Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste is confident her compatriot Khalifa St Fort is ready to take off, following a recent move to Florida-based coach Lance Brauman, at Pure Athletics.

The 22-year-old St Fort has spent most of her career so far being conditioned by former T&T top sprinter Ato Boldon, who also operates out of Florida.  St Fort trained alongside young Jamaican rising star Briana Williams.

The young sprinter had a stellar start to her competitive career after claiming a silver medal at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics, behind America's Candace Hill.  She went on to claim 100m gold at the 2015 Pan American Junior Athletics Championship.  St Fort was chosen for the 2015 World Championships in Athletics as a relay alternate for the 4×100 metres relay, where the team broke the Trinidad and Tobago national record.

Things, however, tailed off a bit for the young runner and her and Boldon parted ways last year.  Baptiste, however, believes the young sprinter is slowly getting back to her best.

"Khalifa is somebody that I have admired in terms of her work ethic, her dedication to always want to be well. In some ways, Khalifa reminds me of myself and I just think that she, with the right environment and the right training, she can be a world-beater,” Baptiste said in a recent interview with T&T radio station i95.5fm.

 “I'm excited for her and I'm looking to see what next year holds. She's been doing very well and you know it's a bunch of 'Trinis' here which just makes things easier for her.”

The 2019 Women 400m World Champion Salwa Eid Naser has been provisionally suspended for not making herself available for doping tests.

Naser was charged under Article 2.4 of the WADA Code that relates to whereabouts violations, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics.

Athletes are required to provide regular updates on their whereabouts to make it possible for anti-doping authorities to carry out surprise testing outside of competition.

A violation means an athlete either did not fill out forms telling authorities where they could be found or were not where they said they would be when testers arrived.

Three missed tests over a period of 12 months are the equivalent of a doping violation.

At the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the Nigerian born runner stormed to victory in a world-leading 48.14s, the third-fastest time in history upsetting gold the medal favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas.

 If a case is proven against her she could miss next year's Olympics set for Tokyo, Japan.

Winning three All-American awards has helped take the edge off a frustrating end to the 2019/2020 NCAA athletics season for University of Texas sophomore Julien Alfred.

There have been rumours that World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is no longer being coached by the MVP Track Club and the man who brought her to stardom, coach, Stephen Francis.

Jamaican thrower Ashinia Miller might have created history on Monday when he won the shot put competition at an Area Permit meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. Miller is most likely the first Jamaican track and field athlete to compete since the COVID19 pandemic shut all sports down globally in March.

In Estonia, Miller, the 2018 CAC Games silver medallist, won with a modest mark of 18.96m but just being able to compete has proven to be cathartic for the 26-year-old Jamaican.

For the last six months, Miller, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, has been living in nearby Lithuania and training with 2017 World discus champion Andrius Gudzius under the guidance of Coach Vaclovas Kidykas. He has been living with his fiancé, Dr Alma Adomaityte, is from Lithuania, about a six-hour drive from where he competed on Monday.

However, being in lockdown, unable to compete and therefore unable to earn, have proven to be quite stressful for the powerfully built Jamaican, who also laments a relative lack of support from the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA).

Competing, he confessed, has allowed him to relieve some of the stress.

“Actually, I wasn’t supposed to be at the meet but I begged my fiancé, she’s a doctor; I begged her to let me go because the pandemic has been depressing,” he told Sportsmax.TV. “I’ve been sick. I have been to the ER like four times. Last week Monday, I spent the night in the hospital.

“I wasn’t supposed to go but it was mostly for mental health. I just wanted to go and feel alive again.”

That said, notwithstanding the win, Miller was not overly excited about his performance.

“The results weren’t good because I’ve been sick but I am happy about it, a little bit because it’s been tough going,” he said. “Jamaica hasn’t really helped.  The ministry of sports did send me money last month but I heard no more until next year.

“Everything has been tough: mentally, financially, everything’s been tough."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elite sport is gradually returning to our screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's Bundesliga, the UFC and the NRL were among the first top-level events to forge a route back last month after pausing due to the global crisis.

A clutch of Europe's other top football leagues, cricket, motorsport and the United States' major competitions all have designs on behind-closed-doors resumptions in the near future, too, which could create a significant backlog of crucial fixtures.

One positive is that sports fans might now be treated to a number of colossal match-ups back-to-back on the same day at some point over the coming months.

That prospect gives us the opportunity to reflect on five similar occasions with the greatest sporting days since the turn of the century - including one exactly a year ago.

 

JULY 23, 2000

The US had a day to remember as two of their most prominent stars bolstered their still burgeoning reputations with big victories on foreign soil.

The paths of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong have subsequently diverged a little, however.

Woods became the youngest player to complete golf's career grand slam with a record-breaking victory at The Open in 2000, while Armstrong wrapped up a second straight Tour de France title.

The American duo stood at the top of the world, yet history will recall Armstrong's achievements rather differently now he has been stripped of each of his seven successive yellow jerseys for doping.

Woods at least maintained his high standards and held all four major titles after the 2001 Masters, winning again at Augusta as recently as last year.

FEBRUARY 1, 2004

Two more sporting greats shared the same special page in the calendar early in 2004.

It was a long day for anyone who took in both Roger Federer's performance in Melbourne's Australian Open final and Tom Brady's Super Bowl display in Houston, but they were duly rewarded.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Federer had won just one major before facing down Marat Safin in Australia, also becoming the ATP Tour's top-ranked player for the first time. He stayed at number one for a record-shattering 237 weeks.

Brady similarly then doubled his tally of Super Bowl rings by delivering a second triumph in three years for the Patriots, in what was a classic encounter against the Carolina Panthers.

Brady threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, before Adam Vinatieri's field goal secured a 32-29 win with four seconds remaining.

AUGUST 4-5, 2012

One would struggle to find a greater array of star-studded athletes of various sports than those who congregated in London across the penultimate weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Michael Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Andy Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Federer in the tennis event, while Usain Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

JUNE 1, 2019

It is 12 months to the day since another epic sporting stretch, one that concluded in stunning fashion with one of boxing's great modern upsets.

Rugby union and football each had their respective turns in the spotlight earlier, with Saracens following up their European Champions Cup success - a third in four years - by retaining the Premiership title with victory over Exeter Chiefs.

In Madrid, two more English teams were in action as Liverpool edged past Tottenham in the Champions League final.

But as Sarries and the Reds celebrated, focus turned towards Madison Square Garden where Anthony Joshua was expected to make light work of Andy Ruiz Jr, a replacement for Jarrell Miller following a failed drugs test.

The heavyweight title match did not go to script, however, as Ruiz floored Joshua four times and forced a stoppage to claim his belts, albeit only until the rematch where the Briton saved face.

JULY 14, 2019

These crazy spectacles have largely seen sport spread throughout the day, but three sets of eyes were required to keep up with the action on an epic afternoon last July.

With England hosting and then reaching the Cricket World Cup final, the scene-stealing decider fell on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final and the British Grand Prix, ensuring the United Kingdom was the focus of the sporting world.

The cricket started off several hours before either the tennis or the F1 but still managed to outlast its rival events, with Ben Stokes determined to put on a show as England won via a dramatic Super Over at the end of a nine-hour saga against New Zealand.

Novak Djokovic was battling Stokes for attention as he was taken all the way by that man Federer at the All England Club before finally prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in the tournament's longest singles final.

The respective classics made the British GP, completed earlier in the day, something of an afterthought - but not for Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a record sixth victory.

Has Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce switched coaches and camps once again as she continues to prepare for what will be her final Olympic Games?

If not, why is she reportedly training separately from her MVP teammates?

The recently minted four-time 100m world champion is, according to eyewitness accounts, now training under the watchful eye of Reynaldo Walcott at Jamaica’s National Stadium in Kingston while MVP’s athletes train at the nearby Stadium East facility.

Walcott, who coaches at St. Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz, Jamaica, briefly coached the two-time Olympic 100m champion after she left the club following the 2016 Rio Olympics campaign.

The Digicel Ambassador returned to the MVP track club in early 2017, eventually going on to win her fourth 100m world title in Doha in 2019 under the brilliant guidance of Coach Stephen Francis.

In response to queries from Sportsmax.TV, the athlete’s management has been mum on the issue.

Bruce James, Fraser-Pryce’s manager, said he was unable to comment on whether Walcott was once again coaching the woman many believe to be the greatest-ever female sprinter. Walcott also declined to comment when questioned by Sportsmax.TV on Thursday. “I cannot comment on that,” he said.

However, in the past few days, Fraser-Pryce’s name was reportedly on a list of athletes approved to train at Independence Park inside the National Stadium. Moreover, several individuals not affiliated with MVP, but who still declined to go on record, told Sportsmax.TV that looking on, they saw Fraser-Pryce training alone under Walcott’s watchful eye as recently as yesterday (Wednesday).

Sources indicate that Fraser-Pryce has not been at the MVP training site for several days. Some MVP athletes, those sources said, believe an injury is the reason for her absence.

The “Pocket Rocket’ first came to prominence at the MVP track club in 2008 when she surprised many by finishing second at the Jamaican National Championships in 10.82s behind Kerron Stewart but upstaging veterans Sherone Simpson and Veronica Campbell-Brown, who finished third and fourth, respectively.

At the Beijing Olympics that year, she won the 100m in 10.78, becoming the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m title. She followed up that performance by winning the first of her four 100m World titles in 10.73s at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

She would go on to Moscow in 2013 where she won the treble (100m, 200m, 4x100m) and then defended her 100m title in Helsinki in 2015.

She battled a debilitating toe injury at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she won a bronze medal in the 100m before temporarily parting company with the club.

The joint national 100m record holder will be attempting to win a third 100m Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed until 2021 because of the Coronavirus COVID19 pandemic.

 

 

Dwayne Bravo has been out of international cricket for a while and when he returned most recently for the West Indies, he looked rusty.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has paid a special tribute to the legendary track and field icon, Dr Arthur Wint on the anniversary of his birth, for his ‘historic and pioneering’ achievements as one of Jamaica’s ‘greatest athlete and administrator’.

The Commentators, Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers, as noted sports journalists, have been at the forefront of tracking the careers of sportsmen and women worldwide.

The Tokyo Olympics will be cancelled if the coronavirus makes hosting the event in its revised 2021 date unsafe.

That is the stark warning from International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who sees no viable option to further delay the Games.

Local organisers have admitted there is no scope to push the Olympics – originally scheduled to begin in July this year – back to 2022.

And Bach acknowledged the fact the Games would either have to be staged next year, or not at all.

"Quite frankly, I have some understanding for this, because you can't forever employ 3,000 or 5,000 people in an Organising Committee," he told the BBC.

"You can't every year change the entire sports schedule worldwide of all the major federations. You can't have the athletes being in uncertainty."

Key stakeholders are having to consider contingency plans for a variety of scenarios should the Tokyo Olympics go ahead, but the IOC is resistant to the idea of them taking place behind closed doors.

"This is not what we want," Bach said. "Because the Olympic spirit is about also uniting the fans and this is what makes the Games so unique that they're in an Olympic Stadium, all the fans from all over the world are together.

"But when it then would come to the decision... I would ask you to give me some more time for consultation with the athletes, with the World Health Organisation, with the Japanese partners."

 

 

 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has thrown out the appeal of Grenadian quarter-miler Bralon Taplin’s against a four-year ban for intentionally avoiding a drug test in April 2019. The athlete will now serve a ban set to end in September 2023, when he will be 32 years old.

Taplin, 28, who was seventh in the 400m final in Rio, four years ago, was sanctioned by the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization in November 2019 for avoiding a drugs test.

The sanction stemmed from an incident at the Grenada Invitational on April 13, 2019, when Taplin won the 400m at the Grenada Invitational.

Following the race, Taplin left the stadium without completing doping control even doping control officers had informed him that he was to undergo a drug test. Reports said he left the island early the following day.

According to a summary released by the CAS, Taplin was notified on August 20, 2019, that he was being charged with intentionally evading sample collection on at the 2019 Grenada Invitational.

Following an investigation, the Caribbean RADO Panel issued its decision on November 8, 2019, in which it found, “to its comfortable satisfaction”, that Taplin sought to evade the chaperone and doping control officers and that he was guilty of the offence of evading sample collection.

He was banned for four years.

However, in his appeal to the CAS, Taplin requested that the decision be set aside and that he be declared immediately eligible to compete on the grounds that he had not been properly notified that he had been selected for the doping control test.

The CAS arbitration was conducted by Canadian The Honourable Hugh L. Fraser, who held the hearing at the offices of the Grenada Olympic Committee on February 27 and 28, 2020.

The sole arbitrator found that Taplin’s evidence that he was never approached, followed, or accompanied by anyone from the Grenada NADO to be implausible.

The arbitrator stated that he was comfortably satisfied that Taplin was guilty of the offence of evading sample collection and confirmed the four-year period of ineligibility, which commenced on September 25, 2019, the date on which the provisional suspension began.

 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) anticipates incurring costs of up to $800million over the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

It was confirmed in March the Games would be put back to July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC executive board on Thursday approved a financial plan to deal with the crisis months before the Olympics were due to start.

A mammoth sum of up to $650m will be set aside for the IOC to cover the cost of organising the rescheduled Games.

An aid package of up to $150m for the Olympic movement - including international federations, national Olympic committees and IOC-recognised organisations - has also been approved.

The IOC stated it is "undergoing a deep analysis process to evaluate and assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on all of its operations".

IOC president Thomas Bach said: "The Olympic movement is facing an unprecedented challenge.

"The IOC has to organise postponed Olympic Games for the first time ever, and has to help its stakeholders come through this global crisis.

"This new situation will need all our solidarity, creativity, determination and flexibility. We shall all need to make sacrifices and compromises. Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures.

"This situation requires every one of us to do our part, and this applies to all of us, including the IOC. With today's financial plans, we are addressing these needs."

Rhonex Kipruto’s world records over 5km (13:18) and 10km (26:24), as well as Sasha Zhoya’s world indoor U20 60m hurdles record of 7.34 have been ratified.

An international athletics season of one-day meetings is taking shape between August and October this year following the commitment of most Continental Tour Gold and Wanda Diamond League meeting directors to organise their events on rescheduled dates in 2020.

A small number of countries will be able to stage meetings through June and July (Oslo’s Bislett Games will go ahead in an altered format called The Impossible Games on 11 June), but the international season is likely to commence in earnest directly after the National Championships window of August 8-9.

The first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, will be held on August 11

Eight of the 10 Continental Tour Gold meetings originally scheduled for 2020 have been confirmed for this year, although many have been rescheduled to fall between August and October.

The Nairobi meeting, originally planned to open the tour in May, has been rescheduled for 26 September, and the Nanjing and Tokyo meetings are considering dates in September-October, but these have yet to be finalised.

A total prize money purse of at least US$200,000 will be offered for each Gold meeting

Some Continental Tour Silver and Bronze meetings will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting from the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague on 8 June.

 As the Wanda Diamond League has announced today, its schedule of one-day meetings will begin with the Monaco meeting on 14 August and continue through until mid-October.

 Due to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond League organisers have announced that these will be individual meetings and will not include a series point score, so there will be no overall league winners this year and the final in Zurich will not be held.

 The format of each Diamond League meeting and the disciplines included will be announced by each meeting organiser two months in advance.

 World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has praised the cooperative efforts of the meeting organisers to work with World Athletics to put together a substantial competition season for the sport’s top athletes.

 “As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this.

 “I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone.

 “Inevitably international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year.”

 Of the World Athletics Series events that were scheduled for 2020, only the World Half Marathon Championships will go ahead this year, on 17 October in Gdynia, Poland.

 The World Indoor Championships will be held in Nanjing,  March 19-21, 2021, but the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, and the World Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, Belarus are still being rescheduled.

 

2020 international competition calendar:

August

11 Turku – Continental Tour Gold

14 Monaco – Wanda Diamond League

16 Gateshead – Wanda Diamond League

20 Szekesfehervar – Continental Tour Gold

23 Stockholm – Wanda Diamond League

 

September

2 Lausanne – Wanda Diamond League

4 Brussels – Wanda Diamond League

6 Paris (tbc) – Wanda Diamond League

6 Silesia – Continental Tour Gold

8 Ostrava – Continental Tour Gold

15 Zagreb – Continental Tour Gold

17 Rome/Naples – Wanda Diamond League

19 Shanghai – Wanda Diamond League

26 Nairobi – Continental Tour Gold

 

October

4 Eugene – Wanda Diamond League

9 Doha – Wanda Diamond League

17 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships

17 China (venue tba) – Wanda Diamond League

 

Note: dates for the Continental Tour Gold meetings in Tokyo and Nanjing are still to be finalised.

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