid a courtesy call on Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Jake Coldiron, national manager of golf sales, expressed delight with the outcome of the tournament which is one of three travel-advisers’ event staged annually by the resort to promote the island as a golfing destination, while giving the resort chain’s sales reps personal experiences of its properties and Jamaica’s varied attractions.

The positive spinoff from the event has propelled Sandals to stage a World Travel Advisors Golf Tournament set for Emerald Bay, Bahamas, next year. Elissalde and his team are expected to be a part of that, along with those from the United States and Canada tournaments to come in September and October respectively. 

"My job is to help the travel advisors grow their business through golf and this year we actually had quite a few travel advisors that had never been to Jamaica, so the ultimate goal for them is to go back to their home country and sell Jamaica, sell Sandals and Beaches Resorts, and bring their clients down here," Coldiron said.

“The Sandals Foundation in general is also a very important part of Sandals Resorts and what is nice about it is that we as a company take it very seriously as far as ensuring that we give back not just in Jamaica but the entire Caribbean. We are a Caribbean-based company, and the ultimate goal is to take care of the Caribbean,” he noted.

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