Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Lawyers representing William Wallace and his executive have threatened legal action against First Citizens Bank in Port of Spain should they find that the bank has changed signatories to the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) without the required authorisation.

William Wallace, the ousted president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has written to the Dr Keith Rowley government expressing concern over its negotiations with the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee about the use of the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva as a facility to host COVID-19 patients.

Wallace and his executive are locked in a dispute with FIFA over the appointment of the normalization committee that football’s world governing body named in late March. The matter is before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

However, while he supports the use of the stadium as a holding facility, Wallace said he is the person the government should be discussing such issues with, as the normalization committee has no legal standing to do so. He also suggested the possibility of the committee profiting from the use of the stadium during a national crisis.

“I note with some concern reports in the media that the government has apparently entered into discussions with the Normalisation Committee led by Mr Robert Hadad, who was purportedly appointed by FIFA, in respect of the use of the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva,” Wallace wrote on official TTFA letterhead on Thursday.

“This Committee has no legal or other standing in Trinidad and Tobago. As you are aware, the TTFA was formed by an act of Parliament(Act 17 of 1982) and is to be governed by its Constitution. The Constitution of the TTFA places the responsibility for negotiating and entering into any contracts or agreements on the President of the TTFA, a post I have held since the 24th November 2019.”

 

For the West Indies to be a consistently competitive force in world cricket, it has to revive the culture that helped create the juggernaut that dominated world cricket for 15 years, says former captain Sir Richie Richardson.

Danielle Williams, the 2015 World 100m hurdles champion and 2019 bronze medallist will be enshrined in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame as the Class of 2020.

Andre Russell might be Wisden’s 2019 T20 Cricketer of the Year but the power-hitting Jamaica has no intention of resting on his laurels.

Sam Clayton Jr., who was a member of the Jamaican bobsled team in the early days of the programme leading up to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, died on March 31 in Kingston after being infected by COVID-19.

Football’s world governing body FIFA is against the appointment of a single arbitrator to hear the dispute between it and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Steven Gardiner, the 2019 400m world champion, said he was motivated to do his best in Doha for the sake of the people in his home country, The Bahamas, who were devastated by Hurricane Dorian. and now that he has won gold, he wants more.

Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has described the late Freddie Green as one of the finest athletes and sports administrators Jamaica has produced.

Between 1948 and 1952, Jamaica had, at its disposal, four world-class athletes, who between them had two Olympic gold and three silver medals.

Back then, Jamaica’s population was just about 1.4 million and most of its athletes were trained overseas in the US collegiate system. In fact, all Jamaica’s medallists honed their talents in the US collegiate system, Canada and the United Kingdom.

After Wint, McKenley, Rhoden and Laing had moved on, it would be 22 years before Jamaica won another Olympic medal when Lennox Miller claimed silver in the 100m in Mexico in 1968.

Eight years later, Donald Quarrie won Jamaica’s first gold medal since 1952, 24 years since the country’s incredible 4x400m relay win in Helsinki.

It would be another 20 years before Jamaica won another gold medal.

This time, however, it came from a woman; Deon Hemmings broke the drought with an Olympic record win in the 400m hurdles in Atlanta in 1996.

In between, Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert and Grace Jackson won individual medals for Jamaica and were the redeeming features at the Olympics for Jamaica’s track and field programme.

During this bygone era, Jamaica produced an abundance of other talented male sprinters like Raymond Stewart (the first Jamaican to break the 10-second barrier), Leroy Reid, Michael Green, Gregory Meghoo, Colin Bradford and Percival Spencer, just to name a few, who for one reason or another, did not live up to national expectation.

It would be 32 years after Quarrie sprinted to 200m glory in Montreal that a youngster called Usain Bolt would drag Jamaica’s men to the forefront with gold medals in the 100m and 200m. He then capped it off with another gold medal in the 4x100m relay. The IOC stripped Jamaica of that medal because of a test failed retroactively by Nesta Carter.

Bolt would dominate with six more gold medals over the next two Olympiads – London and Rio – before retiring in 2017.

During that time, only one other Jamaican male – the supremely talented Omar McLeod - has won an individual Olympic gold medal. During that time, Yohan Blake (two silver medals) and Warren Weir (a bronze medal) were the only other individual Olympic medallists.

That is four men, one more than the number that won individual medals between 1948 and 1952, despite the fact that the population has doubled since then.

One other fact, one that I find quite incredible is that between 2004 and 2016, Jamaica produced five of the fastest men in history – Usain Bolt (9.58/19.19), Yohan Blake (9.69/19.26), Nesta Carter (9.78), Steve Mullings (9.80) and Michael Frater (9.88). That is unprecedented in a country that now has a population of about 2.8 million.

Since 2016, Jamaica’s men have struggled in the sprints. Bolt, Frater and Mullings have moved on and Blake, Carter and Powell are nearing the end of their respective careers.

Based on the trends it could be some time before we see that kind of talent on display again because what people are failing to embrace and accept is that what happened in Jamaica since 2004 was extraordinary.

The emergence of talent was incredible, especially when one considers what also happened on the female side with the likes of Veronica Campbell Brown, Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Melaine Walker, Brigette Foster-Hylton and Deloreen Ennis-London.

It was truly a golden era that gave the country much to be proud of. However, the other side of that same coin is that those coming up are under so much pressure to live up to this extraordinary era.

Suddenly, nothing short of gold is good enough and that dynamic is not helped by the fact that Bolt himself has put the next wave under much pressure.

“When I was around I think the motivation was there and we worked hard and the level was high, but now that I have left the sport, I feel like it has dropped,” Bolt told Reuters in 2019.

Frater, who surprised all when he won silver in the 100m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, recently expressed similar thoughts.

“Most of the athletes, they feel like it's a sense of entitlement where they feel they are just going out there and other athletes are going to roll over and let them win, and that's not the case,” Frater said in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“They weren't hungry enough to go out there and get it. You have to go out and fight for what you want.”

However, while there might be some merit to what Bolt and Frater believe, there could be another reason why many of Jamaica’s athletes are not stepping up in a timely manner to fill the gaping hole left behind by Bolt and company.

I will explore this particular issue in more detail next week.

 

Former Trinidad and Manchester United great Dwight Yorke has sided with FIFA in its decision take over the operations of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) last month.

Organisers have cancelled the sixth staging of the Atlanta Georgia Relays set for next month.

Noted Jamaican sports administrator Freddie Green died on Sunday night. He was 88.

Usain Bolt donated J$500,000 (approximately USD$3500) to the Jamaica-Together-We-Stand telethon that raised funds to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

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