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.

Jamaican teen track star Briana Williams has signed a three-year deal to become a brand ambassador for Grace Foods, the company announced on Wednesday.

West Indies fast bowler turned respected commentator, Michael Holding, has over the years developed a reputation for being outspoken. He just tells it like it is. On Wednesday, prior to the start of the #RaiseYourBat Series between the West Indies and England, he was at his best delivering a powerful message against racism.

The fast-bowling great, speaking on Skysports was asked his views on the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, delivered a poignant lesson on how education and religion helped brainwash the world against people of colour.

 “Education is important, unless we just want to continue living the life that we are living and continue having demonstrations every now and then and a few people saying a few things,” Holding said.

“When I say education I say going back in history. What people need to understand is that these things stem from a long time ago, hundreds of years ago. The dehumanisation of the black race is where it started. People will tell you that ‘oh it’s a long time ago, get over it’. No, you don’t get over things like that.”

He mentioned another recent incident in the United States that brought into stark focus, just how ingrained racism has become.

“That lady in central park in New York (Amy Cooper). If she did not have in her DNA the thought process that she is white and this man is black and ‘if I call a police officer, nine times out of 10 he is going to be white and I will be considered right immediately. The black guy will have to prove that he is not guilty and by the time he has to prove that he might be dead,” Holding remarked.

“She had that in her mind from day one and that is why she said and did what she did. How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both black and white.”

Highlighting that he was not much of a religious person, Holding said that religion has brainwashed much of the world against people of colour.

“As a young man I didn’t understand what brainwashing is; now I do. We have been brainwashed. Even white people have been brainwashed,” Holding said.

“I go back many years, think about religion. You and I both are Christians. Look at Jesus Christ. The image that they give of Jesus Christ, pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Where Jesus came from, who in that part of the world looks that way? Again, that is brainwashing, this is to show, ‘look this is what perfection is, this is what the image of perfection is.’

“If you look at the plays of those days. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is a black man. Again brainwashing people to think, ‘oh he is a black man, he is the bad man’.”

He also spoke about how those recording history have deliberately ignored achievements by people of African heritage.

“We all know who invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison invented it. Edison invented the light bulb with a paper filament; it burnt out in no time at all. Can you tell me who invented the filament that makes these lights shine throughout? Nobody knows because he was a black man and it was not taught in schools. Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament because of which lights continuously shine, who knows that?” he asked.

 “Everything should be taught. When I go back I remember my school days, I was never taught anything good about black people. And you cannot have a society that is brought up like that, both whites and blacks, which is only taught what is convenient to the teacher.”

Jamaican bodybuilder Dwayne Walker has signed a one-year deal with Betancourt Nutrition that he has described as a major boost to his career even as he navigates a challenging environment caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA has withdrawn from mediation with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) citing the failure of its lawyers to keep the matter confidential.

Citing the perceived reluctance of the Olympic organisers to adjust the schedule at next summer’s Games, 2016 Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo is mulling stepping down to the 200m for Tokyo 2021.

The 26-year-old Bahamian has been the best 200/400m sprinter in the world over the past two seasons, has requested an adjustment to the schedule that would allow her to attempt the double, something they have done to accommodate Americans Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix as well as French track icon Marie Jose Perec.

However, to date, the Bahamian and her Olympic committee have heard nothing to suggest that the IOC will honour her request.

“We have made an appeal to have the schedule changed. We’ve not received a positive response as yet, but we remain hopeful that they would take another look at it because it means so much to us and it means so much to Shaunae Miller-Uibo,” said Bahamas Olympic Committee President Romell Knowles while speaking with the Bahamas Guardian.

“To come from such a small island and to get an opportunity to be among the best in the world in both the 200 and 400 meters is just phenomenal. The precedence has already been set and we would just like to be given that opportunity. It means so much to a little country like ours that has produced such great athletes.”

Meanwhile, Miller-Uibo, for now, seems resigned to the possibility that she will have to drop one of her events.

 “As it is now, the schedule isn’t set up for me to do two events, so I would have to choose one event and we’re leaning more toward the 200 meters seeing that we already have the 400 meters title,” Miller-Uibo told the Bahamas Guardian.

“We wanted to do both – I wanted to go after the 200 metres title and also wanted to defend my 400 meters title, but the way the schedule is set up, it would be difficult to do both. It’s been that way for a few years now. When they didn’t change the schedule, we had to make some decisions and right now, we’re leaning toward the 200. Nothing is finalized as yet, but that’s the way it is right now.”

Only three athletes have ever won the 200/400m double at the Olympic Games – Johnson and Perec and Valerie Brisco-Hooks.

The world has been reacting with a mixture of celebration and admiration following the official introduction of Usain Bolt’s daughter to the world on Tuesday.

Olympia Lightning Bolt was born on May 17, 2020. Just over two months later, her mother Kasi Bennett celebrated her birthday and her world-famous boyfriend posted in celebration a photo of their beautiful daughter on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Among the hundreds of reactions were Miss Universe runner-up Yendi Phillips, Miss World 1993 Lisa Hannah, four-time World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, 400m world-record holder and Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk, and Olympic silver medallist Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn.

“Absolutely lovely. What a blessing,” Phillips commented.

“Blessings,” was how Hannah, now a Jamaican Member of Parliament reacted.

“Beautiful big bro,” said van Nierkerk.

British 100m champion Dina Asher-Smith was smitten by the two-month-old Olympia. “So adorable,” she wrote.

Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, whose daughter is also named Olympia, sent heart emojis to the 11-time world champion.

On Twitter, Bolt-sponsor Digicel posted: “Congrats again to @usainbolt and @kasi.b on their baby girl. Also sending Birthday Blessings to Kasi on her special day.”

There were also reactions from Bolt's close fried Jamaican entertainer Chris Martin and former Barcelona player and coach Patrick Kluivert.

The eight-time Olympic medalist and double world record holder Bolt also posted a special tribute to his lady love on Instagram that read in part:

“I want to wish my gf @kasi.b a happy birthday and to let you know I am happy to spend your special day with you. Now we have started a new chapter together with our daughter Olympia Lightning Bolt.”

 

 

Coming out of Monday’s 2020 Hero CPL Draft, Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes the franchise has managed to assemble a balanced team that will be able to do some damage when the competition gets underway in Trinidad in August.

The two-time champions endured a disastrous season in 2019 when they won only two games and finished at the foot of the six-team standings. With the disaster behind them, the Tallawahs decided on a complete overhaul of the squad that included releasing veteran T20 batsman Christopher Gayle while retaining only five players from the previous campaign.

In Monday’s draft, the Tallawahs brought in 2016 T20 World Cup hero Carlos Brathwaite and the big-hitting Glen Phillips to complement Captain Rovman Powell, Andre Russell and Chadwick Walton. They have also added Nkrumah Bonner and Andre McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Fidel Edwards, Veerasammy Permaul, Sandeep Lamichhane and Preston McSween have bolstered the bowling.

“I am hoping that we have a better team. We were rebuilding and that was the whole idea,” Miller told Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday.

“After retaining the five we were looking to rebuild around them.”

Miller explained that they brought in Edwards, the former West Indies pace bowler, to partner young fast bowler Oshane Thomas and McSween to support them both. Right-arm leg-spin bowler Sandeep and Permaul, he said, add a cutting edge to a bowling attack that he expects to be effective on the pitches in Trinidad.

“We expect the pitches to be bowler-friendly,” Miller said, indicating that he believes the pitches in the twin-island republic to wear as the tournament progresses.

Miller is also hopeful that the Tallawahs’ batting will deliver this coming season. He is relying on the experienced Powell, Russell, Phillips and Walton to get the bulk of the runs but in Brathwaite and the returning Andre McCarthy, he is expecting additional stability and firepower.

Brathwaite, he believes, can “do damage” at the back end of the innings but further up the order is where he expects McCarthy to finally deliver on his potential. “I am hoping that McCarthy and Nkrumah Bonner can solidify the number-three slot. I am hoping that a maturing McCarthy can step up to the plate,” he said.

Without going into detail, Miller hinted that they might have missed out on some players they were hoping to sign but those players were drafted by other franchises before the Tallawahs had a shot at them.

 

FIFA has agreed to settle their dispute with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) through mediation.

Former Reggae Boy Claude Davis is a part-owner of a Florida-based football academy that recently signed a five-year deal with the 2019/2020 Premier League champions, Liverpool FC.

Davis, 41, represented Portmore United, Preston Northend, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Derby County in a career spanning more than a decade. The towering defender also represented Jamaica 69 times between 2000 and 2012.

These days, Davis is part owner and technical director of the Liverpool International Academy of Central Florida and revealed the deal with the now 19-time English champions.

“Everything that we do comes from the Liverpool Academy in England. It's a pathway for us to try and do things the right way,” Davis told the Jamaica Observer.

“I have been working here for five years and I try to implement stuff. You know I play all my life in England and I see the ways the academies run. I try to do that here, but unfortunately, we do not have the financial backing.”

After approaching Liverpool FC with their proposal, the club responded positively, he said.

“We had a meeting with Liverpool, like six, seven months ago and we explained to them, lay out the vision and the plans we have, and they came back to us as they loved it and they wanted to be a part of it. So we signed a five-year contract with Liverpool to use the name,” he said.

“It's not just their name, but their curriculum as well, and they will send coaches over here three times a year to work with my coaches, teach them the right way, help the coaches to deliver the training sessions, the same sessions the academy in Liverpool is working with.”

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts believes Shimron Hetmyer erred when deciding to forego the West Indies tour of England.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

Despite picking a minor injury during the West Indies squad match at the Emirates, team skipper Jason Holder is expected to be fit in time for the start of the first Test in the #RaiseTheBat series on July 8.

Shayne Moseley followed up his first-innings knock of 40, with a solid unbeaten half-century as the three-day intra-squad match between Brathwaite’s XI and Holder’s XI ended in a draw at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Thursday.

Moseley scored a 142-ball 83 as Holder’s XI chasing 313, closed on 149 for 3. His innings included nine fours and a six.

 Nkrumah Bonner was unbeaten on 24 at the end.

Bowling for Brathwaite’s XI  Raymon Reifer, who had 5 for 60 in the first innings, Oshane Thomas and Keon Harding each had one wicket.

Earlier, Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313 before declaring at lunch.

Resuming on their overnight score 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries Thursday as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 before lunch as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313.

Resuming on 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

Raymon Reifer’s five wickets in quick succession helped Brathwaite’s XI into a position of strength on day-two of their intra-squad match against Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Wednesday.

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