Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

In a jaw-dropping display of explosive power and determination, Devynne Charlton of the Bahamas soared to new heights, breaking her own world record to clinch gold in the fiercely competitive 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The final session on Sunday witnessed an explosive showdown between Charlton and the 2022 champion, Cyrena Samba-Mayela. Fueled by the intense competition, Charlton stormed across the finish line in a remarkable 7.65 seconds, not only securing the gold but also eclipsing her previous world record of 7.67 set at the Millrose Games in February.

Samba-Mayela, the French sensation, pushed herself to the limit with a personal best of 7.73 in the semi-finals but was just shy of Charlton's electrifying pace, forcing her to settle for the silver medal with a time of 7.74 seconds.

Poland's Pia Skrzyszowka added to the drama, running a fast 7.79 seconds to claim the bronze medal in the tightly contested race. Meanwhile, Charlton's teammate Charisma Taylor, despite a strong effort, secured the sixth position with a time of 7.92 seconds.

Devynne Charlton's emphatic victory not only secured her a well-deserved gold but also ensured that the Bahamas would leave the World Indoor Championships with a single gold medal. This achievement puts the Bahamas on par with St Lucia and the Commonwealth of Dominica, where Julien Alfred and Thea LaFond claimed gold in the 60m and triple jump events, respectively.

However, the same cannot be said for Jamaica, which experienced a disappointing outing in the 4x400m relay. Despite having three bronze medals in their tally, the defending champions failed to finish the race as the third-leg runner, Charokee Young, dropped the baton, extinguishing any hopes of adding to their medal count.

 

 

 

 

 

The island of St Lucia is set to erupt in jubilation as the Government plans extravagant celebrations to honour Julien Alfred's historic triumph at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow. However, when those festivities occur will likely depend on when the athlete would be available to participate.

 The 22-year-old sprint sensation made history on Saturday, securing the gold medal in the 60m dash and etching her name in St Lucian athletics lore.

Already recognized as the fastest women ever from St Lucia, Alfred's stellar performance in Glasgow elevated her status to unparalleled heights. Clocking a world-leading 6.98s, she held off formidable competitors Ewa Swoboda of Poland (7.00s) and Italy's Zaynab Dosso (7.05s) to clinch the coveted gold medal, marking the first time a St Lucian athlete has achieved such a feat on the global stage.

In the wake of this historic victory, St Lucia's Sports Minister, Kenson Casimir, expressed the government's eagerness to celebrate Julien Alfred's triumph.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV, Minister Casimir outlined plans for a grand celebration but emphasized that the arrangements would hinge on Alfred's availability, considering her demanding athletic schedule.

“We have a very long season ahead of us, we would love to celebrate it with Julien but we are thinking about whether or not she comes home, that would be entirely up to her, her technical team, and her staff, coach and others," stated Minister Casimir.

The sports minister further conveyed the island's desire to demonstrate their pride and support for Alfred by parading her across the entire island. However, recognizing the athlete's significant goals and commitments, Casimir expressed the need to coordinate with Alfred's team to determine the feasibility of such a celebration.

“We would love to have her home to really parade her around the entire island, but we have big goals; she has big goals. Of course, I will be on the phone with her soon enough to find out what is possible and what’s not,” he added.

In a historic moment at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Thea LaFond from Dominica leaped into the record books, securing her place as the first Dominican to clinch a medal at a world indoor championships. Her triumphant victory in the triple jump with a lifetime best and world-leading 15.01m showcased not only her exceptional talent but also the power of inspiration drawn from fellow Caribbean athlete Julien Alfred of St. Lucia.

The connection between these two neighboring nations, Dominica and St. Lucia, goes beyond geographical proximity, as they share cultural similarities that run deep. The impact of Julien Alfred's gold medal win in the 60m dash the previous night reverberated strongly for LaFond, eliciting emotional tears of joy.

"So Julien is from St Lucia, she is a neighboring country, Dominica. We share a lot of similarities cultural-wise, and I would be lying to you if I said I didn't cry last night (Saturday) when I saw her gold," LaFond expressed, reflecting on the profound connection that binds these two island nations.

Fuelled by the desire to replicate the success of her compatriot, LaFond reached out to her husband, Aaron, expressing her yearning for victory. His reassuring words became the catalyst for her exceptional performance, as she recalled, "I messaged Aaron, and I told him that I so desperately want this, I don't want to disappoint, and his words back to me were like, 'It's OK, it's your turn.'"

As LaFond stepped onto the track after the introductions, a powerful motivation fueled her. She envisioned a "1-2 punch for the Lesser Antilles islands," with Julien Alfred being the first punch the night before. Determined and inspired, she declared, "Let's do it. Let's do it."

The resonance of Julien Alfred's achievement echoed in LaFond's heart, transforming the competition into a celebration of the prowess of small Caribbean nations. "But it was amazing inspiration last night and filled me with such pride. And once again, these small countries doing such amazing things. And I knew St. Lucia was going to be so proud, and I wanted that same feeling for Dominica," LaFond shared.

Expressing her gratitude and congratulations to Julien Alfred, LaFond celebrated the shared success of their neighboring islands. "So, a huge thank you and congratulations to Julien Alfred for the inspiration late last night and of course that gold medal. Twinsies!" she exclaimed, celebrating the unique bond and collective triumph of the Caribbean athletes on the global stage.

In a breathtaking and ground-breaking performance Thea LaFond won gold in the women’s triple jump at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Dominican stunned her rivals and herself when she uncorked a remarkable world-leading 15.01m to win and become the first woman from the Caribbean to achieve that distance indoors and the first from Dominica to win a global gold medal.

LaFond, who achieved a lifetime best of 14.90m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last year to finish fifth, uncorked her historic performance on her second attempt in Glasgow stunning the audience and her rivals. She stared at the mark in disbelief before shedding tears of joy in front of her husband and coach Aaron Gadson.

With the gold medal all but secured, LaFond passed on her remaining jumps but watched as Cuba’s Leyanis Perez Hernandez provided a scare when she unleashed a jump of 14.90m to claim the silver medal. The Cuban had a big jump on her final attempt but it was deemed a foul, which sent LaFond skipping away joyfully at winning her first-ever global championship.

Spain’s Ana Peleteiro-Compaore' won the bronze medal with her effort of 14.75m

Earlier, world-record holder Devynne Charlton easily advanced to the semi-final round of the 60m hurdles. The Bahamian barely broke a sweat in winning the third of the six heats in 7.93. Her compatriot Charisma Taylor also advanced one of the six fastest losers. Taylor was fourth her heat in 8.05.

Megan Tapper from Jamaica was an automatic qualifier after she was third in her heat in 8.05.

Jamaica ran well to advance to the final of the 4x00m relay. The quartet of Junelle Bromfield, Andrenette Knight, Charokee Young and Leah Anderson ran a season-best 3:27.35 to finish second, an automatic qualifying spot in the second of two heats that was won by Great Britain who ran a national record of 3:26.40.

Gold medal favourites, the Netherlands (3:27.70) and the USA (3:28.04) are also through to the final.

 

 

 

Caribbean athletes experienced a mix of success and challenges on the opening day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday.

Jamaican sprinter Ackeem Blake showcased his speed in the 60-metre dash, winning his heat in 6.55. Although he stands as the third-fastest in the world this year at 6.45, Blake is fifth-fastest heading into the semi-finals. Notably, gold-medal favorite Christian Coleman dominated the heats with a remarkable run of 6.49.

Mario Burke of Barbados is also through to the semi-final round after he finished second to Coleman in 6.58. Also through is Rikkoi Brathwaite of the British Virgin Islands, who ran a season-best 6.62 for fourth-place in Coleman’s heat.

Coleman’s compatriot, Noah Lyles, who is also in contention for the gold medal won his heat in 6.57.

The 60m semi-finals and finals are set for later on Friday.

Rusheen McDonald, also from Jamaica, delivered a lifetime best performance in the 400m, clocking an impressive 46.25. He finished second in his heat behind the Czech Republic’s Matej Krsek (46.07), securing his place in the next round.

Trinidad and Tobago's defending champion Jereem Richards faced a close call in the 400m, finishing fourth in his heat with a time of 47.04. However, Richards secured a spot in the next round ahead of the USA’s Jacory Patterson, credited with a similar time.

In the women's events, Stacey-Ann Williams from Jamaica advanced in the 400m, clocking 52.16. Williams entered the competition with a season best of 51.86 and secured a spot as one of the fastest losers after finishing fourth in her heat, won by Netherlands’ Lieke Laver in 51.31.

Despite these successes, the challenges were evident. Charokee Young faced disappointment in the 400m, finishing third in her heat with a time of 53.06. Shalysa Wray of the Cayman Islands and Yanique Haye-Smith of the Turks and Caicos produced season-best performances but will take no further part in the competition.

In the 800m, Natoya Goule Toppin advanced to the semi-final round with a second-place finish in her heat, clocking 2:00.83. She opened her season in a competitive field, with Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu winning the heat in 2:00.50.

In the shot put final, Danielle Thomas Dodd threw a season-best 19.12m, earning sixth place. Canada’s Sarah Mitton claimed gold with a throw of 20.22m, followed by Germany’s Yemisi Ogunleye with a lifetime best of 20.19m for the silver medal. The USA’s Chase Jackson (nee’ Ealey) secured the bronze with a throw of 19.67m.

Jamaica's Travis Williams, a sprinter attending the University of Southern California, triumphed at the 2024 Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet in Seattle, Washington, clinching victory in the 60m dash with a remarkable personal best of 6.52, a meet record.

He believes the performance sets him up for something special at the NCAA Indoor National Championships set for March 7-9 at The Track at New Balance in Boston.

Williams’ winning time ranks third on the NCAA descending order list this indoor season and moved him from seven to second on USC's all-time list.  He now sits just behind school record-holder Davonte Burnett's time of 6.50.  The time also makes him the second-fastest Jamaican over 60m this indoor season. Only Ackeem Blake, who has run 6.45, has gone faster.

This achievement was particularly noteworthy as Williams had battled through a toe injury that had sidelined him from training and competition for about two weeks.

Williams, who had transferred from the University of Albany, where he secured the 60m and 200m double at the 2023 America East Indoor Championships, revealed the challenges he faced leading up to the Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet.

Reflecting on his performance, Williams expressed his excitement, telling Sportsmax.tv, “Performance-wise, I was excited, ecstatic, full of energy and joy 'cause I started the season out rough with a toe injury; still nursing it back as we speak but it's to the point where I can compete on it. I am not at my full potential yet, but we still getting there.”

To recover from the injury, Williams adopted a comprehensive approach. He engaged in discussions with his coaches, adjusted his diet, and made strategic decisions for his recovery both on and off the track. He acknowledged the efforts invested in correcting and overcoming the challenges, saying, “We had to go back a few times to try and see what works for me on the track and off the track. A lot of dieting, a lot of sitting down with my coaches and going back on what we need to do, 'cause pre-season was probably one of the greatest pre-seasons I ever had running track and field.”

Despite the initial doubts caused by the toe injury, Williams found solace and determination in his accomplishments. Running the 6.52 not only silenced those doubts but also positioned him as a formidable contender in the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I had doubts because of my toe. I set those doubts behind me this past weekend. I was happy about that, 'cause I know it was SEC, ACC, Big 12, and all those other conferences, so I just showed the people that I'm still here," Williams declared.

Expressing gratitude for the support and environment at USC, Williams highlighted the positive impact of his coach, John Bolton, in guiding him through the challenges of returning from an injury.

"Sitting out for two weeks, it was depressing at one point but then we had to bounce back and look behind us and say oh, I know what I can do," Williams revealed. "As far as my training and everything, it’s going well, I love USC's culture, the environment, the coaches. My coach John Bolton, he set me up at the right time, the right way based on how he handled the situation coming off an injury."

Looking ahead, Williams expressed confidence in his trajectory, saying, "So yeah, as far as all that, I would say my performance was great. We still have big goals for indoors. We're not done yet. We have two weeks to the NCAA National Championships. I have something in store, so you want to stay tuned for that.”

In a moment that will resonate through the corridors of track and field history, Lamara Distin, the high-flying Jamaican representing Texas A&M, soared to unprecedented heights at the SEC Indoor Championships.

Last weekend, the 23-year-old SEC champion shattered the women's NCAA indoor high jump record, scaling a breathtaking 2.00 metres, not only claiming her third-straight SEC title but etching her name as the first NCAA athlete to conquer this elusive mark. The feat also holds special significance as Distin becomes the trailblazing woman from the English-speaking Caribbean to achieve such an extraordinary height and by that virtue establishing a Jamaica national indoor record.

It was a moment of relief and reward for the talented Jamaican. "Achieving the long-awaited goal was an incredible and rewarding feeling. I have been going after this mark for years so for it to finally happen, it’s such a great feeling. I’m super-elated that my hard work is paying off."

Distin's journey at the Randal Tyson Track Centre was nothing short of a masterclass in precision and execution. She cleared her initial six heights on the first attempt, securing her SEC indoor high jump title with a jump over 1.97m. With history beckoning, she boldly raised the bar once more. On her third and final attempt, she defied gravity, clearing the record-breaking 2.00m, etching her legacy into the NCAA and Jamaica history books.

In doing so, Distin awarded the 2024 SEC Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

 

The former Hydel High School star shared the depth of emotion and accomplishment tied to this historic moment. "Being among an elite class of high jumpers and the first Caribbean woman to achieve this height fills me with a deep sense of gratitude and motivation to continue pushing my limits," she shared, reflecting on the significance of this achievement.

The journey to this moment, however, was not without its challenges. The 2022 Commonwealth Games champion opened up about the transformative year of 2023, marked by a change of coach from Sean Brady to Mario Sategna.

During the year, Distin was well below her best even though she won the Indoor title with a clearance of 1.91m. However, after only clearing 1.87m, she relinquished the national outdoor title to Ball State’s Charity Griffith, who soared over a height of 1.93m to claim the crown.

“The change of coach was a bit of a challenge for me last year as I know that I would be doing completely different workouts that I was used to with my old coach since I was a freshman,” she explained.

“I’m used to the (new) program now so I’m super grateful everything is falling into place at the right time. There are little things that still need to be fixed but we’ll get there. Change can be daunting, but it can also be a catalyst for growth and improvement.”

For Distin, reaching the 2.00m mark was not just a physical breakthrough; it also marked a profound mental transformation.

“Reaching that two-metre mark is not only a physical breakthrough but also a significant mental breakthrough for me. It’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. This has opened up new possibilities and has shown me that I am capable of achieving greater heights,” she stated.

“It has given me the confidence to set bigger goals and strive for even more success in the sport. I will continue to have faith in God and remember that his timing is always better than me.”

With the summer approaching at the Paris Olympics looming ever closer, Distin and her coach are meticulously planning her competitions, ensuring she peaks at the right time for the Olympic challenge ahead.

“An Olympic year means I have to also be smart as it relates to competitions. Competing at the collegiate level is totally different than the professional level as our season starts earlier. Moving into this season, my coach and I are taking the necessary measures in order for me to be fresh enough for the Olympics which is being strategic with competition planning. We have a plan and we’re sticking to that plan.”

As she sets her sights on consistently clearing higher heights, Distin shared the key factors for sustained success. "Maintaining a positive mindset, consistency in practice, taking care of my overall well-being, and seeking support when needed" are the cornerstones of her approach.

Grounded in her faith and armed with a renewed sense of self-belief, Distin is not merely defying gravity; she's rewriting the script of what's possible in high jumping and aiming for nothing less than Olympic glory.

In a triumphant display of school spirit and athletic prowess, Christine Day, the Jamaican Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion, spearheaded her eponymous house to a resounding victory at Tacky High School's sports day last Thursday. Despite her significant achievements, Day had largely flown under the radar in her home country until her high school honoured her by renaming a school house after her last year.

Formerly known as Grant House, Day House, after a 12-year hiatus, clinched the sports day crown with an impressive total of 486 points, overcoming challenges from rival houses Hudson, Ashton, and Crawford. This marked a significant milestone for Day House, as their last victory dated back to 2012.

The decision to rename the houses came as part of an initiative by the school administration to honour contemporary past students who have excelled in various fields. School principal Errol Bascoe explained the reasoning behind the change, stating, “What was happening is that the patrons for the houses have been some old-timers, business people in the area. Some have died, and we think that the sport itself was dying with the patrons, and so it was a consensus of the school that we look for past students who are doing well and who have done well; in whatever area.”

Day was a natural choice for this honour. Principal Bascoe revealed that Day wasn't merely a patron in name; she brought a burst of energy and enthusiasm to the sports day preparations. "Christine was integral in the planning. She gave them jerseys, she came with her energy drinks, she gave them everything, and she was there jumping up and blowing the vuvuzelas with them."

Day, the 2015 national 400m champion, 2015 World Championship 4x400m gold medalist and a two-time Commonwealth Games 4x400m relay gold medalist, has often been overshadowed despite her impressive athletic achievements.

 When her high school named a house in her honor last November, she was visibly moved by the gesture. "I felt really elated and overwhelmed that my high school considered using me, my name for one of the school houses. It actually makes me realize that I am appreciated and loved by my school community," Day expressed.

Buoyed by this recognition, Day went above and beyond to support her house. She garnered donations from friends, including notable Olympians, to provide essential items for the athletes. The support included shirts, energy drinks, banners, fruit, water, and even a massage gun.

“I got help from Andisports Management, my besty, Kaliese Spencer; Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Rusheen McDonald, my daddy Hope Day, sister Jonique Day; as well as Andre Edwards, Aundrae Drummonds, Miguel Melbourne, Miquel Emmanuel and Jerald Irons,” she said.

Her efforts paid off as Day House secured a convincing victory, echoing the excitement and energy of the renowned ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships.

Reflecting on the success, Christine Day said, "The energy was like at Champs vibes. There was a lot of excitement and joy coming from both teachers, students, and supporters." The win not only showcased the athletic prowess of Tacky High School's students but also highlighted the impact a dedicated and honored alumna like Christine Day can have on inspiring future generations.

Reigning Women’s World Athletics 200m champion, Shericka Jackson, has achieved another remarkable feat as she secures a spot among the nominees for the highly prestigious 2024 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. The announcement, made on Monday, February 26, recognizes Jackson's outstanding achievements on the track.

Jackson, who clinched her second world 200m title in Budapest last year with a remarkable time of 21.41 seconds, stands as the second-fastest of all time, just seven hundredths of a second shy of Florence Griffith-Joyner's 35-year-old record. Additionally, she earned a silver medal in the 100m at the World Championships and dominated the 2023 Diamond League, claiming titles in both the 100m and 200m events. Her exceptional form was further emphasized by a personal best of 10.65 seconds at the Jamaica national championships in June.

The Jamaican sprinter finds herself in the esteemed company of two other track and field luminaries: Women's World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who made history by becoming the first woman to triumph in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the World Championships.

The list of nominees is completed by outstanding athletes from various disciplines, including Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, and Polish tennis sensation Iga Swiatek.

It's worth noting that Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed the prestigious Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award in 2023. This adds an extra layer of distinction to Jackson's nomination, as she follows in the footsteps of her illustrious compatriot.

The Laureus World Sportsman of the Year category boasts an equally formidable lineup, featuring Noah Lyles, Novak Djokovic, Mondo Duplantis, Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, and Max Verstappen.Mikae

 

Alex Thomas made an electrifying debut as the head coach of Slingerz FC in Guyana, orchestrating a spectacular 7-0 victory over rivals Monedderlust FC in the opening match of the 2024 Elite League at the National Training Centre on Sunday night.

The star of the show was undoubtedly new signing Marcus Tudor, whose remarkable display saw him net an incredible five goals, leaving Monedderlust FC reeling from the onslaught. The emphatic win served as sweet revenge for Slingerz FC, who had suffered a 1-0 upset at the hands of Monedderlust FC in the Elite League playoffs back in January.

Despite Tudor's stellar performance, Coach Thomas was quick to commend the collective effort of his team, highlighting their adherence to the game plan and flawless execution on the field. Speaking to Sportsmax.TV in the aftermath of the resounding victory, Thomas expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance and expressed optimism for the season ahead.

"The key to the emphatic win tonight was the players sticking to the objective, sticking to the game plan and executing," remarked Thomas, visibly elated by the result. "I want to say congrats to the Slingerz team. It’s good to start out on a winning note, put our best foot forward and plan for the next one. The team was organized and patient with the ball in possession and in transition, those were the key elements."

Singling out Tudor, Coach Thomas praised the young player but emphasized that he will work to make him better as the season progresses.

"His performance  was good last night. He is a youngster and I do not want to put too much pressure on him. Five goals, that is big for him but I will take him one game at a time and help build his mental and physical capacity but kudos to him. He did well for himself last night."

Thomas, 41, assumed the role of head coach at Slingerz FC just over a week prior, following the departure of Charles 'Lilly' Pollard in early February. Pollard, reflecting on his decision to step down, cited difficulties in conveying his message to the players as the primary reason for his departure.

"I think I lost the dressing room for some reason or another because it’s difficult to get my message across to the players, and that’s why I believe that I lost them," explained Pollard to Stabroek Sport. "As a coach, you have to know when to say or acknowledge that I can’t penetrate these players and need to walk away."

In light of Sunday night's dominating performance, it appears Thomas has successfully revitalized the team, with every player back to performing at their best. The victory not only marks a promising start to Thomas' coaching career in Guyana but also sets the stage for an exciting and competitive season ahead for Slingerz FC in the Elite League.

Slingerz FC will play next on March 5 when they take on F/Conquerors FC.

 

 

 

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