President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts has offered congratulatory messages to members of the World-Cup bound Reggae Girlz squad who graduated from university this week.

Khadija Shaw (Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Tennessee), Deneisha Blackwood (Bachelor of  Science, Sports Management from the University of West Florida) and Chanel Hudson-Marks (Bachelor of Science, Marketing Management from the University of Memphis), attended graduation ceremonies on Thursday.

Ricketts was full of praise and pride for the recent graduates who, incidentally are among the 24-member squad named to play against Panama at the National Stadium in Kingston on May 19.

"On behalf of the people of Jamaica and football fans, in particular, I wish to extend the most sincere congratulations to Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw, Deneisha Blackwood and Chanel Hudson-Marks,” Ricketts said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“These degrees by members of the senior Reggae Girlz were achieved in four years in the main alongside a period of excellence in football as they played for college, club and country whilst studying.

"If there is any doubt in the minds of any young Jamaican girl that you cannot successfully combine playing sports at the highest level and achieving your best academically, you can look at the lives of these Senior Reggae Girlz who will in less than a month participate on the highest stage of world football."

Ricketts said the JFF offers its congratulations to these women as shining examples of hard work, discipline, achievement and excellence.  The JFF, he said, is confident that all the others in school will rise to the occasion and accomplish their dreams.

He encouraged football fans to show their real pride in the Reggae Girlz by turning out in their thousands on Sunday, May 19 at 6:00 pm at the National Stadium when the team plays Panama in their last international friendly on home soil before the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce fancies Jamaica’s chances in the 4x200m relay at this weekend’s IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan.

Jamaica honoured its successful Special Olympics team to the World Summer Games at a special reception at Jamaica House on Friday, May 3.

Jamaica’s young Reggae Boyz secured their first win of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, following a 4-2 win over Bermuda at the IMG Academy on Sunday.

On the back of losses to Mexico and perennial rivals Trinidad and Tobago, the Jamaicans were powered to their first points of the season courtesy of a hat-trick from Rajay Wright.  It was, however, his strike partner Revaldo Mitchell who got the ball after hitting the back of the net in the 4th minute.  Wright scored the first of his three goals five minutes later, before adding another on the 15-minute mark.

Bermuda, however, showed signs of life after getting on the scoresheet two minutes after the teams resumed play for the second half.  It was Jayce Basden who found the back of the net on that occasion, but much to the team’s disappointment Wright completed his hat-trick four minutes later.  The team captain Arnezha Astwood pulled another goal back for the Bermudans from the spot in the 64th minute, but it proved to be a consolation effort.

The Trinidad and Tobago U-17s received a blot on their perfect start to the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, following a 5-0 loss to Mexico, at the IMG Academy on Sunday.

Following wins over Bermuda and perennials rivals Jamaica, the young twin-island republic players eyed moving to the top of Group E with a potential win over Mexico.  El Tri, however, had other ideas. 

Midfielder Bryan Gonzales gave Mexico the lead with an 8th-minute header, with Santiago Munoz doubling the lead with another goal 20 minutes later. 

The goal was one of three for Munoz who scored again in the 35th minute before completing his hat-trick in the 88th.  Efran Alvarez added the team’s other goal in the 59th minute.

Prior to the defeat, Trinidad and Tobago scored a 3-1 win over Bermuda and a 3-2 win over Jamaica.  The performances brought a deserving win for the Stern John-coached outfit who secured their place in the second-round knockout phase.

Jamaica lost their second straight game at the  2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship at the IMG Academy in  Bradenton, Florida on Friday, going down 3-2 to Trinidad and Tobago. 

They're destined to be teammates at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in around a months’ time but New York Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence insists that the battle with Cincinnati FC forward Darren Mattocks will be a fierce one for pride when the two meet in Saturday’s MLS encounter.

The 26-year-old defender, formerly a staple in the Red Bulls line-up, has been eased back into action after suffering an MCL injury.  The defender also missed the last two games with an illness.  Having moved to Cincinnati from DC United in the summer Mattocks has begun life slowly at his new club, coming off the substitute’s bench in FC Cincy’s first three games - picking up an assist, but failing to register a start in those combined 106 minutes.  Since making his first start in March, however, Mattocks has scored one goal.

 “When we meet, it’s something more personal. It’s kind of a bragging rights thing,” Lawrence said.

 “When we get to national team camp, you want to say you beat that Darren Mattocks, Alvas Powell, [Andre] Blake, whoever it is you’re facing on the day. You need those bragging rights before you get to camp,” he added.

 “You’re going to get that guy who is going to try his best to score, he’s going to always be running, always be pressuring the defenders.”

 

 The Social Development Commission (SDC), Wray & Nephew National Community T20 Cricket Competition, endorsed by the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), bowls off on Saturday, May 4, promising to bring communities closer together while sharing the spirit of Cricket.

Portmore United coach Shavar Thomas believes the team’s ability to enforce their will on challengers Waterhouse was a crucial component of successfully defending the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) on Monday night.

Portmore emerged the victors from a tempestuous affair courtesy of a 51st-minute strike from Ricardo Morrison.  The title holders had, however, dominated the proceedings before then and were perhaps good value for the eventual lead.

“We came here to enforce our will, bossing the game and keeping possession and that’s not Waterhouse’s style and it forced them to think,” Thomas said.

“It was important we kept that momentum heading into the second half and that’s what brought us the goal.  We kept possession, lulled them to sleep and waited for the right time and it was the right time,” he added.

“We practised and trained for every eventuality and everything they threw at us we were able to deal with.”    

The victory saw the defending champions add the title to claiming the league, which they won by four points.  Waterhouse were also the second-place team on that occasion.

The Jamaica International Invitational, the local meet where retired sprint king Usain Bolt once thrilled fans with outstanding performances, will not be held this year.

The meet, which has been held every year since 2004, often brought some of track and field’s biggest names to Jamaica soil.  In addition to Bolt, who set the meet’s respectable 100m record of 9.76 seconds in 2008 and 19.56 in the 200m two years later, Americans Jasmin Stowers, Carmelita Jeter and Kerron Clement have set some eye-popping marks.  In 2011 Jeter stopped the clock at 10.86 in the women’s 100m, Clement thrilled fans with his brisk 47.79 400m hurdles run in 2008 and Stowers set the mark of 12.39 in the women’s 100m hurdles in 2015.

Despite those glowing performances, the meet which was upgraded to an IAAF World Challenge event had struggled to secure funding in recent years.  According to organizers, the issue has led to the cancellation of the 2019 edition of the event, which was originally scheduled to take place at the National Stadium on May 4.  A message posted on jainvite.com the official page of the event confirmed its cancellation.  At this stage, the future of the Invitational remains unclear.

 

Jamaica’s team of Shericka Jackson, Janieve Russell, Christine day and Stephenie McPherson only had their compatriots for company as they easily claimed 4x400 women’s honours at the 125th staging of the Penn Relays at the Franklin Field Stadium. 

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is getting in as many races as possible as she seeks to get back to her very best ahead of the 2019 World Championships of Athletics. 

The Jamaica bobsled team's pilot has been banned in a doping case, but avoided disqualification from last year's Winter Olympics.

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation says it agreed with Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian to issue a one-year ban which was immediately canceled out by time she served on provisional suspension before the case was heard.

The IBSF says it accepted Fenlator-Victorian's explanation that a contaminated supplement caused her to test positive for clenbuterol in January 2018, the month before the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

It adds that "fairness requires" she shouldn't be disqualified from competitions between the positive test and her provisional suspension, which would include Jamaica's 18th place at the Olympics.

Fenlator-Victorian partnered Lolo Jones at the 2014 Olympics for the United States, finishing 11th.

Some of Jamaica’s top athletes will get valuable relay practice for the upcoming IAAF World Relays when they suit up for the annual Penn Relays at the Franklin Field in Philadelphia from April 24-27.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson are down the run the 4x200m relays at the IAAF World Relays set for Yokohama, Japan on May 12 and 13. Meanwhile, veteran Yohan Blake will Jamaica’s 4x100m campaign.

The 42-member team named by the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) on Wednesday, sees reigning CAC 100m champion Jonielle Smith, Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Sashalee Forbes and Sherone Simpson down to contest the 4x100m women.

Blake, Julian Forte, Tyquendo Tracey, Jevaughn Minzie and Kenroy Anderson have been named in the men’s 4x100 squad.

The 4x200m female squad is comprised of Shericka Jackson, Sashalee Forbes, Elaine Thompson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Stephanie Ann McPherson. Forte, Nigel Ellis, Rasheed Dwyer and Oshane Bailey were assembled for the men’s squad.

Jamaica’s 4x400m squads include Demish Gaye, Fitzroy Dunkley, Rusheen McDonald, Ackeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen. The women’s team also looks a strong squad with Christine Day, Chrisann Gordon, Anastasia Le-Roy, Janieve Russell and Roneisha McGregor.

For the mixed relays, the JAAA selection committee went with Rhonda Whyte, Tiffany James, Shian Salmon, Javon Francis, Anthony Carpenter and Jamari Rose while Yanique Thompson, Megan Tapper, Amoi Brown, Andrew Riley, Norman Pittersgill and Ronald Levy will contest the newly introduced shuttle mixed relays.

The team to be managed by Ludlow Watts will have Maurice Wilson as its head coach.

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