Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan

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

Mona High continued their charge towards a maiden ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup title, as they secured a spot in the semi-final, following a 2-0 win over pre-season favourites St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) in their decisive Group One quarterfinals fixture at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Friday.

First half goals from Robino Gordon (7th) and Denzel McKenzie (21st), proved enough to send the Craig Butler-coached Mona into another semi-final for a second year consecutively, as well as into the All-island Champions Cup.

For Phillip Williams and his STATHS outfit, it was the worst time to produce a flat performance, and they miss out on the semi-final for the first time in six years, as a result.

Elsewhere in the, St Catherine High edged Kingston College 2-1 at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, but just missed out on a spot in the final four by virtue of a slightly inferior goal difference.

The results saw Mona finishing at the summit on five points, with Kingston College second on four points, same as St Catherine, while STATHS ended at foot on three points.

Butler beamed about Mona’s achievement as they enter the decisive end of the season with their unbeaten record intact.

“I am very proud of my team and very proud of my coaching staff. The players played hard, they stuck to the task, we took “Whispers” [Dujuan Richards] advice and it worked out. He [Richards] came out and helped us a lot especially with the changes and the tactics and the boys were disciplined,” Butler said.

Mona High started more purposeful and broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when McKenzie’s freekick was deftly flicked on by Gordon at the near post for his 14th of the season.

With STATHS looking flat and disjointed, particularly in the midfield, Mona were able to maintain their intensity and they used it to good effect to apply consistent pressure.

The lead was doubled when Romarion Thomas rounded the well-advanced Jaheem Williams, in goal for STATHS, and played a pass off to McKenzie, who calmly slotted into an empty net for his 10th of the season.

Mona should have added another on the stroke of half-time when McKenzie was felled inside the danger area by JLoyd Smith. McKenzie sporting the number 10 jersey picked up himself to take the 12-yard kick, but Williams guessed right, diving to his weaker left side, to keep out the effort.

The second half offered very little to write home about, though STATHS gradually improved in terms of their attacking thrust. They created a few half chances in an attempt to claw their way back into the contest, but were unable to make it count, even after Mona Carlton Brown to a second yellow card.

For Williams, it’s about picking up the pieces of another failed Manning Cup campaign to break a lengthy title drought dating back to 1987, with the focus now on possibly winning the consolation Walker Cup knockout title.

“The goals came off two mistakes but definitely Mona was the better team, and we have to give credit to them for putting in a full 90 minutes and keep us off the scoring sheet. It was very concerning, we did create chances but we didn’t put them away and so it is just about taking a break for a while and just recoup to come again next year,” he shared.

Friday’s results

Mona 2, STATHS 0

St Catherine 2, Kingston College 1

Saturday’s fixtures

3:00pm: Jamaica College vs St George’s College @Ashenheim Stadium

3:00pm: Hydel High vs Tivoli High @ Prison Oval

Renowned Gulfstream Park race announcer Peter Aiello has lauded Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) Executive Chairman Solomon Sharpe and his team for the direction in which they are taking Jamaica’s horseracing product.

In fact, Aiello, who will be making his debut at Caymanas Park on Saturday during the third running of the Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL)-sponsored Jamaica Cup, believes the potential for growth is very much on the cards, provided the promoters remains committed to their objectives.

SVREL took over promotion of racing in 2017 and has invested significantly as a means of driving the product forward. The broadcasting of their signal to overseas markets, the implementation of a solar power system, a partnership with New York-based Bridge99Fm, as well as the Australian-based BetMakers Technology group to offer Fix Odds betting, are among SVREL’s milestone achievements to date.

 “I am a huge fan of it. Since I have been here, I’ve kind of been picking everybody’s brain operationally speaking because that’s how my mind works, and everything just seems to be up. There are some really forward-thinking ideas, and one thing I like about it, it seems like it is more of a methodical approach where they are playing the long game,” Aiello assessed.

“It is not a scenario where somebody tries something, and it doesn’t work right away, and they give up on it. I think that is really important and I think it is something that the US racetracks are guilty of, they give up too soon. So, I really like the long-term projection, they are starting to see some positive results and I am happy to do what I can to make sure they continue on that positive, upward trend,” he told SportsMax.TV.

Aiello, a familiar voice in the world of horse racing, is associated with some of the most prestigious horse racing events in the 

United States. He expressed delight about bringing his expertise to one of Jamaica’s most highly anticipated race days.

The Jamaica Cup is the last significant event before the lucrative Mouttet Mile Invitational scheduled for December 2. In addition to the main event, the undercard will have eight high-stakes races contested by top horses, jockeys, and trainers.

“I have been a fan of Jamaican horse racing for probably two or three years now. Once Supreme Ventures made it available in the US, I caught on to it and really fell in love with it, so it is nice to actually be here,” Aiello said.

“I was looking back at the race card earlier and there are some really good races tomorrow. The Jamaica Cup is going to be exciting and “Spuddy” [Brian Rickman] and I have a nice surprise for everybody so make sure you tune in. But there is another race on the card that seems super exciting and that’s Desert of Malibu up against American Tap and Rani Bangala, that is a heck of a race, that is a championship quality race. So, the seventh and eighth races are what I am really excited about,” he added.

Regarding the Mouttet Mile, which will be streamed live in the United States on Fox 5, Aiello said it speaks volumes of the significant strides Jamaica’s racing has made.

“I think it is great, and I am hopeful that we can get some of the American influence behind it. I know Solomon Sharpe and the team are working to get as much influence as they can, but I think it’s a great thing and I am certainly willing to help as much as I can. The race will be shown on Fox 5 in the US this year which is great because that is the exposure that Jamaican racing needs,” Aiello noted.

“The purse is allegedly going up next year, so if the purse goes up, I think it is just going to be a situation where the horsemen and jockeys are going to have to take note of the state of the calendar and hopefully, we can get a worldwide experience, which would mean everybody wins,” he reasoned.

And with this being his first time in Jamaica, Aiello is relishing the experience.

“They are doing a great job of getting me to enjoy all these great Jamaican foods and I have to say I am going to be a bit disappointed that I won't be able to get a callaloo patty and some bammy when I get home," Aiello ended.

Crystal Plummer had a stellar maiden Vitality Netball World Cup appearance earlier this year, as her performances in South Africa assisted Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls to end a 16-year medal drought when they claimed bronze.

Now back on the international assignment for a second Fast5 Netball World Series appearance, Plummer knows it is another opportunity for her to make a mark on the big stage with hopes that an efficient execution, both individually and collectively as a team, will propel them to another medal.

Plummer, 21, possesses incredible physical prowess and the intensity that she paraded at the World Cup is testament to the demands she puts on herself to always perform at her best.

It is that stubborn determination, coupled with an unwavering desire to succeed, that place her among a number of dangerous young prospects that will grace the court at the fast-paced, two-day tournament in Christchurch, New Zealand, and she is definitely out to prove that much.

“Honestly, I am excited and looking forward to the challenge. For me it is another opportunity to show what I can do because I am always looking to do better every chance I get. It’s about doing my best and having fun at the same time, but still focused on the goal head,” Plummer told SportsMax.TV. 

“Unlike last year when I struggled to get acclimatised, this year, I am both mentally and physically ready and I am very motivated and just looking forward to doing my utmost best to execute according to the team's game plans," she added.

Should the now Nicole Aiken-Pinnock and Shawn Murdock-coached Sunshine Girls achieve the medal feat, it would represent a significant improvement on last year’s display when they placed at the foot of the six-team ladder without a win. It would also be the country’s fourth Fast5 medal and first since 2018.

But that is easier said than done, as Australia, England, Malawi, South Africa and seven-time champions New Zealand, are all formidable opponents, who will take some amount of beating.

“It’s always challenging, but the entire team is up for the challenge and we will be leaving it all on court as we hope to come away with a medal. I have a saying ‘work hard and win easy’, so again, I am ready for the excitement of Fast5. My aim is to be one of the standout players for this year’s competition and to do that I will need to be consistent in how I play to get the job done,” Plummer declared.

The wing defence, who has been a staple in the Sunshine Girls team since making her debut at the Americas qualifiers on home soil last year, was also a part of the historic Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games winning team.

Having grasped significant lessons from those, and in particular, the World Cup outing, Plummer said she has benefitted from self-preparation, as she is well aware that there is always room for improvements.

“Preparation will never be easy, but I am committed to doing what I have to, to achieve my goals and that included working on my confidence and my passes. So, as it is now, I am refuelled for this mission because each time I get to showcase my skill against world class players, it is basically one of my goals crossed off the list,” the cheerful player ended.

Live coverage is on SportsMax and SportsMax 2, starting this evening at 6:00pm Jamaica time, while coverage on Saturday’s second day is slated for 5:45pm Jamaica time.

Jamaica squad: Romelda Aiken-George (captain), Adean Thomas (vice-captain), Gezelle Allison, Theresa Beckford, Rhea Dixon, Abbeygail Linton, Amanda Pinkney, Crystal Plummer, Kimone Shaw, and Abigale Sutherland.

With the high of last year’s Fast5 Netball Series debut still fresh in her mind, Amanda Pinkney is cautiously optimistic about the prospects of not only improving her performances, but also the possibility of Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls challenging for a medal on this occasion.

Though the Sunshine Girls lost all five games played and ended at the foot of the six-team ladder without a point last year, Pinkney celebrated the minor victory of being named Player of the Game in the Jamaicans narrow 27-28 loss to South Africa.

Pinkney, who play both goal-shoot and goal-attack positions, also had the distinction of ending that tournament as the player to score the most three-point goals, a feat which she knows she is very much capable of repeating.

“Last year was really good year for me, it was my first time participating in the Fast5 competition and it was a really good eye-opening experience in terms of the level of competition and the pace of the tournament. Some high for me was the connection that the players had and also when I received the Player of the Game award, that really showed me that I am very much capable of doing great things if I remain focused,” Pinkney told SportsMax.TV from the team’s base in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“At that same tournament, there were some concerns about the team’s readiness, but we weathered the storm and gradually improved each game, and we gave it our best. So, it is just about focusing on our responsibilities, both individually and collectively as a team and once we do that, I know we will be much more competitive this year,” she added.

The Sunshine Girls will indeed require some degree of consistency to complement their speed and agility, as they are expected to again face some stern tests against Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malawi and England in the fast-paced six-team tournament scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

With Jhaniele Fowler being absent, New South Wales Swifts star Romelda Aiken-George will lead from the front, with Gezelle Allison, Pinkney, and former England Under-21 Rhea Dixon, who recently became eligible to represent Jamaica, expected to complement her shooting prowess.

Adean Thomas, Theresa Beckford, Kimone Shaw, Crystal Plummer, Abigale Sutherland and Abbeygail Linton, complete the team coached by former captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock and Shawn Murdock.

For Pinkney, 24, copping an historic gold at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in El Salvador earlier this year, provided the necessary impetus to fuel her ambitions for this tournament and beyond.

Simply put, Pinkney has a desire to become a staple in the Sunshine Girls team going forward and to do so, she is well aware that she will have to work diligently to improve her craft.

“My goal is to perform better than I did both at last year’s Fast5 and also at the CAC Games. I want to showcase strong teamwork, to improve my individual skills. So even after this tournament, I intend to take the lessons and experiences back to Jamaica and continue putting in the work because I am hoping that I can get a contract in one of the international netball leagues,” she shared.

But, for now, the immediate focus of the soft-spoken player is to exude the necessary confidence and willpower to assist the Sunshine Girls medal ambitions in Christchurch, as she knows that maintaining the enthusiasm is essential to trigger further development to bring about the much-needed excitement and fulfillment she desires.

“Things are going good so far, I honestly can’t complain, I think I’m more ready for Fast5 this season than before because I have so much confidence in myself and my teammates and I know that we will do much better than the last season,” Pinkney declared.

“I know the teams won’t come easy, but we definitely won’t back down. Like I said, I think this year I got more practice for the competition and not only that, but the combination that we practiced I think that will make the difference from last season. So, it might seem far-fetched but I’m also hopefully that we will win the tournament,” she ended.

 

 

 

Reigning Ben Francis champions Glenmuir High had a positive start in the ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup quarterfinals, as they blanked Manchester High 2-0 in a lively Group A encounter at their May Pen base on Wednesday.

Glenmuir, who are contesting the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2017, got their goals four minutes apart through Ja-son Whyte (51st) and Orane Watson (55th), and are now poised for a semi-final berth, provided they see off defending champions Clarendon College and Christiana High in their next two fixtures.

Clarendon College, who are heavily favoured to retain their title, also started positively with a 4-0 beating of Christiana High to grab an early lead in the group. They enjoy a two-goal difference over Glenmuir, heading into Saturday’s second round of games.

At May Pen, Glenmuir came out more purposeful, as Kyle Gordon paraded his nippy footwork in breaking down Manchester defence, while DeAndre Johnson forced a save from Jevanni Bennett with a stinging right-footer from about 20 yards out, in the early exchanges.

In fact, Manchester’s first real show of quality in attack came in the 14th minute when they got in behind Glenmuir’s defence, but were unable to find the go-ahead goal.

Both teams continued to assert their attacking prowess in the probe to break the deadlock. Glenmuir again went close in the 36th when Gordon found Watson at the top of the 18-yard box, but the latter’s effort was kept out by Bennett diving away to his left.

Manchester responded shortly after and it took a tidy save from Antwone Gooden in goal for Glenmuir to deny Michael Reid on the stroke of the break to ensure the score remained goalless.

However, Glenmuir again came out spiritedly on the resumption and inevitable found the breakthrough six minutes in when Whyte’s well-struck freekick from about 30 yards out, beat Bennett all ends up. It was a goal befitting of his first for the season.

And before Manchester could contemplate a comeback, they suffered a second blow when Watson outpaced a defender and drove a right-footed effort past the hapless Bennett for his sixth of the season.

The tempo of the game fell from there and it wasn’t until the later stages of the contest that both teams again showed some life in attack, albeit, failing to capitalise on the opportunities.

Glenmuir’s Head coach Andrew Peart said the win is just what the doctor ordered.

“It is important because we wanted to start the group very well. At the half we weren’t so pleased with the intensity at which we played, we gave Manchester High a little bit too much room, especially in the middle of the field.

“But second half, we got a brilliant goal by Jason Whyte and then it was about pressing high up the field again that led to the second goal. So I am very pleased in terms of the reaction in the second half and in the end, the result,” Peart said in a post-game interview.

His counterpart Patrick Graham believe his team was lacking in parts.

“First, let me congratulate the Glenmuir team. I believe they showed a bit more fight than us, we surrendered some crucial areas on the pitch when they were in possession and it cost us the game.

“The positive is that after going two-nil down, we showed a little bit more fight and more composure and it shows that we can play whenever we decide to play. So, we just have to prepare for the next two games,” Graham noted.

Meanwhile, over in Group two, Garvey Maceo High and Dinthill Technical registered 4-0 and 2-0 victories over BB Coke and Cornwall College respectively. Much like it is in Group A, Garvey Maceo hold a two-goal difference over Dinthill Technical.

Wednesday’s results

Group A

Clarendon College 4, Christiana High 0

Glenmuir High 2, Manchester High 0

Group B

BB Coke 0, Garvey Maceo 4

Dinthill Technical 2, Cornwall College 0

Saturday’s fixtures

Group A

Manchester vs Clarendon College @ Manchester

Christiana vs Glenmuir @ Glenmuir

Group B

Cornwall College vs BB Coke @ Jarrett Park

Dinthill Technical vs Garvey Maceo @ Ewarton Sports Complex

Reigning champions Jamaica College revived their chances of a successful title defence, while Kingston College made a big statement, as both registered victories in their respective ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup quarterfinal encounters at Stadium East field on Tuesday.

Davion Ferguson’s Jamaica College, who lost their first contest to Hydel High, returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over reigning Walker Cup champions Tivoli High in Group Two.

Elsewhere in the group, many-time champions St George’s College came from behind to secure a 1-1 stalemate with Hydel at the Ashenheim Stadium.

With those results, St George’s College remain atop the group on four points, same as Hydel but with a slightly better goal difference. Jamaica College occupies third position on three points, with Tivoli Gardens now out of contention for a semi-final berth.

In Group Two, Jaheim McLean’s all-important goal lifted Kingston College to a 1-0 win over perennial rivals St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) in a clash which was a repeat of last year’s semi-finals.

It was another lively clash between the two that could have gone either way, but Mclean’s 18th-minute strike proved the difference, as Mona High and St Catherine high played out a 1-1 stalemate in the other group fixture.

The win saw the North Street-based Kingston College to the summit of the group on four points, one ahead of STATHS, while Mona (two points) and St Catherine (one point), remain in contention heading into Friday’s final round of games.

In the feature contest at Stadium East, Kingston College fired the first warning shot through Demario Dailey, who attempted an acrobatic finish that just went wide of the target.

STATHS settled into their rhythm and controlled the tempo of the game from there on, as they created a few half chances of their own which they failed to make count.

The Bumper Hall-based team was caught napping when a quickly taken freekick found McLean open and the player sporting the number 10 jersey had a decent first touch and an even better finish to send the North Street fans into a frenzy.

Though Kingston College led the contest, STATHS looked the more dominant outfit and the Phillip Williams-coached team almost pulled level on the stroke of halftime. A delightful strike from Alexavier Gooden from about 40 yards out rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the goal line.

STATHS maintained the momentum on the resumption and should have pulled level three minutes in, but Andre Salmon went for power instead of accuracy from deep inside the 18-yard box. He was left annoyed by his poor decision.

With Kingston College content on sitting back, STATHS again went close in the 70th minute. Taraine Hall found time and space inside the final third for a stinging left-footed effort that was well saved by Malique Williams diving to his left.

The famed purples, much like they did at the start, had the last attack of the game, but Dailey’s effort from a distance came off the upright.

Winning coach Vassell Reynolds praised his young charges for their execution.

“I am very proud. It was a tough game, we knew it was going to come down to the last 20 minutes, so we relied on fitness. I believe we are a lot fitter than we think, so kudos to the boys they have been working very hard and I think it was a masterful performance from them,” Reynolds said in a post-game interview.

His counterpart Williams also felt his team gave a good showing.

“It was a good performance, we turned off one time and we got punished, but apart from that, the guys displayed some good football. This is a setback because it makes the last game (against Mona) a little tougher, but we have to go and do what we have to do,” he noted.

Tuesday’s results

Group One

Mona 1, St Catherine 1

Kingston College 1, STATHS 0

Group Two

Jamaica College 2, Tivoli High 1

St George’s College 1, Hydel High 1

Friday’s fixtures

Group One

STATHS vs Mona

Kingston College vs St Catherine

Group Two

Hydel High vs Tivoli High

Jamaica College vs St George’s College

Much has been said about Jamaica’s sports tourism product, especially as those in the tourism industry continues to tap into the potential of golf to attract visitors to the island.

This, as according to the International Association of Golfing Tour Operators (IAGTO), the global golf tourism market, where people take trips with the main purpose of playing the sport, is valued over US$17 billion.

Additionally, it is said that an estimated 56 million people play golf worldwide, most of whom are in the United States and Canada alone, making North America the leading market in terms of the sport contribution to that economy.

It is with that in mind that Angela Bennett, Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director for Canada is of the view that the recently-concluded Baxter Media-sponsored Sandals Canadian Travel Advisors Golf Tournament, is testament to what can be achieved through the sport.

The 27th edition of the two-day tournament attracted 61 travel advisors, who beyond basking in the fun, frolic and excitement, will ensure that Jamaica’s golfing and, by extension, sports tourism stock in North America continues to rise.

“This is a major achievement for us because golf is a big volume driver for earnings for Jamaica. It also targets a specific sport because we have so many golf courses in Jamaica, in Montego Bay alone, we have almost six golf courses and then there is the picturesque Sandals Golf and Country club among others in this region. From the tournament, we had our top producing tour operators like Air Canada, WestJet, Red Tag, they're all focused on selling sports tourism like golf,” Bennett said.

“So, to have them here for a week, there's a lot of networking going on, a lot of business and new airline partners coming in. This is another focus area for us to drive that sort of niche market to Jamaica and it's really a sport that encourages a long stay because these travellers usually like to golf around,” she added.

Bennett pointed out that the longstanding partnership between Sandals and Baxter Media in hosting the travel advisors tournament, serves as a springboard on which the JTB is aiming to launch strategies to drive more growth in Jamaica’s sports tourism product.

“We are known for sports in Jamaica, of course, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and all the other wonderful athletes, so it encourages us to build packages around golfing and promoting the sport, not only golf but all the other sports in Jamaica and this is a significant part of our strategy,” she shared.

“So, we have basketball that we do every year in Montego Bay, and we bring down some of our international stars to engage with the local talent. We also have Reggae Marathon in Negril where we're bringing down runners from Canada and across the world and while here, they experience the different offerings that Jamaica has in the sports field,” Bennett noted.

To that end, she pointed to the importance of capitalizing on the country’s sporting brand, particularly where the likes of Bolt, Fraser-Pryce and other sporting stalwarts are concerned.

“We always go where our athletes are, and sometimes we build a whole strategy around our athletes because just the way we know Bob Marley and everywhere in the world you go, they know Bob Marley, they know Usain Bolt and they know all our other track star because we shine, and we are at a superior level in this field. So, we're always looking to build a strategy around them to create a lot of awareness for Jamaica through them and through the work they're doing internationally,” Bennett ended.

Madelyn's Sunshine used her superior pace to good effect, as she disposed of rivals and captured the three-year-olds and upward Overnight Allowance contest for the Kaz Hoshay Trophy on the 10-race card at Caymanas Park on Saturday. 

Piloted by leading rider Reyan Lewis, the Jason DaCosta-trained Madelyn’s Sunshine, in only her second run off an almost five-month layup, showed that she is back to her competitive best. She won the six furlongs (1,200m) event by five-and-three-quarter lengths in a tidy 1:13.0 minutes, setting splits of 23.0 and 46.3 seconds.

After coming from off the pace behind Canadian American Tap over the five straight on last, Duke with Robert Halledeen was expected to play a starring role in the event which carried a purse of $1.25 million. This, as Madelyn’s Sunshine and a few others in the 14-horse field, was behind him in that same race won by American Tap.  

However, DaCosta’s four-year-old dark bay filly under a confident ride by Lewis, went straight in front shortly and repelled the challenge of Hoist The Mast (Paul Francis), Laban (Phillip Parchment), and KP Choice (Javaniel Patterson) in the run to the half-mile turn.

From there, the Carlton Watson-owned Madelyn's Sunshine was relaxed by Lewis, opening an almost three-length gap on her pursuers, and by the time she straightened for the stretch run, it became a question of how far she would win.

Laban finished second, as Race Car (Raddesh Roman) and Curlin’s Affair (Tevin Foster), completed the frame.

DaCosta said the winning run was always on the cards based on the filly's preparation.

"She trained exactly for this race, so we expected a good run from her. The time she won in was pretty decent which is no surprise because she has always been a talented filly it's just that she had her little problems but when she is good, she is good and the jockey rode her as expected," the leading trainer said after the event.

Lewis earlier won aboard Simba The Lion and Atlantic Convoy in the second and ninth events respectively, both over a mile (1,600m) for trainer Patrick Lynch.

Meanwhile, former three-time champion trainer Anthony "Baba" Nunes and Foster partnered for a double on the day. They won the sixth and eighth races with Wow How and Savvy Girl.

With the race card scheduled for Sunday being abandoned, the next scheduled race day will be next Saturday. It will feature the Jamaica Cup which represents a preparation race for prospects, who will possibly contest the lucrative Moutett Mile scheduled for early next month.

A series of unstoppable performances on the International Cycling Union (UCI) circuits in Canada and Germany, followed by a classy display at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina, a performance which complemented a gold medal win at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Add to that another double medal-winning performance at the Pan American (PanAm) Games in Santiago, Chile.

For many, that would more than represent a successful cycling career. But for Trinidad and Tobago's Nicholas Paul, this is only the beginning. In fact, despite his many successes to date, Paul still views his career as a work in progress, possibly because he is still hunting that one prize or moment to really define things and that is the Olympic Games dream.

Much like he did at the PanAm Elite Track Cycling Championships in Argentina where he won the Sprints and Keirin, while clocking a new track record 9.349 seconds in the flying 200m, Paul once again demonstrated his qualities as one of the best track cyclists in the world when he won gold in the final of the Men’s Sprint at the 2023 Pan American Games.

The outstanding 25-year-old out-paced his rival Jair Tjon of Suriname to top the podium, while Kevin Santiago Qunitero Chavarro of Colombia bettered Canada’s Nicholas John Wammes in the race for the bronze medal.

For Paul, the win added to his Pan Am Games title won in Lima, Peru in 2019 and he rightly expressed delight at the accomplishments.

“Firstly I would like to thank God for a safe meet. I am very pleased with my performance at this stage of the season because my preparation coming into the Pan-American Games was really good, and so I knew it was all left to my execution as the key factor which would determine how things would turnout.

“Fortunately, I executed well both in the flying 200m and the Sprints achieving some excellent results. Creating a new games record is always a special moment for me and my country,” Paul told SportsMax.tv.

The modest twin island republic cyclist returned a day later to cop a silver medal in the Men’s Keirin final.

On that occasion, Paul used his electric sprint speed in the final lap to power himself to second place, after falling behind the pack with a couple of laps remaining in the six-lap event.

The event was won by Colombia's Kevin Quintero, the reigning world champion in the event, while Mexico's Juan Ruiz Teran was third.

Paul, who has been a model of consistency throughout the season, attributed his continuous improvement and, by extension, success to the time spent in training honing his craft.

“It’s means a lot to me just to know that my hard work is paying off and I’m able to show the world that Trinidad and Tobago has a lot of talent. Like I said before, my preparations for the PanAm Games have been great and so I am pleased that I was able to accomplish all my goals to an extent,” he shared.

That said, Paul hinted at the possibility of much more to come, as he intends to continue pushing the limits and discover what he is truly able to achieve –next year’s Olympic Games in Paris being his next immediate target.

“It’s all a work in progress, my plan is to build on this performance and to do so, I intend to keep putting in those hard hours to keep getting stronger and faster. My overall goal for this year and beyond is to firstly qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games and secondly, try to win a medal or medals at the Olympic Games for Trinidad and Tobago. But for now, the focus is some much-needed rest and recovery," Paul declared.

Things may not have gone how Yona Knight-Wisdom would have liked during his recent outing at the Pan American (PanAm) Games in Chile, but the flag-bearing diver has no intentions reeling in the disappointment for too long.

Instead, Knight-Wisdom views the sub-par performances as an indication that he has some amount of work to do, if he is to achieve the feat of competing at a third-consecutive Olympic Games.

The British-born diver, whose father is Jamaican and mother Barbadian, placed 11th in both the individual 1-metre and 3-metre springboard events with scores of 318.60 and 372.10 respectively.

He also placed fifth in the 3-metre springboard synchronized dive with Canada-born compatriot Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson. Together, they scored 345.51, behind their Mexican (425.46), Colombian (398.67) and United States (368.64) counterparts.

“There is definitely a hint of disappointment from PanAm Games because I struggled with inconsistency throughout the week. But at the same time, I am also a bit excited for the months ahead because I managed to reach a decent level at such an early point in the season and there’s much room for improvement, both individually and in synchro,” Knight-Wisdom told SportsMax.TV.

“The PanAm Games really exposed my natural strengths and weaknesses, so I know exactly what I need to work on between now and the World Championships in February, and hopefully my confidence will grow over the next few months. Synchro was probably the highlight for me because it was a really solid performance in a high quality field. We’re definitely in the mix for Olympic qualification,” he added.

While he reflected with a mixed bag of emotions, Knight-Wisdom, pointed out that the lessons from his recent performances and, by extension, the challenges he overcame along the way, are used as motivation to go even harder in his next training session or competition.

Simply put, Knight-Wisdom’s passion and desire to achieve greatness burns fiercely much like a hellish fire, as he is not merely satisfied with his 1-m springboard silver at the 2019 PanAm Games, nor his 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games appearance.

“So many lessons have come from PanAm. It was one of the most challenging periods of my career, having only six weeks to prepare, and still only 10 months or so since my knee surgery. It showed me that I’m absolutely still capable, but I really need to streamline my focus on competition preparation in the lead up to the last qualifier in February,” Knight-Wisdom shared.

Though the physical and mental challenges are not unique to Knight-Wisdom as many athletes often struggle to find their way back from injury, it is the grace and faith that towering diver exudes as he represents the country with much gusto that stands out.

“I was also getting lots of compliments from other divers and coaches, which gives me confidence even though I wasn’t feeling particularly good within myself on this occasion,” Knight-Wisdom said.

“I honestly believe I’m on the right track and don’t need to make any drastic changes, I just need to trust the process and I believe I will have a great chance of qualifying for the Olympics in two events. So though disappointing, the PanAm experience was definitely extremely valuable for me,” he noted.

For now, Knight-Wisdom said the focus is now rest and recovery to not only improve his mental toughness, but more importantly, to ensure he returns, better and stronger for his next assignment in December, followed by the big Olympic qualifiers in February.

“So it is a few days of rest, then back into training to prepare for the British nationals in December, which will be my last warm up event before the World Championships in Doha in February.

“My chances are definitely good, but anything can happen on the day, so I really need to leave no stone unturned over the next few months and put myself in the best position possible to compete close to my best level in February. I don’t need to be right at my best, but my best is what I’ll be aiming for,” he ended.

Jamaica College remains on course to defend their ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup title, as they joined Mona High in the quarterfinal round following victories in their respective second-leg Round of 16 fixtures at Ashenheim Stadium on Wednesday.

The Old Hope Road-based boys, who held a 3-0 lead over Eltham High at the end of the first leg, again made light work of the opponents in a 3-1 scoreline for a 6-1 aggregate win.

Jamaica College got their goals from Amarlie King (36th), Jayd Johnson (37th) and Jabarie Howell (61st), while Jevaughn Grant (54th) got Eltham’s consolation.

Earlier in the curtain-raiser of the double-header, Mona High hammered Jonathan Grant 6-1 on the day for a 10-1 aggregate scoreline, as they too enjoy good form heading into the quarterfinal.

In the feature contest, Jamaica College were always favoured to make good on their first leg advantage, and they could have opened the scoring in the fifth minute had Johnson got a better touch on Howell’s weighted cross into the area.

They did however make amends six minutes past the half-hour mark in a delightful combination play. This, as Dylan John’s weighted cross was played down by Howell for King to fire home his seventh goal of the season from deep inside the 18-yard box.

Before Eltham could catch their collective breaths, they found themselves two-goals down when Johnson got on the end of, and finished off a rebound after Jamoy Dennis’s initial effort from a distance was kept out by goalkeeper Joshua Aitcheson.

With the score unchanged at the break, the “Dark Blues” came out slow on the resumption and that allowed Grant pulled one back for Eltham as Raul Renton in goal for Jamaica College was hesitant in coming to collect the ball.

But the St Catherine-based team’s joy was short-lived as Howell’s well-struck right-footer from a distance burst through the grasp of Aitcheson and restored Jamaica College’s two-goal cushion which lasted to the final whistle.

Winning coach Davion Ferguson expressed pleasure with his team’s effort despite conceding a goal.

“I think we are somewhat disappointed in conceding that goal, we set ourselves a record and so we never wanted to give up that goal. Nevertheless, I think they played well, credit must be given to Eltham I think came here with a very good game plan, but our boys were patient and they eventually found ways to score goals so credit to them,” Ferguson said in his post-game interview.

Eltham’s assistant coach Glenville Holmes believes his youthful bunch gave as much as was expected.

“The truth is Eltham has nothing to be ashamed of. We played the defending champions which was always going to be a tough fixture, but I think the guys did their best and I am super proud of them. They are a very young bunch, they are under 15 years old, and I think in time, they will represent Eltham very well,” Holmes reasoned.

Wednesday's results

Mona 6, Jonathan Grant 1 (10-1 aggregate)

Kingston College 4, Campion College 1 (7-3 aggregate)

Jamaica College 3, Eltham 1 (6-1 aggregate)

St George’s College 3, St Jago 0 (5-0 aggregate)

St Catherine 3, Wolmer’s Boys 1 (4-1 aggregate)

Haile Selassie 1, Tivoli High 1 (1-1 aggregate)

Hydel 3, Excelsior 1 (3-1 aggregate)

STATHS 7, Kingston Technical 0 (11-0 aggregate)

Last year’s beaten finalists St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) and Kingston College secured an advantage over Kingston Technical and Campion College, as they registered contrasting victories in their respective first leg second round ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup fixtures at Jamaica College on Saturday.

STATHS with a clinical second half display, blanked Kingston Technical 4-0, courtesy of a brace from Richard Livingston (58th and 81st), with Leon Brown (58th) and Alexavier Gooden (88th), getting the others.

Kingston College had things much more difficult and had to come from behind to edge Campion College 3-2 in the feature contest of the double-header.

Tyler Falconer (21st) and Djas Less (25th) gave Campion a handy lead, but Demario Dailey (59th), O’Neil Bryan (83rd) and Robert Seow (90+3), responded for Kingston College.

After playing out a goalless first half in the curtain raiser, STATHS came to life on the resumption and found the go-ahead goal 13 minutes in when Livingston converted from the 12-yard spot, after Brown was felled by goalkeeper Jahiem Orr.

The Bumper Hall-based school continued to press and doubled the lead through Brown, who was on hand to slam home a loose ball from close range, his 14th goal of the season.

With Kingston Technical offering very little resistance, particularly in the latter stages, scoring got easier for STATHS and Livingston helped himself to another, as he skipped a defender and drove home a right-footed effort from just inside the 18-yard box.

Gooden then capped the win with a fine header that gave Orr no chance at a save.

The second contest between Campion College and Kingston College, was expected to be more competitive and lived up to its billing.

Campion took the lead against the run of play when a poor clearance by goalkeeper Malique Williams, went straight to Falconer, who made no mistakes.

Another poor attempt by Williams to gather the ball, allowed Less to tap the ball in at the far post, almost hurting himself in the process when he slammed into the upright.

Though down, Kingston College was not out, and they again found some momentum in the latter stages of the first half, and they maintained it after the break.

The North Street-based team made it count a minute to the hour mark through Dailey, who finished off an Otaivian Halloway pass with aplomb.

With that goal literally knocking the wind from Campion College’s sails, Kingston College went for broke, and Bryan put them back on level terms with a tidy finish from deep inside the 18-yard box.

Seow completed the comeback befitting of their motto “the brave may fall, but never yield,” with an easy tap in at the far post.

Winning coach Vassell Reynolds praised his team for the win.

“It was a tough one, we gave up two soft goals but it’s a part of the game. We asked the guys at half-time to dig in and in the end, fitness spoke, and we got three goals. It is a young and experience team, but we have asked them from the start of the season to always fight in a way that is of a Kingston College spirit, and they did that, so I am very proud of them,” Reynolds said in a post-game interview.

His counterpart Ashton Blankson also lauded his team but felt they were undone by a lack of fitness.

“I thought they got a little tired and the heads dropped, but we fought all the way to the end. We want to go back to playing our game which is the passing game, and we will see what happens (in the second leg) on Wednesday,” Blankson noted.

Saturday’s results

St Catherine 2, Wolmer’s Boys 0

Excelsior 0, Hydel 0

Jamaica College 3, Eltham 0

Mona 3, Jonathan Grant 0

Kingston College 3, Campion College 2

STATHS 4, Kingston Technical 0

St George’s College 2, St Jago 0

Haile Selassie 0, Tivoli High 0

As expected, Mahogany produced a telling performance to win a $1.4-million three-year-old and upward Open Allowance contest with consummate ease, as he signalled some semblance of readiness for the lucrative Mouttet Mile.

In fact, the run by the Ian Parsard trainee at five furlongs (1,000m) round at Caymanas Park on Saturday, was almost like an exercise given the manner in which he was tenderly handled by jockey Robert Halledeen, and even then, the 6-1/2 lengths victory was completed in a brisk 59.3 seconds. His splits were 23.3 and 46.2 seconds.

Much was said of a potential stretch duel between Mahogany and American-bred Is That A Fact, who was hunting a fifth-consecutive win. But Mahogany, coming off a Gold Cup loss to She’s My Destiny, had no equals on this occasion.

Though a shade slowly out the box, the Sensational Slam -Mete-Orite progeny, coupled up quickly and was sent straight to the front by Halledeen and from there, it was the six-year-old chestnut gelding against the clock.

Jordan Reign's (Dane Dawkins), Is That A Fact (Reyan Lewis), and Freedom Street (Roger Hewitt), were all left in Mahogany’s wake, especially when he turned for home and was briefly asked for a response by Halledeen.

Freedom Street and Jordan Reign's were second and third, while Is That A Fact, who initially placed second, was disqualified and placed fourth for causing interference to rivals in the battle for the minor placing.

Meanwhile, Digital One made in two-in-two when she won the $2-million Hover Craft Sprint feature contest.

Piloted by leading rider Reyan Lewis, the Jason DaCosta-trained charge topped the Restricted Stakes contest for native-bred and imported two-year-olds, by 6-1/4 lengths and covered six furlongs (1,200m) in 1:13.3.

Parsard’s Run Julie Run (Omar Walker) and Blu Sensation (Oneil Mullings) and Rosetta (Youville Pinnock), completed the frame.

Lewis earlier guided Leroy Tomlinson’s Victoriasmedallion to victory in the second race, while trainer Gary Griffiths, topped his peers with two winners in Turnonthelight (Tevin Foster) in the first and Here Comes Doc (Anthony Allen) in the sixth event.

Racing continues on Sunday.

With her parents starting a rich and fruitful partnership with Sandals Resorts, Wendy McClung, Executive vice-president of Baxter Media said the decision was easy for her to continue the family legacy to promote Jamaica as a golfing destination through the Canadian Travel Advisors Golf Tournament.

The 27th edition of this tournament, which is the longest running of the three, preceding the United States and Latin American events, attracted 16 teams made up of some 61 travel advisors, who beyond basking in the fun, frolic and excitement, will ensure that Jamaica’s sports tourism stocks in North America continues to rise.

Team three comprising Christopher Gregoris, Leo Tam, Tom Liu, and Wendy Hsu, finished tops at the end of the two-day competition at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in St Ann. They tallied scores of 65 and 62 across the two days for an 18-hole total of 127.

The team of Gord Ramkissoon, Lalita Ramkissoon, Leonard Sanicharan and Lalita Sanicharan, were six strokes behind in second on 133, after daily scores of 66 and 67, while Team Five comprising David Harris, Doug Rollheiser, Jacques Gilbert and Jason Jenkins took third with 134, after daily scores of 65 and 69.

McClung, who believes the prospects for the tournament is far-reaching where impacting visitor arrivals to Jamaica is concerned, is hoping to build on what her parents Edith and William Baxter accomplished.

Baxter’s Media is the publisher of two of Canada's leading travel trade magazine, the Canadian Travel Press and Travel Courier.

“This was actually started by my parents and my parents always had a good relationship with Jamaica, in fact, my mother was conferred with the Order of Distinction. So, Sandals has been a partner of ours for a very long time and every year we bring travel agents and people who serve Jamaica just to have a nice kind of thank you gathering. It is four days of golf, fun and entertainment and so it’s a great way to celebrate the partnership,” she said.

“Every year it gets better and better. In fact, we had to turn people away because it’s a popular thing and it’s the highlight of the year for many people. As you know, Jamaica has the perfect weather, Sandals is a perfect resort with a perfect golf club, my only complaint is that we are not here long enough,” McClung added.

Meanwhile, the side competitions which raised US$1,528 (about $235,869 Jamaican dollars) for the Sandals Foundation, were won by Curtis Dewar and Norah Hogan, in the closest to the pin, while Colin Harris and Tobe Leney, were the male and female longest drive winners.

Interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert is hoping his makeshift team can bounce back quickly to not only take three points off Guatemala, but more importantly, put themselves in a much better position to top the qualifying group on their way to next year’s Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup.

The Girlz, who went down 1-2 away to Panama, are currently at the foot of the three-team Group B in League A of the qualifiers, but a win against Guatemala at the National Stadium on Sunday, would see them back in contention for the coveted top spot.

This, as Panama currently lead with six points from three games, followed by Guatemala with three points from two games, while the Girlz will be contesting their second fixture to be followed by the return leg encounters on November 29 and December 3 respectively.

Sunday’s game is scheduled for 5:00pm.

“I think the ladies can bounce back, but it is going to be a tough encounter similar to what we experienced against Panama. I think the ladies are in a much better place after getting the first game out of the way and we managed to get an extra session in with everybody so that was good,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

“The spirits are high, so we just have to come out and execute. As I said before, it is going to be tough, and we are mindful that they (Guatemala) beat Panama before Panama defeated them. We know that they like to shoot from different areas, and I think offensively they are strong, so we just have to nullify their strengths,” he added.

Reflecting on the first game, Gilbert was encouraged by his team’s display for the most part, given the fact that they were pulled together only a few days prior to that game.

In fact, had it not been for an own-goal and a defensive error by Alika Keene in either half of the contest, Gilbert’s makeshift side would have pulled off a highly unexpected win.

“When you look back at the first game against Panama, they really didn’t break us down to score and unfortunately, we didn’t come away with anything because of the own-goal and defensive error. But we have Marlo Sweatman coming in for this game and with her experience in the middle of the park, I think we should give a much better performance on this occasion,” the tactician noted.

Marlo Sweatman, who didn’t make the trip to Panama, joined the team’s training session on Friday. She along with fellow 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup veteran Chinyelu Asher, are expected to do most of the work in the midfield, both from an attacking and defensive perspective.

Sweatman, 28, who currently plays professionally in Hungary, is eager to ply her part in the makeshift Girlz resurgence.

"I am very happy to be here. I have been playing attacking midfield and scoring a lot of goals, and I feel like I am in good form,” she said.

“This is a very young team, and so I will bring in a lot of experience and some leadership, especially in the midfield, as well as off the field, to help them grow as players and as people off the field as well,” Sweatman shared.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.