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.

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

 The NBA’S MVP criteria need to be re-visited.

 Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the second successive season after garnering 25 of the 101 first-place votes and 962 points in the voting. Although the award is based on the regular season, the fact that it is awarded during the playoffs makes it potentially contentious. In this case, although Giannis gets the award, his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, have gone home after the Miami Heat eliminated them in the second round of the playoffs.

The decision has raised eyebrows including that of that Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James with some even suggesting that LeBron was robbed of the award based on his overall contribution to his team.

James, who is still in contention to win his fourth NBA title, also alluded to the inconsistencies, “Sometimes it's the best player on the best team. Sometimes it is the person with the best season statistically. Giannis had a hell of a season; I can definitely say that."

The fact that the Lakers are in the Western Conference Finals while Milwaukee barely made it through the playoffs triggered the negative criticisms. Once the criteria for winning the award is consistent and the timing that the award is presented is altered, this will help in ensuring that there is little negative perception. There is a need to change and there needs to be consistency!

Glad to see both the Windies and England women supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Taking a knee and wearing the Black Lives Matter logo are more than mere gestures. They are constant reminders and a subtle form of education.

Both the West Indies and England women will wear the Black Lives Matter logo on their playing shirts during the Vitality T20 International (T20I) series that begins on Monday, September 21. The decision was a mutual one taken by players and management based on current situation globally.

 West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor has been vocal about the cause, accepting that as athletes they have an important role to play in raising awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement. I commend the women, as their actions can be a driving force for education and giving a voice to the voiceless.

 All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for the past three weeks.  Monday's series opener will be the first Women's international match since Australia defeated India in the T20 World Cup final in March of this year.

Trinidad and Tobago Football have been reduced to a game of wait and see. 

FIFA has given the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) an extended deadline’ of September 23 to withdraw its claims against it currently before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

Ousted TTFA president William Wallace, who says he has the support of roughly half of the local body’s delegates, has refused to back down.

 On August 26, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura firmly requested’ that the ‘TTFA former leadership’ withdraw its claim from the local High Court ‘by 16 September 2020 at the latest’. She said then that ‘failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings.

With an extra five days, one can only hope that those involved in the ongoing dispute will act in a manner that will ensure that football wins. Meanwhile, the football-loving public is left sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting the fate of the sport they love. Let us hope good sense prevails!

FIFA has extended its deadline for the TTFA to withdraw all claims against them currently before the Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court.

Elaine Thompson-Herah said Thursday’s 100m win at the Diamond League meeting in Rome revealed what she needs to work on for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Thompson-Herah ran a world-leading 10.85s in a dominating performance at the Diamond League meeting in Rome. She was metres clear of the USA’s Aleia Hobbs (11.12) and the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, the bronze medallist from last year’s 100m final at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Thompson, who finished fourth in Doha in 10.93, said her performance on Thursday told her all she needed to know.

“I leave here with the world-leading time, I'm super excited,” she said.

“This tells me where I am at the end of this season, and tells me how I can prepare for next year. I am super excited.”

The Covid-19 pandemic enforced a lot of changes to the track season and Thompson-Herah admitted that it has been challenging. However, she has managed to find the motivation she needs while looking forward to the Olympics where she intends to defend her Olympic double from Rio 2016.

“This year required more adjusting, and my goal was to push back and to motivate myself,” she said. “I am a double Olympic champion, so I want to be in my top form next season. We had some competitions in Jamaica, but obviously, the field was not as strong as it is here.”

Universe Boss Chris Gayle is excited about the release of his new music video done in collaboration with British Indian singer Avina Shah. 

Elaine Thompson-Herah ran a world-leading 10.85 to win the 100m dash at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome today.

Shimona Nelson scored a team-high 40 goals on Wednesday but the Collingwood Magpies suffered its 12th loss of the Suncorp Super Netball season.

In the match played at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, Nelson scored her goals from just 44 attempts but the cellar-dwellers were never in a position to claim what would have been only their second win of the season, losing 63-53 to second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Led by Cara Koenen’s 41 goals from 45 attempts, the Lightning won each quarter 16-12, 19-15, 14-13, 14-13 for their ninth win of the season.

Nelson teammate Gabrielle Sinclair shot seven of nine in the losing effort.

Jeff Miller has spoken highly of Jermaine Blackwood and sees him as part of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad in the next season of the Hero CPL.

Tajay Gayle, the 2019 World Championships long jump champion, had to settle for a third-place finish at the Gala Dei Castelli meeting in Switzerland on Tuesday.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes Andre Russell will be back with the team for the 2021 season of the Hero CPL, despite the latter’s outburst earlier this year that this would be his last season with the team.

Rallycross trailblazer Fraser McConnell and his friend Ishmael Moodie, who is also his coach, are about to launch an affordable version of that genre of racing in Jamaica that will entice engagement from the average Jamaican.

Dubbed Yard Man Racing, the genre is also intended to create a gateway for the introduction of rallycross racing to Jamaica.

For the uninitiated, Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars.

However, unlike the traditional genre, where tens of thousands of Euros or more, are spent preparing cars for competition, the Jamaican version will have one significant difference.

“Yard-Man Racing is going to make racing affordable, exciting and accessible again. The cost of racing in Jamaica has gone up way too much,” said McConnell, who has already built a rallycross track on the Tru Juice Farm in St Catherine.

The process is simple. Find a two-wheel drive, non-turbo car no older than a 1995 model and spend less than JMD$350,000 to make it race-ready.

“To keep the sport honest, we have put a price tag on the cars. You don’t want someone to come in and money be the factor,” Moodie explained.

“The factor should always be the driver and that will also ensure that we will have an entertaining day of racing when you have a lot of cars because the cost is down and it will be wonderful for the development of rallycross in Jamaica.

“The cars are cheap enough and there are many, many out there. We have four ongoing projects right now, one is nearing completion, the others; we are doing the budget to get it together and finding the parts. We want to show everybody that it can be done and we are available to tell how it’s done.”

The friends, who are hoping for a November start, explained that they developed the concept during their travels to Europe while McConnell was competing in rallycross racing.

McConnell recently created another bit of history when finished second overall in the Supercar class at the Rallycross Nordic series in Denmark won by his teammate Oliver Erikksson.

They had been in Europe racing after the RX2 season in the United States was cancelled because of challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “It is just our curiosity about the sport and the openness of the Europeans to tell us where it came from so we could see how it developed,” said Moodie, who revealed that the larger plan is to bring rallycross to Jamaica.

“Fraser has done an excellent job to let people know about it but when its grassroots, when people see juniors driving in it for years and you are invested in it, is when I believe one day we could bring real rallycross to Jamaica.”

He has a clear vision of where the sport could be in Jamaica over a relatively short period.

“I believe we will see in our first year, 40 cars but by the time we peak I am hoping for more than 200 cars on a weekend,” he said.

An interesting element of Yard Man Racing is what happens at the end of each race.

“At the end of each race, you are allowed to place a bid on the car for about JMD$5000 which gives you an entry into the lottery to buy that car. If your name is drawn out of a hat, you have to buy that car for JMD$300, 000,” McConnell said.

“That keeps costs down because a man isn’t going to spend all they have on the one car and it makes the field a lot more equal.”

 

 

 

West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor scored an unbeaten half-century to help her team scored an eight-run win over Deandra Dottin’s in their first warm-up match at the University of Derby on Monday ahead of their T20 series against England, in a week's time

The 18 members of the squad were divided into two teams captained by Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, respectively.

Taylor scored 71 from 52 balls. She smashed nine fours in her knock as the team racked up 131 for 6 from their 20 overs. Britney Cooper contributed a useful 24 to the score. Bowling for the opponents, Aaliyah Alleyne used her pace to good effect taking 3 for 35 while Shakera Selman finished with 2 for 15.

Needing 132 to win Dottin led her team from the front scoring a brisk 41 from 43 balls but the efforts of Sheneta Grimmond (2 for 16) and Shamilia Taylor (2 for 23), proved good enough for Taylor’s team to eke out a close victory.

Head coach Andre Coley was pleased with the performance of the women.

“We’ve been here for two weeks doing a combination of various skills sessions in the nets, strength and conditioning and game-planning but today was our first time to get as close to a game scenario with this practice match,” he said.

“We split the teams as evenly as possible and some very promising performances came out of that. Both teams were able to bat the full 20-over innings and the players spent time at the crease building partnerships. So, that was good to see and we are happy with how things went. Now it’s just about fine-tuning and building momentum leading into the series next week.”

The first match of the five-match Vitality Series is set to bowl off on Monday, September 21 at the Incora County Ground.

 

A mixture of shock, sadness and disappointment greeted Mickey Haughton-James’ announcement last week that he would close the Spartan Health Club indefinitely at the end of September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gym opened in 1976 and has largely been associated with the beautiful women of the Miss Jamaica World franchise but Spartan has also been home to some of Jamaica’s greatest athletes, among them some of the very best in the world.

Reggae legend Bob Marley also broke sweat there.

Members of the West Indies cricket team, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, World and Olympic medallists and Jamaica’s world-class netballers have all, at one time or another used the facilities to hone their bodies in the pursuit of athletic excellence.

Leeroy Gray was a physical trainer at the gym for many years. Before he migrated, he worked with some of the very best including eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt; 2011 100m World Champion Yohan Blake as well as Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir.

Gray also trained St Kitts’ Kim Collins, the 2003 100m World Champion; British 100m champion Dwayne Chambers, Olympian Aleen Bailey, World Championship bronze medallist Ristanana Tracey and Commonwealth 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole during his time at what he described as Jamaica’s No. 1 gym.

“To hear that the gym is closing for good, it is not good,” he told Sportsmax.TV, clearly at a loss for words.

He was not the only one taken by surprise.

“I don’t even know where to start,” said Blake, the second-fastest man of all time. “Usually, when I get up in the morning I scan through the news while preparing for training. It was a shock to find out that Spartan was closing for good.

“I remember clearly this amazing facility that helped not only me, but so many of our world-class athletes reach where they are today. It was a wonderful place to do your workout and have a talk with everyone. I have many good memories of Spartan. I still can't believe it. I understand this facility has been around from 1976. It represents the end of an era. I am truly sad that it has to close.”

Blake alluded to the fact that Spartan was more than just a gym. It was a place where like-minded athletes shared conversations and inspiration with the many patrons.

Weir, who along with Bolt and Blake, finished 1-2-3 in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics also had fond memories of the days when he trained there.

“Spartan was that place where you went and just felt motivated to work because there was so much inspiration around you. People were always encouraging you to just be your best,” Weir recalled.

“I remember when I just started at Spartan, there were always people there telling you ‘you’re gonna be good, you’re gonna be great, just continue training’

“Then seeing other sports people and artistes there putting the work in, also motivates you and lets you see that you on the TV is work that is being done on the back end.”

Former West Indies opener Wavell Hinds spent a lot of time at Spartan after his Test career ended in 2005. The work he put in there helped him prolong his playing days and for that, he expressed his gratitude to Haughton-James.

“The generosity of Mr James and the Spartan Gym contributed immensely to my career between 2007 and 2011,” he said.

“In fact, the entire Jamaica Cricket team benefited from the use of Spartan gym during the said period.  I want publicly thank Mr James and Spartan for their contribution to the development of Jamaica's cricket.”

Former Netball Jamaica President Marva Bernard said read the news of the impending closure made her very sad.

“Many, many years ago we used to get support from Mickey to use the gym to train the Sunshine Girls and I vividly remember Connie Francis, in particular. I can still see her running on that treadmill as if her life depended on it, that is how hard she trained,” Bernard said.

“And so, I want to say to Mickey, thank you so much for the years of support that you have given, not only to Netball Jamaica but several of the elite athletes in all sporting disciplines.

“Your generosity knows no bounds and I hope that one day you will rebound because you’re a good man and your gym has made a difference in many people’s lives.”

Sixteen teams are down to contest a youth cricket tournament named in honour of the later Barbadian cricket commentator and journalist Tony Cozier.

Romelda Aiken scored 45 goals from 51 attempts on Sunday but the Queensland Firebirds went down 75-67 to the Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday in the Suncorp Super Netball League.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller is standing behind Head Coach Floyd Reifer and Captain Rovman Powell following the team’s disappointing performance in the 2020 Hero CPL.

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