Coach of reigning Red Stripe Premier League champions Arnett Gardens FC, Jerome Waite, says his team is ready for the challenge in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championships in order to move on to the CONCACAF stage.Arnett will depart the island next Sunday for the Dominican Republic where they will participate in Group Four alongside Atletico Pantoja of Dominican Republic, America des Cayes (Haiti) and Notch (Suriname).Waite is already looking forward to the CONCACAF stage, where the club has participated in the past.”Well, first and foremost, we have participated in the CONCACAF round twice, but have not passed the quarter-final stage. Our aim is to win the CFU group stage and qualify for the semi-finals, then be among the top three that will advance to the CONCACAF,” Waite told The Gleaner.”I’m pretty much confident based on our performance in the local Red Stripe Premier League, where the team has done well,” the veteran coach shared.He admitted that he did not know much about the opponents, but he remains optimistic.GIVE THEIR BEST”A lot of the players have not played at this level, but they should give of their best, as doors can be opened for them. We don’t have any info on the teams, but they will know about us, as the Premier League is broadcast in the Caribbean,” he informed.Waite is yet to name his 20-man squad for the tournament, but disclosed that players such as captain Oneil ‘Bigga’ Thompson, Renae Lloyd, Marvin Morgan, Kemal Malcolm, Jason Moore, Vishinul Harris, Dicoy Williams, Ranike Anderson, Damion Hyatt, Peter Harrison, Keneil Hyde will be included.Arnett will play against America des Cayes on March 2, Notch on March 3, and Atletico Pantoja on March 5. All games will be at Estadio OlÌmpico FÈlix S·nchez in Santo Domingo.The 14 teams are divided into four groups, and the winners will advance to the semi-finals.Meanwhile, Montego Bay United, the other Jamaican club that has qualified, will participate in Group Three alongside Central of Trinidad and Tobago and Scholars International of the Cayman Islands.
Tennis Jamaica have responded to comments made by John Azar published in yesterday’s Gleaner.In the article, Azar contended that he was legitimately elected in the abandoned election and described the over-voting as a deliberate attempt by the administration to compromise the process.In a response via press release, Tennis Jamaica president, John Bailey, said the association “remains committed to proper governance of the association and an electoral process that is transparent and fair”.It also said it rejected Azar’s accusations.”With regards to the disputed ballots, neither Mr Azar nor the administration of Tennis Jamaica is in a position to establish which ballots were compromised, as the exercise was based on secret ballots that were not marked for identification purposes.”It added that affidavits from persons purporting to vote for Azar would be inadequate replacements for ballots that may be in dispute.”Persons may, for their own benefit, give incorrect or untruthful responses after the fact.”The releases added: “It is in the pursuit of this, that – after consultation with our board and taking advice from competent persons – we decided to go the route of holding fresh elections to secure a new administration, following the last exercise on November 19, 2015 which had to be terminated due to the action of some unscrupulous members. This, amid the fact that the methodology used then to govern the elections was the usual.”On that occasion, conducting a re-vote was not possible as the meeting had broken down and a number of members had left the premises.”Tennis Jamaica asserted that the current approach is one that it believed would satisfy the requirements of all “well-thinking members of the association and persons who love the sport of tennis.The release added that Tennis Jamaica had secured the services of Jamaica Olympic Association to organise and administer the fresh elections set for March “in a way to remove any doubt as to the integrity of the proposed elections”.
LONDON (AP):Fans of away teams at Premier League matches will pay no more than 30 pounds (US$43) for tickets for the next three seasons.The decision was taken at a specially-convened meeting of topflight teams on Wednesday following mounting criticism from fan groups about the cost of attending matches as revenue from the 2016-19 television rights is rises to 8.3 billion pounds (US$12 billion).The biggest winners will be fans seeing their team play at Arsenal, which had been charging up to 64 pounds (US$91) in the away end. Now tickets for visiting fans will be more than halved.Additionally, Arsenal will partially subsidise tickets for its fans watching Arsene Wenger’s team on the road. The north London club will ensure no Arsenal fan pays more than 26 pounds for an away ticket the cost of the cheapest home ticket at the Emirates Stadium.”We know that following the club is a commitment and are always seeking to strike the right balance in our pricing,” Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said.The Premier League price cap comes as the competition thrives, with surprise leader Leicester shaking up the title race, the television rights revenue being un-matched in global domestic football and attendances averaging 96.2 per cent of stadium capacities this season.”Most clubs have recognised for some time that we need to do something for the travelling supporter,” Everton chief executive Robert Elstone said. “It is absolutely right that football, as a family, looks after that group of fans.”Our away fans are among the most dedicated and committed throughout the Premier League and that loyalty is deserving of this commitment by the clubs.”
WESTERN BUREAU:Rodene Morris was on fire in Thursday’s final of the Western Basketball Association-ISSA Girls’ Open Championship top-scoring with 32 points to lead Rhodes Hall High to their first-ever title, a 50-37 victory over Spot Valley High at the Montego Bay Cricket Club.Holland High edged Mt. Alvernia High 28-27 in a tense third-place match that preceded the final.Morris’ all-round athletic ability was on full display as she not only scored at will, but also made herself useful as part of a strong Rhodes Hall second-half defensive effort, grabbing two rebounds to go with two blocked shots and three steals. Her teammate, Keron Brown, added 12 points and two steals in the historic win.The bulk of Spot Valley’s points came from Nassan-Gay Ricketts, who had 18 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, mostly in the first two quarters. But her endeavour was outdone by the talented Morris.easy lay-upHer easy lay-up, immediately after the tip-off, gave Rhodes Hall the first bucket of the afternoon and thereafter Morris needed little invitation to shoot as she took full advantage of some indecisive Spot Valley defending, especially in the last quarter.Notwithstanding, it was Spot Valley who held the lead at the end of the first quarter, with Ricketts doing the bulk of the work early on for a 12-9 margin.Ricketts and Brown combined well in the second quarter and it looked then that they were well on their way to the crown, outscoring Rhodes Hall 11-8 in the second stanza for a 23-17 lead at the half-time break.It was a completely different scenario in the third quarter, however, as Rhodes Hall, led by Morris, found their groove, making shots after shots to pull the game back after three keenly contested quarters at 29-28.Spot Valley never recovered and it gave Brown and Morris the fuel needed to win it for their school with a flurry of points in the paint, to waltz to a first-ever high school title, boy or girl, in the school’s history.Both schools will now turn their attention to the all-island play-offs set for GC Foster College.
Caymanas Track Limited (CTL) is losing money on a daily basis. The Government of Jamaica, the only shareholder, insists that the company will be divested. Timeline after timeline for divestment passes by with a regularity that defies logic. A “divestment committee” is formed and the chairman insists that he is “working on it” (reminds me of a Burger King advertisement of recent vintage) when questioned by worried stakeholders. One could not be faulted for thinking that the Government-appointed board of the company would develop a more hands-on policy as frantic attempts are made, first to minimise losses, and second, to improve the handle (the amount of money bet on its programmes), both locally and overseas. Instead, punters, the life blood of the sport, are treated as if ‘dem-mus-come’. Races never start on time. The official reason is always “technical difficulties”. The air-conditioned North Lounge at the track is subject to the whims and fancies of the employees. For example, no ticket sellers are in place half-hour before the start of the first race, and air-conditioned units are either not working or not turned on at least one hour before the start of the first race to welcome the early punter. Also, food is running out during well-established ‘big’ racedays, and recently, word has surfaced that fans/supporters of racing who buy four reserved seats for six months to enable these supporters of racing to bring guests to the track from time to time are told by the promoters that they will be issued with only two tickets, and if they are bringing guests who do not come to the track with the person who paid for the seat, “just ask for one of us at the gate” and it will be okay! Woe on to the guest if the named official is not available at the time of arrival of the guest. There is a story making the rounds at the track that last week Thursday (September 3), CTL was simulcasting races from Gulf Stream Park in the USA. The second race was won by horse #5, Behzads Pride. However, when the results were posted by the company, another horse (my source insists that it was horse #4, Unspoken Quality) was posted as the winner and dividends declared. It is further alleged that punters who backed the posted winner promptly cashed their tickets. Minutes later, after a telephone call to “control”, the error was corrected, and punters who correctly selected #5, Bezhads Pride, as the winner, were duly paid. My source insists that losses to CTL were in the region of J$190,000. Another loss. The standard answer of “Oops!” will be accepted and the company moves right along to another day. Another loss! Finally, the action of the raceday stewards in suspending jockey Aaron Chatrie after his mount, Woman is Boss, was disqualified for interfering with Asia’s Dream in the seventh race on Saturday August 29 was understandable after a slow-motion review of the race. However, to suspend the jockey from taking further part in the race meet (he had two more rides for the day) because he was guilty of “ungentlemanly behaviour” when told of his disqualification, begs the question: Are the raceday stewards competent enough to make a decision that a jockey is in “no condition to ride?” I maintain that that decision is a medical matter. Even if it is psychological, evidence from a doctor/psychologist MUST be obtained. No decision that affects a livelihood should be made arbitrarily. It must be evidence-based. As the operation steward stated when questioned by The Gleaner reporter, Ainsley Walters, they do have a discretion (according to the rules) that is unassailable. BUT ONLY IF THERE IS EVIDENCE! Each individual deals with anger and disappointment differently. One jockey may remain quiet and take it out on the horse or his competing jockey. Aaron Chatrie may have “blown his top” to get it all off his chest and thereafter ride in a most professional manner. Only a steward with a crystal ball would know which is about to happen and anticipatory breach of rules just isn’t allowed. This wrong MUST be corrected. J$190,000 in losses
MONTREAL (AP):The World Anti-Doping Agency has published a list of 114 support staff with “disqualifying status”, giving athletes advance notice of some people to avoid when they’re considering coaches, trainers or medical consultants.Under the new Prohibited Association rule, athletes subject to the WADA code are not allowed to work with support personnel who are currently sanctioned, or have been sanctioned within the previous six years, for an anti-doping rule violation.It leaves athletes open to sanctions for knowingly working with support personnel who have been banned.WADA president Craig Reedie said Monday that anti-doping authorities are “increasingly of the belief that athletes do not dope alone, and that often there is a member of their entourage encouraging them to cheat”.He said the new rules sent a message to athletes: “Do not associate with individuals that have breached anti-doping rules as they could encourage you to cheat the system and to rob your fellow athletes of their right to clean sport.”By publishing this list, WADA is helping athletes know which individuals to evade if they are to avoid violating the rules themselves,” he said.The list, which is expected to be updated on WADA’s website every three months, does not include cases that are currently under appeal.Anti-doping agencies in some countries previously made a list of banned coaches and trainers available in certain cases and have gone after support personal before. The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) gave a lifetime ban to Trevor Graham, who worked with Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and others involved in doping scandals.Graham and Jon Drummond, who was banned last December for eight years by USADA for his role in sprinter Tyson Gay’s doping case, were included on WADA’s list of 114.More than half of the staff on the list are Italians, something that Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said was a sign of a robust anti-doping program.”The fact that there are 61 Italians on this list is a matter of pride for us,” Malago said. “It means we’re doing our job seriously.”The list, which covers sports as diverse as weightlifting and basketball, includes some staff who had never previously been declared to be serving bans. They include Pavel Korolyov, a coach for Russian cyclists, and Evgeny Evsukov, the coach for a Russian race walker who withdrew from the world championships last month amid doping allegations.
CAPE TOWN (AP): Oscar Pistorius’ case will be heard by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on November 3, when prosecutors will ask a panel of five judges to reject his trial verdict and convict the double-amputee athlete of murder for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The Supreme Court announced the date yesterday. The court said the appeal by prosecutors against Pistorius’ acquittal for murder will be heard by a panel headed by the president of the Supreme Court. Two of the five judges are women. Pistorius was last year found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter for shooting Steenkamp through a toilet door in his home in 2013. He testified he mistook her for a dangerous intruder. Prosecutors accused Pistorius of killing Steenkamp intentionally after a fight and said Judge Thokozile Masipa made errors at the murder trial last year. They want the Supreme Court to re-examine her verdict. The Supreme Court could overrule Masipa and find the Olympian guilty of murder, order a new trial, or decide Masipa was correct. A murder conviction in South Africa carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in jail. The country no longer has the death penalty. Pistorius was sentenced by Masipa to five years in prison for culpable homicide an unintentional but still unlawful killing equivalent to manslaughter. He is currently in jail in Pretoria waiting for a parole review board to decide if he should be released early to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. A second hearing to decide if he should be released was postponed last week with no date given for when it will take place.
AT GUYANA NATIONAL STADIUM: Guyana Jaguars, leading Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by 58 on first innings, reached 244 for four at the close on the third day of their sixth-round match yesterday. Scores: JAGUARS 237 (Vishaul Singh 104 not out, Veerasammy Permaul 47, Leon Johnson 23; Marlon Richards 3-41, Rayad Emrit 3-44, Jon-Russ Jagessar 3-59) and 244 for four (Leon Johnson 111 not out, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 42, Anthony Bramble 39 not out; Jon-Russ Jagessar 4-67). RED FORCE 179 (Yannic Cariah 68, Jason Mohammed 30, Evin Lewis 26; Veerasammy Permaul 5-65, Devendra Bishoo 3-48). VOCANOES IN TROUBLE NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC): Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall grabbed his first-ever 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket to inspire Leeward Islands Hurricanes to an 85-run victory over Jamaica Scorpions and their first win of the Regional first-class championship here yesterday. Starting the final day of their sixth-round clash on 58 for two in search of 366 for victory, Scorpions were dismissed for 280 – undermined by Cornwall – who claimed seven for 131 to end with match figures of 12 for 205. Barbadian right-hander Kirk Edwards converted his overnight 28 into a top score of 93, while tail-ender Sheldon Cottrell got 39 and Carlton Baugh Jr, 25, but the task of scoring 308 on the final day proved too much for the visitors. Hurricanes had lost all five of their previous outings this season to languish at the bottom of the six-team standings. However, they broke out of their slump in style, taking wickets at regular intervals throughout the day to ensure that there was no way back for Scorpions. Edwards seemed to be steering Scorpions to safety when he anchored a series of small partnerships. He struck 13 fours and three sixes in an innings spanning 142 deliveries and 189 minutes before he was sixth out. He extended his overnight third-wicket stand with AndrÈ McCarthy to 41 before Cornwall grabbed his first wicket of the morning, trapping McCarthy lbw for 22 after 35 balls at the crease. Edwards then put on 38 with Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who made 21, and added another 47 for the fifth wicket with Antiguan Devon Thomas, who got 15. Unbeaten on 78 at the break, Edwards combined with Baugh afterwards to add 22 for the sixth wicket and looked set for his 10th first-class hundred when he edged Cornwall to slip at 189 for six. Cornwall then pulled off a fine return catch three balls later to remove David Bernard Jr, with no runs added to the score, as the death knell sounded for Scorpions. With hope dwindling quickly, Cottrell threw his bat around for three fours and three sixes in a 47-ball cameo, which unnerved Hurricanes, as he and Nikita Miller (15 not out) put on 34 for the last wicket. Fittingly, Cornwall took the final wicket to hand Scorpions their third defeat of the season. AT KENSINGTON OVAL: Windward Islands Volcanoes, trailing Barbados Pride by 200 runs on first innings, were 134 for seven in their second innings at the close on the penultimate day of their sixth-round match yesterday. Scores: VOLCANOES 250 (AndrÈ Fletcher 84, Kavem Hodge 53, Shane Shillingford 28; Miguel Cummings 5-47, Sulieman Benn 3-65) and 134 for seven (Keddy Lesporis 29, Johnson Charles 25, Andre Fletcher 25; Roston Chase 3-19, Sulieman Benn 2-38). PRIDE 450 for five decl. (Shai Hope 162, Kraigg Brathwaite 117, Roston Chase 40 not out, Kyle Corbin 38, Carlos Brathwaite 27; Johnson Charls 2-51, Shane Shillingford 2-131). JAGUARS IN COMMAND
Sprintec Track Club scored two big wins during yesterday’s 2016 Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium.The club’s female and male teams clocked fast times to capture the men’s and women’s sprint relays for clubs and institutions.The quartet of Gayon Evans, Anastasia Leroy, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby and Sherone Simpson turned back sister team GC Foster College to clock a winning time of 43.61 seconds. G.C. Foster were second in 44.17 and University of Technology, third in 44.35.McLaughlin-Whilby was overjoyed with her team’s run.”We just came out today to give of our best and I am very pleased with how the young ladies ran. I am happy I was able to finish injury free,” said McLaughlin-Whilby.The Sprintec men, who finished a close second to MVP Track Club at the recent Milo Western Relays, avenged that defeat with a quick 38.59 as Racers were second in 39.02 ahead of UTech, 39.55.The winning Sprintec quartet was Jermaine Hamilton, Oshane Bailey, Rasheed Dwyer and Chadic Hinds.PRETTY CONFIDENT”We were not focusing on time coming into the race, but in the end, we were very happy that we ran fast. We have a new set of guys and I am pretty confident that next year we are going to run much faster,” Dwyer said.There were two 4x100m relay wins in the high school section for Edwin Allen High’s girls and Kingston College (KC).Edwin Allen won the Class Three, and Four events. In Class Three they clocked 46.13 to hold off St Catherine High, second in 46.19, and St Jago High, third in 46.34.In Class Four, favourites Edwin Allen remained unbeaten this season winning in 47.58 ahead of Hydel High, 47.70, and Wolmer’s Girls, 49.88.St Jago’s girls ran away with the Class One sprint relay after favourites Holmwood Technical dropped the baton. The Spanish Town-based school won in 45.77. Green Island High clocked 45.81 for second and Camperdown High were third in 45.92.Holmwood made up for their Class One loss by taking Class Two as favourites Edwin Allen had baton problems on the second leg. Holmwood won in 46.02, defeating St Jago (46.07) and Edwin Allen, 47.77.KC won the Class Three sprint relay clocking 43.41 to finish ahead of Wolmer’s Boys, 43.41, and St Jago, 44.09.A brilliant second leg from former Vaz Prep star Terrique Stennett gave KC an easy win in Class Four. They won in 45.17 with Calabar High second in 46.60 and St Jago third in 47.68.Jamaica College captured the Class One boys 4x100m in 40.01. St Jago, 40.44, and Cornwall College, 40.57, were second and third, respectively. In this event, Calabar’s second-leg runner fell after the exchange, while Kingston College’s anchor leg runner pulled up 30 metres from the finish line.Calabar were hit by a hamstring injury to star Class Two sprinter Tyreke Wilson. Wilson almost went down on the lead off leg, but, despite the injury, still managed to hand over the baton to teammate Christopher Taylor on the second leg. They won in 41.21 with Wolmer’s Boys second in 41.98.
NATIONAL TREASURES The Rio Olympics are over and can claim to have been an athletic success. Pre-game warnings about guests and athletes running a great risk of being robbed, shot, falling sick with the Zika virus, or getting violently ill by coming in contact with sewage-contaminated water proved to be greatly exaggerated. Of course, there were reports of robberies and athletes and guests becoming ill, but so far, nothing on the scale of the pre-game predictions. Jamaica had a very successful Rio Olympics. We ended up with 11 medals, one short of the 12 garnered in Beijing, but with more gold than the record Beijing haul. Sadly, our nation says goodbye to the greatest male athlete of all time, as our ‘hero’ Usain Bolt has stated that Rio would be his last Olympics. The question for me (and hopefully the nation) is: what next? Without Bolt’s guaranteed three gold medals, will our medal tally suffer in Tokyo, the venue of the 2010 Olympic Games? The answer lies in planning. The nation’s sports administrators need to start planning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics from September 2016. Talent of Jamaicans in multiple sports need to be identified and nurtured in order to qualify for the next Olympics. Once identified, these athletes need to be supported financially, medically and with the best coaching that money can buy. Yes, what money can buy; as a previous prime minister said, “it takes cash to care.” Money is a performance enhancer. When communism was rife, countries that realised the importance of sports would ’employ’ athletes in order to ensure that they could spend all their time practising (training), thus resulting in them being better able to win medals in games like the Olympics. Western countries frowned on this practice as these countries (albeit with the aid of drugs and corruption) dominated the medal table. With communism being defeated, what now entails is much of the same. Some of the countries that were most vociferous in condemning the practice of state-sponsored professional athletes now find themselves doing the same thing. In 1996, England subsidised the participation of its athletes in the Olympics to the tune of £5 million. They won 15 medals at the Olympics. This embarrassing result saw England subsidising sports to the tune of £54 million in 2000. England garnered 28 medals. In 2012, England subsidised sports to the tune of £264 million: England garnered 65 medals. This year (2016), England subsidised sports to the tune of £350 million and they surpassed that amount of medals this year. England gave their athletes £28,000 annually to allow them to concentrate on training. This is exactly what communist countries were doing in the past. This year at the Rio Olympics, England increased their medal tally and was just edged out on the last day of competition from second place in the medal tally. Back home, here in Jamaica, the Government has announced a subsidy reported to be in the region of J$60,000 monthly. It is a literal drop in the bucket, but a very important start that needs to be increased, especially with no present male superstar on the horizon. When one looks at the reality of an Olympic athlete’s financial support in the build-up to Olympic qualifying performances, it is soon recognised as very obvious that if it wasn’t for our natural west African genetic superiority, Jamaica would not be the world athletic power that it most certainly is now. We need to understand the potential benefits to be reaped from our athletes’ performances on the world stage. We need to invest more in their preparation (facilities, coaching, medical issues and anti-doping) and upon doing so with taxpayers’ money, we (Jamaica) need to ensure that these athletes are not exploited by greedy support staff, who see these athletes as a money tree and not as national treasures. It takes cash to care. Let us, with one accord, insist on a state-sponsored fund geared specifically for Olympic preparation. Our athletes deserve no less. Congrats to our Jamaican Olympians. You are all national treasures. Thanks.