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 Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange praised Veronica Campbell-Brown for her outstanding career as Jamaica’s decorated athlete.

Reigning sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has paid tribute to Veronica Campbell-Brown, who announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday on the eve of her bid to qualify for a sixth Olympic Games.

The 39-year-old VCB, the only woman to win a medal in five consecutive Olympics, in a post on social media said the time had come to hang up her spikes.

“As I take off my spikes never to put them on again, this girl from Clarks Town, Trelawny, walks away happy and contented with a race well run,” VCB said in her post, indicating that a career as a mother, entrepreneur and motivational speaker awaits.

In response, Fraser-Pryce, who like VCB is a two-time Olympic champion, thanked the track and field icon, who has helped pave the way for so many other Jamaican women.

“Thanks for leading the way @VCampbellBrown!! Carrying the torch and continuing the legacy for Jamaica,” the Pocket Rocket tweeted Wednesday.

Fraser-Pryce was a member of Jamaica’s team to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan where she was a relay alternate. However, the following year, VCB effectively passed the torch to Fraser-Pryce when the latter booked her place on Jamaica’s team to the Beijing Olympics, by finishing second at the national championships in Kingston, clocking 10.82.

VCB was fourth in 10.88.

Since then, Frater Pryce has been Jamaica’s leading female sprinter winning Olympic 100m titles in 2008 and 2012 as well as four World titles in the 100m.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is set to make her first appearance in a Diamond League race in Oslo on July 1.

After a stellar career spanning more than two decades during which won 49 international medals, Jamaica’s beloved track queen Veronica Campbell-Brown has decided to hang up her spikes for good on the eve of her country’s national championships to select a team to the Olympic Games in Rio this summer.

“As I take off my spikes never to put them on again, this girl from Clarks Town, Trelawny, walks away happy and contented with a race well run,” the two-time Olympic 200m champion and one of the most decorated female athletes in history, posted on Instagram earlier today.

As a junior, the now 39-year-old Campbell-Brown won gold medals for Jamaica in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the inaugural World U18 Championships in Bydgoszcz. The following year, she won the sprint double at the World U20 champions and with the performance, the hearts of her fellow Jamaicans.

Also, among the 27 gold medals she has won during an outstanding junior and senior career, VCB, as she was affectionately known to her millions of adoring fans, became to the first Jamaican woman to win a 100m world title when in Osaka, Japan. It was only one of three gold, seven silver and a bronze medal she would win at those championships to go along with three Olympic gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals.

She also won two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships.

“As I climbed, I passed the rung of hurt, that of injuries and rejection, not to mention tears. However, they quenched my aspiration to grasp the fruits of success and satisfaction. For that I must venture to say that I am proud and grateful,” she said in her farewell message.

“I want to thank the persons and companies who contributed to my success; my family, especially my husband Omar Brown who in the latter years served as my coach. I must mention friends, fans and supporters, sponsors, coaches and my agent @ontrackmgmt. I could not have done it without your help and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

VCB, who gave birth to a daughter, Avianna, two years ago, did not indicate why she decided to retire at this particular point in time.

She competed in eight 100m races this season, the last at the NACAC New Life Invitational in Miramar, Florida where she ran her fastest time of the season, 11.20 to finish fifth.

 

 

 

“We are sorry!”

Those were the words of Captain Kraigg Brathwaite after the West Indies humiliating 158-run defeat to South Africa inside four days at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in St Lucia on Monday.

The West Indies, resuming from their overnight score of 15 without loss in pursuit of 324, were bundled out for 165 thanks mainly to the bowling of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took 5-36, including a hat-trick that saw the home side slide from 104-3 to 104-6.

Kagiso Rabada was also among the wickets, taking 3-44 as the West Indies batting one man short, fell for 165.

Kieran Powell, who scored 51, Kyle Mayers 34 and Kemar Roach and Jermaine Blackwood, who scored 27 and 25, respectively got into double figures.

Brathwaite, who made scores of 0 and 6, laid the blame squarely at the feet of the batsmen, himself included, for the poor performance of the team who did not score more than 170 runs in any of their four innings. The batting was especially embarrassing coming off much better performances against Bangladesh in Bangladesh and the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

In the first Test, the West Indies had scores of 97 and 162 and followed those weak scores with 149 and 165 in the second Test capitulation. Confronted with that reality in the post-match media conference, the disappointed captain could not hide from the truth.

“As batsmen, we know we went wrong. We didn’t bat well,” said Brathwaite, who revealed that they had planned to bat better and having consistent partnerships during the series against the South African bowling attack but said they have to come back better for the next series.

“We are very sorry. Obviously, the fans look forward to the West Indies doing well and we were disappointing,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s not about winning but you still want to see the fight and we didn’t show the fans that fight. Myself included, we have to come back better and make the fans proud.”

 

 

 

 

 

Danusia Francis got a good warm-up for the Summer Olympic Games this weekend while competing for Xelska in Spain's Liga Iberdrola in the city of Gironella.

The undisputed king of the track Usain Bolt and his queen Kasi Bennett have welcomed two new additions to the family.

President of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association has described Alana Walker’s historic bronze medal performance in women artistic gymnastics at the Junior Pan Am Gymnastics Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday as a major boost for the sport locally, one that could help the association generate desperately needed funding.

The 14-year-old Walker scored 49.850 to finish third in the All-Around – bars, beam, floor and vault - that was won by the USA’s Katelyn Jong with a score of 54.10.  Her compatriot Madray Johnson scored 53.550 for second place. It was the first time that Jamaica has ever won a medal in gymnastics at a major event.

By winning the bronze medal, Alana, who is coached by Ashley Brooke Umberger at North Stars Gymnastics in Boonton, New Jersey, automatically qualifies for the Junior Pan Am Championships in Colombia later this year.

Grant, who spoke to Sportsmax.TV from Panama said this victory provides the push needed for the sport to continue to grow locally.

“Every appearance at any international competition of this nature is always a boost for the sport, that is what we thrive to be a part of and that is why we are working on our programme to ensure that we can participate and compete effectively as a country, as young as our sport is locally,” Grant told Sportsmax.TV today.

“This major win for us is very important to the growth and development of our local sport because it shows that we have the ability and the capability to do well in gymnastics.

“This is also a major boost for our young gymnasts who are preparing for a youth competition in Colombia later this year, the Pan American Age-Group Hopes Tournament where the age-group levels are from age eight right up to age 14 and she will also be competing in the elite category as well.”

Notwithstanding these achievements, Grant said, the sport continues to face significant obstacles.

“Our setback is equipment, landing equipment, something that we have been campaigning for, for some time now and it’s very important because when someone like Alana comes to Jamaica and trains at the gym, the landing equipment is not good enough at this time because of the kind of skills that she or he has,” Grant said.

“And that is why we are working so hard because when our elite athletes come to Jamaica they are in awe of the gym but as it relates to the landing aspect, it’s just not up to the standard and it’s really dangerous for them to train their high-level skills.”

Grant thanked the Jamaica Olympic Association, which she said, did not hesitate to provide funding for the trip, despite the ‘last-minute request’.  She also thanked Alana’s parents, who “have always been there and have put out a lot of effort to ensure that she got the documentation in order for her to compete at the event.

She also expressed her gratitude to Marlene Hylton-Williams, who was instrumental in helping Alana getting the license that allowed her to be able to compete and Naomi Valenza, who allowed Alana’s late entry to be accepted into the tournament.

  

Paul Hall has been appointed assistant coach to Reggae Boyz Head Coach Theodore Whitmore for the Gold Cup and the duration of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Texas A&M’s Charokee Young plans to arrive at Jamaica’s national championships next week refreshed and ready to secure a spot on Jamaica’s team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Manchester City Women have announced the signing of Jamaica’s Khadija Shaw on a three-year deal, subject to the approval of a work visa and international clearance.

Shaw, 24, arrives from Bordeaux in France where she scored 22 goals to win the Golden Boot Award in the Women’s First Division.

“It feels amazing to be a Manchester City player. I chose this club because I want to be a part of the environment, the culture and to play for this amazing team,” she said. “I want to be tested and there is so much experience in the team here, so I know I will learn a lot from everybody around me. I grew up as a City fan, and I even have some family members who live in Manchester. When I told them about my move, they were so happy and excited.”

Goal.com had reported in April that the player was close to a deal with Manchester City, which was looking to add depth to their forward pool and provide their head coach with different tactical options.

The player took to Instagram last week to announce that she was leaving Bordeaux but there was no confirmation as to where she was headed.

That confirmation came today with the club’s announcement.

Naturally, head coach Gareth Taylor was delighted with the signing and welcomed the Jamaicans to the club, who plays in the Women’s Super League in England.

"She's enjoyed a successful couple of years in France with Bordeaux and the fact that she finished as the league's top scorer this past campaign speaks volumes about the calibre of player that she is,” he said. “Her form on the international stage is incredibly impressive too and we're very much looking forward to working with her over the coming seasons."

 

 

 

 

The forward arrives from Bordeaux after scoring 22 goals in 20 league

After spending the last seven years at St John’s and last season as an associate head coach, four-time Guyanese Olympian Aliann Pompey has been appointed head coach of the school’s Track and Field and Cross Country programme.

Despite being shot out twice for less than 300 runs at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in the first Test against South Africa last week, West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach says pitches like the one they played on will help West Indies cricket in the long run.

On a grassy surface that offered bounce and pace to fast bowlers, South Africa bowled the West Indies out for scores of 97 and 162 while securing victory by an innings and 63 runs inside three days. South Africa made 322 in their only turn at-bat.

However, according to Roach, who took 2-64 from the 20 overs he bowled, said pitches like the one they played on will ultimately benefit the players in the region.

“I think the pitches benefit us in the long run, especially when we go on tours to South Africa and Australia where the bounce is a lot more,” Roach said.

“We wouldn’t be unfamiliar when we go to these countries. I think it’s good to have a pitch like this in the Caribbean we can prepare ourselves for these overseas tours.”

The bowler, who is a few days shy of his 33rd birthday, had a successful stint in May with Surrey in the English County Championship where he took 22 wickets at an average of 20.54. Among the 22 wickets were nine that he took in his final match against Middlesex.

He said the pitches he played on were different in nature to the one in St Lucia.

“Pitches don’t bounce much in England. There is a lot of movement because of the atmosphere and the amount of grass they put on the pitch,” he said, adding that he believes he and his teammates will need to adjust their game to suit the surface.

“The pitch in St Lucia bounced a lot more than I have seen in a while. It reminds me of a wicket in Australia or probably South Africa, so it’s about us adapting. It’s about taking on the challenge and trying to be as positive as we can.”

The West Indies will see how much they have adjusted to the St Lucia pitch when the second Betway Test begins on Friday.

 

Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin, fresh from her silver medal performance in the high jump at last weekend’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, is targeting the Olympic standard of 1.96m when she competes at the Jamaica National Championships beginning June 26.

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