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.

Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio will not be available for the Reggae Boyz matches against Japan and Serbia that have been scheduled for June as Jamaica’s senior squad continues its preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers in September.

Defending champions Edwin Allen hold a 12-point lead over St. Jago High after 14 finals on day two of the 2021 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kingston College failed to add to their point tally but still hold a sizeable lead over their rivals.

The Clarendon-based juggernaut began the day on 71 points, trailing both Hydel, who 76 points and leaders St Jago High on 81. However, Edwin Allen picked up 10 points in the early exchanges in the Class I shot put competition where Monifa Allen picked up seven points for finishing second with a throw of 12.79m and her teammate Daveina Watson got three more for her sixth-place finish after throwing 11.88m.

Rusea’s High School’s Leonie Samuels won the gold medal with her put of 13.21m while St Jago’s Kayla Davis-Edwards won the bronze with her effort of 12.67m.

At the conclusion of the event, St Jago had 87 points but Edwin Allen had climbed into second place with 81 points. Hydel remained on 76 points.

Meanwhile, Edwin Allen picked up an additional six points when Toniann Allen jumped 5.22m in the Class 4 long jump that was won by Natrilia Campbell of Wolmer’s Girls, who leapt out to a mark of 5.42m. Rihanna Campbell of St Catherine High was the silver medalist having jumped 5.40m.

The defending champions then extended their lead over St Jago when Rashida Samuels cleared 1.73m to win the Class 2 Girls High Jump to defeat Malaika Cunningham of Wolmer’s who cleared 1.70m for the silver medal and Anishka McDonald of Vere Technical who claimed the bronze with 1.65m.

The Class 2 discus was won by Cedricka Williams of Holmwood Technical who established a new record of 47.04m breaking the record of 46.69m set by Vere’s Marie Forbes in 2018.

Damali Williams of Edwin Allen won the silver medal with her best mark of 43.72m while Brittanie Johnson of Camperdown secured the bronze medal throwing 42.32m.

At the conclusion of that competition, Edwin Allen had amassed 108 points to St Jago’s 96. Hydel was further back in third on 82 points. Wolmer’s are in fourth place on 42 points while Holmwood Technical lies fifth with 30.50 points.

Kingston College remained atop the standings despite failing to add to their overnight points tally in the only boys' final today.

The Class 2 long jump was the only boys final on Wednesday and St Jago used the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders as Balvin Israel gave the St. Catherine-based school nine valuable points when he leapt 7.32m to claim victory.

His victory has St Jago on 40 points, just 15 behind KC.

Amari Officer of St George’s College took the silver medal with his jump of 7.16m while Nathan Wade of Calabar was third with 7.13m.

The third-place points mean Calabar ended the day on 37 points. St Elizabeth Technical and Jamaica College as 30 points for joint fourth place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The JAAA has secured at least one international race for Jamaica’s men’s 4x100m relay squad as they attempt to a secure spot at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

A Jamaican quartet will race at a World Athletics Continental Tour track and field meet to be held at Prairie View, Houston, Texas on May 25.

“So far Nigeria and Canada are down to compete in the race,” said JAAA General Secretary Marie Tavares. “But we understand that I least one other team will be involved.”

Jamaica is provisionally qualified in 11th position with the top 16 teams to be accepted into the relay pool at the Olympics. That qualifying time (38.15) was achieved in the semifinals of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, 2019. 

The need for a race escalated after Jamaica was forced to withdraw from the IAAF World Relays which took place in Poland last weekend.

 This past weekend, a team of Asafa Powell, Julian Forte, Yohan Blake and Oshane Bailey posted a time of 38.33, the second-fastest in the world this year.

For the second year running the CARIFTA Games have been cancelled.

The 49th edition of the games that were scheduled to be held in Bermuda in August, was cancelled because the host country was not willing to amend its Covid-19 regulations to accommodate athletes arriving for competition.

According to the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC), they arrived at the decision to cancel as the Government of Bermuda maintained that the 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated visitors is non-negotiable, making it highly impractical for there to be an Under-17 category as is the norm and for NACAC to stage the region’s premier junior track and field meet.

Carifta 2020 was not staged because of the global pandemic and Bermuda transferred its hosting responsibilities to 2021. Originally scheduled for Easter weekend, this year’s edition was first postponed to July 2-4 and then to August 13-15. Now, Carifta 2021 has been struck from the NACAC calendar.

“The NACAC Council regrets the decision to cancel Carifta 2021. For the second year running, young, hard-working athletes have been denied the opportunity to represent their respective territories at the world’s premier junior track and field competition,” said a statement from the association.

“To the region’s young athletes, keep training. For those who are eligible for the July 9-11 NACAC U18 & U23 Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, we encourage you to maintain focus on this competition.”

Tyra Gittens believes things are falling into place for another great performance in the heptathlon at this weekend’s SEC Championships. Her confidence would have been further buoyed by encouraging performances at the Aggie Invitational at Bryan-College Station in Texas on Saturday.

Briana Williams is very satisfied with her outing at the USATF Golden Games in California yesterday.

Sir Curtly Ambrose said while he fully endorses regional players plying their trade across the world to secure their financial futures, he believes those players should equally make themselves available to play for the West Indies.

There have been several instances in the past few years where players have declined invitations to represent the West Indies but then jet off to destinations across the globe to play in T20 tournaments.

The issue was brought into sharp focus recently when several West Indies players declined to tour Bangladesh citing the pandemic and their related safety concerns. However, some of those players later went on to play for T20 franchises in countries that were also experiencing spikes in the number of Covid-19 infections.

During an interview on Talk Sports Live with Michael Bascombe on Saturday, the West Indies bowling icon, said the players need to do a better job of striking a balance between playing franchise cricket and representing the West Indies.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts. So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies cricket.”

This is not the first time that Ambrose has expressed these sentiments.

In December 2020, he publicly criticized Andre Russell, who after declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20 tournament.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ambrose poured cold water on the explanation.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” he said.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

 

 

 

Caribbean athletes Kimberly Williams, Kyron McMaster, Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Briana Williams all delivered encouraging performances at the USATF Golden Games at the Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut, California on Sunday, but all the buzz was once again around a young American woman who ran 10.7 twice on the day.

The 21-year-old American ran 10.74 in the preliminary round of the 100m and then followed up with 10.77 in the final despite a stiff enough headwind of -1.2m/s. This is the third time in as many races this season that she has run under 10.8s.

Williams, who opened her 100m season with 11.29 in Oregon a week ago, clocked 11.15 for third in the final to follow up on her season-best 11.09 that she ran in the preliminaries for second in Richardson’s heat.

Javaine Oliver was third in 11.08.

McMaster broke his own British Virgin Islands national record of 47.54 when he clocked 47.50 for second place in the 400m hurdles won by Rai Benjamin in a world-leading 47.13. Alison Dos Santos, who finished third, also set a Brazilian national record of 47.68.

Jamaica’s Kemar Mowatt was fourth in a season-best 48.90.

Meanwhile, Kimberly Williams won the triple jump with 14.62m.

Thomas-Dodd threw 18.91m to finish second in the shot put won by the USA’s Maggie Ewen who threw a season-best 19.32. The USA’s Jessica Ramsay was third with her best effort of 18.58m. Two other Caribbean athletes finished in the top 10. Jamaica’s Lloydrica Cameron produced a personal best throw of 18.33m for sixth place while Trinidad and Tobago’s Portious Warren uncorked a 17.83m effort for eighth.

The 100m hurdles was keenly a contested race but world-record holder Kendra Harrison proved to be too much for the field running a season-best 12.48 for the victory. In her wake was Cindy Semper who ran a personal best 12.53 for second place. Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan clocked 12.61 for third, the same time as Devynne Charlton, who established a new Bahamas national record.

A couple of Trinidadian’s picked up third-place finishes in their respective events. Deon Lendore ran a season-best 45.04 in the 400m won by the USA’s Michael Norman in 44.40. Michael Cherry ran 44.86 for second place.

Meanwhile, Jereem Richards ran a season-best 20.20 to finish behind Noah Lyles and Kenny Bednarek, who ran 19.90 and 19.94 for first and second, respectively.

Gabby Thomas won the 200m in a season-best 22.12 over Allyson Felix who opened with a fast 22.26 for second place. Lynna Irby was third in 22.37.

 

 

 

 

Jamaica looks set to qualify a men’s 4x100m relay team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer after running the second-fastest time in the world this year at a time trials meet at GC Foster yesterday.

Baylor University’s Ackera Nugent continued her impressive freshman season on Saturday with a pair of wins at the Aggie Invitational at Bryan-College Station in Texas.

Fast bowling icon Sir Curtly Ambrose believes it will be difficult for the West Indies to unearth players with similar talents to those from the team’s glory days of the 70s and early 90s because the current crop of players has not grasped what cricket means to the people from the region.

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has written to Cricket West Indies requesting a copy of the criteria used to award international retainer contracts and the report submitted by the selection panel on which the decision was made not to award international retainer contracts to Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd as well as Veerasammy Permaul.

The missive to the CWI comes on the heels of the recent announcement by CWI of 18 players who were offered retainer contracts for the year July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. Among those who were awarded were newcomers Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner, who had standout performances against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

However, there were no contracts for the four Guyanese players, a troubling development for the GCB.

 “The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) notes with great concern the information that Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd were not awarded International Retainer Contracts by the Cricket West Indies (CWI),” the board said in a statement Friday.

“The GCB is also concerned with the non-award of an International Retainer Contract to Veerasammy Permaul.”

The GCB said it is not aware and was not informed of the criteria used for the award of international retainer contracts nor were any reasons given for the non-award contracts to the four players.

“The non-award of International Retainer Contracts to these players by CWI is a matter of extreme concern to the GCB and to the Guyanese public and the GCB intends to fully investigate this matter,” the GCB said.

Opus, a leading publisher of luxury limited-edition books in sports, film and entertainment, has announced a partnership with Usain Bolt to produce the publication of Bolt – The Opus, a luxury limited edition, capturing iconic Olympic moments and treasured memories of the eight-time Olympic gold medalist and 100m and 200m world record holder.

Bolt - The Opus will honour the achievements of the iconic Jamaican, who is regarded as the greatest sprinter of all time having won eight Olympic gold medals and 11 World Championship gold medals and who continues to inspire young people from all backgrounds, cultures and nations.

In addition, the Bolt Foundation serves to create opportunities through education and cultural development for positive changes to help children live their dreams.

Bolt, who retired in 2017, is also a four-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and the winner of many other awards across the globe.

According to the publishers, The Opus will be the largest and most luxurious celebration of the sport’s greatest icon, measuring 60cm x 40cm, weighing in at 17kg. Over 260 pages printed on luxurious silk paper will celebrate in the most dynamic way, using high definition photography presented in the most unique way like never before.

It will be in a hand-made clamshell presentation case with the release being followed by a limited number of editions that will be personally signed by Usain making it the greatest tribute to Usain Bolt ever.

An excited Bolt said he is eagerly anticipating the release of the publication.

” I was given the Manchester United OPUS as a gift a few years ago and am thrilled to finally have The Official Usain Bolt Opus,” he said.

“I have seen some sample pages already and am excited that it is going to look amazing and capture all the biggest moments in my career.”

 

The first editions will be ready for release and shipping later this year.

The inaugural final of the Hero CPL Esports Series saw Colin Munro of the Trinbago Knight Riders take on Ish Sodhi of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots with the difficulty level of the game turned up to really challenge these players.

The Knight Riders won the toss and put the Patriots into bat and the first over of the final was full of drama with Khary Pierre picking up both Patriots’ openers with Evin Lewis and Chris Lynn dismissed going for big shots.

That left the Patriots 10-2 at the end of the first over, and that became 17-3 when Sodhi was caught in the ring off the bowling of Ali Khan.

Things didn’t improve when Nick Kelly was run out for a diamond duck to leave the Patriots innings in tatters at 18-4.

Sunil Narine kept the carnage coming when he bowled Ben Dunk for 6 and then did the same to Denesh Ramdin two balls later to leave the Patriots at 22-6.

Fawad Ahmad’s introduction into the attack only further cemented the Patriots’ woes as three more wickets fell, two of them soft run-outs as the batting team finished with 32 all out.

It was a small target but Munro was still feeling the pressure. The Patriots could have had Lendl Simmons dismissed in the first over but Chris Lynn put down a tough chance off Alzarri Joseph at mid-off.

At the other end, Narine found the boundary twice before Simmons was gone, dismissed by Imran Khan. By the end of the second over the Knight Riders were 18/1 with 16 needed from 18 balls.

Sodhi brought himself on to bowl and after a tricky start thanks to two wides, he came back well to get Narine bowled for 10.

That left the Knight Riders needing 11 from 12 and a powerful on-drive for four from Pollard seemed to swing things in his team's favour before he was yet another runout.

At the start of the last over five were needed and the Knight Riders seemed happy to get there in singles, but a wide and a no-ball from Sheldon Cottrell also helped.

It was Munro who hit the winning runs, cover driving for two to win the game by seven wickets with one ball to spare in a thrilling last-over finish to seal the first-ever CPL Esports title.

When former Kingston College student-athlete Sherwayne Allen graduated from Auburn University on Saturday, May 1, he was the only black graduate with a degree in Pure Mathematics. He was also the first member of his immediate family to graduate from university.

Saturday also marked the end of a journey of acquiring his first degree and the start of another, his pursuit of a Master’s in the field of Data Sciences.

Looking back at that day, Allen said it was an emotional time for him.

“I had mixed emotions at my graduation. When I think back to all the obstacles I have faced from Jamaica, in college, being the only black kid in the majority of these classes and was the only black graduate in Mathematics, to now reaching the climax of it all, I was elated so much so that I almost cried,” he told Sportsmax.TV.

"Being the first of my immediate family to go to a university is a great accomplishment for me. Not having my parents experiencing university, made it somewhat of a challenge as certain questions I could not ask them and would have to seek outside help. But my parents are extremely proud of my achievements.

“However, I also had feelings of uncertainty of my next move, although I have opportunities awaiting me. The emotions were so wild that two weeks prior I could not stay asleep. Most days I only got four hours of rest, even throughout my finals and leading up to the big day."

Growing up, life itself was challenging for Allen. The only child for Wayne and Sherrell Allen, Sherwayne was born into humble circumstances in Kingston where he spent the first six years of his life. He revealed that those early years were not easy for him or his family.

“Well, life for me growing up in Richmond Park was a challenge. Some days were worse than others, whether it was the occasional gunshots that would echo or the financial constraints of my parents which motivated me to want better for myself,” he said.

“I am the only child for both my parents. As far I can remember, initially, my dad was working at the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) in Spanish Town before being laid off, while my mom went to school for fashion designing at Garmex in downtown Kingston.”

His parents eventually separated and he and his mother moved to Spanish Town, St. Catherine as she sought a better life for herself and her then six-year-old son.

“I moved to Angels (Estates) because my parents were having problems and my mom wanting a better life for us as a family. However, my dad did not come with us,” he recalled.

It was while living in Spanish Town he discovered his passion for engineering.

“I always had an interest in creating traps, trying to catch rodents in my backyard which was always unsuccessful,” he recalled. “However, this sparked my enthusiasm for the field of engineering primarily civil engineering.”

While attending Angels Primary School, Sherwayne developed a liking for sports, specifically football and athletics but it was not until he attended Kingston College, that he found his niche in track and field as well as a lasting friendship with 200/400m standout Akeem Bloomfield.

“Kingston College was one of the best decisions of my life. Due to the ‘all-roundedness’ of the institution, I was exposed to the different lifestyles of my brothers from different parts of Jamaica. While at KC, I started my career in the 800m before transitioning to the 400m hurdles as I thought it would be easier in obtaining a scholarship to study abroad,” he said.

“My friendship with Akeem started from fifth form while we both doing the sciences and track and field at the same time. I remember that year after we both started the season well, closer to the end we got injured. I got injured before Champs while he got injured during Champs and missing an opportunity to make a Jamaica team,” he recalled.

“We then both attended the same extra math class. Coincidentally, we found out we lived in the same neighbourhood.”

Bloomfield, he revealed, influenced his decision to attend Auburn where the bond of friendship became even stronger.

Never an outstanding athlete at KC, Sherwayne did his best to contribute to the school’s pursuit of the coveted Mortimer Geddes trophy, the symbol of high school athletic supremacy at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships. Between 2012 and 2016, he earned valuable points for the school even as he missed out on medals in the 800m and 400m hurdles.

His performances, though, were good enough to win him a scholarship to Auburn University where while still being a middling performer in the 400m hurdles, he rubbed shoulders with World Championships gold medalists Jonielle Smith and Natalliah Whyte and also forged a new friendship with NCAA 400m medalist and World Championship finalist Nathon Allen. He also strengthened the bonds of a friendship that began at KC with Bloomfield.

But leaving Jamaica to attend school in Alabama, proved to be quite a challenge for Sherwayne, who lifted the lid on what life can be like as a student-athlete in a foreign land.

“The transition from Kingston to Auburn for me was a big culture shock as being from Jamaica to  Alabama was an experience. I oftentimes found it boring, accompanied by the fact that 90 per cent of people there were of different ethnicity, had a different culture, and as such had different ways of doing and saying stuff than what I was accustomed to,” he said.

“I always had to make sure my English was clear and slow while communicating which initially was quite annoying.”

There were other more significant challenges as well.

“I initially ventured off to Auburn to become a civil engineer. However, because of my lack of self-discipline at the time, I lost focus. Because of scholarship requirements, I could not retake the class I had failed and had to switch my major. The school wanted me to do Exercise Science or another "easy" major as it would have been easier for me to pass and compete at the same time,” he said.

“However, I had no intentions of doing that. I found Mathematics as a way of staying close to my dream at the time of becoming an engineer.”

He continued: “Life for me being a student-athlete was rough, especially for me doing such a demanding major. I remember day-after-day full of classes. I would have a workout where I was literally on the verge of seeing the face of God!

“I would then have to take my dead legs up to get dinner really quick and head to tutoring. I would be there from 7 to 10, four days a week for the whole semester. The challenges that came with that for me personally was seeing other student-athletes partying, spending little to no time in tutoring and just living their best life. Also being an athlete we had all these responsibilities, such as going to meetings and early morning drug tests while still having to be a student and maintain the grades in classes so that we can compete.”

However, it was not all bad. Having his fellow Jamaicans close by provided some measure of relief to the grind of life as a student-athlete.

“Sharing a dorm with Nathon was good. I didn't know him prior, other than seeing him run and competing against Akeem. However, he was very humble and quiet. We all built a brotherhood and camaraderie, especially seeing that we all came at the same time and being Jamaicans,” he said.

“I have fond memories of when we were all together always making jokes, cooking and playing games together.”

With graduation, Sherwayne has also chosen to close another chapter of his life as a student-athlete.

 “My athletic career is done. I will take pride in watching Akeem, Nathon, Natalliah, Raheem, Jonielle and my other pro friends compete,” he said. 

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