One national icon reminds us not to forget our past. We do anyway. The year that closes today contained many important sporting anniversaries, and all of them have passed quietly. It’s a real pity. The schoolboy football season has passed with hardly a whisper of the Kingston College (KC) team that dominated the various competitions in 1964 and 1965. Captained in the former year by KC legend Tony Keyes and by Dennis Johnson in the latter, these purple-and-whites went undefeated for two whole seasons. In fact, they won every game they played en route to consecutive Manning Cup/Walker Cup/Olivier Shield triple without a single draw to mar their record. In 1985, Stephen ‘The Don’ Hylton won the second of his three Caribbean table tennis singles titles. In 1990, Jamaica performed a miracle on grass in hockey. Led by supremely skilled Sharon Malcolm and coached by Michelle Holt, our ladies went to the Central American and Caribbean Games and beat host country Mexico on penalties in the final. Their gold medal is Jamaica’s highest achievement in that sport. RECORD BREAKING Just 10 years ago, Asafa Powell took the 100 metre world record to all of us with a run of 9.77 seconds in Athens. It was the first time a Jamaican had held the electronically timed world record in this blue-ribbon event. Later that year, at the World Championships in Helsinki, Trecia-Kaye Smith bounded to first place in the triple jump to win our first gold medal in a field event at the World or Olympic level. That was a glorious moment. These milestones have passed quietly, even though many of those who did those great deeds are still with us. They need not be just symbols of the past, but their experiences may help illuminate the way forward. At the very least, they can inspire those who aim for the heights. It’s December 31 and, therefore, too late to meaningfully celebrate those historic moments in 2015. Fortunately, there’s a bright side, sort of. Two major milestones mature like gilt-edged securities in the new year. Donald Quarrie (DQ) crowned a glorious career with a gold-medal run in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. DQ took the 200 metres days after a close runner-up finish in the 100 and became Jamaica’s first Olympic champion in a sprint event. Tweny years later, in the Atlanta Olympic Games, Deon Hemmings broke the meet record twice en route to a defeat of Kim Batten and Tonja Buford, then the fastest two female 400 metre hurdlers of all time. Despite brilliant efforts by Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson and Juliet Cuthbert, Hemmings earned the honour of being the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Like Quarrie’s victory two decades earlier, the Hemmings success is a landmark in Jamaica’s sporting history. We can’t do much about the things we’ve already forgotten. One thing is clear. No person or nation should live in the past, but great gold-medal moments like those in 1976 and 1996 shouldn’t pass too quietly. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Paul Palmer Jr will lead the Jamaica Scorpions four-day team for the final two matches of the WICB Professional League.The 24-year-old opener was dropped during the Scorpions? last two matches against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Barbados Pride at Sabina Park following a poor run of form with the bat.No official reason has been given for Palmer?s return. In his absence, the team was led by John Campbell, who is now the vice-captain. In 12 outings this season, Palmer has only passed 50 on one occasion.The recalled skipper is one of three new faces to the Scorpions 13-man squad for matches away to the Windward Islands Volcanoes and title-contenders Guyana Jaguars.The others are Jermaine Blackwood, who missed the last fixture against Barbados due to a minor shoulder injury, and uncapped wicketkeeper Aldaine Thomas.REPLACEMENTSThe trio has replaced young batsmen Brandon King; Trevon Griffith, who was 12th man in the last match; and wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton.Jamaica, boasting a record of five losses and three wins, are fourth in the six-team tournament on 63 points.Guyana, 125, lead the standings, with Barbados, 106, and Trinidad, 74, rounding off the top three.Jamaica Scorpions squad: Paul Palmer Jr (captain), John Campbell (vice-captain), Shacaya Thomas, Kirk Edwards, André McCarthy, Devon Thomas, Jermaine Blackwood, Aldaine Thomas, Nikita Miller, Damion Jacobs, Jason Dawes, Nicholson Gordon, Gavon Brown.
Still Cato, the fastest Jamaican in the event this year, knows he will face a much greater challenge in Beijing, but it certainly helps that he already faces the world number one (Jackson), two (Dutch) and nine (Jeffery Gibson) on a daily basis in training. He refers to Jackson as a source of motivation and inspiration – there can hardly be any greater impetus to beat him in Beijing. “At this point, it’s really all about execution. Me and my coach have been working closely on that because my main competitors are also my training partners. Jeffery Gibson, Johnny Dutch, Bershawn Jackson all train along with me with the same coach, George Williams,” said Cato. “I’m very close to Bershawn Jackson, he is one of my mentors and motivators. He helped me out a lot from last year into this year with my hurdling. We all motivate each other and push each other to be the best,” Cato added. bigger challenge Fuelled by his recent bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto and his experience training alongside some of the best in the world, Jamaican 400m hurdler Roxroy Cato says he has grown in confidence heading into next week’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. Cato clocked 48.72 – the third fastest time he has ever recorded, to finish on the podium in Toronto. It’s a time that leaves him way off the fastest times registered this season, where Bershawn Jackson (48.09) and Johnny Dutch (48.13) lead the world. These are athletes that Cato is extremely familiar with, the pair being his training partners under coach George Williams, and the Jamaican is confident that he has what it takes to test them for medals in Beijing. “First of all, any chance that I get to represent my country is a blessing for me and something I am very thankful about,” Cato told The Gleaner from the team’s training base in Tottori, Japan. “I am in great condition. I have been working very closely with my coach and I am feeling great even though I still haven’t reached my peak form yet for the season.” “I am really looking forward to the competition because, in my eye, the 400m hurdles is an open event right now. There is no one person that is being extra dominant right now and, based on my performance at the Pan American Games, I am very confident and looking forward to a great championships,” added Cato, who finished second at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships. “Getting on the podium and beating some very good competitors was the highlight for me and of course, most of all, coming out without any injuries,” said Cato, underlining his biggest takeaway from his experience at the Pan American Games.
Former national midfielder Omar Daley said Jamaica’s footballers need better salaries. The well-travelled player, who has played in England, the United States and Scotland for teams such as Reading and Motherwell, told The Gleaner that in his travels and experiences players are the main ingredient of the football product and their importance is usually recognised by huge wage packages in professional leagues. However, Daley, back home playing in the local leagues with his long-time club Portmore United, thinks Jamaica is way behind in this regard and needs to follow suit and pay local players more, so they can elevate their standard of living. “Players have to get better pay and people have to start talking about players getting better paycheques in Jamaica,” he told The Gleaner in an interview, while attending the Red Stripe weekly press conference for clubs participating in the Premier League at Red Stripe Hospitality Room last Friday. “People sweep it under the carpet, which I don’t get. Players have bills, they have kids, so we need to big up players and talk about players’ wages. We are professional footballers, playing in a professional league, so why are we not getting professional money?” he enquired. Daley believes corporate Jamaica has a very important role to play if the Premier League is to go fully professional, and he says more money means improved performances. “I need to see articles calling on corporate Jamaica to support the Premier League. It’s only Red Stripe and Sportsmax; we need more people on board. They can sponsor teams, players and help teams because they spend money every day.” He also complained that Jamaica is the only country he has played in where local players struggle to make ends meet. “Players need better pay, players must roll in style. You can’t walk around saying you are a footballer and you can’t roll in style, that is embarrassing. Plus, when players get better pay, you get better quality football,” he insisted. He added: “I really hope financially the players will be okay because on a Sunday they go out to entertain, and after the game they are supposed to go home hungry. “It makes no sense ‘bigging’ up the brand (Premier League) and you are not ‘bigging’ up the players. The players are the most important part of the product. So reach out, corporate Jamaica, and sponsor the Premier League teams.” -L.S.
‘mediocre’ BRISBANE, Australia (CMC): West Indies head coach Phil Simmons said yesterday that he was not too worried by his side’s ongoing challenges in the tour match against Cricket Australia XI and has warned detractors not to underestimate the Caribbean side in the three-Test series starting next week. The tourists have been unconvincing over the two days of the four-day match at Allan Border Field – dismissed for 243 in their first innings and then struggling as a youthful CA XI side coasted to 244 for four. However, Simmons said it would be a mistake to write West Indies off based on their current form. “That’s the thing with young teams. It is easy for people to do that and write off teams. I don’t take any notice of it,” Simmons told reporters. “It might encourage us to do better and push ourselves. It’s good when people do that. England did that at their peril.” Simmons was making reference to England’s three-Test tour of the Caribbean earlier this year when a senior official of the England and Wales Cricket Board described the West Indies as “mediocre” ahead of the series. The incident seemed to motivate West Indies, and despite starting as massive underdogs, they pulled off an emphatic five-wicket victory inside three days in the third Test in Bridgetown to steal a 1-1 share of the series. Since arriving here, West Indies have been written off by local media and several observers, but Simmons has reposed confidence in his young players. “It is always going to be a challenge. Coming to Australia with a young team has always been a challenge, but it’s good when you can face up to your challenges and defy the odds,” the former Test batsman said. “It’s in our hands; we can do something about it. My role is to prepare the players and give them the confidence to go out and face the challenge. I have belief that they will. “In 1975-76, we had that, but you saw where we went from there. Hopefully, that is a good omen, and we can follow from there.” West Indies have not won a Test Down Under in nearly two decades and have not beaten Australia in Tests in 12 years. They face Australia in the opening Test at the Blundstone Arena in Hobart, starting next Thursday.
WEST HAM (4-2-3-1)ADRIAN, ANTONIO, REID, OGBONNA, CRESSWELL,KOUYATE, NOBLE,EMENIKE, LANZINI, PAYET, SAKHOWELBECK, IWOBI, OZIL, SANCHEZ,COQUELIN, ELNENY,MONREAL, KOSCIELNY, GABRIEL, BELLERIN,CECHARSENAL (4-2-3-1)Two London rivals clash both needing to win. West Ham were hoping to finish in the top four and bring Champions League football to their new Olympic Stadium next season but, with seven games left, they are on 51 points, three points outside the top four.Even if they fail to break into the top four, they could still qualify for the Europa League. But they face a team with an outside chance of winning the Barclays Premier League, with Arsenal in third spot, albeit a massive 11 points adrift of leaders Leicester City.West Ham could be forgiven for having one eye on their FA Cup final quarter-final replay, against Manchester United, which takes place at the Boleyn Stadium the following Wednesday.The Hammers are unbeaten in their last six league games, taking 12 points from the 18 available but, in their last season at the Boleyn, they are unbeaten since August, winning seven and drawing seven of the last 14 there in the league.On the opening day of the league season the Hammers shocked Arsenal with a 2-0 win, but at the Boleyn Arsenal have a good record, with nine wins and six draws from 17 visits.The Gunners have 11 goals in their last four there, all wins, and last lost there in November 2006.West Ham were set to miss the banned Cheikhou Kouyate, red-carded in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend, but the dismissal was overturned on appeal.Arsenal, meanwhile, miss Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, but goalkeeper Petr Cech could return.
The body with the unchallenged responsibility of managing Jamaica’s most successful sport, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), has come under the cosh of Foster’s Fairplay on multiple occasions. It is seen from this perch as an unrelenting duty to question and where necessary, reject any action which it is felt is not in the best interest of track and field and the several tiers of those who participate. There are standards of discipline and decency that need to be set and maintained when an organisation is mandated by an elective machinery to make crucial decisions. This is especially important when the final call can have a telling effect on the hopes and aspirations of others. Promising potential can evaporate and careers and lives possibly destroyed by a single silly move by a sports administration which has lost its compass. Recent reports reveal the attempt of back-to-back global 400m silver medallist Shericka Williams to give up her birthright to represent Jamaica. Oil-rich Bahrain would become the beneficiary of her disappearing gifts. The national record of Bahrain in her event is 50.8, set by Kemi Adekoya in 2015 at the IAAF Lucerne Meeting. Coming from a personal best of 49.32 at the 2009 Berlin World Champs, this athlete, who would have earned the label ‘formerly of Jamaica’ as she sought supposedly a better future, now struggles to break 52 seconds – her 2015 season best, unimpressive at her level, 53.26. At age 19, after acquisition by the prestigious MVP Track Club, she was national champion in 2005 with 50.37 and peaked to superb performance under their expert guidance at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, to be followed by a repeat silver medal at the Berlin World Champs the following year. Rumours abound as to the training camp fallout that saw her deteriorate in succeeding years to the point where making teams for elite events became much of a chore. Duties as a medal-winning 4x400m relay runner was the best afforded. Simply put, it was not happening, individually, for the former St Elizabeth Technical High School graduate. So the move for a new identity in the sport was born. There are no available reports as to what caused the return to square one. Suffice to say, the Middle East thrust did not connect. Williams has now rejoined the struggle to make her future in the Jamaica strip. In response to the entire scenario, the JAAA has ruled that any athlete requiring to change national colours is now forced to endure a three-year gestation period. A rebirth cannot happen until that time has elapsed. Talk has been raging as to the fairness of this ruling. There are shouts of restraint of trade, as well as athletes have a short shelf life and they must be allowed unhindered to sell their talent to the highest bidder. Some even point to ‘bad mind’ and ‘overreaction’ by the JAAA. Having said all that, this column has its own tenets that will not be compromised. There must be balance in expressing opinions on matters placed in the public space. In the exercise of that mantra, the JAAA deserves its own commendation when such is earned. With all this at the forefront of this columnist’s thoughts, this move by the local governing body is fully supported. From time immemorial, support has been afforded our young people to assist them to reach heights unaffordable on their own steam. In the case of the nation’s athletic talent, there have been sacrifices made to get them to make the cut. Fortunes have been made as a result of the Herculean – magical, even – efforts of those who chose to care. The list ranges from parents and guardians, who neglect the less gifted, to past students of the schools the athletes attended, plus the ordinary do-gooder who just cared and dug deep. The thought process that goes into these ‘let me try elsewhere’ decisions might be secret. What is not is the effect it can have on those waiting in the wings to carve their names with pride in the annals of Jamaican sport. Foster’s Fairplay sees such moves as bad examples for the country’s future stars. But, thankfully, the JAAA has stepped in with a rescue Jamaica clause. Serve three years to think about the decision and if it remains your wish, then go. Thank you, JAAA. For feedback, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Boys’ Town will face some former players and coaches, but Nicholson says he will always find different ways to play. “I expect a good game from both teams. They have people who know about us but I will find a different way to play, so it won’t be easy for Tivoli to stop our team,” he said. In the last encounter, Nicholson was injured and replaced in the second half. The club was also without vocal coach Price on the sideline. “I was injured in the last game and did not score, plus we were also without coach Price. It will be different with coach Price back on the bench. It will make a big difference as he is always telling us what to do during games,” Nicholson noted. FORMER PLAYER Boys’ Town FC will look to step out of relegation zone when they face neighbouring Tivoli Gardens FC in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) on Sunday at Barbican Complex in St Andrew. The game that will be live on Television Jamaica is set to kick off at 3 p.m. After a poor start with losses in the first four games, Boys’ Town defeated fast-rising newcomers Jamalco FC two weeks ago, then earned a 1-1 draw against Maverley-Hughenden last Sunday to be on four points and in 11th position in the 12-team league. The Red Brigades believe that they are ready to continue the fight and see the game against Tivoli as crucial at this point. IMPORTANTGAME Boys’ Town’s leading striker Shamar Nicholson is looking forward to the game against Tivoli. “It is a very important game for us as a win would put us level on points with Tivoli and off the bottom of the table,” Nicholson said during the RSPL weekly press conference at Red Stripe yesterday. “We started slowly and have been working hard in training. With the inclusion of some senior players, the team is doing better. Now, hopefully we can get it together and go on a consistent run,” the 19 year-old, who is in his third RSPL season added. Nicholson has scored four of his team’s five goals this season and is relishing the responsibility given to him by coach Andrew Price. “Since playing in the Premier League, I have always been the top scorer for Boys’ Town because I find myself in the right place at the right time,” he explained. “Coach (Price) is confident in my ability to score goals, so I am the man. My target for the season is 30 goals which is a lot but that is the target,” the confident Nicholson said.
That would be a momentous occasion for Azan, who has shown a capacity for scoring repeat wins in the Superstakes. The legendary MENUDO won the race four consecutive years in the familiar blue and white silks of owner/trainer Azan between 1999 and 2002, an unprecedented feat by any horse in the long and colourful history of the race. MENUDO won it for the first time as a three-year-old with Panamanian jockey Roger Moore aboard, then for good measure reeled out three more wins in a row with Andrew Ramgeet aboard. MENUDO, the 2000 and 20001 ‘Horse of the Year’, failed in his bid to win the race on his fifth attempt in 2003, having broken down during the race. Another repeat winner for Azan was two-time ‘Horse of the Year’ MARK MY WORD, who won the race for three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012. The trainer recalls: “He seemed on course to win the race for a fourth straight year, but suffered a colic infection which claimed his life, a sad loss, coming at the time it did.” Prior to MENUDO’S streak, Azan, doubling as owner/trainer, won the race for the first time in 1995 with derby winner DORVAL, ridden by the legendary George HoSang. Now seeking win number 10, Azan explains his fantastic run of success in this particular race: UNPRECEDENTED FEAT CRITICAL FACTOR Over the past 20 years, Richard Azan has dominated the Superstakes, winning the rich and prestigious 2000-metre race a record nine times. And today his streak could well be extended with last year’s winner FRANFIELD, one of the fancied horses in the 38th running of the Burger King-sponsored event, which offers a total purse of $4.5 million. FRANFIELD scored an upset win under leading all-time jockey Winston Griffiths a year ago, but subsequently proved that the win was no fluke by coming back to beat reigning ‘Horse of the Year’ SEEKING MY DREAM in the Chairman’s Trophy over 1500 metres on March 12. FRANFIELD also beat the 2015 champion stayer PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the Governor General’s Stakes over the Superstakes distance on October 1 to position himself for a possible repeat. “First of all, you have to be lucky enough to have a good, promising three-year-old and build on what you have as the season progresses. The horse has to show a liking for a distance of ground and you have to ensure he remains sound. Programming is a critical factor in his development ,meaning he cannot run too often. “FRANFIELD is a case in point, and given his programming and conditioning leading up to the race, is ready to give it his best shot. “He won convincingly last year, is a better horse this year, having beaten SEEKING MY DREAM in the Chairman’s Trophy in March and PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the Governor General’s Stakes over the Superstakes distance some weeks ago. “I have every confidence that FRANFIELD will receive a good ride from the much-improved apprentice Bebeto Harvey, who knows him well, and we’ll see what happens in what promises to be a highly competitive race,’ said the 64-year-old trainer. A big-race trainer in his own right, Azan obtained his licence in 1994 following a lengthy stint in Panama as an owner. He was assistant trainer to Fitz Crawford in the late ’80s, at which time he owned a good horse, PRINCE MIKE, who was beaten by THE VICEROY as the favourite in the 1989 Guineas. In later years, Azan won the derby on two occasions with DORVAL (1995) and MARK MY WORD (2010), not to mention successes in the 2000 Guineas, Caribbean Sprint and Governor’s Cup.
Olympic Committee of Thailand (OCT) secretary-general Charouck Arirachakaran said Monday that the Kingdom has the capacity and infrastructure to host the Southeast Asian Games in 2019, if the Philippines pulls out and other countries in the region fail to step in.The Kingdom would be ready to take over the organization of the Games if the Philippines officially withdraws from hosting the 30th Games, he said.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ “Thailand have the potential to host the Games within a span of two years. Besides, the Games doesn’t require an athletes village,” Charouck said during the OCT executive board meeting Monday.“We have provinces such as Chiang Mai and Chon Buri, which have enough competition venues and can accommodate a large number of athletes,” said the OCT official.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’Last moth the Philippines said it is dropping the hosting of the 30th SEA Games to be held in Davao City in 2019 to re-channel government resources in favor of the rehabilitation efforts for the beleaguered city of Marawi.However, Charouck said the Philippines must make its withdrawal official during the SEA Games Federation Council meeting on August 17-18 in Kuala Lumpur. Vilma Santos, Luis Manzano warn public of fake account posing as her View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)08:07Athletes treated to a spectacle as SEA Games 2019 officially ends06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold05:02SEA Games 2019: Philippines clinches historic gold in women’s basketball05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder03:24PH’s James Palicte boxing light welterweight final (HIGHLIGHTS) 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Teen gunned down in Masbate EAC escapes Arellano to claim solo third in NCAA MOST READ Vietnam and Cambodia, who are the hosts of the 2021 and 2023 editions, need to make a decision to take charge of the 30th edition. If the two nations refuse, Thailand as the next country in alphabetical order will take the place of the Philippines.Charouck said the OCT would step forward only if the Thai government gives the nod.Meanwhile, a few members of the Thai delegation will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha at the government house this morning before embarking on their trip to Malaysia. Around 404 athletes will take part in the SEA Games, which starts on August 19.ADVERTISEMENT 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Albay to send off disaster response team to Batangas Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ LATEST STORIES 2 nabbed in Bicol drug stings