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 the world of athletics, dreams are often forged on the track, shaped by the relentless pursuit of excellence. For Lanae-Tava Thomas, a 22-year-old sprinter with aspirations of donning the vibrant colors of Jamaica at the 2024 Paris Olympics, the journey has been one of resilience, determination, and a rollercoaster of emotions.

A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, where she shared the track with compatriot Kevona Davis and St Lucia's track sensation Julien Alfred, Lanae-Tava Thomas boasts impressive personal bests of 11.06 in the 100m and 22.38 in the 200m. Born in Jamaica and educated at Vaz Prep, she migrated to the United States over a decade ago and pursued her studies in Human Biology at the University of Texas.

Thomas's desire to represent Jamaica led her to initiate the complex process of transferring allegiance from the United States. However, administrative roadblocks threatened to shatter her dreams, as she discovered last July after the Jamaica national championships to select a team for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Devastated after finishing third in the 200m, Thomas believed she had secured a spot on her first national team for the World Championships, only to learn that her transfer had not been completed. In an exclusive interview, Thomas recounted the emotional turmoil she experienced during that tumultuous period.

“I was informed (by World Athletics) that whenever I sent through the transfer, it was completed. I was informed that it was already completed by the time I started competing (at the national championships). So then we got there they said that I needed to get a passport or something like that for the transfer to be… I don't even remember the term they used,” Thomas revealed.

The confusion persisted as Thomas, armed with the belief that her transfer was complete, faced further setbacks at the national stadium after advancing to the finals of the 200m.


 “They (meet officials) kept leaving me off the finals board, saying that I couldn't compete in the finals because of something to do with the transfer. And I said ‘No, my transfer was already completed, I have the passport and everything was already set, which is what both I and JAAA had thought."

Yet, the twist of fate unfolded when World Athletics emailed her coach Eldrick Floreal, revealing the transfer was not completed due to a scheduling change. Thomas, left in the dark, faced the harsh reality that she would miss the World Championships despite her outstanding performance.

“It was traumatic. After the national championship, I was so excited. I feel like as a track and field athlete, the two things you look forward to are World Championships and Olympics," she said. "So competing and making it into the World Championship, not because of any technicality but because you actually run and place, that's like a great thing for you to achieve, it's just something that is very hard to do, especially for Jamaica."

Reflecting on the moment she discovered she wasn't on the team to Budapest, Thomas shared, "It was very devastating. They didn't notify me whatsoever when they posted the list online of all the athletes competing for Jamaica, and I wasn't on it. That's when I was notified. No one, no one like World Athletics, nobody had told me personally that I wasn't competing."


Despite the heartbreak, Thomas remained resilient. The completion of her transfer of allegiance in October 2023 opened the door to a renewed sense of hope and determination. As she anticipates the Jamaica national championships in June, where a top-three finish secures her spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics, Thomas, who signed a professional contract with PUMA following the Jamaican trials, is eager to make a statement.

“It feels so great. All I will say is that they better be ready for me. I already competed last year and proved that we can do what we can do. They're not supposed to expect nothing less. I'm just going to get there and do what I've been doing, what I can do, and what I have done in the past. Nobody can stop me from there," she declared with confidence.





In a training session that is sending ripples through the track and field community, NCAA triple jump champion Jaydon Hibbert, who recently turned 19, displayed remarkable progress by shattering his previous standing triple jump best mark. Coach Travis Geopfert confirmed that Hibbert leaped out to an impressive 10.87m, a significant improvement from his earlier mark of 10.34m set just last year during his freshman year at the University of Arkansas. (See video below)

The half-metre enhancement in his standing triple jump could be a foreshadowing of greater achievements for the Jamaican athlete in this crucial Olympic year. With his world-leading and personal best mark standing at 17.87m, the question looms whether this remarkable training feat could indicate a trend toward surpassing his own records and possibly Johnathan Edwards' world record of 18.29m.

The year 2023 marked a milestone for Hibbert, securing NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles with record-breaking jumps of 17.54m and 17.87m, respectively—both ratified as World U20 records. Despite these triumphs, his World Athletics Championships campaign in Budapest was marred by a hamstring injury during the final, cutting his participation short after an impressive preliminary round performance.

Capping off an outstanding year, Hibbert clinched the prestigious Bowerman Award in December, becoming the first Jamaican and the youngest collegiate athlete ever to receive this accolade.

While the Jamaican athlete's recent training feat raises expectations for the upcoming season, Coach Travis Geopfert remains cautious about making predictions. Geopfert acknowledged Hibbert's improvement, stating, “It's almost, I think exactly half-a-metre farther... I think it's a direct correlation to his power more than anything else."

Geopfert emphasized Hibbert's commitment to strength training, noting a substantial increase in his performance, revealing that the Razorback sophomore has added 30lbs to his power clean. However, he remained guarded about predicting specific improvements in Hibbert's full jump, stating, "As far as how it equates to the full jump, it's all relative. Being stronger with the same body weight as last year and he's faster, those are two those are two positive things (but) to give you an exact indicator of how much farther you can jump, that, I don't know.”

The coach hinted at the possibility of surpassing last season's 17.87m personal best but underscored the team's strategic approach to Hibbert's training this year. "He's in better shape than last year, but we're also taking things a little bit slower, putting a little bit more emphasis on strength a little bit longer into the season because last year ended late. So we gave him a rest and started a little bit later this year."

As Jaydon Hibbert prepares for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, the athletics world eagerly anticipates whether this training benchmark is a precursor to more record-breaking feats in the triple jump arena.

In a day that saw the West Indies cricket team oscillate between hope and despair, Shamar Joseph emerged as a shining light, claiming a memorable five-wicket haul on his Test debut. However, despite his heroic efforts, the West Indies found themselves in dire straits at the end of the day, facing defeat against Australia.

Resuming from their overnight score of 59-2, Australia stumbled to 129-5, with Shamar Joseph dismissing key batsmen Cameron Green for 14 and fellow debutant Justin Greaves claiming the wicket of Usman Khawaja for 45. At lunch, the Australians were precariously placed at 144-5.

However, Travis Head, unbeaten on 41 at the lunch break, spearheaded a counterattack, scoring an impressive 119 and leading Australia to a total of 283 for a lead of 95 runs.

Josh Hazelwood's four-wicket burst further compounded the West Indies' woes, leaving them reeling at 73-6 by the end of the day, trailing Australia by 22 runs.

Shamar Joseph's debut was nothing short of remarkable, finishing with figures of 5-94, supported by Greaves (2-36) and veteran Kemar Roach (2-48). The Guyanese fast bowler's efforts were acknowledged as he claimed his fifth wicket by dismissing Nathan Lyon for 24.

Despite Joseph's heroics, the West Indies' batting order collapsed under the relentless assault of Josh Hazelwood, who ended the day with figures of 4-18. The top four West Indies batsmen fell quickly, with Hazelwood taking three wickets before conceding a single run.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite (1), Tagenarine Chanderpaul (0), Alick Athanaze (0), and Kavem Hodge (3) all succumbed to Hazelwood's skillful bowling, leaving the West Indies in a precarious position at 19-4. Kirk McKenzie provided some resistance with a brisk 26, but his dismissal further dented the West Indies' hopes.

Justin Greaves and Joshua da Silva attempted to stabilize the innings, forging a 33-run partnership, but Greaves fell to Nathan Lyon on the last ball of the day with the Caribbean men still needing 22 runs to avoid forcing Australia to bat again.

While the result seemed destined to favor Australia, the day's play underscored the exceptional performance of Shamar Joseph on his Test debut. His resilience and skill had not gone unnoticed, earning him a standing ovation from the crowd. Despite the challenging situation, Joseph's debut remained a beacon of hope for the West Indies.


In a heartwarming display of holiday spirit, a group of retired Jamaican athletes, including Sportsmax track and field analyst, publisher and author Danielle Dowie, brought Christmas cheer to the young patients at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston on a special Tuesday afternoon.

The initiative was orchestrated by Robert Wagner, a renowned track and field agent, whose athletes, including Dowie herself, gathered to share joy with the children. Freddy James, Wagner's local assistant, and the agent for weightlifter Sammy Depass also joined the cause, turning the hospital visit into a memorable event.

Accompanying Wagner, James, and Depass were esteemed retired athletes, Olympic gold medallists Nesta Carter and Melaine Walker as well as double Olympic silver medalist Yohan Blake, and Rhonda Whyte. The gathering of these accomplished individuals aimed to spread happiness and festive spirit to the young patients at the Bustamante Hospital.


 Blake,the 2011 100m world champion, in a gesture of generosity, donated cases of his Riviere Water and Pedialyte rehydration fluids, contributing to the festive atmosphere at the hospital. However, the act of kindness didn't end there, as the group engaged in a quiet but meaningful handover of gifts. Dowie, the 2013 CAC 400m hurdles gold medallist, sharing the details of the event, explained that books authored by her were among the donations.

“It was just kind of a quiet handover. So it wasn't anything heavy. We donated some of my books. Robert and Freddy donated some books, and I went in and I read with the kids. Everybody grabbed a book, and they were reading along, and it was really fun," said Dowie, reflecting on the heartwarming experience.

The simple act of reading and sharing books with the young patients added a touch of warmth to the holiday season, leaving lasting memories for both the athletes and the children at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

In a historic moment at the USTFCCCA Convention earlier this month, Jamaican coaching icon Victor "Poppy" Thomas was officially inducted into the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's National Coaches Hall of Fame. The ceremony, held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort Hotel and Convention Center, marked a pinnacle in Thomas' illustrious two-decade coaching career at Lincoln University in Missouri.

During his incredibly successful career as Lincoln, Thomas has won 14 national team titles in NCAA Division II women’s track & field and guided his athletes to more than 140 individual national titles and 950 All-America honors.

Whether it is athletically or academically, Thomas has had plenty of opportunities to celebrate. Since taking over the men’s and women’s track & field programs at Lincoln in 2002, at least one of his squads has finished in the top-10 at the NCAA DII Championships indoors or outdoors every year but one – the lone exception being 2020, a year whose national track & field championships were not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to his 14 national titles (five indoor and nine outdoor), his Blue Tigers have finished in the top-10 nationally as a team 66 times, with 52 of those being in the top-FIVE. His squads have been named USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Scholar Team of the Year seven times, and four athletes – Nandelle Cameron (2008), Sedeekie Edie (2016), Ryan Brown (2019) and Kizan David (2021) – have earned Scholar Athlete of the Year honors.

For his exemplary work, Thomas, affectionately known as "Poppy," now stands among the greats of American collegiate track and field as the first Jamaican coach to receive this prestigious honor. The seasoned coach, reflecting on the surreal nature of the moment, remarked, "One of the things that I look at and make note of is, like 23 years ago, I was in Jamaica, and I just heard about coaches like Pat Henry and George Williams, Wes Kittley, and now I'm being recognized. I'm in the same Hall of Fame, the same league as the great American coaches that we only heard of."


The significance of the achievement wasn't lost on Thomas, who found solace in the warm reception from his American coaching counterparts. "The good thing about it is that all of them came up afterward backstage and hugged me and said ‘congrats’; that alone felt so good," he shared, highlighting the camaraderie among coaches.

During the induction ceremony, Thomas found himself representing not just his own accomplishments but also paving the way for a new generation of Jamaican coaches. "Quite a number of young Jamaican coaches also came on stage, some of them I didn't even know were coaching.

It seemed like I was flying a flag for Jamaican coaches, black coaches, in some way. That's what it seemed to me, you know. And for that, you know, I feel kind of good because I was only a black coach at the stage right there," he reflected.

In the midst of the celebratory atmosphere, Thomas couldn't help but express disappointment that his home country might not fully grasp the magnitude of his achievement. "The average layman who doesn’t follow the sport or is not on Facebook would never know that ‘Poppy’ got inducted. Those kids I used to coach back in the day at Trinity, Camperdown, STATHS, wouldn’t even know," he lamented.


“And quite a few of them who know, got in touch with me and they are proud. And for me, that feels good that I have been a part of their lives to the extent that this one is for me but it’s for them too because without them, I wouldn’t be here.”

When asked about his proudest coaching moment at Lincoln University, Thomas delved into the heart of his coaching philosophy. "The category I am proudest of is the category of them graduating," he said. He shared a poignant story of a student's innocent mistake, taking a taxi from Saint Louis to Jefferson City, not knowing the distance. "Ten, 12, thirteen years later, that kid has graduated, has a nice job, a nice little business, married, and has a couple of kids. That, for me, is the creme de la creme of all my achievements," he added.

In a bid to foster a new era of athletic excellence across multiple sports, St. Lucia's Sports Minister Kenson Joel Casimir, has revealed the government's strategic investments in developing young talents on the island.

The success of notable athletes like Bowerman Award winner Julien Alfred, cricket icons Darren Sammy and Johnson Charles, and rising star sprinter Naomi London has ignited a wave of inspiration and paved the way for broader support for sports development.

Minister Casimir shared insights into the government's commitment to nurturing talent across various sports, including track and field, cricket, and football. The shift in paradigm also involves reimagining the island's inter-school track and field championships to enhance stakeholder engagement.

“We as a government, we've decided that we are going to take the added step of moving our inter-schools’ competition, that we have coined Island Champs, to a weekend event. And of course, we've been trying to get public buy-in, you know, parental support," the minister revealed in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV

Explaining the rationale behind the change, he added, "We found that during the week in St Lucia, we've not been able to really get the amount of support that we want from the commercial sector, from parents, and from all walks of life and so we have rebranded our schools’ championship in track and field to ensure that the likes of a Julien (Alfred) or Naomi London could be on display for all of St Lucia to see, not just on television. (So), a Sunday event, a Sunday afternoon family event for St Lucians to see some of the next athletes that we are going to be exporting to the world."

Highlighting strides made in cricket, Minister Casimir revealed that plans to develop the next great cricketers from the island are well underway.

 “We have a high-performance centre that has been set up for cricket for the first time in our history where we've put 15 of our best male and female cricketers into a program where they are given nutritional support, they're given the best facilities to work with, the best coaches to work with."

The government has collaborated with the St Lucia Kings, a CPL franchise, to bring in coaches from India, contributing to the holistic development of cricket talent on the island.

Turning to football, Minister Casimir revealed exciting plans for grassroots development with renowned figures in the sport.

 “With the likes of Coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier and Earl ‘Ball Hog’ Jean, we're going to be seeing the launch of a grassroots development program in football," Minister Casimir revealed while highlighting the contributions of Stuart Charles and Earl Jean to St. Lucia's global representation and their involvement in an elite program for under-17 footballers.

The initiatives revealed by Minister Casimir reflect a broader vision to elevate sports in St. Lucia and create a lasting legacy of sporting excellence.






On Saturday, December 15, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's Pocket Rocket Foundation brought the spirit of Christmas to Ewarton as they hosted a festive treat for an estimated 300 children at the Windalco Sports Complex. Fraser-Pryce's husband, Jason Pryce, hailing from the community, played a significant role in bringing this heartwarming event to his hometown.

Through the generous support of sponsors and the unwavering commitment of Fraser-Pryce, the children of Ewarton enjoyed a day filled with laughter, gifts, and exciting activities. This marks the third consecutive year that the Pocket Rocket Foundation has organized such an event in Ewarton, a testament to the foundation's dedication to spreading joy during the holiday season.

Fraser-Pryce, a decorated athlete and Olympic gold medalist, has not only excelled on the track but has also embraced the role of a benefactor to the community, particularly the children who eagerly anticipate the annual Christmas treat. With support from sponsors, including Digicel, the treat featured an array of delightful activities for the children, including rides on bounce-abouts, a rock climbing experience, and merry-go-rounds.

"We are very grateful for the support of our sponsors who have made this event possible. It's heartening to see the smiles on the children's faces as they enjoy the festivities," expressed Fraser-Pryce.


Sponsored in part by Digicel, the treat not only brought joy but also provided practical gifts for the children. NIKE contributed drawstring bags, socks, and pens, adding a touch of excitement to the holiday season. Digicel covered the costs of toys and rides, while Gracekennedy sponsored refreshments, ensuring the children had a memorable and enjoyable experience.

To make the occasion even more special, the foundation purchased 30 gallons of ice cream, adding a sweet touch to the festivities. Excelsior, a valued partner, distributed snack packs to all 300 children who gathered at the Windalco Sports Complex. This year, Windalco Sports Complex collaborated with the Pocket Rocket Foundation to create a safer and more conducive environment for the children.

Highlighting the sense of community and continuity, some past and present recipients of the foundation's support traveled to Ewarton to volunteer and share in the joyous occasion. Toyota Jamaica once again played a crucial role by providing transportation, ensuring that the children had a seamless and enjoyable experience.

As the sun set on a day filled with laughter, gifts, and shared moments, the Pocket Rocket Foundation, through Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's vision, once again demonstrated the power of giving back and spreading the true spirit of Christmas in Ewarton.

In a historic triumph for St. Lucia, Julien Alfred, representing the University of Texas in Austin, claimed the prestigious Bowerman Award last Thursday night in Denver, Colorado. The 22-year-old athlete's remarkable achievements has drawn praise from her country’s government, specifically from St. Lucia's Sports Minister, Kenson Joel Casimir, who expressed immense pride in her accomplishments.

The 22-year-old Alfred, in her senior year, contributed to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, becoming the first female athlete to win the 60- and 200-metre indoor championships, along with the 100- and 200-metre outdoor crowns in the same year. She was also part of Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, helping the Longhorns secure the women’s team title.

Alfred, who has since signed a professional contract with PUMA, set collegiate indoor records in the 60 at 6.94 and 200 by clocking 22.01, both the second-fastest times in history, at the Division 1 finals in Albuquerque. She also produced the fastest all-conditions outdoor marks in NCAA history, with wind-aided efforts of 10.72 in the 100 and 21.73 in the 200, in addition to contributing to the collegiate record of 41.55 in the 4x100, all at the NCAA championship on her home track at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

Minister Casimir, in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, commended Julien Alfred's dedication and hard work throughout her athletic journey, acknowledging her commitment to training and improvement from her days at the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School to high school in Jamaica and finally to the University of Texas.

“The government of St Lucia is exceedingly happy with the achievement of Julien Alfred. Of course, it came through a lot of hard work on her part. I want to, as the Minister of Sports for St Lucia, congratulate Julien and her family first and foremost.

"We've known of her commitment towards training and improvement from a very young age, from her alma mater at the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School all the way to Jamaica and over to Texas. And so we're very proud that she has made those strides as she continues to make St. Lucia proud," Minister Casimir remarked.

Highlighting the government's commitment to supporting its athletes, Minister Casimir outlined the specific measures taken to aid Julien Alfred in her athletic endeavors. He emphasized the groundbreaking decision to allocate a line item in the national budget to ensure comprehensive support for the athlete.

"The government of the St. Lucia Labour Party has ensured that we put our athletes first. And of course, this year, for our last budget, we took the position that we, for the first time in our history, have a line item specifically to ensure that an athlete was furnished with all that she needed to flourish."

Minister Casimir detailed the crucial steps taken to provide Julien Alfred with the necessary resources, including a diplomatic passport, a first in the nation's history. The minister underscored the significance of this decision, recognizing the challenges international athletes face in terms of travel and logistics.

"Never in our history was that done before, simply because we understood that an individual was going to do two-a-day training, calorie restriction in terms of her nutrition, mental training, and doing all of that, making all the sacrifices for her country, it would not be right for an international athlete of that level to have to stand up on the line to either get home or go anywhere in the world."



The government's support extended beyond paperwork, as Minister Casimir detailed financial assistance for psychosocial support, physiotherapy, and mental well-being. The comprehensive backing aimed to ease Julien Alfred's transition from a collegiate athlete to a professional.

"I, being a former athlete, would understand that there are certain things that you will just not be able to afford unless you get the support, especially when she was transitioning from a collegiate athlete over to a pro athlete. And so we made those things available to her readily."

Minister Casimir concluded with optimism for the future, stating, "We've seen the fruits of that and we are very proud of what she achieves and we looking forward to 2024 and, of course, we are just expecting bigger and better things from Julien Alfred."

Alfred represented St Lucia at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August. In her first-ever World Championship 100m finals, Alfred finished fifth in a time of 10.93. She was fourth in the 200m final in a handsome time of 22.05.

Alfred won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.





A Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw hat trick powered Manchester City Women to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Everton Women at Walton Hall Park on Sunday.

It was the fourth win on the trot to Manchester City who now have 22 points for second place in the Women’s Super League as it heads into the winter break. Chelsea leads the table with 25 points from their 10 games this season.

Shaw, who missed a chance to put City ahead from the penalty spot in the eighth minute made amends just a minute later. Played in by Leila Ouahabi, Shaw spotting Brosnan off her line, dinked the ball over the goalkeeper from distance.

The Jamaican forward would double the lead in the 22nd minute when she turned away from her marker expertly before firing low into the far corner.

It didn’t take long for a third to come, three minutes, in fact following an eye of the needle pass from Hui Hasegawa found Chloe Kelly in behind, who cuts it back into the path of the onrushing Jill Roord, who buries the shot to give Manchester City a 3-0 half-time lead.

Everton pulled one back in the 56th minute when Aurora Galli’s vicious first-time drive left goalkeeper Khiara Keating with no chance, rifling off the post and into the top corner from the edge of the box.

However, Shaw restored City’s three-goal advantage when she scored brilliant diving header that caresses the ball back across the goal and into the far corner from Alex Greenwood’s corner to secure her team’s seventh victory of the season.



St Lucia's Julien Alfred made history on Thursday night by clinching the coveted 2023 Bowerman Award in Denver, Colorado, becoming the first athlete from St Lucia to win the prestigious award.

In the wake of that momentous occasion, President of the St Lucia Athletics Association, Brendaline Descartes, has commended the sprinter for her outstanding achievement.

In her senior year at the University of Texas in Austin, Alfred, contributed to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, securing victories in the 60- and 200-m at the NCAA indoor championships and the 100- and 200m outdoor crowns in the same year. She also played a crucial role in Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, contributing to the women's team title.

She also became the first female athlete to break the seven-second barrier in the 60m dash in the NCAA, a feat she accomplished three times culminating in a lifetime best of 6.94, the second fastest time in history. She also ran the second fastest time over 200m indoors, clocking an incredible 22.01. Only Merlene Ottey, who ran 21.87 in 1993 has run faster.

Alfred's win, alongside Jamaica's Jaydon Hibbert who secured the men's award, marked a significant Caribbean sweep of the prestigious accolade.

Descartes, elected as the president of the St Lucia Athletics Association in January, expressed her pride in Alfred's accomplishment and highlighted the broader significance for the sport and the country.

"Well, for me as president, it means that one, that this sport is growing and there is an opportunity for others to go out there and to also shine, but even more so for the country as well," Descartes stated.

"It means that there are no limits really. So beyond your shores, you can go out there and be somebody. You can go out there and stand tall. You could go out there and basically get the world to look in your direction," she added, emphasizing the transformative power of athletics on the global stage.


Descartes praised Julien Alfred's discipline and highlighted the athlete's calm demeanor, noting that Alfred's achievements were a result of meticulous preparation and focused expectations over the years.

"You could see her growth and her outstanding season. It's a testament to her winning this specialist award. So I think overall as a country, I think we are all very pleased that she has won this award, and of course, we support her wholeheartedly."

On behalf of the Saint Lucia Athletic Association, the sporting community in Saint Lucia, and the entire island, Descartes extended congratulations to Alfred and expressed continued support for her future endeavors.

"So all the best to Julien. And of course, again, it is an encouragement to all of us that yes, you can become something as long as you put your mind to it and you keep working hard at it."

Julien Alfred's historic win not only brings pride to St Lucia but serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes in the Caribbean, showcasing that with dedication and hard work, they too can make a significant impact on the international stage.


In a historic moment for Caribbean athletes, Jamaican Jaydon Hibbert and St Lucian Julien Alfred made history by claiming the prestigious Bowerman Awards in Denver, Colorado on Thursday night. Both the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas in Austin had the chance to sweep the award, a feat never accomplished since its inception in 2009, with both male and female winners in the same year.

The Razorbacks had Hibbert and standout 400m/400m hurdles runner Britton Wilson, while the Longhorns featured elite sprinter Alfred and decathlete Leo Neugebauer among the six finalists. However, it was Hibbert and Alfred who walked away with the coveted Bowerman Award, creating a historic Caribbean sweep.

Hibbert, at just 18 years old, became the first Jamaican, the first college freshman, and the youngest ever athlete to win the award. On the other hand, Alfred became the first St Lucian to claim the prestigious accolade. Both athletes expressed surprise and gratitude during their emotional acceptance speeches, leaving many in tears.

Alfred's coach, Eldrick Floreal, was visibly moved as the sprinter thanked him for the emotional and mental support that transformed her from a timid 17-year-old into a confident 22-year-old woman. Alfred also expressed gratitude to her parents, her proud mother in the audience, her absent father, and her UT teammates.

Hibbert extended his thanks to his coaches, parents, and everyone who played a role in his journey from Vaz Prep through Kingston College to the University of Arkansas.

Both athletes had outstanding years for their respective schools, contributing to their teams' success. Although neither was the first from the Caribbean to win the award (an honor belonging to the late Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago in 2014), their recognition marked the first time that a pair of international student-athletes were honored since the award's inception.

Hibbert, at 18, is not only the youngest winner in the award's history but also the fifth men's horizontal jumper to receive the recognition. Alfred, at 22, is the seventh female sprinter to secure the Bowerman trophy. Both athletes made significant contributions to their teams' success in the NCAA championships, setting records and earning multiple titles.

Hibbert achieved collegiate indoor and outdoor triple jump records during his freshman year, sweeping both NCAA Division 1 indoor and outdoor titles. Alfred, contributing to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, secured victories in the 60- and 200-meter indoor championships and the 100- and 200-meter outdoor crowns in the same year. She also played a crucial role in Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, contributing to the women's team title.


American sprinter Britton Wilson, a finalist for the prestigious Bowerman Award, sees the opportunity not only as a chance for personal recognition but also as a means to overcome the disappointment of not winning the 400m/400m hurdles double or either of the two events at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Texas last June.

The award that will be presented later today, Thursday, December 14 is named after legendary Oregon track and field coach Bill Bowerman and stands as the highest honor bestowed upon the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field. 

Wilson, who is among the six finalists for the award, expressed her excitement about the possibility of a University of Arkansas sweep, particularly alongside her close friend and fellow athlete, Jaydon Hibbert.

"Yeah, I'm super excited and definitely even more excited that I'm there with Jayden. Me and Jayden have a really great relationship, so we become super close, so besties. So it's really exciting to get to be there with someone that's like one of my best friends and the fact that both the men's staff and the women's staff are all going to be there," Wilson remarked.

The American sprinter emphasized the camaraderie and positive attitude both she and Hibbert share, regardless of the final outcome. "So the environment's going to be really exciting...we're not going to be upset either way because we're both just like so happy and blessed to be there anyway and just to have this experience."

Reflecting on the setbacks she faced, Wilson discussed the impact of injuries on her mental state during the season. "The injury definitely was a little, a little bit of a bummer on like my attitude towards the future. It definitely made things a lot more mentally challenging, but other than that I think the season was really great and I have so many positive memories."

Detailing the severity of her injuries, Wilson explained, "It was both shins. My right one was a Grade 2 stress fracture, and my left one was a Grade 4 stress fracture."

Wilson who had been dominant in both 400m and 400m hurdles all season, attempted a feat no one had managed to accomplish before – win the 400m and 400m hurdles at an NCAA championship. Both events were 25 minutes apart.

Running with stress fractures in both shins, Wilson finished second in the 400m well behind fellow Bowerman finalist Rhasidat Adeleke, who ran 49.20, just missing Wilson’s NCAA record of 49.13. Wilson was well behind in second in 49.64. To add to the disappointment of not winning the flat-four, Wilson was a distant seventh in the 400m hurdles in 55.92, much slower than the 54.67 she ran in the preliminary round.

When asked if winning the Bowerman Award could make up for the disappointment of missing out on the historic double at the championships, Wilson shared her emotional journey.

"I actually was very, very, very heartbroken after the Nationals because I've done the double so many times. And doing that double has become really easy to me. And people think it sounds kind of crazy when I say that, but it feels really easy and I like enjoy doing it. So I was really just excited to do it at Nationals and get the chance to be the first person to do it," Wilson explained.


"But everything just kind of wasn't in my favor. The injury was worse. Mentally, I wasn't there. And so it was really heartbreaking because in my heart, I knew I could do it, but it just didn't happen that day," she continued.

Despite the setbacks, Wilson expressed gratitude for being a Bowerman finalist and believes winning the award could be a significant redemption. "Just being a finalist has meant a lot to me. And I think if I were to win it, it would definitely make up for all the little heartbreaks that I had from that Nationals race 'cause it was really hard on me."

As the anticipation builds for the 2023 Bowerman Award ceremony, NCAA champion Jaydon Hibbert from the University of Arkansas opens up about the possibility of achieving a historic sweep alongside his fellow Razorback, Britton Wilson. If successful, this duo could make Arkansas the first university to accomplish such a feat since the inception of the prestigious awards in 2009.

However, they are up against formidable finalists Florida's Kyle Garland and Texas' Leo Neugebauer as well as Julien Alfred of Texas and Jasmine Moore of Florida.

The Bowerman Award, named after legendary Oregon track and field coach Bill Bowerman, stands as the highest honor bestowed upon the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field. Administered by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the winners are traditionally revealed in a mid-December ceremony during the USTFCCCA annual convention.

Hibbert, who was a favorite to secure the gold medal at the World Championships in Budapest, faced a setback with a hamstring injury on his opening jump in the final. Despite the disappointment, experiences like these keep him grounded even after a remarkable season of success.

His stellar achievements in the 2023 season include victories at NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Nationals, being named SEC and National Field Athlete, and setting the world lead with a jump of 17.87m. Despite facing a second-place finish in his Diamond League debut in Monaco in July, Hibbert's focus remains on the bigger picture.


"I'm super excited to see your ceremonies about having fun, dressed up and all that. But the main aim is just representing my school and country. As I said one time when my media team was doing a video and asked about my dream for this Bowerman, I said that Britton and I should win because that would be so good for my school," shared Hibbert.

Expressing his dream of a clean sweep for both him and Wilson, Hibbert acknowledges the rarity of such an accomplishment. "Like I doubt they ever had a clean sweep. But I pray every day. I say ‘okay, me and Bri are gonna go there, gonna have fun and whatever the results may be, even if we don't sweep or if we do, or whatever, they're gonna have fun. But it's my dream for both of us this week."

While both Texas and Arkansas have previously secured Bowerman Awards in the men's and women's categories, respectively, no school has claimed both titles in the same year.

Reflecting on the setback in Budapest, Hibbert emphasizes the importance of staying humble and grounded in the unpredictable world of sports. "Well, things like what happened at Budapest help me to stay grounded because, you know, it happens to the best of the best. Anything can happen. It's a sport; your body's your business and stuff like that. So most times, I wouldn't say I'm pessimistic, but sometimes I think about the worst too much than the good, and I also prepare for the worst."

He underscores the role of humility in his success, emphasizing its impact not only in his attitude but also in the meticulous preparation required for high-level competition. "Humility takes you far away, like you know what God is, He can also take you. So I think that's one of the things that really pivoted my success. Not just humility, but overall with your body and thinking about the jump and all of that, it's a lot that goes on. So just stay humble and stuff really keeps me in my zone and together."

In a groundbreaking achievement for Jamaican football, Reggae Girl Marlo Sweatman has completed the UEFA Elite Scout Programme, becoming one of the select few to gain entry into this prestigious initiative. The midfielder, who plies her trade in Hungary, is now poised to use her newfound skills as a certified scout to open doors for Jamaican players seeking opportunities overseas.

Sweatman is confident that her certification as a scout can be a game-changer for Jamaican football, fostering connections and providing opportunities for talented players to make a mark on the international stage.

"I think this can help Jamaica in a lot of ways. As far as having a Jamaican in such a program, a Jamaican person in such a program, it builds connections as obviously being now a certified scout, I can have the opportunities to help players who have talent from Jamaica go abroad and play professionally if that's something that’s a goal that they would like to have. So yeah, I can just open a bunch of doors," she affirmed.

The 29-year-old midfielder, one of only three women in the recent course, shared her excitement about being accepted into the program, highlighting the significance of her accomplishment as a current player.

"It's in a prestigious Academy through UEFA where they have a selection of scouts, and they pick 35 people. About 200 applied and you have to be a current scout. There was a bunch of scouts from PSG, Benfica, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, so a lot of top teams, and I was able to get accepted into the program as a current player, which was a very big deal," Sweatman explained.



The intensive three-month course took Sweatman across Europe, with visits to renowned football clubs, including Tottenham, Arsenal, Millwall, and AS Monaco. Her commitment to the program meant she had to miss crucial fixtures for the Jamaican national team, including the Gold Cup qualifier against Panama in October and the training camp ahead of the match against Guatemala in early December.

Explaining her motivation for undertaking the course, Sweatman emphasized the importance of education and continuous learning in the dynamic world of football.

"I think education is very important, and I think a lot of players sometimes wait until their playing career is done to think about what they're going to do. I think the best thing is to get as many courses and certificates as you can and continue to learn about the game as it's always growing while you're playing and then you can set yourself up for your after football career," she stated.

Being one of the few women in the program, Sweatman sees her achievement as not only a personal honour but also a significant contribution to the growth of women's football globally.

"It's very special to be in the course with such experienced scouts. But to be a woman in the course, it's even more an honour. I mean, it just takes a lot of courage to be in such an environment where it's mainly men, but to learn from other people and to learn from their experiences, it's always a blessing. And I'm very grateful for this opportunity," she concluded.


In a lavish ceremony held in the heart of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sunshine Girl defender Shamera Sterling exchanged vows with her long-time partner, Andrew AJ Humphrey, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The union marks the second marriage among the Sunshine Girls, as netballer Shimona Nelson recently tied the knot with Buay Jok in Australia less than a month ago.

Shamera Sterling, renowned for her exceptional skills on the netball court, recently earned the title of Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year. The wedding ceremony was a celebration of love and commitment, bringing together family and friends to witness the union of the outstanding defender and her newlywed husband.

Humphrey, a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies, shares a sports background with Sterling. Having played as a defender for his high school Herbert Morrison High in DaCosta Cup football, Humphrey's connection to the world of sports mirrors Sterling's own illustrious career.


The ceremony holds sentimental value for both Sterling and Humphrey, as the defender attended Queens High but began her high-school career at Anchovy High School, not far from Hebert Morrison High School, where her husband was a student before continuing his education at the University of the West Indies. Sterling is also a graduate of the university.

Their love story endured the test of distance and time, as Sterling spent the majority of the last five years playing professional netball overseas. She began her journey with the Loughborough Lightning in England and has been a standout player for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super League since 2019. Sterling's prowess on the court has earned her recognition as one of the best defenders in the world.

The wedding festivities were a blend of joy, laughter, and the promise of a shared future. As Sterling and Humphrey embark on this new chapter of their lives, their love story stands as a testament to the strength of their affection for each other, overcoming challenges and distance to build a life together. The Sunshine Girls, both on and off the court, continue to inspire with their achievements and celebrations of love.

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