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.

Jamaica’s Nick Richards was the 42nd overall pick in Wednesday’s second round of the NBA Draft.

Richards, a former Kentucky Wildcat, was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans but was then traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

The former Jamaica College athlete went into the draft on the back of his best season ever at Kentucky, averaging 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game plus 10 double doubles while shooting at  a conference high .644 field-goal percentage, pundits expected him to go undrafted.

However, Kentucky head coach John Calipari, always had faith in the 6-11 centre.

“What Nick has been able to do with his body, his mind and mastering his skills, it’s been incredible and rewarding to watch as a coach,” Calipari said. “It’s been a pleasure to see him grow into the player and the young man he has become, and he’s done it all because of his hard work and his dedication. It has all paid off.”

Richards led the Wildcats with 66 blocks, including 18 games with multiple rejections. He closed his college career with ranked third all-time in field-goal percentage of .628 with a minimum of 50 attempts. He also ranks 10th all-time with 146 career blocks, and his 528 rebounds rank 46th.

 

Chris Gayle has withdrawn from the 2020 edition of the Lanka Premier League.

He was signed by the Kandy Tuskers for the 2020 season.

Gayle, who scored 288 runs in the recently concluded IPL despite playing only seven matches, has cited injury as the reason for his decision not to participate. The self-styled Universe Boss scored three half centuries including a top score of 99 against the Rajasthan Royals on October 30 and averaged 41.44.

He hit 15 fours and 23 sixes.

Last month, Andre Russell, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, withdrew from the LPL also citing injury.

The first match of the 2020 LPL is set to bowl off on November 26.

Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has settled the balance of outstanding medical bills for Olympian Kemoy Campbell.

Guyanese all-rounder Keemo Paul has signed with the Hobart Hurricanes Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts has heaped praised on Reggae Boyz Coach Theodore Whitmore, whose team defeated Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Tuesday rebounding from their 3-0 loss to the same opponents on Saturday, November 14.

Ms. Arlene L. Martin, a certified business and leadership coach and strategy consultant, has been appointed Acting General Manager of the newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL). Her appointment takes effect December 1, 2020.

Naming Ms Martin to the post comes on the heels of the appointment of three independent directors and the selection of independent Chairman, Mr. Christopher Williams, who continues to strengthen its administrative structure in preparation for improved commercial success of the Jamaica Premier League.

“This is the first in a series of moves by the organization to build out our staff complement over the coming weeks,” said Williams following Ms Martin’s appointment.

Meanwhile, the PFJL continues to press forward as the 2020-2021 Premier League season draws nearer. In preparation for start of the league, clubs have advanced all registration requirements with the JFF Registration guidelines, as well as the club-licensing regime for CONCANCAF League qualification.

“The Clubs are seized with the importance of this exercise and while not yet fully complete, they are putting in all efforts for the timely completion and readiness for the league start,” Williams said.

The PFJL has also continued to advance its commercial agreements and partnerships as well as its work with the JFF to secure the approval from the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MoHW) for the protocols governing the league.

In October, the PFJL, through the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), submitted comprehensive protocols based on the CONCACAF guidelines and and models from leagues and federations globally. These protocols covered match play, club protocols and player lifestyle protocols.

The PFJL and the JFF will meet this week before going back to the MoHW in seeking approval for a league to be played for the 2020-2021 season. Since the end of the last season in March, the only professional match played was the November 5 CONCACAF match featuring Premier League Club, Waterhouse FC.

From the perspective of the observance of protocols, the event was deemed a success, leaving the JFF and PFJL optimistic.

The Jamaica Premier league is the largest economic engine in sports in Jamaica, providing employment for more than 600 Jamaicans and generating more than $500m in economic activity.

In four days’ time when the West Indies bow into action against New Zealand ‘A’ at the Queenstown Events Centre in Queenstown, New Zealand, fans should expect to see evidence of some of the areas that head coach Phil Simmons has had the players concentrating on since they arrived in New Zealand.

The West Indies were given a special dispensation to train while they were isolation but have now began more intensive training as they ramp up their preparations for their three T20 Internationals and two Test-series that begins on November 27.

Phil Simmons revealed that there are specific areas which the team has been focused on that will hopefully translate in better performances in what is expected to be a challenging tour.

“The big areas are consistency, especially in the bowling and understanding situations, especially in the batting,” Simmons said.

We have situations when we have been in control of games and people give away their wickets, so things like that are the main things that we are concentrating on now.”

Overall, things have been going well Simmons said, explaining that while some days have been cold there have also been warm days which they players have enjoyed.

“When its warm, West Indies teams tend to thrive so they’ve been very good. They’re enjoying it,” he said.

 

 

 

After being lauded by Melbourne Stars Head Coach David Hussey, West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran says he eager to suit up for the team during this season of the Australia Big Bash League (BBL).

The Covid-19 virus continues to sweep through the Reggae Boyz camp in Saudi Arabia as the the Jamaica Football Federation is reporting that a member of the administrative staff has tested positive for the virus.

As the West Indies squad continues to prepare to take on New Zealand in three T2o Internationals and two Tests later this month, West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks said he is eagerly anticipating the challenge.

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt will deliver the feature address titled "Reforming Cricket West Indies - For Improved On-Field Results" at the 20th anniversary of the Frank Worrell Lecture Series on Monday, November 16, when the regional board will once again pay tribute to the late West Indies great, the first Black man to be appointed captain of the West Indies cricket team.

Notwithstanding the presence of athletes like Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman, two of the world’s fastest men, 100 and 200m world-record holder Usain Bolt does not believe his records are under threat.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. A disappointing start for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz both on and off the field!

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were poor in their first international match since the Covid-19 lockdown and it ended in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday. It is evident that off-the-field issues has seeped onto the field with the number of careless errors displayed in the match.

 Prior to the first friendly, Covid-19 infections within the Reggae Boyz delegation were a huge blow to the Theodore Whitmore-coached squad.  In addition to 30-year-old goalkeeper Dennis Taylor, who was travelling with the Reggae Boyz delegation testing positive for the virus while en route to Riyadh, another player and a member of the Jamaica Football Federation administration fell victim to the disease. In addition, two other players are under investigation with the JFF declining to name them.

The Reggae Boyz, who were on course to be the top team in the Caribbean, will need to get their act together very quickly as these matches could have influence their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup showing set for July 10 to August 1, 2021.

Prior to this 3-0 loss, it had been eight months since they last played an international match. Despite their inactivity, they remained at number 48 in the FIFA world rankings, even displacing Costa Rica at number 3 on the CONCACAF list. 

The Reggae Boyz looked out of sorts due to their preparation being hampered by the coronavirus. Without a doubt, there are top individual performers within the Jamaican team. However, football is a team sport and the success of the squad lies in whether or not Coach Whitmore can get each player to combine well with his teammates. It is not too late for the Reggae Boyz but they have work to do!

 

 

  1. Paternity leave for professional athletes? A step in the right direction.

India’s captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anuskha Sharma are expecting their first child and Kohli has asked for and been granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said the 32-year-old middle order batsman has been cleared to leave the India setup after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December. Although the skipper’s presence will be missed on the field, Kohli’s decision to be with his family increases my respect for him as a person.

 

Australia’s Head Coach Justin Langer praised Kohli’s decision.

 

“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields. I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision to return to India for the birth of his child,” Langer said.

“He’s human being like all of us. If I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do.”

 Paternity leave for professional athletes should be legislated and normalized. Once the government can create a formula within reason that avoids abuse of the system, paternity leave can be an asset. It will allow fathers to be present for the birth of their children while simultaneously providing support for the child’s mother. In the long term, it can also play a key role in the quality of families that are raised.

Policies that ensure fathers have the support they need to prioritize their family responsibilities, while also meeting work demands, can significantly increase the personal and economic well-being of their families. Paternity leave can promote parent-child bonding, improve outcomes for children, and even increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.

 

  1. A good call by Windies selectors to allow Kraigg Brathwaite to focus on his game.

 

West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper said stripping Kraigg Brathwaite of the team’s vice captaincy will allow him to concentrate on improving his batting. Brathwaite was first appointed Test vice-captain in 2015 but has averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series. Roston Chase has been appointed vice captain.

This is a good move by those leading the charge as it allows the 27-year-old to simply buckle down and get to work.

The Barbadian has had his fair share of struggles. His last Test century came against Bangladesh in Kingston two years ago and since then his game has been inconsistent. Before the Test series against England in July, Brathwaite played 20 innings without making a Test 50. In that time, he only scored 233 runs at an average of 12.26.

 Earlier this year, he showed signs of improvement with half-centuries in the first Test against England when he scored 65, and in the second test with 75. Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19.
 Like Roger Harper, I am hoping removing the additional responsibilty will allow Brathwaite to be more consistent.

 

 

 

 

 

Having to settle for three second-place finishes on Saturday, Alia Atkinson came out Sunday with a vengeance winning the 100m breaststroke in a time just shy of her world record.

The 31-year-old Olympian won the swim in 1:02.66, just out her world record of 1:02.36 in the semi-finals of the International Swimming League. It was the only time under 1:03 this year and is her fourth fastest time ever in the event.

As the London Roar make the push for the final, Atkinson stepped to meet the occasion winning by a clear 0.89s over Bennedetta Pilato (1:03.55) of reigning champions Energy Standard and Emily Escobedo of New York Breakers (1:04.31).

She was also a member of the Roar’s 4x100m medley relay team that clocked 3:46.59 to finish second to Energy Standard’s 3:45.58.

The win earned Atkinson and her team a valuable 15 points, which she added to the 12.5 points she won on Saturday.

It was another day of standout performances from the 31-year-old Jamaican who was second to Pilato (28.86) in the 50m breaststroke, touching in a quick 29.30.

Also on Saturday, Atkinson was seventh in 100m butterfly in a new national record of 57.13, breaking the record of 57.21 set on November 9.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)the challenging the decision of an independent anti-doping tribunal to clear world 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser of committing an anti-doping violation by missing three out-of-competition tests in 2019.

The news comes on the heels of reports that the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) had issued a statement in support of Bahamian Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who questioned why World Athletics didn’t sanction to Bahrani athlete who defeated her in the final of the 2019 World Championships 400m final in Doha.

Naser won in a world-leading 48.14, the third fastest time in history. However, she had missed three tests on March 12 and 16 and April 12 that year but was not suspended. One of those missed tests was being investigated while Naser was competing in Doha.

Naser was provisionally suspended on June 5, 2020 but was cleared by an Independent Tribunal in October after it was revealed during the hearing that the doping control officer turned up at the wrong address to test Naser.

However, the AIU announced on Twitter today that they would be challenging the decision.

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