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.

Like the CPL, the 2021 Regional Super 50 competition will likely be held in one country as Cricket West Indies attempts to get competitions back up and running in the Caribbean. And, like the CPL that was held in Trinidad in late August, there will be no spectators.

The 2020 season of the Hero CPL is one that Jamaican allrounder Rovman Powell would want to quickly forget.

Jamaican coaches Mark Elliott and Lennox Graham are in limbo after Clemson University announced today that it will discontinue its men’s track and field and cross country program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic season.

Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich made the announcement this afternoon saying that the programmes to be discontinued include indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Radakovich said the university will honour the contracts of the coaches through to their full term, which means that the coaches will be paid up until June 2021.

Clemson Athletics will also honour the scholarships of all impacted student-athletes through their undergraduate years at the level of financial aid that they are presently receiving, the statement said.

The NCAA-maximum number of allowable scholarships for men’s track is 12. Clemson’s 12 scholarships are presently split among 26 student-athletes, 15 of whom are scheduled to graduate by August 2021.

Clemson also supports an additional 25 walk-on student-athletes in the program.

“This difficult decision is a result of an exhaustive examination of our athletics department over the past several  months,” said Radakovich. “After careful analysis, we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field  program is in the best long-term interest of Clemson Athletics. This decision impacts incredible student-athletes,  and we know how hard they work and the effort and pride they take in representing Clemson University.”

Head Coach Mark Elliott’s phone went unanswered when Sportsmax.TV called today. He took the Clemson head coaching position in 2013 after spending 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University.

Notably, Jamaican Olympian and 800m national record holder, Natoya Goule, who won an NCAA title under Elliott’s watch, followed him to Clemson that year.

Assistant Coach Lennox Graham (hurdles and long sprints) joined the coaching staff in 2017 after spending a decade at Johnson C Smith University where he enjoyed tremendous success guiding 27 athletes to NCAA Division II championships titles, both indoors and outdoors.

In a brief comment to Sportsmax.TV, he said he just heard the news prior to being called and that he was still processing it.

Graham’s professional club, TRS, currently trains at Clemson. Danielle Williams, the 2015 World 100m champion, Kyron McMaster, the Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion and World Championship 400m hurdles finalist Leah Nugent are all members of the club.

Men’s track and field has been sponsored at Clemson since 1953, claiming 23 combined ACC Team Championships, 16 individual NCAA champions, 22 Olympians and four Olympic Gold Medalists.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the addition of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and the competition for spaces will see the West Indies Test performing much better in New Zealand than it did in England during the summer.

Bravo and Hetmyer declined invitations to the West Indies squad for the #Raisethebatseries in England in July citing concerns over safety. The West Indies relied on Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope and Jermaine Blackwood during the series when they won the first Test at Southampton only to capitulate in the remaining two Tests as the home side came from behind to win the series 2-1.

For the tour of New Zealand that begins on November 27 with the first of three T20 Internationals and then two Tests, the West Indies have the services of the two middle order batsman. However, Hope was not selected due to a protracted poor run of form.

Notwithstanding, the Cricket West Indies CEO believes the Caribbean side will deliver a much better showing in what is expected to be a tough series.

“I think touring New Zealand for any team, whatever form you’re in, is challenging, particularly in the Test matches. They haven’t lost a Test match series in New Zealand for years and years against every opposition that they have faced, so we are fully aware of the challenges of playing New Zealand in their home conditions,” Grave said.

“But, I think the Test team has made progress over the last few years and in moments, they’ve obviously won Test matches. What we’re really looking for is winning series, particularly away from home.

“We started the series against England brilliantly, beating them comprehensively in the first Test and we were in a good position in the second Test to seeing out a draw to retain the Wisden trophy but that didn’t happen so I think is hungry to get some championship points in the World Test Championships and also start to prove to themselves that they’re capable of winning series and delivering on that potential.”

This belief, he said, is based on the improvement in the batting driven by competition for places when compared to the team on the England tour.

“Certainly, I am sure the batting line-up will be strengthened and be more competitive with the return of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer etc,” Grave said.

“It’s going to be more competition for places in that middle order and batting line-up and it’s the batting where we need to show the most improvement because everyone is confident is capable of taking 20 wickets, what we need to do is get enough runs on the board to put whatever team we are playing against under pressure.”

 

 

 

 

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the double-gold medalist from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, said it was with a sense of pride that she embraced her nomination for World Athletics 2020 Female Athlete of the Year.

The 28-year-old Jamaican track star was on Tuesday named among 10 nominees who were selected by an international panel of athletics experts, comprising representatives from all six continental areas of World Athletics.

World Athletics said the nominations reflect the remarkable range of exceptional performances that the sport has witnessed this year, despite the challenges that the global Covid-19 pandemic presented.

"I feel honoured to be in the company of these nine other incredibly talented ladies,” said the Jamaican, who was the only Caribbean athlete among the nominees, male or female.

“I put a lot of hard work and dedication into this year like any other, so it’s a joy to be acknowledged by World Athletics.”

Thompson-Herah ran undefeated over seven races during the season in which she ran a world-leading 10.85 over the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome. She also ran a time of 10.87s in Doha at the end of the season.

The other nominees included Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, Femke Bol of the Netherlands, Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, Peres Jepchirchir from Kenya, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, Laura Muir of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Helen Obiri of Kenya, and Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia.

According to World Athletics, the World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the World Athletics' social media platforms.

 Individual graphics for each nominee will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this week; a 'like' on Facebook and Instagram or a retweet on Twitter will count as one vote.

The World Athletics Council’s vote will count for 50 per cent of the result, while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes will each count for 25% of the final result.

Voting for the Female World Athlete of the Year closes at midnight on Sunday, November 15. At the conclusion of the voting process, five men and five women finalists will be announced by World Athletics.

The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2020 on Saturday,  December 5.

Controversial West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, according to reports.

A new EC $5million stadium facility with a synthetic track, the first of its kind of St Vincent and the Grenadines, will be officially opened on Wednesday in what is the first phase of the project that began in February this year.

Barbados Aquatics said it is willing to host the 2021 Carifta Swimming Championships next Easter once the governments of the participating nations agree to certain travel protocols. The meet would be held from April 3-6, 2021.

Cricket commentator Michael Holding believes Nicholas Pooran should be playing Test cricket despite the fact that he has not played much first-class cricket.

Philadelphia Union and Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake suffered a fractured right hand during last week Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire FC and could be out for the remainder of the MLS season, according to reports.

The 29-year-old Blake suffered the injury when he slammed his hand into the goalpost in the 76th minute and was eventually substituted 14 minutes later when the pain became unbearable.

Meantime, the Union’s management is hoping to get the MLS is Back Golden Glove winner back before the end of the season.

 “The hope is, if things go well, there’s a possibility that it is not a season-ending injury,” manager Jim Curtin said Friday. “But there is a fracture in there. We’re exploring the best possible way to get him back as quickly as possible.”

Blake, Jamaica’s number-one goalkeeper, had asked to be excused from national team duties so that he could focus on the Union’s playoff chances. The Reggae Boyz are expected to leave the island on November 6 for Saudi Arabia where they will play two international friendlies against that country’s national team on November 14 and 17.

When Alia Atkinson won the 50m breaststroke for the London Roar on Friday, it extended her win-streak to 12 dating back four years. The last time she lost a race in the 50m breaststroke was at the 2016 Short Course Championships where she won silver.

She followed up on Saturday, winning the 100m breaststroke in 1:03.75 ahead of teammate Annie Lazor (1:04.45) in a 1-2 finish that gave the Roar a 35-point lead. In between, she was a member of the London Roar’s winning 4x100m medley relay team and she also won her Skins races in 29.61 and 29.89, respectively that earned her and her team triple points.

The performances have meant that she was third in the MVP list for the meet.

But even as she continues to rack up victories for her new ISL team, the 2018 World Championship double-gold medalist believes her best performances are still to come.

“The plan is to build and get better each meet,” the 50m world-record holder said while speaking with Sportsmax.TV.

“This meet I did what I needed to secure the win for my team, but on a personal note, I would have liked to feel more ‘sprinty’ and strong in the races.  I need a bit more time to feel like my faster self. I am still 1.5 seconds away in the 100 and a second a way in the 50.”

Regarding her 50m win streak, she said there was no mystery as to why she has not lost a race in four years.

“It’s not a secret. I actually don't think about the streak and treat every race like it's the first,” she said.

At the end of action on Saturday, the London Roar hold a slim lead over the LA Current. The Roar have amassed 499 points with the Current on 478.5 points. Tokyo Frog Kings are on 446.5 points.

 

Phil Simmons believes several of his T20 players, who will be arriving late to New Zealand, will be ready to be at their best for the upcoming three-match T20 series against New Zealand next month, despite being in isolation until the eve of the opening match.

Several members of the T20 squad including Fabian Allen, Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran, and Jaspon Holder, are expected to arrive in New Zealand near mid-November to join the touring party that arrived in New Zealand late last week. The players were engaged in the ongoing IPL tournament that concludes on November 10.

Pooran's time in the IPL will be winding down soon after his KXIP team were eliminated from playoff contention after losing to CSK earlier today. 

Notwithstanding, for those playing in the international T20 series, it means they will be quarantined for two weeks and will only be cleared to play just prior to the start of the series on November 27.

However, Simmons, the West Indies head coach, is optimistic that the period of inactivity will have that much of an impact of the late-arriving players.

“The plus about that is that they are coming from playing in a high-quality tournament so they will be sharp. The guys that are with us, we have to get them up to that level so when we meet on as a full squad everyone is on the same page,” he said.

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.

 Cricketers are feeling the brunt of Covid 19!

 Steven Smith revealed he has no plans to participate in the Big Bash this summer due to the demands of being in a bio-secure bubble. The likes of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are also expected to follow suit. In Starc’s case, he has only been at his home in Sydney for 30 hours since August even though he did not go to the Indian Premier League.

Windies captain Jason Holder has voiced his personal struggles dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The 28-year-old Barbadian, who is currently playing in the IPL, revealed there were players in his West Indies team who were mentally "worn out" by the effort involved in playing the Test series against England in the COVID-19 era. The Windies lost the series 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Despite being happy to play the sport he loves in uncertain times, Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said: "It's been challenging, it's been really challenging. Mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.

"It could be this way for a little while so we've got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.

“It's tough to constantly get up, you're here, you open your curtains and you just see the cricket ground. You're not hopping on the bus as you normally do."

   As much as our cricketers are happy to play the sport they love one must not ignore that these are uncertain times and their mental health may be affected.

 Windies star Gayle still a threat!

West Indies hard hitter Chris Gayle at the age the of 41 has been proving in the ongoing Indian Premier League that he still has what it takes. The Universe boss, who has been lighting up the T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi, currently holds the IPL record for most sixes hit.

This past week, the Kings XI Punjab batsman was fined 10 per cent of his match-fee for breaching the IPL’s Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Rajasthan Royals when he was bowled for 99. Gayle lost his cool and swung his bat which flew towards mid-wicket. Despite this unfortunate event, the ‘Universe boss’ wrote his name yet again into the history books becoming the first player to smash 1,000 T20 sixes.

 

 

 

 

 

Team captain Alia Atkinson had another strong showing for the London Roar during the latest match today of the International Swimming League in Budapest. The Jamaican Olympian once again won the 50m breaststroke and was a member of the 4x100m medley relay that also finished first as the Roar produced another strong showing.

Atkinson extended her unbeaten streak in the 50m breast to 12 dating back four years when she delivered a strong performance to win in 29.66 and earn 10 valuable points for her team. It was the second time that she led the Roar to a 1-3 finish as team Annie Lazor came home in 30.20.

The Roar teammates were split by Lindsey Kozelsky of the DC Tridents who touched in 30.02.

Atkinson then swam the second leg of the 4x100m medley relay in what was another 1-3 finish for the Roar.

The team of Atkinson, Kira Toussaint, Marie Wattel and Freya Anderson won the event in 3:47.85 almost three seconds clear of Tokyo Frog Kings (3:50.41) and London Roar’s second team, who finished in 3:51.72.

Three Jamaican netballers have been signed by teams playing in the 2021 season of the Vitality Super Netball League in the United Kingdom.

Malysha Kelly, Rebekah Robinson and Gezelle Allison were signed on Friday by the Seven Stars, Celtic Dragons, and Wasps, respectively.

Kelly returns to professional netball after a protracted spell out recovering from a ruptured ACL while training in the ANZ Premiership. She brings a wealth of experience having already competed out in Suncorp Super Netball.

"I'm so excited to have her as someone brand new," Head Coach Melissa Bessell said. "She's been training hard and I can't wait to see what she can do back on the Superleague stage."

Allison, meanwhile, said she is eager to grasp the opportunity.

“I am happy. I am grateful for this opportunity,” she told Sportsmax.TV Friday, shortly after her signing was announced.

“Signing a professional contract will only build me as a player. It will also help me excel and build my confidence.”

Head coach Mel Mansfield is eager to see what the player brings to the Wasps.

"The 6ft, dual basketball and netball player brings Jamaican flair, power, strength and shooting accuracy," Mansfield said.

"We are thrilled to welcome her to the black and gold of Wasps. She brings something fresh, new and exciting to our attacking line-up.”

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