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.

Strange as it may sound, Tyra Gittens is both happy and disappointed with her record-breaking performance in the heptathlon at the SEC Championships at Bryan College Station in Texas last weekend.

The 22-year-old Trinidadian who attends Texas A&M University scored a personal best 6418 points to win the two-day event. Her score which was just two points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420 points is also a championship-leading effort as well as a meet and facility record. 

“I am proud of where I am. I am proud of my accomplishments. I hope the world sees that I have so much potential and I have so much more room to grow. This is just the beginning,” she said.

Along the way, Gittens achieved several personal milestones, including a massive personal lifetime best in the long jump of 6.96, which qualifies her for the Olympics this summer and a personal best and a national record 1.95m for the high jump and a centimetre shy of the Olympic standard.

It was also the first time in history that a woman had jumped 1.95m in the high jump and beyond 6.95m in the long jump in the same heptathlon. Gittens now holds national records for the high jump outdoors and indoors, the long jump outdoors and indoors, the pentathlon and the heptathlon.

However, she wasn’t satisfied and revealed her true ambitions, believing she is capable of so much more.

“I don’t like to talk about my goals publicly because then people take it as ‘Oh, she’s trying to talk smack’ but I want people to hold me accountable when I say this. I want to be the ultimate heptathlete and that means breaking Jackie Joyner’s record and that’s what I’m going for.

 “This is my first time saying that publicly but I have never been at a point in my life when I’ve felt so confident saying that, and after this weekend, even though my heptathlon wasn’t what I wanted, my mentality and how I pushed through one of the hardest weekends but one of the best weekends of my life, I am ready and I know, I really think I can get this world record.”

 It is that lofty goal and it is the accompanying mentality that has her experiencing mixed feelings about her record-breaking weekend. Joyner-Kersee’s heptathlon record, which has stood since 1988, is 7291 points and it explains why Gittens wasn’t so happy with her performance last weekend because she understands that if she is to break that record, she has to be better at all her disciplines, not just two or three.

 “The long jump and the high jump were the highlights of my meet. I rarely surprise myself but I definitely surprised myself in the long jump,” she the Texas A&M senior said.

 “The high jump wasn’t necessarily a surprise. I knew this is where I wanted to be around this time. In the long jump, I didn’t expect to reach 6.90 so soon. I know I could do it, I knew I could be up there but I was thinking later on in my career, like years later.”

However, as good as she was in the long and high jumps, Gitten concedes that her performance in several other disciplines did not meet her expectations and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

 “The shot put definitely hurt me, just because of how inconsistent it was. It was embarrassing for me to come off such a high in the high jump, not to be able to gather myself correctly for the shot put. I thought I did but I still had a lot of adrenalin and excitement from the high jump and it never allowed me to focus on the shot put and it just didn’t click,” she said of her 658-point 11.96m throw that was well short of her 13.58m throw that earned her 807 points in a heptathlon on May 8.

 She was equally devastated by how poor she was in the 800m that she completed in 2:31.97 and which she said came as a shock.

 “The 800 was a surprise. I did not expect to run that slow. I started the race and normally I have someone yelling my 100m splits but this time there were two events going on so my coach wasn’t able to so he put some people to say the times. I didn’t hear them and so I was kind of running blindly and it wasn’t until the last 150 when I saw the finish-line time board and I saw that I was way behind my pace,” she said.

“I honestly started tearing up running down the straightaway because I knew I didn’t set myself up in the other events like the shot put and the hurdles, even though my long jump and high jump were great, the Hep was not very consistent for me.” 

Such is the mentality of the effervescent Trinidadian that she has chosen to focus on the silver lining rather than dwell on the dark clouds.

 “That being said, everything happens for a reason. I was very impressed with myself that my hep was a pretty bad one. The things that saved me, the high jump, my 200 and long jump because everything else was not where I wanted to be at all,” she confessed, “the hurdles, shot put, javelin even though it was PB in the Hep for me, I see myself a little farther along than 40 metres. The 800 definitely broke my heart.”

She was devastated to come so close to the Olympic standard. 

“Being only two points away from the standard is definitely tough to swallow because it was just two points and I knew what I needed to do but at the end of the day, it is what it is. It happened. I came out with an Olympic standard and literally kissing the other standards,” she said. 

“I am on pace. I knew my open events would come before my Hep because it is a lot harder to put together than get one jump. I am not worried. I am not stressing. I am actually above my pace for what I want to do and the next Hep is going to be bigger and better because I am going to come in ready to be more consistent and ready to stay focused. 

“I want to shine. I want to be the ultimate heptathlete, meaning I want to be consistently good, amazing in some (events) and consistently good in others. I would love to be a Jackie Joyner and be amazing at all seven but that’s not my reality, so you have to take advantage of what you’re really good at and then you have to work and stay focused on what you’re not so gifted in.”

 Gittens also finished second in the individual high jump, clearing 1.89m. She was also fourth in the long jump with a 6.56m leap. For her efforts, she was named United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week.

 

Jamaican Olympian Neville Myton died today after a prolonged battle was cancer. He was 74.

There will be changes to way in which Cricket West Indies awards retainer contracts following backlash to the recent announcements of players who received contracts for the coming year.

Veronica Campbell-Brown was second in the 100m at the 2021 USATF Open on Tuesday. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was among several notable Caribbean athletes, who competed at the meet held at the Athletic Performance Ranch in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jamaica-born Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has signed a multi-year boot deal with New Balance that includes support for disadvantaged children in the country of his birth and other communities in the United Kingdom.

The Guyana Cricket Board has written to Cricket West Indies expressing what it says is its disappointment at public comments made by Chairman of Selectors Roger Harper relating to four Guyanese players, who were not awarded retainer contracts by the governing body.

Learning from the mistakes made during the indoor season has resulted in a new personal best in the long jump for Carey McLeod this past weekend when he became the 2021 SEC Outdoor champion.

The Jamaica Football Federation has offered its congratulations to former Reggae Boy Wes Morgan, whose side Leicester City defeated a star-studded Chelsea 1-0 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

Youri Tielemans’ long-range strike in the 63rd minute was enough to give the Foxes a 1-0 victory over their more celebrated rivals.

“We are extremely happy for Wes,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts. “He has been a great soldier for Leicester City and a willing servant for Jamaica. There is no better way to bow out of the professional game than with a prestigious trophy. We wish nothing but the very best for him in the future.”

Morgan hinted at retirement following Saturday’s victory that gave Leicester City their first-ever hold on the trophy.

“Nothing’s been announced yet, I need to discuss it with the club, but I don’t think I’ve got too many more miles on the clock, we’ll say that,” said Morgan who played the last eight minutes of the match after being out with a back injury since December.

 “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the squad. The gaffer asked me if I could make it on the bench and I said if I’m needed for the last 10 minutes, I’ll be available. We were 1-0 up and the last thing I expected a week ago was to be playing again, but I came on and now I have won the FA Cup.”

The FA Cup is the second major trophy captain Morgan has won with Leicester City. He lifted the English Premier League with the club in 2016.

Morgan made 30 appearances for the Reggae Boyz between 2013 and 2016.

 

Olympic champion Omar McLeod and Britany Anderson won in impressive fashion at the American Track League meet in California on Saturday.

Kingston College did not win a medal in the final event – the Class 1 Boys 400m hurdles on Thursday but they got seven points from Rayon Campbell and Jayden Brown. Those seven points made all the difference as the defending champions lead Jamaica College by 7.5 points heading into Saturday’s final day of the 2021 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

After 24 finals, KC leads the standings with 187 points while JC has 179.5 points. Calabar High School, which had a very good day in the field are third on 144 points while St Elizabeth Technical lies fourth with 93 points. St Jago High are fifth with 63 points.

Edwin Allen leads the girls after 27 finals. They have 213 points but St Jago are within touching distance with 187.5 points. Hydel are not that far behind either as they have 161.5 points. Holmwood have 65.5 points while Holmwood are fifth with 49 points.

Kingston College picked up some critical points late in the day when Campbell and Brown finish fifth and sixth in the 400m hurdles won by Jamaica College’s Javier Brown in 49.86, a new record. Devontie Archer of Excelsior clocked 50.43 for second place while Roshawn Clarke of Camperdown was third in 50.93.

Those seven points came right after they picked up 15 points in the Class 2 400m hurdles that was won by Antonio Forbes in 51.84. KC also got the bronze medal from Shamari Jennings, a 52.52 effort. Shamer lake of STETHS was the winner of the silver medal clocking 52.16.

Kingston College also picked up points in the Class 3 long jump in which Shamir Kelly jumped 6.82m for the victory and his teammate Roshawn Onfroy jumped 6.40m for bronze. Edward Sterling of Wolmers won the silver with 6.79m.

Calabar enjoyed a very good day in the field.

Javar Thomas of Calabar won the Class 2 triple jump in a keen battle against Jaydon Hibbert of Kingston College. However, Thomas emerged victorious with a 15.23m triple jump as Hibbert finished second with 15.15m. Michael Curriah of Jamaica College jumped 14.61m for third.

Calabar went 1-3 in the Class I Boys shot put. Like he has been all season, Kobe Lawrence showed why he is a class above the rest throwing an even 19m for the gold medal. Christopher Young of Edwin Allen won the silver with a throw of 18.30. Lawrence’s teammate Denz Simmons locked up the bronze medal with a throw of 17.26m.

The boys from Red Hills Road also had a good showing in the pole vault competition that was won by Kito Campbell, who vaulted over 3.90m. His fellow Lion, Julian Francis, was third having vaulted 3.80m.

They were split by Kingston College’s Jafar Moore, who had a similar height to Francis but had one less miss at 3.80m.

Luke Brown made it a really good day in the field for Calabar when he jumped 15.69m to win the Class I triple jump. Jhavor Bennett of STETHS won the silver medal with 15.31m and Iangelo Atkinstall-Daley of Wolmer’s claimed the bronze with 15.11m.

Among the girls, Edwin Allen’s Asia McKay cleared 1.62m to win the Class 4 Girls high jump. The silver medal went to Jayla Williams of St Jago, who cleared 1.55m. Rhianna Lewis of Rhodes Hall jumped 1.50m for the bronze medal.

Ackelia Smith of Edwin Allen jumped 13.42m to win the triple jump over Hydel’s Velecia Williams who jumped 12.87m. Kahdijah Bailey of St Jago was third with a jump of 12.25m.

Roxene Simpson of Clarendon College threw 45.85m to win the Class I discus while her teammate Kimola Hines threw 44.98m for the silver medal. Fabrienne Foster of Manchester won the bronze medal with a throw of 43.79m.

Garriel White of Hydel won the 400m hurdles in 57.65. She was just too good for Moseiha Bridgen of Vere Technical, who ran 58.90 for second place. Edwin Allen’s Jodyann Dixon finished third in 60.35.

Elizabeth Palmer, the mother of Jamaican elite athlete Akeem Bloomfield, died on Thursday morning after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Bloomfield, a finalist in the 400m at the 2019 Doha World Championships, had announced three weeks ago that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018, but only just revealed her condition to her children last month.

Bloomfield and his sister Kaydene Wright launched a GoFundMe account hoping to raise USD$65,000 to assist with the cost of surgery on her spinal that had been compromised by cancer that had also spread to other parts of her body.

Alas, it was in vain as Palmer died early Thursday.

“Words can’t express the feelings of loss and pain me and my family are going through right now. Unfortunately, my mother lost her battle against cancer yesterday and I would give anything just to have one more moment with her,” the grieving athlete posted on Instagram today.

“She was more than just my mom, she was my motivation and my best friend.

“I would like to thank all those who donated, whispered a prayer or just had her and my family in your thoughts.”

 

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced an action-packed schedule for the West Indies Men, featuring three consecutive international home tours against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, from June to August 2021.

The Test and T20 International (T20I) series against the Proteas, rescheduled from 2020, will start the International summer. The world-renowned tourism destinations of Saint Lucia and Grenada will be the West Indies host venues. South Africa are due to arrive at St Lucia on June 1 and will play two Test matches at The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, followed by five T20Is at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium from June 26 to July 3. CWI is grateful to the Governments of St Lucia and Grenada for agreeing, at relatively short notice, to host the touring South Africans. This will be the first time that South Africa has played bilateral cricket in the West Indies since 2010.

The July 9 to 24 Australia white-ball tour of the West Indies will also begin at St Lucia’s Darren Sammy Cricket Ground hosting five T20Is. The Aussies then move on to Barbados for three day/night CG Insurance One Day Internationals (ODIs) at the world-famous Kensington Oval. The CG Insurance ODIs provide the opportunity for West Indies to secure more points in the ICC ODI Super League, as the West Indies strive to qualify automatically for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup following the recent 3-0 victory against Sri Lanka. https://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup-super-league/standings

Pakistan is scheduled to arrive in Barbados on July 21 ahead of their five-match T20I Series, with the first two matches to be played at Kensington Oval before travelling to Guyana to play the concluding three T20Is at Guyana’s National Stadium from 26 to 29 June. The West Indies and Pakistan teams will then travel to Jamaica for two back-to-back Test matches at Sabina Park from August 12 to August 24 which conclude four days prior to the start of the Caribbean Premier League in St Kitts.

This schedule features a total of fifteen T20Is for the reigning ICC T20 World Champions, as the West Indies continue the build-up to their title defence at the ICC T20 World Cup, in October and November 2021.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave said: “Following the successful hosting of the all-format series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that we are set to welcome South Africa, Australia and Pakistan to the West Indies. To host three international teams back-to-back in five territories is unprecedented, and putting these fixtures together was an enormous Covid-related logistical challenge. We must thank the visiting teams for agreeing to travel at this challenging period for world cricket and we are especially grateful to our regional Governments who are playing such a vital role in partnering with CWI to ensure that International cricket can be hosted safely while providing entertainment for our loyal fans and income for our cricketers and cricket communities.”
CWI has also been working closely with Territorial Cricket Boards, along with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in all the host countries, to orchestrate all the logistics and agree the safety and medical protocols for the tour. All players, support staff and match officials will stay, train and play in a bio-secure environment, with regular COVID-19 PCR testing taking place with the assistance of Ministries of Health and from CARPHA.

It is not yet determined whether fans will be able to attend matches in person, however, they will be able to follow live on TV in the Caribbean with Flow Sport, live on radio with Vibes FM and their partner radio stations and via ball-by-ball updates and the new live blog in the match centre on www.windiescricket.com.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was a happy man on Thursday upon hearing the news that his team is now sixth on the ICC Test rankings, up from eighth following improved performances against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in recent months.

Javaine Johnson won the decathlon to give Kingston College a lead over Jamaica College at the end of the third day of the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kington on Thursday.

Johnson scored 5973 points to take victory over Calabar’s Dishaun Lamb who scored 5521 points.

Shamar Coke of Excelsior took the bronze medal with his 10-event score of 4962 points.

Johnson’s victory saw KC take the lead after 18 completed finals with 133 points to Jamaica College’s 124.5.

Heading into day four, Calabar has 80 points while STETHS are fourth with 80 points, many of them coming from their sweep of the 100m events. St Jago completes the top-five with 56 points.

Meanwhile, after 23 finals, Edwin Allen continues to lead the girls with 184 points. St Jago comes next with 158 with Hydel, Holmwood and Wolmer’s following with 132, 63.50 and 45 points, respectively.

STETHS reigned supreme in the 100m events with Sachin Dennis capping off the dominance with an impressive win the Class I final. Dennis, who has seemingly recovered from a long-term injury and rumours about a possible move to Bahrain, stormed to victory in 10.53s over a fast-finishing Antonio Watson of Petersfield High who clocked 10.58 for second. KC’s Bouwaghie Nkrumie was third 10.65.

With the victory, Dennis has now won the 100m title in classes 3, 2 and 1.

Earlier, his schoolmate Orlando Wint won the Class 2 title in 10.76 in a STETHS 1-3 as Javorne Dunkley was third in 11.01. Jamaica College’s Hector Benjamin won the silver medal in 10.79.

It all began when Tramaine Todd raced to a comfortable victory in the Class 3 sprint in 11.03.  KC’s Nicardo Johnson ran 11.28 for second while Vere’s Malik Carridice was third in 11.40.

No one team dominated the girls’ blue-ribbon sprints but there was some drama in the Class 2 event when medal favourite Tia Clayton of Edwin Allen was disqualified for a false start. With tears in her eyes, her twin sister Tina stormed to a record-breaking victory in 11.38s.

Hydel’s Kerrica Hill and Alana Reid took second and third in 11.61 and 11.65, respectively.

Edwin Allen’s Brandy Hall won the Class I title in 11.72 over Shenese Walker of Hydel, who clocked  11.86.  Holmwood Technical’s Shashieka Steele was third in 11.88.

 Rusea’s Lavanga Williams won the Class 3 event in 12.18 seconds leaving Hydel’s Shemonique Hazel in her wake. The latter ran 12.37 with Bryana Davidson of St Jago finishing third in 12.47.

Theianna-Lee Terrelonge became the Class 4 champion when she won in 12.53.r Poshanna-Lee Blake of St Jago was second in 12.74. Marria Crossfield of Vere ran 12.85 for third.

Chevonne Hall of Edwin Allen won the Class 1 Boys event clocking 3:59.70. Kingston College’s Aron Tanui ran him closing finishing in 3:59.86 for the silver medal. Jamaica College’s Handal Roban won the bronze medal, crossing the finish line in 4:01.48.

Jamaica College enjoyed 1-2 finish in the Class 2 race that was won by Khandale Frue in 4:12.16. Kemarrio Bygrave ran 4:13.26 to claim the silver medal.

Alex Taylor of St Jago clocked 4:14.60 for third and the bronze medal.

Jamaica College also won the Class 3 1500 when Tyrone Lawson outclassed the field to cross the finish line in 4:16.71. Maggotty’s Charehon Connally was more than five seconds back in 4:21.84 but still won the silver medal.

Calabar’s Rhsaune Johnson ran 4:29.35 to take the bronze medal.

Among the girls, Edwin Allen picked up points in all three races to maintain a comfortable buffer between themselves and their fiercest challenges, St. Jago, who won the Class 1 event in the form of Sancia Smith.

Smith took the gold medal when she ran 4:44.24. Her teammate Aleshia Douglas ran 4:49.20 to win the silver medal. However, Edwin Allen’s Jessica McLean clocked 4;49.68 for the bronze medal.

Edwin Allen collected even more points in the Class 2 event that Rickeisha Simms won in 4:36.62. Holmwood Technical’s Jodyann Mitchell was second in 4:42.69 with Shone Walters of St. Mary winning the bronze medal with her time of 4:43.60.

Holmwood’s Andrene Peart won the Class 3 title when she outran her opponents to win in 4:50.36. Cindy Rose, also from Holmwood took second place when she crossed in 4:52.23 with St Jago’s Sushana Johnson running 4:54.82 for the bronze medal.

The competition was just as fierce in the field where Jaidi James of Jamaica College won the high jump with a clearance of 1.86. Edward Sterling of Wolmer’s soared over 1.80m for second place with KC’s Roshawn Onfroy taking the bronze medal with his best effort of 1.80m.

Meantime, Edwin Allen’s Serena Cole won the Class 2 long jump after leaping out to a distance of 6.10m. Aaliyah Foster of Mount Alvernia won the silver medal with her jump of 5.90m. St Jago’s Kay-Lagay Clarke leapt 5.76m to win the bronze medal.

St Jago’s Latavia Galloway won the javelin competition throwing 41.95m while Edwin Allen’s Shenelia Williams threw 37.02 for second place. Jamora Alves of St Jago threw 35.92m for the bronze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness athlete Deidre Lewis has characterized as unfair the decision of an Independent Anti-Doping Panel to impose a two-year ban on her after she tested positive for the banned substance Zeranol.

Lewis returned an adverse finding for Zeranol following an out of competition test on September 29, 2020, and was notified of the results in December that year. Zeranol is a synthetic, nonsteroidal estrogen found in fungi and is used mainly as an anabolic agent in veterinary medicine. It also may be found as a contaminant in fungus-infected crops.

Following hearings on February 11, March 18 and 31 and April 2, the panel of Kent Gammon, Denise Forrest and Dr Donovan Calder “did not find on the evidence presented that the athlete, Ms Denis Lewis, bears no fault or negligence whereby the applicable period of ineligibility can be eliminated.

“In the circumstances of this case, the athlete is ineligible for a period of two years.”

The two years began in December 2020, when the athlete was first notified of the adverse finding.

Lewis, who maintains that she did not intentionally ingest Zeranol, feels she was unfairly punished.

“I feel it was a bit unfair although they were doing their jobs,” she told Sportsmax TV in reaction to the ruling that was handed down earlier this week.

She said her diet is about 80 per cent plant-based and because of that she has to consume large amounts of grains and nuts to get the amount of nutrients her body requires for her to achieve the desired results. However, she was unable to pinpoint what food she might have consumed that was contaminated with the banned substance.

Lewis, who won the Ms Jamaica Bikini Fitness Short Class Champion and the Overall Bikini Fitness Champion in 2019, said she has always been compliant with the measures imposed not only by the JABBFA but also the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission. “I have remained complainant and transparent with my whereabouts reporting and have always been available for random tests during and outside of my sixty-minute testing times,” she said in her witness statement.

“In total, I have been subjected to six tests, the first of which was in 2017 at the National Championships. A majority of my tests were done between 2019 and 2020. I was tested at the national championship on September 8, 2019, and at the Central America and Caribbean Championships (CAC) on October 13, 2019,” she said.

“In 2020 I was tested on February 25, July 15, and on September 29. All of the tests conducted in 2020 were out-of-competition tests. I have never resisted any test that I have ever been subjected to and I am always easy to locate, even outside of my allotted sixty-minutes timeslot for testing. All of my test results have come back negative, except for the adverse findings in this instance, which has caused me significant emotional distress and financial strain.”

During the hearing the panel heard testimony from Professor Dr Wayne McLaughlin who said that based on the amount of Zeranol found in Lewis’ urine, he concluded that it occurred from ‘natural intake’, suggesting that the athlete did not deliberately take the substance to enhance performance.

“From these findings of very low levels of α-zeranol (0.04nh/ml) and β-zeranol (0.16ng/ml) in the athlete’s sample would imply natural intake. It is, therefore, our opinion that the substances found in the athlete’s urine sample support the assumption that mycotoxin contamination caused the findings in the doping control specimens rather than a misuse of the anabolic agent.”

However, Professor McLaughlin did concede that there were few studies on humans with Zeranol.

“This is disheartening,” Lewis said, “because there is limited research. I don’t feel it’s fair but I have to live with it. I would like to appeal but I don’t have the money.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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