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.

After spending the last seven years at St John’s and last season as an associate head coach, four-time Guyanese Olympian Aliann Pompey has been appointed head coach of the school’s Track and Field and Cross Country programme.

Despite being shot out twice for less than 300 runs at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in the first Test against South Africa last week, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach says pitches like the one they played on will help West Indies cricket in the long run.

On a grassy surface that offered bounce and pace to fast bowlers, South Africa bowled the West Indies out for scores of 97 and 162 while securing victory by an innings and 63 runs inside three days. South Africa made 322 in their only turn at-bat.

However, according to Roach, who took 2-64 from the 20 overs he bowled, said pitches like the one they played on will ultimately benefit the players in the region.

“I think the pitches benefit us in the long run, especially when we go on tours to South Africa and Australia where the bounce is a lot more,” Roach said.

“We wouldn’t be unfamiliar when we go to these countries. I think it’s good to have a pitch like this in the Caribbean we can prepare ourselves for these overseas tours.”

The bowler, who is a few days shy of his 33rd birthday, had a successful stint in May with Surrey in the English County Championship where he took 22 wickets at an average of 20.54. Among the 22 wickets were nine that he took in his final match against Middlesex.

He said the pitches he played on were different in nature to the one in St Lucia.

“Pitches don’t bounce much in England. There is a lot of movement because of the atmosphere and the amount of grass they put on the pitch,” he said, adding that he believes he and his teammates will need to adjust their game to suit the surface.

“The pitch in St Lucia bounced a lot more than I have seen in a while. It reminds me of a wicket in Australia or probably South Africa, so it’s about us adapting. It’s about taking on the challenge and trying to be as positive as we can.”

The West Indies will see how much they have adjusted to the St Lucia pitch when the second Betway Test begins on Friday.

 

Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin, fresh from her silver medal performance in the high jump at last weekend’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, is targeting the Olympic standard of 1.96m when she competes at the Jamaica National Championships beginning June 26.

Kemba Nelson has characterized her first season competing on the American collegiate circuit as ‘incredible’ after her fourth-place finish in the 100m at the NCAA Division I Outdoor season that concluded in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Goals from Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Margaret Purce and Alex Morgan powered the world champions, the USA, to a 4-0 drubbing of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz at the BBVA Stadium in Houston on Sunday night.

The result meant that Jamaica leaves the USWNT Summer Series with a win and a loss having defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their opening match last Thursday night.

The USA got off to a fast start and scored 24 seconds after the first whistle when a cross to the left of Jamaica’s 18-yard box found Lloyd who fired into the Jamaican goal from close range.

The USA were on the board again six minutes later when Christen Press, on a run into the box from the left, was brought down by Konya Plumber. Horan converted easily sending Jamaican keeper Sydney Schneider, the wrong way.

Purce added the USA’s third in the 22nd minute when she ghosted in behind the Jamaican defence to receive a cross slotting in unchallenged past the advancing goalkeeper.

Jamaica produced a better performance in the second half partly due to the USA taking their foot off the gas and giving the Jamaicans more room to play.

However, Morgan scored a header in the 90th minute to complete the lopsided victory.

 

 

Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Angus Eve is to be the next head coach of his country’s national side following the dismissal of head coach Terry Fenwick on Friday.

The 49-year-old Eve will, according to sources, have Reynold Carrington as his assistant coach, Clayton Ince as his goalkeeper’s coach and Adarayll John as team trainer. Richard Piper will be the team manager. He replaces Terry Fenwick, who was fired on Friday, a week after Trinidad and Tobago’s 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign ended with a goalless draw against the Bahamas.

However, Eve and his staff will have to hit the ground running as he will only have the CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifying matches to prove his mettle. His contract runs until August 31, 2021.

"I am really honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to continue to represent my country," Eve said. "I'm committed to provide a lift to Trinidad and Tobago, especially in this time where we are battling so many different adversities at the same time."

Normalisation Committee Chairman Robert Haddad expressed his gratitude to the outgoing coaching staff.

"We thank the previous coaching staff for their commitment and efforts. We now look forward to the Gold Cup competition and wish Angus all the best. We will do our very best to support him and the team."

Under Fenwick, Trinidad and Tobago, playing in Group F in World Cup qualifying, defeated Guyana 3-0, drew 1-1 with Puerto Rico and then 0-0 with the Bahamas before rebounding to defeat St Kitts & Nevis 2-0. However, it was not enough for Trinidad and Tobago to advance to the next round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Prior to taking the head coaching job, Eve was coaching at Club Sando in the TT Pro League and at Naparima College in the SSFL.

Eve represented his country 117 times between 1994 and 2005 scoring 34 goals.

Jamaica’s collegiate athletes experienced mixed fortunes over the final two days of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships that concluded at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin and Clemson’s Roje Stona were among the most successful and Baylor freshman Ackera Nugent experienced how unforgiving the scheduling can be.

Distin, who turned 21 in March, cleared a personal best of 1.90m to win the silver medal in the high jump completion. It took a personal best of 1.93m from South Carolina freshman to deny her the victory in the contest that Distin’s Texas A&M teammate Tyra Gittens finish third having cleared 1.87m.

On Friday, Stona threw a personal best of 61.94m to claim the silver medal for Clemson University. Turner Washington won the event with a throw of 63.42m. University of Virginia freshman Claudio Romero threw 61.36m for the bronze medal.

Ackera Nugent had a rough time of it Saturday because after finishing third in the 100m hurdles in a relatively modest 12.84, immediately she had to line up for the final of the 100m. She was still breathing heavily from the exertions of the hurdles race when they were called to their blocks in the 100m.

Unsurprisingly, she finished ninth in 11.37.

USC’s Anna Cockrell ran 12.58s to win sprint hurdles over Rayniah Jones, who ran 12.82.

North Carolina A&T’s Cambrea Sturgis won the 100m in 10.74 with the aid of a trailing wind of 2.2m/s. USC’s Twanisha Terry (10.79), Alabama’s Tamara Clark (10.88), were second and third, respectively.

Kemba Nelson, meanwhile, was fourth in 10.90.

Cockrell later won the 400m hurdles in a new personal best and collegiate-leading time of 54.68. Arizona’s Shannon Meisberger stormed by Virginia’s Andrenette Knight late to take the silver medal in 55.70 forcing the Jamaican, who ran 55.81, to settle for the bronze medal.

 Texas A&M freshman Charokee Young and Texas sophomore Stacey-Ann Williams were the two Jamaicans in the final of the 400m and finished fifth and sixth in 51.13 and 51.34, respectively. They, like everyone else, were no match for Young’s teammate Athing Mu, who ran a personal best 49.57 for victory.

Mu’s winning time was also a collegiate-leading, meet record and facility record.

Florida freshman Talitha Diggs ran a personal best 50.74 for the runner-up position while USC’s Kyra Constantine clocked a personal best 50.87 for the final podium spot.

Young and Mu would run splits of 49.7 and 48.8, respectively to lead Texas A&M to a record-shattering time of 3:22.34 to win the 4x400m relay. A&M’s season-best time was also a collegiate leading time as well as a meet record, facility record and championship record.

USC was second in a season-best 3:24.54 and UCLA was third in their season-best time of 3:25.01. The first eight teams across the line all ran season-best times.

Other than Stona, former Jamaica College athlete Phillip Lemonious was perhaps the best male performer for Jamaica. The Arkansas freshman ran a personal best 13.39 to take the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles that was won by Alabama’s Robert Dunning in 13.25.

Iowa’s Jaylan McConico ran 12.38 to edge out the Jamaican for the silver medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) President, Ricky Skerritt, has paid tribute to Desmond Haynes and the late Sir Learie Constantine, who are to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame later this month. The two are among 10 cricketers from across five eras who will be inducted.

West Indies greats Desmond Haynes and Sir Learie Constantine are to be inducted into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame, it was announced today. The West Indies duo is among 10 legends of the sport, who are to be inducted to celebrate the prestigious history of Test cricket and to coincide with the first-ever ICC World Test Championship Final that begins on June 21.

The players to be inducted were selected from across five eras of the game and will join the ranks of the world’s greatest players.

Haynes was recognized for his contributions during the ODI-era from 1971-1995 during which time he played 116 Tests, scored 7,487 runs at 42.29 and was one half of the most prolific opening batting partnership in Test history alongside Gordon Greenidge.

He was capable of some destructive innings and combined impeccable timing with power in his stroke-making and has played four ICC World Cups in that era.

“I have played cricket with some of the greats of the game from the West Indies who are also inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame. That team from 1978 till about the 1990s was a fantastic team. As a young boy growing up in Barbados, I never dreamt that I would be one day inducted in the ICC Hall of Fame,” Haynes said in reaction to news of his induction.

“I have really come a long way and I am very happy for this honour. The journey was not smooth, I started playing cricket in a little area of St. James in Barbados where I was loved by everyone in the community, who also helped me stay out of trouble. This is also for my grandmother, my mum and my wife, all of whom supported me in my journey.”

 Bob Willis was the other player from that ODI era selected for the honour.

Sir Learie Constantine is among the players whose greatest contributions were during the Inter-War Era Players from 1918-1945.

Sir Learie Constantine played 18 Tests, scored 635 runs at 19.24, took 58 wickets at 30.10, and can be considered the first great West Indian all-rounder, playing with a flair and freedom that was decades ahead of his time. He was a champion not only amongst players but for his people too in their political and legal fight against racial discrimination. He was also the first black member of the House of Lords.

Among the other inductees were Aubrey Faulkner and Monty Noble from the Early Cricket Era (pre-1918). Stan McCabe from the Inter-War Era; Ted Dexter and Vinoo Mankad from the Post-War Era (1946-1970); and Andy Flower and Kumar Sangakara from the Modern Cricket Era (1996-2015).

The 10 icons inducted as part of this special edition were voted for by the ICC Hall of Fame Voting Academy, comprising living Hall of Fame members, a FICA representative, prominent cricket journalists and senior ICC figures.

The ICC’s independent statistician compiles a long list of ex-players or other significant cricketing figures for each era (based on the period during which they had their most significant impact) and these are presented to the Hall of Fame Nominations Committee, together with relevant statistics and brief commentary.

The Hall of Fame Nominations Committee subsequently convenes to select six names to be shortlisted in each of the five eras noted above.

The ICC Hall of Fame Voting Academy, comprising active Hall of Fame members, a FICA representative, prominent cricket journalists and senior ICC figures, vote online to identify their selections for induction in each of the five eras.

Results produced a weighted score, against which the top two individuals in each era are inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. In the event of a tie, the players with the most first-choice votes take priority.

Six days after her 23rd birthday, Tyra Gittens gifted herself the heptathlon title on what was for her a bittersweet final day of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

In what she described as the hardest meet of her life, the Texas A&M junior topped the heptathlon high jump (1.84m), long jump (6.64) and 200m (23.79) on the way to her second-best score of 6285 points that was more than enough for victory but 135 points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420.

It was, however, 218 more of the University of Miami’s Michelle Atherley. The Miami senior, who was the fastest in the 100m hurdles (13.15), scored 6067 points for the silver medal. University of Texas freshman Kristine Blazevica scored 5984 points for the bronze medal.

Putting it simply, after three days of gruelling competition, Gittens just ran out of gas. She literally fell across the finish line to complete the heptathlon 800m in which she was 19th overall, scoring 707 points for her time of 2:28.88.

Her legs were sapped because after the long jump on Thursday in which she won a silver medal, Gittens then had four events in the heptathlon on Friday before completing the other three on Saturday even while contending for individual honours in the high jump.

She just managed to complete the high jump 10 minutes before competing in the heptathlon 800m, her final event of the meet.

The athlete, who has a season-best of 1.95m was only able to clear 1.87m, good enough for third place behind A&M teammate, Jamaica’s Lamara Distin, who cleared a personal best 1.90m to win the silver medal. The gold medal went to South Carolina freshman, Rachel Glenn, who cleared a personal-best 1.93m.

Gittens just missed out on long-jump gold on Thursday when she soared out to 6.68m, two centimetres shy of the winning mark of 6.70m by Texas sophomore Tara Davis.

 Jasmine Moore of Georgia jumped 6.65m for the bronze medal.

 

 

Jamaica striker Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has given the clearest indication yet that her time at Bordeaux has come to an end amid rumours that she is likely to make a move to England in the offseason.

Deneisha Blackwood found redemption after missing a first-half penalty when she scored the only goal of the match in Jamaica’s 1-0 win over Nigeria in the opening match of the 2021 WNT Summer Series in Texas yesterday.

Blackwood scored in the 51st minute after Vyan Sampson collided with a Nigeria defender causing the ball to slip through past the far post. Jody Brown chased it and passed it back to Blackwood, who slammed it into the upper left corner from eight yards.

She would have been relieved after missing a penalty after Jody Brown was taken down inside the 18-yard box by past midfielder Rita Chikwelu. Expected to score, Blackwood kicked a tame shot directly at goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, who kneeled to effect an easy save.

Just before Blackwood scored what proved to be the game-winner, Ijeoma Okoronkwo seemed to have scored but she was ruled offside.

Nigeria almost pulled level in the 83rd minute, when forward Michelle Alozie’s shot struck the crossbar with a left-footed shot from outside the box.

Jamaica also came close to scoring again in the dying moments of the game when Tiffany Cameron got loose on a breakaway but Oluehi closed her down and went to ground to save Cameron’s shot.

Omar McLeod said he is having fun again as he once more signalled his intent to successfully defend his Olympic title with a world-leading 13.01, to win the 110-metres hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Florence, Italy.

Lungi Ngidi and Anrich Nortje took nine wickets between them as South Africa bowled the West Indies out for 97 shortly after lunch on the opening day of first Betway Test at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

After West Indies won the toss and chose to bat on a grassy pitch, Ngidi playing in his 10th Test match took 5-19 as he tore through the West Indies middle-order that was left exposed after Nortje (4-35) claimed the wickets of both openers – Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite, who each made 15.

Kagiso Rabada removed Nkrumah Bonner for 10 and Nortje took the wicket of Kyle Mayers for 1 to leave the home side 48 for 4 at lunch.

On the resumption, South Africa wrapped up the rest of the West Indies batting as only Jason Holder, 20, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 13, provided any resistance to the accurate South African attack.

The West Indies troubles were compounded by news that Bonner, who was struck on the helmet, the first ball he faced bowled by Nortje, has suffered a concussion and will take no further part in the match. He will be replaced by Kieran Powell.

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