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.

The Wanda Diamond League today suspended a further two meetings in June as it continues to adapt the 2020 season calendar in the face of the coronavirus crisis, while Oslo’s Bislett Games are to be staged in an alternative format.

In recent weeks, the Wanda Diamond League has been forced to suspend a number of its early-season meetings as a result of health and logistical concerns brought about by the global coronavirus crisis.

Today the series announced the postponement of further meetings in Eugene, scheduled for 7 June, and Paris, June 13.

As with previous suspensions, this decision was reached in close consultation with all relevant parties and based on concerns over athlete safety as well as widespread travel restrictions which make it impossible to stage the competitions as planned.

Meanwhile, the Bislett Games also announced plans to host an alternative athletics competition, an exhibition event dubbed 'The Impossible Games', on June 11, the original date of this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting.

The concept will see a number of world-class athletes take part in a one-off showpiece event in full observation of Norway’s coronavirus regulations and social distancing rules.

The programme is currently set to include a world record attempt from Norwegian hurdles star Karsten Warholm and a long-distance pole vault battle between world record holder Mondo Duplantis and record Diamond League Champion Renaud Lavillenie.

Organisers were nonetheless keen to stress that the full programme is yet to be confirmed and subject to changes.

The hour-long event will be shown live by Norway’s public broadcaster NRK and will be partly financed by the Norwegian National Athletics Association and World Athletics.

“This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett stadium. Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

“We are delighted to support the event by releasing the funds World Athletics makes to each Diamond League event but with one caveat, which is that the entire amount we are contributing goes to prize money for the athletes competing.”

Oslo meeting director and Bislett Alliance CEO Steinar Hoen said the athletes were “hungry for competitions”.

“We want to give them a high-class event. We have had a very positive dialogue with both the municipality of Oslo and the infection prevention superior in Oslo, and have confirmed a concept that is well within the government's infection control requirements,” he added.

 

 

Dutchman Ronald Koeman is probably the most versatile defender of all time. Not only was he capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper and was equally known for his goal-scoring, long-range shooting, and accuracy from free-kicks and penalties.

He is the top-scoring defender in world football.

Koeman began his career at FC Groningen before transferring to Ajax, where he won the national Eredivise title in 1984–85. He then joined Ajax's rivals PSV, winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles (1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89) and the European Cup in 1988.

Koeman is one of five European players to win a Treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. The other four players are his teammates Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and Wim Kieft.

In 1989, Koeman moved to Barcelona and became part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", helping the club win La Liga four years in a row between 1991 and 1994, and the European Cup, where he scored the winning goal in the final against Sampdoria in 1992.

At the international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the UEFA Euro 1992. He would feature in two World Cup for the Netherlands, 1990 and 1994, captaining the team in the latter.

Koeman scored an amazing 90 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and was nicknamed the King of free-kicks. He is Barcelona's second-highest goalscorer from free kicks, behind only Lionel Messi, with 26 goals from set-pieces in all competitions.

He is also Barcelona's second-highest scorer from penalties in LaLiga, behind Messi once again, with 46 goals from spot-kicks.

With 67 goals, he is the most prolific defender in LaLiga history. He currently holds the record for 25 consecutive successful penalty conversions in LaLiga.

To vote for Ronald Koeman to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone today as Brent Sancho, Howie Bell, and Colin Murray take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Full name        Ronald Koeman

Date of birth    21 March 1963 (age 57)

Place of birth   Zaandam, Netherlands

Height  1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)

Playing position(s)      Defender / Midfielder

 

Honours

 

Ajax

Winner Eredivisie       1985

Winner KNVB Cup     1986

 

PSV

Winner Eredivisie       1987

Winner            Eredivisie        1988

Winner            KNVB Cup      1988

Winner            European Cup 1988

Runner-up       Intercontinental Cup   1988

Runner-up       UEFA Super Cup        1988

Winner Eredivisie        1989

Winner KNVB Cup      1989

 

Barcelona

Runner-up       UEFA Super Cup        1989

Winner Copa del Rey  1990

Winner La Liga            1991

Winner Supercopa de España            1991

Winner La Liga            1992

Winner European Cup 1992

Runner-up       Intercontinental Cup   1992

Winner UEFA Super Cup       1992

Winner Supercopa de España           1992

Winner La Liga           1993

Runner-up       Supercopa de España            1993

Winner La Liga            1994

Runner-up       UEFA Champions League      1994

Winner Supercopa de España            1994

Feyenoord

Runner-up       Dutch Supercup          1995

 Netherlands

First place       European Championship        1988

Third place      European Championship        1992

Regarded by many pundits, managers and players as one of the greatest defenders in history, AC Milan and Italy centre-back Alessandro "Billy" Costacurta is best known for his roles alongside Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Mauro Tassotti, forming one of the greatest defences in Serie A and European football during the late 1980s and 1990s.

Englishman Robert Frederick Chelsea Moore OBE is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time and was cited by Pelé as the greatest defender he ever played against.

Centre-back Italian Franco Baresi is viewed as one of the greatest defenders of all time.

He spent his entire career from 1977 to 1997, with Serie A side AC Milan, winning three UEFA Champions League titles, six Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups in 531 appearances. He scored 19 goals for Milan.

Baresi represented Italy 81 times between 1982 and 1994 during which time he won the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He also played in the 1990 World Cup, where he was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, finishing third in the competition. He was appointed captain of the squad that reached the final of the 1994 World Cup. Baresi also represented Italy at two UEFA European Championships, in 1980 and 1988, and at the 1984 Olympics, reaching the semi-finals on each occasion.

Baresi was capable of playing anywhere along the backline but he excelled as a centre-back and as a sweeper, where he combined his defensive attributes, and his ability to read the game, with his excellent vision, technique, distribution and ball skills. He was known for being a strong and accurate tackler, who was very good at winning back possession, and at anticipating and intercepting plays, due to his acute tactical intelligence, speed of thought, marking ability and positional sense.

Initially nicknamed "Piscinin", Milanese for "little one", due to his skill and success, he was later known as "Kaiser Franz", a reference to fellow sweeper Franz Beckenbauer. He was voted Milan's Player of the Century in 1999. In 204, Pele named him one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at the FIFA centenary awards ceremony.

 Baresi was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

To vote for Franco Baresi to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone as Brent Sancho, Warren Barrett, and Juan G Arango take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Playing Career

Full name            Franchino Baresi

Date of birth       8 May 1960 (age 59)

Place of birth      Travagliato, Italy

Height   1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)

Playing position(s)            Defender

Youth career

1972–1977          Milan

Senior career*

Years     Team     Apps      (Gls)

1977–1997          Milan     531       

National team

1982–1994          Italy       81          

Honours

Italy

FIFA World Cup

Winner  1982 Spain         

Third place          1990 Italy           

Runner-up           1994 United States

Serie A: 1978–79, 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96

Supercoppa Italiana: 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994

European Cup/Champions League: 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94

UEFA Super Cup: 1990, 1994

Intercontinental Cup: 1989, 1990

 

International

Italy

FIFA World Cup: 1982

FIFA World Cup Third-place: 1990

FIFA World Cup Runner-up: 1994

UEFA European Championship: Semifinalist 1980, 1988

Individual

Ballon d'Or: Runner-up 1989

Coppa Italia Top Scorer: 1989–90

Guerin d'Oro (Serie A Footballer of the Year): 1989–90

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1990

Premio Nazionale Carriera Esemplare "Gaetano Scirea": 1994

World Soccer The Greatest Players of the 20th-century #19

A.C. Milan Player of the Century: 1999

AIC Serie A Player of the Century: 2000

FIFA 100: 2004

UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: #17th

A.C. Milan Hall of Fame

FICTS Hall Of Fame and Excellence Guirlande d'Honneur

Golden Foot: 2012 (Under the category of "Football Legend")

Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2013

Orders

Ufficiale OMRI BAR.svgOrder of Merit of the Italian Republic

 

It is no secret that Yohan Blake’s work ethic is the stuff of legend.

That ethic helped the 2011 World 100m champion become the fastest man in the world, not named Usain Bolt. His 9.69/19.26 over the 100 and 200m is testament to that fact. In fact, had it not been for the presence of Bolt, Blake might well have been a double Olympic champion in 2012 when his 9.75 and 19.44 saw him win double silver.

However, the past few years have been unkind to the man formerly known as The Beast. Hamstring injuries have slowed Blake to the point where he missed out on winning medals in 2016 in Rio and 2017 at the World Championships in London.

The Tokyo 2020 Games would have been another opportunity for the 30-year-old Blake to re-establish himself as one of the world’s best sprinters. However, with the Games being postponed to the summer of 2021, Blake is leaning once again on that work ethic. While the pandemic rages across the globe, Blake is putting the work he deems essential to get back to being at his best.

“My career in athletics has been a dream come true.  For that, I give thanks every day.  But with injuries things get difficult. Yet, I don't stop, I keep pushing to come back,” Blake said on Instagram on Wednesday under a 90-second video of him executing some excruciating leg exercises under the supervision of his coach Gregory Little.

“With Coronavirus everything is postponed right now I am making the most of it.  I am using this time to talk with my body and unlock the power of my mind to conquer and overcome what has been holding me back on the track. I am working hard to get back to that dangerous form.”

 

With a personal best of 9.86 in the 100m, Keston Bledman is arguably one of the most-talented sprinters ever to come out of Trinidad and Tobago.  His talent was evident from very early on when he won a bronze medal in the 100m at the World U18 Championships in Marrakech in 2005.

Oliver Kahn is one of the most successful German players in recent history, having won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both achieved in 2001.

Regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, his individual contributions have earned him a record four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, as well as three IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper awards, and two German Footballer of the Year trophies.

At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Kahn, who had 86 caps for Germany, became the only goalkeeper in the tournament's history to win the Golden Ball. He placed fifth in both the IFFHS Best Goalkeeper of the 21st Century and Best Goalkeeper of the Past 25 Years elections.

From 1994 to 2006, Kahn was a member of the German national team, in which he played as a starter after the retirement of Andreas Köpke.

In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, although Germany was not among the tournament favourites, Kahn's prowess in goal was key to the team reaching the final, where Germany lost 0–2 to Brazil, featuring Kahn's only mistake of the tournament. Still, Kahn's performances were strong enough for the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament.

To vote for Oliver Khan to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone as Brent Sancho, Warren Barrett, and Juan G Arango take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Full name: Oliver Rolf Kahn

Date of birth: 15 June 1969 (age 50)

Place of birth: Karlsruhe, West Germany

Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

Playing position: Goalkeeper

Club Honours

Karlsruher SC II

Oberliga Baden-Württemberg: 1989–90

Verbandsliga Nordbaden: 1988–89

Bayern Munich

Bundesliga (8): 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08

DFB-Pokal (6): 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08

DFB-Ligapokal (5): 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007

UEFA Champions League: 2000–01

UEFA Cup: 1995–96

Intercontinental Cup: 2001

International Honours

UEFA European Championship: 1996

FIFA Confederations Cup Third place: 2005

FIFA World Cup Second place: 2002

FIFA World Cup Third place: 2006

Individual

Best Bundesliga Keeper: 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

Kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 1996–97, 2001–02[105][106]

IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper: 1999, 2001, 2002

Best European Goalkeeper: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

UEFA Club Football Awards – Best Goalkeeper: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

ESM Team of the Year: 1999–2000, 2000–01

UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match: 2001

German Footballer of the Year: 2000, 2001

Ballon d'Or – Third place: 2001, 2002

UEFA Fair-Play Award: 2001

FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 2002

FIFA World Cup Yashin Award: 2002

FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002

FIFA World Player of the Year – Silver award: 2002

FIFA 100

Golden Foot: 2017, as football legend

The world knew Gordon Banks as the man who stopped a header from Pele in the 1970 World Cup, but he was so much more than that.

Daren Sammy will return as captain of the St. Lucia Zouks for the 2020 season.

Nicknamed the Black Spider or the Black Panther, Lev Yashin is considered by many to be the best goalkeeper that has ever lived.

Despite standing at 6' 2", Yashin was an imposing figure, revolutionising the role of the goalkeeper with his athleticism, positioning in goal and his bravery.

He was also a vocal presence in goal, shouting orders at his defenders and rushing off his line to intercept crosses and onrushing attackers, stark differences in a time when goaltenders were keen to stay on their lines until they were called into action.

Yashin came to global prominence with standout performances at the 1958 World Cup where he also earned his name, the Black Spider because he was dressed head to toe in a dark blue kit that appeared black.

Yashin, who made 74 appearances for Russia, played in four World Cups – ’58, ‘62’ ’66 and 1970. During an impeccable career, he saved more than 150 penalty kicks in professional football, more than any other 'keeper in history and kept more than 270 clean sheets. Four of those clean sheets came in the 12 World Cup matches in which he played.

In the 1970 World Cup, he was the third-string goalkeeper and an assistant coach for the Russian team.

Yashin was in goal when Russia won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics football tournament and the 1960 European championships. Three years later he won the coveted Ballon d’Or, the only goalkeeper ever to win the award.

He was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 1961.

In 1994, Yashin was chosen for the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, and in 1998 was chosen as a member of the World Team of the 20th Century.

He spent his entire professional football career with Dynamo Moscow, from 1950 to 1970, winning the USSR football championship five times and the Soviet Cup three times in 326 appearances.

Yashin, who was born on October 22, 1929, died on March 20, 1990, at the age of 60.

To vote for Lev Yashin to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone as Brent Sancho, Warren Barret, and Juan G Arango take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Full name: Lev Ivanovich Yashin

Date of birth: 22 October 1929

Place of birth: Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

Date of death: 20 March 1990 (aged 60)

Place of death: Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

Height: 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]

Position: Goalkeeper

Club career

1950–1970 Dynamo Moscow 326 games      

International career

1954–1967 Soviet Union 74 games         

Honours

1956 Olympic Games Gold medal

1960 UEFA European Championship Winner

1964 UEFA European Championship Runner-up 1964 Spain

 

 

Danielle Williams, the 2019 World Championship bronze medallist, says she is humbled that she will be enshrined into the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 Class.

Amidst money worries and their ongoing dispute with FIFA, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association now has to contend with a demand from former coach Russell Latapy who says the TTFA has owed him money for years and he needs to be paid immediately.

Last week I looked at the trends linking timespans between the great eras of Jamaican male sprinting.

Meanwhile, the island’s women were more consistent but, alas, to the Jamaican public, sprinting success only seems to matter when the men do well.

When Jamaica’s men have struggled to win medals, their women – Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert, Sandie Richards, Merlene Fraser, Juliet Campbell, Beverley McDonald, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, kept the country’s flag flying by winning medals.

However, these days I worry about what I believe is happening with a lot of Jamaica’s emerging male and female sprinters who seem unable to navigate the gap between their amateur status and the professional ranks.

There are several reasons why I believe this is happening, injury being one of the major factors, but today I will focus on what I believe to be another.

It was the 18thcentury American political activist Thomas Paine who said:

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble that can gather strength from distress and grow.”

It is a lesson many Jamaican youngsters would do well to learn.

After Usain Bolt blew up in 2008 with three gold medals and three world records in Beijing, many aspiring young athletes were inspired to be like him. They were coming out of the woodwork by the dozens. High-school track and field coaches experienced a boon in talent as they had never experienced before.

Along with the emergence of new talent came global sponsors seeking to snap up the next star early and cheaply.

After all, Bolt was signed early and cheaply by his sponsors who benefitted greatly as he rocketed to stardom. This came on the heels of a period of uncertainty when it seemed as if he was going to be yet another casualty of a system that many argue asks too much too soon of our high-school athletes.

However, when Bolt and company stunned the Commonwealth in 2006 in Melbourne and then the world two years later, there seemed to be a mad rush on to sign any child in the Jamaican high school system that displayed a modicum of talent.

Kids were signing contracts left, right and centre and 12 years later, it is almost embarrassing to see how few have successfully transitioned to the senior ranks.

Mind you, there are good and bad sides to what was happening.

On the good side, a few Jamaican kids from humble backgrounds were able to secure small contracts that allowed them to ‘eat’ and maintain a fairly decent lifestyle as they prepared to launch into professional track and field.

When you have nothing and someone offers you something more, it is easy to lose perspective. A few kids and their families were able to secure homes, a nice car, and a little money in the bank.

However, in too many instances all this seemed to do was take away the hunger that is oftentimes necessary to keep athletes focused on what the real goal is. Yes, a few thousand US dollars can make life better but imagine what could be, if you actually won something or became the best in the world.

Alas, for too many kids, the morsel seemed to be enough.

I remember attending the signing ceremony of a particular youngster who had promised so much during his years in high school. I believe the value of the contract was somewhere in the six figures, a life-changing amount of money for someone who before had relatively very little.

I was truly happy for the youngster. However, months later all I saw from the athlete was the purchase of a shiny new car and a frequency on the club circuit in New Kingston. Meanwhile, performances on the track progressively got worse.

Unfortunately, this has become the norm for too many.

Putting the carrot before the horse can be a good thing. However, giving the horse the carrot before the journey has even begun can have disastrous consequences.

As Paine suggests, working hard and making sacrifices tend to make any reward a lot more meaningful. You are less likely to take that reward for granted. However, when fortune literally falls into your lap when you have accomplished nothing, it can make you feel a bit entitled.

I think Michael Frater, the 2005 World 100m silver medallist, a man who has run the 100m dash in 9.88 seconds, was onto something when he spoke to the media recently about why some of Jamaica’s youngsters are failing to make the grade.

“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 an 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.”

It is hard to fight for what you want when things come too easy. Too many of these kids now believe all they have to do is run fast in high school and things will come easy after. That only happens for a few.

People see Bolt and his success, the flashy cars and the lavish lifestyle and forget how he got there. It took four years of blood, sweat and tears, disappointment and getting his butt handed to him on the track before he finally realised what was required to be the best in the world.

The lesson seems to have fallen onto deaf ears.

Many would do well to learn that lesson… or to borrow a Jamaican phrase, “If yuh waah good, yuh nose haffi run.”

 

 

Jamaica’s 400m hurdler Dinsdale Morgan is to be inducted into the USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 Class.

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