Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite has come to the defence of injured teammate Andre Russell, who he believes has come in for some harsh press after a number of injuries have impacted his international output.

After feeling discomfort during the Global T20 Canada, Andre Russell asked to be excused from duty for the West Indies in the first T20 internationals against India in the Caribbean.

During a pre-match press conference, Brathwaite, made it clear where he stood on the issue.

Brathwaite tackled those who thought Russell did a disservice to the West Indies’ World Cup hopes, saying:

"And speaking for myself as captain of the T20 team and speaking for myself as Andre's friend, whenever we speak about playing for West Indies, that's always his main goal. And we've seen in the World Cup -whether he was 100% or not, it's debatable - but the fact that he wanted to be at the World Cup, wanted to pull on the shirt and wanted to perform for the people in the West Indies and his mates in the dressing room, I think, is testament to the person he is. And I think we need to start commending the fact that he actually tries to get on the park and stop lambasting the fact that he probably doesn't stay on it till the end of the 50 overs or the 20 overs,” said Brathwaite.

According to the skipper, the more important part of the equation, is Russell’s willingness to play for the West Indies.

"I think he's been knocked in the press a bit because of his injury woes. And I think it's easy for us to see him hobbling around the field and just take for granted that he's injured but we can also look at it on the other side and say he can be home, he could be elsewhere and not trying to play for the West Indies.

Russell, Brathwaite revealed, would have played in these T20s if prodded to do so, despite his less-than-100 per cent fitness status.

"Even against my better judgment, I told him to sit out this series, but he really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies. Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that if he comes here that he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100%. Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field. In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial and in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well,” said Brathwaite.

The skipper then asked that the press look at the bigger picture, because there were other tournaments the West Indies have an eye on doing well at, tournaments Russell will be important to.

“ … Obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series, I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long term injury.”

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has expressed extreme disappointment with the statements attributed to certain female Olympians (in a recent Sportmax article intituled "Upgraded and Disrespected") who received  upgraded 4 x 400m relay silver medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London on July 20.

 

The statements conveyed the impression that the JOA neglected to make appropriate arrangements regarding the attendance of the Olympians at the medal reallocation ceremony in London.

 

The JOA, in responding, enumerated the facts:

 

  1. In compliance with directives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the JOA was requested to indicate a preferred event at which the medal reallocation ceremony for the Olympians could be held.

 

  1. On May 30, 2019, after consultation with the Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC of the agreed selection of the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha from September 27 to October 6, 2019.

 

  1. On June 4 the JOA received communication from the IOC advising that discussions will be held with the IAAF regarding the selected event.

 

  1. On June 12, 2019, the JOA received communication from the IOC in which it was informed of the IAAF's advice that the ceremony could not be facilitated at the World Athletics Championships.

 

  1. The Olympians were accordingly advised and, following discussions with Novlene Williams-Mills, Rosemarie White and Bobbygaye Wilkins, Novlene Williams-Mills (who from representations held herself out to be the spokesperson) suggested either a Diamond League event during August or September or the IAAF Gala scheduled for later in the year both of which would be convenient to the JOA.

 

  1. On June 25, 2016, the JOA requested the IOC to give consideration to the proposed events for the ceremony. However, on July 1, 2019 the IOC advised that the IAAF could only accommodate the ceremony during the London edition of the Diamond League Meets which was scheduled to take place on July 20 and 21, 2019.

 

  1. The information was relayed by the JOA to the Olympians the same day for their review and decision and simultaneously they were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance.

 

  1. All Olympians with the exception of Shericka Williams (who preferred the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games) notwithstanding confirmed on July 3 their decision in favour of the London Diamond League Meet scheduled for July 20 and 21. Ms. Williams eventually agreed and, with the consent of all Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC that same day of their decision.

 

  1. In keeping with the advice of the IOC, each Olympian was allowed two accompany guests to the ceremony. Accordingly, the number of persons in the party totaled eighteen and of this number, nine persons (three athletes and six guests) required UK visas.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The JOA assisted all nine persons in applying for visas which entailed completion by the JOA of the relevant application forms at the request of the Olympians, payment of visa fees, payment of the airfare for two athletes and one guest to come to Jamaica for the visa appointments, hotel accommodation for one overseas athletes and a guest, personal delivery of copies of application forms and letters to the Olympians' homes in Kingston and the JOA's interface with the British High Commission in expediting the visa process. Total payments by the JOA exceeded one million dollars.

 

  1. The JOA, at all material times, stated in emails and telephone conversations  to the Olympians the advice of the IOC that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event as well as hotel accommodation in London and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics during their stay in London.

 

  1. On July 18, 2019, the JOA received from the IOC the logistic arrangements which were conveyed to the Olympians on the morning of July 19, 2019.The JOA reiterates that matters relating to the on the day ceremonial arrangements were not in the JOA's remit.

 

  1. Throughout the treatment of matters, the JOA constantly kept the  Olympians advised and updated every step of the way by copious emails, telephone calls and instant messaging and devoted considerable time (often in the wee hours of the morning) in completing visa applications online for the Olympians and guests, in interfacing with the Olympians (including ceremonial attire) and in communicating with the IOC regarding arrangements.

 

  1. The JOA is obliged, given the attributed statements, to place on record that Mrs. Novlene Willliams-Mills, during the planning process, tendered an apology to the JOA for inappropriate conduct and mis-conceived concerns articulated by her and not shared by others. 

 

 

 

  1. From the very inception, the JOA offered the Olympians congratulations on their elevation to the silver medal position and, upon confirmation of the medal reallocation ceremony in London, expressed an apology for absence, given primarily its prior commitments and obligations respecting the 2019 Lima Pan American Games.

 

  1. The JOA is further obliged to again place on record that, subsequent to the publication of the article by Sportmax, it received thank you notes and emails from Shereefa LLoyd and her Nephew, Rosemarie Whyte, Bobbygaye Wilkins and Christine Day and is consequently appreciative of their kind recognition of its efforts.

 

  1. The JOA always celebrates with our athletes and commends them on their well-deserved achievements personally and on behalf of country and continues to be inspired by the principles of integrity, honesty, equity and fair play in the discharge of its national obligations to, and dealings with, its stakeholders.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste will be back at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics after finishing second at her national trials behind the dominance of Michelle Lee-Ahye.

Lee-Ahye won the 100-metre final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in 11.18 seconds, ahead of Baptiste 11.22.

The times were not very fast and Lee-Ahye pointed to intermittent rain as one of the problems facing the sprinters, but was happy she continued to win in her native country, running to her fourth national title.

Lee-Ahye has been overcoming personal issues with a split from her wife making the news worldwide under the cloud of violence and infedility. 

In addition, the length of the season with the IAAF World Championships of Athletics all the way in September, means running fast now has been difficult.

“For me it is a little difficult because it is a long season and so you’ve got to stretch your programme but this is not too bad right now,” said Lee-Ahye.

Kamaria Durant was good enough for third in the final with her 11.30 seconds, while Semoy Hackett was disappointing in fourth, clocking 11.43 seconds.

One notable absence was Khalifa St Fort, who recently parted ways with her coach, Olympic silver medallist, Ato Boldon.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio was in inspiring form as the second day of the NGC/NAAATT National Open Champs came to a close at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in that country on Saturday.

Running in the final of the 400 metres, Cedenio brought back glimpses of his old self, smiting the field to clock 44.52, more than a second faster than his closest rival.

Second in the one-lap event was Dwight St Hillare, who stopped the clock in 46.08, while Darren Alfred was good enough for third with his 46.63.

According to Cedenio, he isn’t running very fast just yet and instead is working on getting stronger, bearing in mind the length of the season with the World Championships all the way in September.

“I’m enjoying the process,” he said in a post-race interview with SportsMax’s Ricardo Chambers.

According to Cedenio, preparation for this season is a little more difficult because it is longer and therefore his coach has had to tweak the process in ways that make things, in a word, interesting.

“It is difficult because you’ve got to fluctuate a lot of things in training. Normally we would be doing faster stuff, but at this time he has been running me for strength,” said Cedenio.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Gold medallist, Keshorn Walcott will likely not be a part of the country’s team to the IAAF World Championships of Athletics after fouling out at his National Trials on Saturday.

Walcott, in a field of just three, including young Tyriq Horsford and Shakeil Waithe, did manage to throw 79.98 metres as well as 77.68, which would have given him victory with the best other throw being 78.97.

However, it is Waithe who can claim national championship honours after Walcott was adjudged to have broken some rule or other and registered as a disqualification.

Horsford threw 71.67 metres for second place.

While the reason for the disqualification isn’t clear, there is the suggestion that Walcott left the competition area for too long and fell prey to rule 180.19 “Absence during Competition”.

Also quoted on the results sheet was rule 142.2, “The eligibility of an athlete to compete outside of his country”.

Walcott is the countries reigning national record holder at 90.16 metres and the trials record holder at 84.96 metres.

The results are not a done deal though as there is to be a jury of appeal hearing today.

Walcott won gold at the Olympics for Trinidad and Tobago in 2012 and bronze in 2016.

The Jamaica Olympic Association has sought to clear up suggestions it neglected to pay full respsect to six Jamaican Olympians who collected upgraded silver medals during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London last week.

The six, who were having bronze medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics upgraded, had voiced disappointment that there were no Jamaican officials to share what was a proud moment for them.

According to the JOA though, every effort was made to be present and the presence of the girls at the ceremony in London, had much to do with its efforts to ensure the event took place at a time convenient to the athletes.

“We didn’t have a representative from Jamaica, from the JOA, no one. I feel disappointed,” Novlene Williams-Mills had said after the occasion.

Williams-Mills, along with Shereefa Lloyd, Shericka Williams, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson, and Bobby-Gaye Wilkins collected silver medals for the mile relay in 2008 while Christine Day, Lloyd, Whyte-Robinson, Williams and Williams-Mills, collected silver medals for 2012.

“For many years I represented Jamaica at the highest level. I have represented Jamaica at four Olympics at the highest level, World Championships at the highest level. I’ve made multiple Jamaica teams and for not one person from the JOA or in sports was able to make sure everything went smoothly and to ensure that we were taken care of was really disappointing.”

According to the the Olympic body, however, upon being informed of the medal ceremony, they entered into discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about scheduling a convenient date for all stakeholders.

Despite those efforts, however, the JOA was not able to send representatives because of prior commitments to the 2019 Pan America Games in Lima, Peru.

The challenge in being able to attend, the JOA said, was relayed to the athletes but that all preparations for a smooth medal ceremony, inclusive of accommodation and airtravel had been handled by the International Olympic Committee.

“They were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges, particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance,” the body said in a statement on Friday.

The body was also quick to point out that the view that the athletes were not seen as priority was erroneous, and that it would always seek to commend the athletes on their achievements.

 

With regard to the arrangements being made, the JOA said the Olympians were informed that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event, as well as hotel accommodations and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics.

In continuation of their major support beyond the Reggae Girlz’ journey to the recent 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign, the Alacran Foundation has pledged long-term support for the development of women’s football in Jamaica by providing funding to facilitate the team’s preparations for Pan American Games in Lima, Peru from July 26 to August 11 and beyond.

The philanthropic organisation recently collaborated with the Bob Marley Foundation and other sponsors to fund the completion of an intensive three-day training camp from July 20 to 22 in Kingston, Jamaica, staged as part of the team’s preparation for the  Pan American Games.

After years without significant sponsorship, women’s football in Jamaica received a well-needed kick start at the national level from the team’s Global Ambassador, Cedella Marley, of the Bob Marley Foundation, who initiated the partnership with the Alacran Foundation. Focusing on women’s empowerment, the partnership facilitated funding for logistics and access to proper training facilities.

Alessandra Lo Savio, founder of the Alacran Foundation said the entity remains committed to the Reggae Girlz.

“Preparation is a key factor for success, so it was very important for us to help facilitate adequate training camps to ensure our Girlz have a fighting chance,” Lo Savio said.

“I look forward to the future as they’ve set the bar high on a global level.  I believe the accomplishments of the Reggae Girlz so far is only the beginning for women’s football in Jamaica, Lo Savio further added.

During a press conference held on Monday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel ahead of the Girlz’ departure for the for Peru, Head Coach Hugh Menzies said that “the team is as ready as they can get right now.” He also said: “I just want to make sure that people understand that we are here to compete for our country, but it’s not only that, it’s more about women’s empowerment, and we have to continue that call because we have to change the mindset of people in our country and our culture. This is an opportunity to be on the global platform and show that women can play football too.”

The Pan American Games is a major sporting event held every four years in the Americas featuring summer sports, in which thousands of athletes from nations of the Americas participate in a variety of competitions ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in 2020.

The Reggae Girlz will, for the first time, join the Reggae Boyz to compete in the Pan Am Games.  The Reggae Girlz’ matches will take place on Sunday, July 28 against Mexico; Wednesday, July 31 against Colombia and on Saturday, August 3 against Paraguay.

Sydney Schneider, stand-in team captain of the Reggae Girlz for the 2019 Pan Am Games, hopes to continue on the high after the Girlz’ landmark participation at the recent World Cup competition in France.

She said: “Going to the World Cup, the one word I have for it that I say consistently is just ‘crazy’; just something you can’t really put into words. It’s just such an experience that you can’t really describe, you have to experience it for yourself. If it weren’t for all the support financially and just the support of having people behind us and cheering us on, we wouldn’t have been able to do it, so thank you.”

Sometimes after a particularly grueling workout, sprinter Justin Gatlin will turn to his younger training partners and inquire: "Are you sore, too?" 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls avoided finishing sixth at the Vitality Netball World Cup, the worst the team would have since 1967 after a hard-fought playoff game against Malawi. 

There was to be no joy in the 200 metres for Jamaica or the wider Caribbean on day two of the Pan American Under 20 Cahnmpionships, currently under way in Costa Rica. 

Jamaica’s under-23 team will be in for a fight after their opponents in tomorrow’s final first-round CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament showed class in dismissing Dominica 4-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Cmplexo in Kingston.

The young Reggae Boyz, who started as favourites to win Group A, found a stubborn Dominica and had to come from behind to draw the game 1-1.

With just three teams in the group after Guyana pulled out, St Kitts and Nevis would find themselves with a glorious opportunity to go top with their game against Dominica to come on Friday.

St Kitts and Nevis took that chance, burying the Dominicans under four unanswered goals to take sole leadership of the group headed into the final game against Jamaica on Sunday.

With just one team from each group going through to the next round of Olympic qualifying, the Jamaicans face a must-win situations, while St Kitts and Nevis just need a draw.

In Group D, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will be in an almighty fight. The two play tomorrow at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal. Both teams have three points but Puerto Rico, who beat St Lucia 1-0 yesterday, have a goal difference problem after the Dominican Republic trounced Antigua and Barbuda 4-0 on the same day.

With four teams in that group though, both teams will have a chance to qualify when the Dominican Republic, faces St Lucia and Puerto Rico faces Antigua and Barbuda. Despite that, neither will want to lose tomorrow because they could face an uphill task come the final game.

In Group B, being played at the Ulrich Sports Complex Soccer Field, Cuba’s under-23s lost 1-0 to Barbados, who were playing their first game of the group after Trinidad and Tobago pulled out, making that a three-team affair as well.

Cuba had, earlier in the week, beaten the US Virgin Islands 2-0, but now face an anxious wait, as Barbados now have the change to go to six points and take sole leadership of the group and a spot in the next round.

Group C of the competition, which involves the Cayman Islands, Grenada, and Haiti, kicks off on Wednesday.

Cayman and Grenada play at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town on Wednesday, while Grenada tackles Haiti on Friday at the same venue.

Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle challenged one of the best long jumpers in the world in London on Saturday for a second-place finish.

Gayle leapt out to 8.32 metres but was bested by a jump of 8.37 from South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga.

Manyongo’s effort was a season’s best, while Gayle had never been out to such a distance before.

Another South African, Ruswahl Samaai, 8.11. was third, while Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, 7.99, was fourth and the United States Trumaine Jefferson, fifth with 7.89.

Rounding out the field was Great Britain’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes, 7.70 for sixth, teammate Dan Bramble, 7.61, and Australia’s Henry Smith, 7.57.

Olympic 200-metre champion Elaine Thompson is continuing to show good form ahead of the IAAF World Championships, winning the half-length event at the London Diamond League on Saturday.

Thompson lead early and managed to stay ahead of the field to stop the clock at 22.13 seconds.

The Olympic champion’s win came against a field that included the Côte d'Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who tried to make a late push but found she was given as good as she gave, eventually crossing the line in a season’s best 22.36.

Beth Dobblin of Great Britain was third in a lifetime best 22.50 seconds, while another Jamaican, Sashalee Forbeswas fourth in 22.93.

The field was rounded out by the Netherland’s Jamile Samuel, 22.94, Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji, 22.95, Jamaica’s Schillonie Calvert-Powell, 23.16, Great Britain’s Bianca Williams, and teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Both Williams and Johnson-Thompson were running season’s best.

Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson has continued to show good speed from all her 200 metre work last year, as she cruised to a Diamond League win over 400-metres in London on Saturday.

Jackson clocked 50.69 seconds as she stepped past countrywoman Stephenie-Ann McPherson, who ran a season’s best, 50.74.

Great Britain’s Laviai Nielson was third in a lifetime best 50.83.

Another Jamaican, Anastasia Le-Roy was also in the race, finishing fourth in 51.46.

Cruising through the first 200 metres, Jackson looked like she may have saved her work for too late, but showed immense speed and strength to overhaul the fading McPherson just before the tape, the result looking far more easy to come by after the fact.

Rounding out the field at the London Diamond League were Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, 51.58, Great Britain’s Emily Diamond, 51.69, Slovakia’s Anita Horvat, 51.83, and France’s Amandine Brossiere, 52.03.

African champion Akani Simbine notched his first Diamond League win of the season, holding off Anguilla-born Briton Zharnel Hughes at the London Diamond League meeting on Saturday. 

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