Djordje Mihailovic believes the Colorado Rapids should be grouped among the best teams in the Western Conference as they prepare for a trip to the Houston Dynamo.

The Rapids have won just one of their last four games, but a point against Minnesota United in a 3-3 draw was enough to keep them sixth in the table.

Colorado are now looking to get back to winning ways, and Mihailovic is hoping their form against the rest of the top six can translate against Houston.

"Last year wasn't great, and we're trying to move on, but we can't forget - it's the club's history," Mihailovic said.

"To know we're good against the top six in the West [only losing once], I think it shows we belong in that conversation. I know people won't say that on the outside, but we believe that in our group.

"It says a lot when we weren't happy with a draw [against Minnesota]. Now we go to Houston and Vancouver before our break, and it's a good opportunity to move up in the standings."

Houston sit four points behind Colorado in eighth place, but the teams below them are staying within touching distance.

After failing to win any of their last three matches, head coach Ben Osborn was asked what was missing from the team’s performances.

He said: "Goals are missing - finishing off some of these chances and I think the other part that's missing is understanding how to win games, or tie them, and find these moments where we are just more disciplined at times, so I think it's a combination of those two."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston Dynamo – Latif Blessing

Blessing scored his first goal of the season on Saturday, the tenth different Dynamo player to find the net this season. He is one of nine to have just one goal this year, as only Ibrahim Aliyu (four goals) has scored multiple times for Houston in regular-season play in 2024.

Colorado Rapids – Rafael Navarro

Navarro has the longest active goalscoring streak in MLS, having found the net in five straight appearances. Navarro is the third Rapids player to score in five straight regular-season matches after Omar Cummings in 2010 and John Spencer, who did so in six straight games in 2003.

MATCH PREDICTION – HOUSTON DYNAMO WIN

Houston have won consecutive matches against Colorado after winning just two of the previous 16 meetings dating back to 2016 (seven draws, seven defeats). This is the Dynamo's first set of consecutive wins over Colorado since 2008-09.

However, the Dynamo's 2-1 defeat at the LA Galaxy on Saturday was their fifth loss in their last nine regular-season matches (two wins, two draws). Houston had suffered just two defeats in their previous 17 league matches dating back to last July.

Colorado came from 3-1 down in the final 30 minutes to draw Minnesota 3-3 on Saturday, ending a run of 19 straight losses when trailing by multiple goals. It marked the sixth time in team history, and first at home, that the Rapids had avoided defeat despite trailing by multiple goals after the hour mark.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Houston Dynamo – 55.2%

Draw – 24.3%

Colorado Rapids – 20.4%

Charlotte FC head coach Dean Smith says his team will continue to work on their lack of goal threat as they prepare to travel to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

Charlotte sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Red Bulls after going unbeaten in their last five matches.

However, their last two outings have finished 0-0 against LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union as they managed just six shots on target combined in those games.

Asked how he approaches a situation like that, Smith said: "We talk openly, review all the games and the fact is that we probably haven't worked the goalkeeper enough.

"We've spoke about that and what we feel we can do to improve that. We've had chances, and we probably haven't done as well as we could do with those, so that's something we'll continue to work on

"It's going to be a tough game [against the Red Bulls] because they're a tough team."

The Red Bulls are coming off a 10-day break after their derby defeat to New York City FC on May 19, and sit fifth in the table.

Head coach Sandro Schwarz said: "The performance [against NYCFC] wasn't the best, and we weren't able to create chances to score and to get three points.

"We want more, and we have to improve a lot, but this is normal. We need time, but the mentality, the behaviour, they adapt very quick and very well.

"We were disappointed to lose the derby game, but that happens. Heads up, we have to come back stronger and take the next opportunity."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Red Bulls – Cameron Harper

Harper scored New York's lone goal in their last match, his third straight match with a goal. He is the first Red Bulls player to score in three straight regular-season matches since Patryk Klimala in 2021, and the last Red Bulls player to score in four straight league games was Bradley Wright-Phillips in July-August 2017.

Charlotte – Kristijan Kahlina

Charlotte have kept clean sheets in five consecutive regular-season matches, the only team to do so in MLS this season. The only team since 2008 to keep a clean sheet in six straight games within a single regular season was New York City FC in May 2022, and Kahlina will be looking to equal that record.

MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK RED BULLS WIN

The Red Bulls have lost only one of their six all-time meetings with Charlotte in all competitions, a 2-0 road defeat in June 2022. New York have won three of their four home matches against Charlotte (D1), scoring multiple goals in each match, including a 5-2 win in last year's playoffs.

The Red Bulls are unbeaten in eight straight home matches dating back to last season (W5 D3, incl. playoffs). New York have not had a longer home unbeaten run in MLS play since a nine-match run from August 2018 to March 2019.

Meanwhile, Charlotte won 1-0 at Chicago in their last away match after a seven-match winless run on the road in all competitions. Charlotte have never recorded back-to-back away wins in all competitions before.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

New York Red Bulls – 53%

Draw – 23.9%

Charlotte – 23.1%

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman admits his team still have some growing to do as they travel to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.

Despite losing three of their last four MLS games – winning the other 5-1 at home to CF Montreal – Toronto sit sixth in the Eastern Conference on 22 points with a very balanced record.

They have won seven and lost seven of their league games, drawing the other one, and have both scored and conceded 24 goals.

After conceding late in their 4-3 loss to Cincinnati, Herdman says his team need to put more work into their defensive side of the game.

"It's that level of concentration, that level of discipline that championship teams are able to bring to games," Herdman said.

"Knowing your job and delivering your job in high-pressure moments where you stay concentrated for long periods of time, that was the message [this week].

"I think collectively as a group they recognized it. And they welcomed it. They know we're growing. They know we’re on a bit of a journey."

Philadelphia are four points off a final series place in eighth with 18 points and are unbeaten in their last two matches after failing to win any of the previous six.

Asked about the test his side will face against Toronto, the Union head coach Jim Curtin said they are a "much-improved team.

"Really well organized, really well coached. A dangerous team."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Philadelphia Union – Daniel Gazdag

Gazdag has been involved in eight goals (four goals, four assists) in three home matches against Toronto FC, recording multiple goal contributions in each match.

Toronto FC – Lorenzo Insigne

After recording two assists against Montreal last week, Insigne had a goal and an assist on Saturday, the second player, along with Federico Bernardeschi, to contribute to multiple goals in consecutive matches for Toronto this season.

MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

The Union have won each of their last four home matches against Toronto by a combined score of 16-2. Philadelphia had won just four of their first 11 home matches against the Reds (D3 L4).

However, the Union have lost four consecutive home matches for the first time in club history. Philadelphia had suffered three defeats in their previous 59 matches at Subaru Park before this run.

Meanwhile, Toronto nearly drew with FC Cincinnati on Saturday, losing 4-3 to a goal in the third minute of stoppage time. Toronto have drawn only one of their last 36 matches in all competitions dating back to last June (W11 L24).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Philadelphia Union – 67.7%

Draw – 18.9%

Toronto FC – 13.4%

Defender Aaron Long has praised Los Angeles FC's recent defensive strength as they prepare to welcome Minnesota United to BMO Stadium on Wednesday.

LAFC have won their last four in all competitions without conceding a goal, with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Atlanta United their 100th MLS regular-season win.  

They currently sit fourth in the Western Conference with 24 points and can leapfrog opponents Minnesota United if they continue their winning streak.

"We touched on it a little bit earlier in the year when I was asked about giving up a lot of goals in a lot of weird ways," said Long.

"We pride ourselves on being a good defensive team with a good structure and getting 11 guys behind the ball and working hard.

"More than anything, I think we have strikers, forwards and midfielders who can score a lot of goals. If we can hold zeros, we can win a lot of games. We held four zeros in a row, four wins, so let's try and keep the ball rolling."

When asked about reaching the milestone of their 100th win last Saturday, Long added: "To be the fastest to 100 or tied as the fastest to 100, is a huge, monumental step. I think it's something that the club should be proud of."

Meanwhile, Minnesota are second in the table, just four points behind leaders Real Salt Lake City after a 3-3 draw with Colorado Rapids last weekend.

They have not lost any of their last seven matches, and forward, Tani Oluwaseyi is looking forward to facing off against a tough opponent.

He said: "You always want to face the great teams and LAFC is a marquee team with a lot of really good players, really big players. Hopefully, we can put a great game plan together to go into that game."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

Bogusz scored LAFC's lone goal in their win in Atlanta on Saturday. Only four players have scored Los Angeles FC's 15 goals since the beginning of April (excluding own goals): Denis Bouanga (six), Mateusz Bogusz (four), Cristian Olivera (three) and Timothy Tillman (two).

Minnesota – Tani Oluwaseyi

Oluwaseyi scored the second of Minnesota’s three goals on Saturday at Colorado, scoring for the third-straight MLS road game. Oluwaseyi is the second Minnesota player to score in three straight regular-season away matches after Franco Fragapane did so in June-July 2022.

MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC WIN

LAFC have won five straight matches in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in the last four. This equals their second-longest all-competition winning streak (seven straight in 2022) while it's the second time LAFC have kept clean sheets in four straight matches (April 2023).

Meanwhile, Minnesota are unbeaten in six straight matches following a 3-3 draw at Colorado on Saturday (W4 D2). The Loons have scored multiple goals in all six games during that run.

Indeed, Minnesota ended a seven-match winless run against LAFC with a 2-0 home victory on March 16. Each team has won three times against the other with five of the 11 meetings ending in draws.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

LAFC – 51.5%

Draw – 25.3%

Minnesota – 23.2%

President of Boys' Town Football Club Andrew Price says he is struggling to come to grip with the brutal slaying of former player Rafiek “Fari” Thomas, who was gunned down at his home  in Denham Town on Tuesday.

It is reported that about 4:40am, unknown assailants gained access to Thomas’ residence, in the troubled West Kingston community, and shot him several times in his bed. Another man was also injured during the home invasion.

Thomas, 40, was well-known for his goal scoring exploits in local football, especially during his time at Boys’ Town and Tivoli Gardens. He also represented Harbour View, Waterhouse, and Humble Lion throughout his career, before returning to the Boys’ Town. He scored the match-winning goal for the Collie Smith Drive-based club when they copped the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Wray and Nephew Championship last season.

They retained the title with a penalty shoot-out win over Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on Sunday, but their celebrations were cut short by the tragic news, which has plunged the football fraternity  into mourning.

Price expressed condolence to Thomas’s family and friends, as he remembered the player as passionate, inspirational and humble.

“It is so sad when you hear another life snuffed out through crime and violence in inner city communities. Rafiek Thomas was an inspirational player, very skillful, and a prolific goal scorer. I enjoyed coaching him. He was a gem to coach, always unassuming, humble individual, so I'm taking this very, badly to awake to this type of news after the club's triumphant Sunday night it is just really disheartening and gut-wrenching,” Price said.

“Such a talented individual; he was always willing to assist, to impress, to guide the youngsters and even at his age, he was still a prolific goal scorer. One of the last goals he scored was a year ago in the finals of the Championship against Constant Spring. So we will remember Rafiek for how passionate he was both on and off the field. It's sad to hear that his life has ended in this tragic manner and it reinforces the need to engage football as a socializing effect in communities,” he added.

Laurent Courtois was pleased to see CF Montreal "stop the bleeding" with Saturday's goalless draw against Nashville SC, but he knows more is needed when they host D.C. United on Wednesday. 

Montreal are winless in their last nine matches across all competitions (four draws, five losses) and sit 13th of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.

They did at least snap a four-game losing streak with that stalemate, and Courtois wants them to use that result as a platform.

"I heard a couple of guys talking about 'stopping the bleeding' and I hate it, but it's the reality of the moment," said Courtois.

"We're happy in the sense that we were able to get back to our standards of commitment and competitiveness, but we know that we need more at home, so we have to get back to work."

D.C. were also held to a draw last time out as their own winless run stretched to three matches, being pegged back in a 1-1 home tie with the Chicago Fire.

Coach Troy Lesesne was less than pleased with his team's performance in that match, saying: "In the end, we were fortunate to get a point out of that, and that's not good enough.

"Maybe there wasn't enough service. I think it was to do with how we went out. 

"In the first half you could see our identity by the way we went out, but you could not see that in the second half." 

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

CF Montreal – Josef Martinez

Martinez has scored eight regular-season goals against D.C. United, equalling the most he has scored against any opponent in his MLS career (also eight versus the New England Revolution and Orlando City).

D.C. United – Christian Benteke

D.C. have won 347 aerial duels this season, over 100 more than any other MLS team and almost three times as many as Montreal. 

Montreal have won 122 aerial duels this year, the second-fewest in MLS and 42 fewer than Benteke alone (164).

MATCH PREDICTION – CF MONTREAL WIN

D.C. have won two straight matches against Montreal in all competitions, but the only three-game winning streak achieved by either team against the other came in 2016-17 (three victories for Montreal).

Montreal's nine-match winless run is their joint-longest across all competitions since they joined MLS in 2012 (also nine in 2013-14).

However, D.C. have failed to win any of their last three matches (one draw, two losses) and have only won one of their last 13 on the road (seven draws, five defeats).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

CF Montreal – 46.9%

D.C. United – 25.7%

Draw – 27.4% 

Jamaica’s Gymnastics Association (JAGA) president, Nicole Grant says securing hosting rights for the inaugural Carifta Gymnastics Championships not only marks another milestone achievement for her administration, but more importantly, signifies the country’s continued growth in the sport.

Though the region has been known for the Carifta Games and Carifta Swimming Championships, where rising stars showcase their athletics and aquatic prowess across various age groups, there has never been an outlet for gymnast.

That prompted Grant and others to work with the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) to conceptualize the Carifta Gymnastics Championships, which is set for November 29-30 at the National Indoor Sports Centre.

“Hosting the inaugural Carifta Gymnastics Championships is a significant achievement for Jamaica Gymnastics. It showcases Jamaica's commitment to the sport and its ability to organize a major regional event. Carifta has been around for many years but gymnastics hasn’t been part of it and because of the technicality of the sport,” Grant told SportsMax.TV.

“This event provides a platform for gymnasts in the Caribbean region to compete and showcase their talents. It also helps to promote gymnastics in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, inspiring more young athletes to take up the sport. Overall, hosting such a prestigious event is a great honor and a testament to Jamaica's growing presence in the gymnastics community,” she added.

Olympian Toni-Ann Williams and Coach Mladen Stefanov.

Grant explained that Jamaica found favour with the PAGU since last year’s successful staging of the Pan American Hopes tournament, and she is eager to deliver another fine spectacle.

“We were seen as a country that has the capability of hosting tournaments of this level and therefore we were given the nod. There were three other countries in the running to host the tournament, which included Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Bahamas,” Grant shared.

“I can tell you that Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are already confirmed to participate, and each country is expected to bring about 20-30 athletes, at a minimum. So while we wait on other countries to confirm their participation, we are focused on delivering what we hope will be a memorable first staging,” she declared.

On another note, Grant revealed that Jamaica has also secured the services of Olympian Toni-Ann Williams as Technical Director with her former coach Mladen Stefanov, set to guide the country’s team which begins preparation next month.

“Toni-Ann will be working with us on a monthly basis. She will begin in July with a camp for the team competing at the Carifta Gymnastics Championships and Mladen Stefanov will be the Head Coach for the senior male and female teams. He was Toni-Ann’s coach throughout her years as gymnasts and has worked with us over the years, so we are pleased to have them both on our technical team,” she noted.

Prior to the Carifta Gymnastics Championships, Grant pointed out that Jamaica’s athletes will engage two overseas training camps, in Canada and China, to fine-tune techniques and routines.

“The China camp is a part of the bilateral agreement between both ministries of sports and is the final leg of that camp. Also, our higher level local gymnasts will have a four-week camp in Canada to also prepare for the tournament,” she ended.

Pat Noonan believes being able to win in different ways has been the key to FC Cincinnati's fine run of form, as the Orange and Blue look to make it eight straight victories against Nashville SC on Wednesday.

Cincinnati have won their last seven league games to surge up the Eastern Conference standings, and they currently sit just one point adrift of leaders Inter Miami with a game in hand.

They overcame fellow high-fliers Toronto FC by a 4-3 scoreline in a thriller last time out, and Noonan has praised his players for being adaptable in the face of different challenges. 

"It's hard to win in this league and it's hard to win consecutively like we've done," Noonan said. 

"I think what we're able to do is adapt in games and win in different ways. When we need to have the quality with the ball and score goals, we were able to do that. 

"We've seen the one-goal wins, and finally being able to win a game by two goals last week against St. Louis City. So we can win in different ways, which is important."

Nashville, meanwhile, are still awaiting their first win under interim coach Rumba Munthali, having played out back-to-back draws with Atlanta United (1-1) and CF Montreal (0-0) since they fired Gary Smith.

"It's been good, it's been positive," Munthali said of the team's work on the training ground. 

"The guys have done the work that was asked of them and have been really positive and receptive, especially at a tough time in this transition."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta assisted Cincinnati's winner last Saturday, his ninth straight regular-season match with a goal contribution, equalling the longest run in MLS since the start of the 2023 season. 

Since 2000, only six players have recorded a double-digit streak of regular-season games with a goal contribution.

Nashville SC – Hany Mukhtar 

Mukhtar created five chances for team-mates in Nashville's draw with Montreal last time out, his most in a match this season. 

Nine of the 19 chances Mukhtar has created this year have come in two games against Montreal, with just 10 in his other 10 matches. Will that performance be a turning point? 

MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

Nashville have only won only one of their last 16 MLS away matches (six draws, nine defeats including playoffs), including going winless in their last eight (four draws, four losses). 

Nashville's last road win over an Eastern Conference foe came over a year ago, a 2-1 victory at Charlotte FC on May 20, 2023.

Cincinnati's 4-3 win at Toronto last time out was their 31st victory in their last 50 regular-season matches dating back to October 2022, the most wins in a span of 50 regular-season matches in MLS in the post-shootout era (since 2000).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Cincinnati – 56.5%

Nashville SC – 21.6%

Draw – 21.9%

Gonzalo Pineda remains confident things will turn for Atlanta United after nine MLS games without a victory, as the Five Stripes prepare to visit Inter Miami on Wednesday.

Atlanta sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, 21 points adrift of pacesetters Miami, after failing to win any of their last nine matches since the start of April (four draws, five defeats).

Sporting Kansas City (two) are the only team in MLS to earn fewer than the four points Atlanta have picked up in that span.

However, Pineda believes the fact Atlanta are still creating chances is a major positive, saying Thiago Almada's return to full fitness will surely lead to an upturn.

Speaking after Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC, he said: "I'm very confident in the team, honestly. 

"Once again I thought we created some big chances, and we didn't have Thiago available for more than 30 minutes. With that, we have our backline being stable again and we'll have our best attacking pieces together again.

"That's the confidence I have. We're creating chances and we just need to be a little bit more clinical."

Miami, meanwhile, continued their strong form with a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, despite Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets all being rested.

While Messi's absence infuriated many of the 55,000 fans present in Vancouver, coach Gerardo Martino says it was important to give the Argentina great a breather, and he is expected to feature on Wednesday.

"It must be stressed that he has played a lot of minutes this season, so we had to find a moment to give him a break and to rest him for a match," Martino said of Messi.

"In this specific case, the trip to Vancouver made the most sense. We understand people's frustrations, especially because of the desire these fans have to see these players. 

"But as coaches, we have to make these decisions that are uncomfortable and that will frustrate people. Ultimately we have to look after our players and the team."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Leonardo Campana

Prior to missing last week's trip to Vancouver, Messi had gone consecutive starts without a goal contribution for the second time since joining Miami last year. 

Fortunately for the Herons, Campana has stepped up, hitting back-to-back winners against D.C. United and the Whitecaps. He has four goals in MLS this term, despite only making six starts.

Atlanta United – Brooks Lennon

No Atlanta player has recorded more key passes in MLS this year than Lennon's 33, a tally only Almada can match. 

If the Five Stripes are to end their dismal run of form, he could have a key role to play.

MATCH PREDICTION – INTER MIAMI WIN

Atlanta are winless in 13 straight away matches in all competitions (seven draws, six defeats), and have now managed just four wins in their last 43 road games.

Miami, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their last 10 MLS matches, winning seven of the last eight. They even showed they can cope without Messi on Saturday, recording just their third win in 14 matches without the Argentine since his arrival last July (five draws, six losses).

Miami have never lost a home game against Atlanta, winning four and drawing two versus them, including winning each of the teams' last three clashes in Fort Lauderdale.

The only road win in the 12-match history of the teams' series was a 2-1 victory for the Herons at Atlanta in September 2020.

Martino's team enter Wednesday's game as big favourites, regardless of the status of their stars.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Inter Miami – 51.2%

Atlanta United – 25.7%

Draw – 23.1%

Scores of fans anticipating this year’s staging of the Grenada Invitational were surely left disappointed after the organizing committee announced the cancellation of the meet.

The decision to cancel the 2024 Grenada Invitational and retire the brand was made at a Board of Directors meeting on Monday, May 27.

The driving force behind the decision, as put by the organizers in a statement, were significant socio-economic challenges.

The Grenada Invitational, known for showcasing world-class athletes such as Justin Gatlin, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Kirani James, has been a highlight for track and field enthusiasts since its inception in 2017.

The event successfully ran for three consecutive years from 2017-19, bringing global attention to Grenada’s athletic prowess.

This year’s event, which was officially launched on May 16 at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort in St. George’s, was set to feature prominent athletes including 2011 World champion Kirani James, two-time double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, 2022 Commonwealth 110m hurdles gold medallist Rasheed Broadbell, and 100m hurdles Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper.

They were among over 100 athletes set to participate in the international segment that promised high-quality competition.

Grenadian stars Anderson Peters and Lindon Victor, both qualified for Paris 2024, were also booked for the event, making the cancellation even more disappointing for local fans.

However, efforts to revive the event post-COVID-19 have faced numerous hurdles. The local and regional economic environment has made securing the necessary sponsorship and support exceedingly difficult.

“Despite the best efforts of the Board of Directors and the Local Organising Team of the Grenada Invitational, the synergy, the enthusiasm, the energy, and the commitment to produce a once-in-a-generation event did not materialize,” the organizers stated.

The statement continued, “With time running out, the Board of Directors of the Grenada Invitational took the painful decision at a meeting late Monday May 27 to cancel the 2024 Grenada Invitational, as well as round up, for good, the franchise and brand that is Grenada Invitational.”

“We are extremely pleased that we were able to bring to Grenada quality, world class athletic competition. We would like to commend and extend a hearty thank you to all who contributed, in one way or the other, to the 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions of the Grenada Invitational.”

Organizers then encouraged Grenadians to look back at the previous editions with pride while singling out Grenadian athletes such as Kirani James, Anderson Peters and Lindon Victor as inspirations behind the meet.

 

 

Jamaican gymnasts Alana Walker and Isabelle David delivered strong performances at the 2024 Pan American Artistic Gymnastics Championships, finishing 15th and 17th, respectively, in Santa Marta, Colombia. The competition, held from May 22-26, marked a historic achievement for Jamaica as both gymnasts reached the all-around finals.

 Head coach Mladen Stefanov expressed his pride in the gymnasts’ achievements. “I am so happy with Isabelle David and Alana Walker’s performance at the Pan Am Games 2024. Both of them got through the qualifying round and made it to the top 24 in the final. This is the first time that Jamaica has had two athletes in the all-around final. Our gymnasts were able to do their skills with confidence and really show their potential, making us proud. It was a long week of competing, and they had to compete two times in three days, which is very hard, but somehow they were able to pull it off. They were trained well, and I am so happy that we were a part of the 2024 Pan Am Games and represented Jamaica in the best way possible.”

 Alana Walker

Alana Walker, who secured a top-15 finish with a combined score of 46.867, reflected positively on her performance despite some challenges. She achieved scores of 8.900 on the vault, 7.30 on the uneven bars, 6.51 on the balance beam, and 6.865 on the floor exercise. “Although the finals didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, it was a great end to my 2024 season. I am proud of my top-15 finish for team Jamaica and I also want to say thank you to coaches Mladen and Mary [Marylin Pretov] for helping me through this competition. I look forward to continuing my gymnastics career at Stanford University.”

Isabelle David 

Isabelle David, who finished 17th with a total score of 45.867, was also pleased with her performance. She scored 9.40 on the vault, 7.5 on the uneven bars, 6.5 on the balance beam, and 6.967 on the floor exercise. “Even though our all-around finals didn’t go exactly as planned, I am very proud I hit eight out of eight routines while at Pan Ams. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been here and represent Jamaica, and I am grateful to coaches Mary and Mladen for supporting everyone on the team during this competition. I am very happy with this end to my 2024 season and I am looking forward to opportunities to compete and represent Jamaica in the future.”

The success of Walker and David at the Pan American Championships underscores the progress of Jamaican gymnastics on the international stage, showcasing the nation’s potential and dedication to excellence in the sport.

 

 

 

 

Two-time Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah had a far from ideal start to her 2024 season at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

The 31-year-old lined up in the 100m at the fifth meet on this season’s Diamond League calendar and had a race to forget, running 11.30 for a ninth-place finish as hometown hero Sha’Carri Richardson sped away to a season’s best 10.83 for victory.

“Definitely not what I expected today but grateful,” Thompson-Herah said after the race on Instagram.

“Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” she added.

Thompson-Herah, who is now being coached by Reynaldo Walcott at Elite Performance Track Club, is looking to rediscover the form that led her to Olympic glory in 2016 and 2021.

She endured an injury-riddled 2023 season that saw her fail to make the team for any individual event at the World Championships in Budapest. She did leave those championships with a silver medal, however, as part of the 4x100m quartet.

Thompson-Herah had much better returns in the second half of the 2023 season.

She ran times of 10.92 and 10.84 on September 4 and 8 to win at the Gala dei Castelli and the Brussels Diamond League, respectively, before closing out her season with 10.79 for third at the Prefontaine Classic on September 16.

 

 

West Indies white-ball coach Daren Sammy hailed his team’s performance after they passed their South Africa test with flying colours, culminating in a dominant eight-wicket victory at Sabina Park on Sunday. This win sealed a clean sweep of the three-match T20 International series, setting a positive tone for their final preparations ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which begins on June 1.

The West Indies secured their series victory with a comprehensive performance on Sunday, chasing down South Africa's target of 164 with 6.1 overs to spare. This win followed earlier victories on Thursday, May 23, by 28 runs and on Saturday, May 25, by 16 runs. The series was characterized by consistent team efforts, despite the absence of key players such as Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Andre Russell, and Alzarri Joseph.

In the series finale, South Africa posted 163-8 from their 20 overs, with captain Rassie van der Dussen top-scoring with 51 off 36 balls. Debutant Wiann Mulder contributed a solid 36. The West Indies’ bowling attack was led by Player of the Series Gudakesh Motie, who took 2-21, supported by Shamar Joseph’s 2-26 and Obed McCoy’s 3-39.

The West Indies’ chase was spearheaded by an explosive opening partnership of 92 runs in just 6.4 overs between Johnson Charles and interim captain Brandon King. Charles, who was named Player of the Match for his blistering 69 off 26 balls, batted at a strike rate of 265, while King added 44 from 28 balls. Kyle Mayers (36 not out) and Alick Athanaze (6 not out) comfortably saw the hosts over the finish line.

Coach Darren Sammy, who led the West Indies to T20 World Cup victories in 2012 and 2016, praised his team’s all-around performance. "With the players that we had, we executed quite well,” he told Sportsmax.TV. “We were put under pressure in the Power Play in the second game but the way the guys responded and won convincingly; we got tested in the three departments – in the field, with the bat, and the ball – and the way the guys responded was just really good, so I would give them a nine (out of 10).”

Charles expressed satisfaction with his performance after struggling in the first two matches. “It was great. We have been working hard during the camp and in the series. Worked hard on our skills leading up to the World Cup, just enforcing the basics. Tried in the first two games, didn’t work out but came today (Sunday). It’s all about building confidence,” he said.

Stand-in captain Brandon King also shared his delight at leading the team to a commanding series win. “(I was) happy with my own performance,” he remarked. “Would’ve liked to carry my bat through to the end though. We understand each other’s games, playing a few years together. (This was) an important 3-0 win.”

Nickisha Pryce, the senior sprinter from the University of Arkansas, once again broke the 50-second barrier in the 400m, securing her place at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Pryce clocked 49.93 seconds at the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday, ensuring her spot at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 5-8.

Pryce, who recently ran an impressive 49.32 to become the second fastest Jamaican woman over 400m, continued to showcase her dominance in the event. Pryce was also a member of the Razorback 4x400m relay team that established a new championship record of 3:21.92 that also sees the team advancing to the finals in June.

Among the men, Shaemar Uter of Texas Tech also secured his place at the national championships with a solid time of 45.78 in the 400m.

In the sprints, Dejanea Oakley from the University of Texas at Austin ran 22.32 in the 200m to advance to the nationals. Her Texas teammate, Ackelia Smith, excelled in the triple jump with a 14.31m effort, ensuring her qualification.

Nebraska’s Rhianna Phipps joined the list of qualifiers in the triple jump, reaching 13.67m to secure her spot in the finals. Her performance reflects the depth of talent among Jamaican athletes in the field events.

In the 110m hurdles, Jerome Campbell of Northern Colorado ran an impressive 13.30 to book his place at the national championships. He will be joined by the 2023 NCAA champion, Phillip Lemonious, who qualified with a time of 13.43, adding to the formidable Jamaican contingent in the hurdles.

Texas A&M’s Abigail Martin also secured her place at the nationals in the women’s discus, throwing 56.11m to qualify.

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