Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Sometimes after a particularly grueling workout, sprinter Justin Gatlin will turn to his younger training partners and inquire: "Are you sore, too?" 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls avoided finishing sixth at the Vitality Netball World Cup, the worst the team would have since 1967 after a hard-fought playoff game against Malawi. 

There was to be no joy in the 200 metres for Jamaica or the wider Caribbean on day two of the Pan American Under 20 Cahnmpionships, currently under way in Costa Rica. 

Jamaica’s under-23 team will be in for a fight after their opponents in tomorrow’s final first-round CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament showed class in dismissing Dominica 4-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Cmplexo in Kingston.

The young Reggae Boyz, who started as favourites to win Group A, found a stubborn Dominica and had to come from behind to draw the game 1-1.

With just three teams in the group after Guyana pulled out, St Kitts and Nevis would find themselves with a glorious opportunity to go top with their game against Dominica to come on Friday.

St Kitts and Nevis took that chance, burying the Dominicans under four unanswered goals to take sole leadership of the group headed into the final game against Jamaica on Sunday.

With just one team from each group going through to the next round of Olympic qualifying, the Jamaicans face a must-win situations, while St Kitts and Nevis just need a draw.

In Group D, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will be in an almighty fight. The two play tomorrow at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal. Both teams have three points but Puerto Rico, who beat St Lucia 1-0 yesterday, have a goal difference problem after the Dominican Republic trounced Antigua and Barbuda 4-0 on the same day.

With four teams in that group though, both teams will have a chance to qualify when the Dominican Republic, faces St Lucia and Puerto Rico faces Antigua and Barbuda. Despite that, neither will want to lose tomorrow because they could face an uphill task come the final game.

In Group B, being played at the Ulrich Sports Complex Soccer Field, Cuba’s under-23s lost 1-0 to Barbados, who were playing their first game of the group after Trinidad and Tobago pulled out, making that a three-team affair as well.

Cuba had, earlier in the week, beaten the US Virgin Islands 2-0, but now face an anxious wait, as Barbados now have the change to go to six points and take sole leadership of the group and a spot in the next round.

Group C of the competition, which involves the Cayman Islands, Grenada, and Haiti, kicks off on Wednesday.

Cayman and Grenada play at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town on Wednesday, while Grenada tackles Haiti on Friday at the same venue.

Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle challenged one of the best long jumpers in the world in London on Saturday for a second-place finish.

Gayle leapt out to 8.32 metres but was bested by a jump of 8.37 from South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga.

Manyongo’s effort was a season’s best, while Gayle had never been out to such a distance before.

Another South African, Ruswahl Samaai, 8.11. was third, while Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, 7.99, was fourth and the United States Trumaine Jefferson, fifth with 7.89.

Rounding out the field was Great Britain’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes, 7.70 for sixth, teammate Dan Bramble, 7.61, and Australia’s Henry Smith, 7.57.

Olympic 200-metre champion Elaine Thompson is continuing to show good form ahead of the IAAF World Championships, winning the half-length event at the London Diamond League on Saturday.

Thompson lead early and managed to stay ahead of the field to stop the clock at 22.13 seconds.

The Olympic champion’s win came against a field that included the Côte d'Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who tried to make a late push but found she was given as good as she gave, eventually crossing the line in a season’s best 22.36.

Beth Dobblin of Great Britain was third in a lifetime best 22.50 seconds, while another Jamaican, Sashalee Forbeswas fourth in 22.93.

The field was rounded out by the Netherland’s Jamile Samuel, 22.94, Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji, 22.95, Jamaica’s Schillonie Calvert-Powell, 23.16, Great Britain’s Bianca Williams, and teammate Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Both Williams and Johnson-Thompson were running season’s best.

Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson has continued to show good speed from all her 200 metre work last year, as she cruised to a Diamond League win over 400-metres in London on Saturday.

Jackson clocked 50.69 seconds as she stepped past countrywoman Stephenie-Ann McPherson, who ran a season’s best, 50.74.

Great Britain’s Laviai Nielson was third in a lifetime best 50.83.

Another Jamaican, Anastasia Le-Roy was also in the race, finishing fourth in 51.46.

Cruising through the first 200 metres, Jackson looked like she may have saved her work for too late, but showed immense speed and strength to overhaul the fading McPherson just before the tape, the result looking far more easy to come by after the fact.

Rounding out the field at the London Diamond League were Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, 51.58, Great Britain’s Emily Diamond, 51.69, Slovakia’s Anita Horvat, 51.83, and France’s Amandine Brossiere, 52.03.

African champion Akani Simbine notched his first Diamond League win of the season, holding off Anguilla-born Briton Zharnel Hughes at the London Diamond League meeting on Saturday. 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls still have work to do to avoid their lowest finish at the vitality Netball World Cup since 1967 even after a convincing 77-47 thrashing of Zimbabwe on Friday.

The Sunshine Girls campaign has been bitterly disappointing. Coming off the heels of their first-ever top-two world ranking, they have failed to finish among the top four for the first time in 24 years, but still fielded a strong team to lead the first quarter 23-15.

The Jamaicans would continue to have a big first half after running out to a 24-9 to end the stanza 47-24 leaders.

The Jamaicans took their foot off the gas and Zimbabwe duly took advantage in the third quarter, winning the period 14-12, but that never got them close enough to make a push in the final of the four periods.

At 59-38 heading into the fourth quarter, the game was over, but Jamaica were tired of the competition and pressed home their advantage with a  flourish, winning the final stage 18-9.

Romelda Aiken was still not at her accurate best, scoring 27 goals for Jamaica from 35 attempts, while Rebekah Robinson had 16 from 21, starting from goal attack.

For the Sunshine Girls, skipper Jhaniele Fowler-Reid was perfect, scoring 16 goals from the same number of events.

Shanice Beckford scored 18 from 21 attempts.

The four enjoyed marginally better results than the Zimbabwe shooters, for whom Joice Takaidza had 21 goals from 26 attempts. Sharon Bwanali had six from seven attempts, while Pauline Jani was perfect, scoring 18.

Ursula Ndlovu scored two from three attempts.

The result meant, the World Cup debutants, Zimbabwe, finished seventh, while the Jamaicans can finish, at worst sixth.

A seventh placed-finish for debutants is nothing to scoff at and the Zimbabweans were a happy bunch despite the loss.

“I’m really impressed with our performance today. Against the world number two it’s quite difficult, and as you can see, against them, our team is vertically challenged! But I’m really impressed,” said Felisitus Kwangwa.

Jamaica, rather, chose to look at what they did right to get past the the netball minnows.

“It was a very physical game. We knew that Zimbabwe would be physical but we came prepared for that. Our team is filled with speed, and I think that we matched up quite well with them,” said Stacian Facey.

Sixth is the worst Jamaica has finished since 1967. They do have a chance to save some blushes by finishing fifth.

That opportunity comes when they play against the very tough Malawi on Sunday.

Despite a poor shooting night from ace goal shooter Romelda Aiken, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls have managed to maintain a perfect record after two games at the Vitality Netball World Cup in England.

Playing against Trinidad and Tobago, who were on the backfoot after an opening-day loss to South Africa, the Sunshine Girls started slowly but eased away to a 68-43 win.

“Not the best start. Not the start we wanted,” said Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the Sunshine Girls captain.

Fowler-Reid was referring to the closeness of the first quarter the Sunshine Girls just managed to edge, 17-15.

Unfortunately for the Sunshine Girls’ Caribbean opponents, they could not keep pace and lost the second quarter 25-8, to go into halftime 42-23.

“We picked it up in the second quarter,” said Fowler-Reid, who was also quick to point out that her team needed to quit making unforced errors.

T&T would not quit after that dreadful second quarter and scored 11 goals in the third but still trailed badly on account of 15 goals from the Sunshine Girls.

At 57-34, going into the final quarter, the game was well and truly over, but credit to T&T, they were not in the mood to throw in the towel, giving as good as they got to end the quarter 11-9. Of course, that was no help on the final scorecard but it might give the Caribbean side some confidence headed into their final group game against Fiji.

Aiken ended her night with seven goals from 13 attempts, a very conservative outing for the usually prolific goal shooter. Rebekah Robinson didn’t have a great game at goal attack either sinking 11 of her 20 attempts, but fortunately for the Jamaicans, their squad runs deep.

Fowler-Ried, replacing Aiken, was brilliant, knocking down 38 goals from just 40 attempts, while Shanice Beckford was almost lights out from the goal attack position, scoring 12 of her 14 attempts.

The four were largely too good for the efforts of T&T’s Samantha Wallace, 19 of 24, Jameela McCarthy, five of six, and Kalifa McCollin, 19 of 21.

Speaking about Aiken’s sub-par performance, Fowler-Reid, expressed confidence.

“There is no concern for Romelda. She will be ok for the next game. She just had to get over some jitters and remember how good a shooter she is,” said the skipper.

Fowler-Reid did issue a warning to her teammates though, saying South Africa were not the team to make the kind of mistakes they have, against.

“There are too many turnovers. These are unforced errors. Errors that we cause on our own. South Africa is going to punish us if we do that because they are an awesome team,” said Fowler-Ried.

While issuing the warning, the skipper did return to her confident base, saying she was sure the team would get it right when the time came to do so.

“We know what we can do and we can correct that in no time,” she said.

Barbados skipper, Wing Attack, Damisha Croney, says her Barbados Gems are still in good spirits despite a 78-25 drubbing at the hands of former World Champions New Zealand.

New Zealand started quickly, leading 16-9 in the first quarter, before dominating the second to go into the half leading 42-14. The Gems would not recover, as the Silver Ferns pressed home their advantage in the second half, scoring 19 points in the third quarter to ensure the result going into the final quarter. Already leading, 61-20, they would slow ever so slightly, scoring 17 goals to the Gems’ six.

The Gems skipper took heart in the way the Caribbean side started the game, but admitted the Silver Ferns were too fast and too strong for her team.

“We didn't take the W today. It was a challenging game as expected going up against a team in the top 5 in the World who are also past World Champions,” said Croney.

“We started well in the first quarter, which ended 9-16 in their favour. The speed posed a challenge for us as the game progressed but I am very pleased with the great passages of plays that the team presented,” she said.

While the game was a lost cause for the Gems, the team did get a glorious chance to look at what works and what doesn’t against World-Class opposition.

“We were able to work on new combinations and get all 12 players on court,” said Croney.

For Babrados, Latonia Blackman had 3-4 from goal shoot, while Brianna Holder had four goals from six attempts.

Shonica Wharton, despite coming out on the losing end of affairs, had a good time in the circle, scoring 14 goals from just 16 attempts, while Sheniqua Thomas took six shots, sinking four.

The four were up against the powerful shooting of Maria Falou, 21 from 24, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, 20 from 22, and the impressive Bailey Mes, 30 from 33. Ameliaranne Ekenasio scored seven goals from her eight attempts.

Despite the promise he has shown, Windies batsman Sunil Ambris has not been given a new central contract even as Cricket West Indies (CWI) have increased the number offered in the new contract period. 

Despite the fact that, for the first time in the competition’s history, two Caribbean teams, Haiti and Jamaica, were in the final four of the Gold Cup, no players from those nations managed to find their way into a Best XI. 

Jamaica Head Coach Theodore Whitmore had nothing but respect for both the United States and Jamaica after a wild night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.  

Jamaica have continued their strong showing at the NACAC Under-18 and Usnder-23 National Championships in Mexico as day two’s morning session came to an end on Saturday. 

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