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.

Shimona Nelson scored a team-high 40 goals on Wednesday but the Collingwood Magpies suffered its 12th loss of the Suncorp Super Netball season.

In the match played at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, Nelson scored her goals from just 44 attempts but the cellar-dwellers were never in a position to claim what would have been only their second win of the season, losing 63-53 to second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Led by Cara Koenen’s 41 goals from 45 attempts, the Lightning won each quarter 16-12, 19-15, 14-13, 14-13 for their ninth win of the season.

Nelson teammate Gabrielle Sinclair shot seven of nine in the losing effort.

Jeff Miller has spoken highly of Jermaine Blackwood and sees him as part of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad in the next season of the Hero CPL.

Tajay Gayle, the 2019 World Championships long jump champion, had to settle for a third-place finish at the Gala Dei Castelli meeting in Switzerland on Tuesday.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller believes Andre Russell will be back with the team for the 2021 season of the Hero CPL, despite the latter’s outburst earlier this year that this would be his last season with the team.

Rallycross trailblazer Fraser McConnell and his friend Ishmael Moodie, who is also his coach, are about to launch an affordable version of that genre of racing in Jamaica that will entice engagement from the average Jamaican.

Dubbed Yard Man Racing, the genre is also intended to create a gateway for the introduction of rallycross racing to Jamaica.

For the uninitiated, Rallycross is a form of sprint-style automobile racing held on a closed mixed-surface racing circuit, with modified production or specially built road cars, similar to the World Rally Cars.

However, unlike the traditional genre, where tens of thousands of Euros or more, are spent preparing cars for competition, the Jamaican version will have one significant difference.

“Yard-Man Racing is going to make racing affordable, exciting and accessible again. The cost of racing in Jamaica has gone up way too much,” said McConnell, who has already built a rallycross track on the Tru Juice Farm in St Catherine.

The process is simple. Find a two-wheel drive, non-turbo car no older than a 1995 model and spend less than JMD$350,000 to make it race-ready.

“To keep the sport honest, we have put a price tag on the cars. You don’t want someone to come in and money be the factor,” Moodie explained.

“The factor should always be the driver and that will also ensure that we will have an entertaining day of racing when you have a lot of cars because the cost is down and it will be wonderful for the development of rallycross in Jamaica.

“The cars are cheap enough and there are many, many out there. We have four ongoing projects right now, one is nearing completion, the others; we are doing the budget to get it together and finding the parts. We want to show everybody that it can be done and we are available to tell how it’s done.”

The friends, who are hoping for a November start, explained that they developed the concept during their travels to Europe while McConnell was competing in rallycross racing.

McConnell recently created another bit of history when finished second overall in the Supercar class at the Rallycross Nordic series in Denmark won by his teammate Oliver Erikksson.

They had been in Europe racing after the RX2 season in the United States was cancelled because of challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “It is just our curiosity about the sport and the openness of the Europeans to tell us where it came from so we could see how it developed,” said Moodie, who revealed that the larger plan is to bring rallycross to Jamaica.

“Fraser has done an excellent job to let people know about it but when its grassroots, when people see juniors driving in it for years and you are invested in it, is when I believe one day we could bring real rallycross to Jamaica.”

He has a clear vision of where the sport could be in Jamaica over a relatively short period.

“I believe we will see in our first year, 40 cars but by the time we peak I am hoping for more than 200 cars on a weekend,” he said.

An interesting element of Yard Man Racing is what happens at the end of each race.

“At the end of each race, you are allowed to place a bid on the car for about JMD$5000 which gives you an entry into the lottery to buy that car. If your name is drawn out of a hat, you have to buy that car for JMD$300, 000,” McConnell said.

“That keeps costs down because a man isn’t going to spend all they have on the one car and it makes the field a lot more equal.”

 

 

 

West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor scored an unbeaten half-century to help her team scored an eight-run win over Deandra Dottin’s in their first warm-up match at the University of Derby on Monday ahead of their T20 series against England, in a week's time

The 18 members of the squad were divided into two teams captained by Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin, respectively.

Taylor scored 71 from 52 balls. She smashed nine fours in her knock as the team racked up 131 for 6 from their 20 overs. Britney Cooper contributed a useful 24 to the score. Bowling for the opponents, Aaliyah Alleyne used her pace to good effect taking 3 for 35 while Shakera Selman finished with 2 for 15.

Needing 132 to win Dottin led her team from the front scoring a brisk 41 from 43 balls but the efforts of Sheneta Grimmond (2 for 16) and Shamilia Taylor (2 for 23), proved good enough for Taylor’s team to eke out a close victory.

Head coach Andre Coley was pleased with the performance of the women.

“We’ve been here for two weeks doing a combination of various skills sessions in the nets, strength and conditioning and game-planning but today was our first time to get as close to a game scenario with this practice match,” he said.

“We split the teams as evenly as possible and some very promising performances came out of that. Both teams were able to bat the full 20-over innings and the players spent time at the crease building partnerships. So, that was good to see and we are happy with how things went. Now it’s just about fine-tuning and building momentum leading into the series next week.”

The first match of the five-match Vitality Series is set to bowl off on Monday, September 21 at the Incora County Ground.

 

A mixture of shock, sadness and disappointment greeted Mickey Haughton-James’ announcement last week that he would close the Spartan Health Club indefinitely at the end of September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gym opened in 1976 and has largely been associated with the beautiful women of the Miss Jamaica World franchise but Spartan has also been home to some of Jamaica’s greatest athletes, among them some of the very best in the world.

Reggae legend Bob Marley also broke sweat there.

Members of the West Indies cricket team, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, World and Olympic medallists and Jamaica’s world-class netballers have all, at one time or another used the facilities to hone their bodies in the pursuit of athletic excellence.

Leeroy Gray was a physical trainer at the gym for many years. Before he migrated, he worked with some of the very best including eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt; 2011 100m World Champion Yohan Blake as well as Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir.

Gray also trained St Kitts’ Kim Collins, the 2003 100m World Champion; British 100m champion Dwayne Chambers, Olympian Aleen Bailey, World Championship bronze medallist Ristanana Tracey and Commonwealth 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole during his time at what he described as Jamaica’s No. 1 gym.

“To hear that the gym is closing for good, it is not good,” he told Sportsmax.TV, clearly at a loss for words.

He was not the only one taken by surprise.

“I don’t even know where to start,” said Blake, the second-fastest man of all time. “Usually, when I get up in the morning I scan through the news while preparing for training. It was a shock to find out that Spartan was closing for good.

“I remember clearly this amazing facility that helped not only me, but so many of our world-class athletes reach where they are today. It was a wonderful place to do your workout and have a talk with everyone. I have many good memories of Spartan. I still can't believe it. I understand this facility has been around from 1976. It represents the end of an era. I am truly sad that it has to close.”

Blake alluded to the fact that Spartan was more than just a gym. It was a place where like-minded athletes shared conversations and inspiration with the many patrons.

Weir, who along with Bolt and Blake, finished 1-2-3 in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics also had fond memories of the days when he trained there.

“Spartan was that place where you went and just felt motivated to work because there was so much inspiration around you. People were always encouraging you to just be your best,” Weir recalled.

“I remember when I just started at Spartan, there were always people there telling you ‘you’re gonna be good, you’re gonna be great, just continue training’

“Then seeing other sports people and artistes there putting the work in, also motivates you and lets you see that you on the TV is work that is being done on the back end.”

Former West Indies opener Wavell Hinds spent a lot of time at Spartan after his Test career ended in 2005. The work he put in there helped him prolong his playing days and for that, he expressed his gratitude to Haughton-James.

“The generosity of Mr James and the Spartan Gym contributed immensely to my career between 2007 and 2011,” he said.

“In fact, the entire Jamaica Cricket team benefited from the use of Spartan gym during the said period.  I want publicly thank Mr James and Spartan for their contribution to the development of Jamaica's cricket.”

Former Netball Jamaica President Marva Bernard said read the news of the impending closure made her very sad.

“Many, many years ago we used to get support from Mickey to use the gym to train the Sunshine Girls and I vividly remember Connie Francis, in particular. I can still see her running on that treadmill as if her life depended on it, that is how hard she trained,” Bernard said.

“And so, I want to say to Mickey, thank you so much for the years of support that you have given, not only to Netball Jamaica but several of the elite athletes in all sporting disciplines.

“Your generosity knows no bounds and I hope that one day you will rebound because you’re a good man and your gym has made a difference in many people’s lives.”

Sixteen teams are down to contest a youth cricket tournament named in honour of the later Barbadian cricket commentator and journalist Tony Cozier.

Romelda Aiken scored 45 goals from 51 attempts on Sunday but the Queensland Firebirds went down 75-67 to the Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday in the Suncorp Super Netball League.

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller is standing behind Head Coach Floyd Reifer and Captain Rovman Powell following the team’s disappointing performance in the 2020 Hero CPL.

Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn created history on Friday after becoming the first Olympic medallist to be appointed a Jamaican government minister.

Newly crowned 2020 Hero CPL champion Darren Bravo, losing captain Darren Sammy and T20 record-setter Chris Gayle are among 150 players in a pool awaiting selection for the Lankan Premier League set to run from November 14 to December 6.

Shahid Afridi and Trinbago Knight Rider’s Colin Munro are also in the pool for the player auction set for October 1.

Under the rules governing the Sri Lankan T20 league, each franchise can buy up to six international players.

However, according to reports, there are still some loose ends to be tied up before the auction can take place. Among them government approval for a shorter quarantine period for players, officials and broadcast staff.

SLC officials are asking that the quarantine period for those arriving for the tournament be reduced from 14 to seven days.

 

Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson believes joining the London Roar for the 2020 season of the International Swimming League (ISL) will allow her to focus on her strengths.

The 31-year-old Atkinson was among 17 new additions to the 2019 finalists, who will be seeking to go one better this year.  

Swimming for Team Iron that finished fifth in the team standings last season, the team called upon Atkinson to swim strokes, which did not allow her to be at her best for the club. However, she did perform well in her preferred breaststroke events winning the 50m breaststroke in Lewisville and the 50m and 100m breaststroke events in Budapest and London.

She is hopeful that this season London Roar will position her to compete in the discipline where she is strongest.

“I am excited to be a part of London Roar. I think this time will be a little different,” she told Sportsmax.TV this week.

“There was a lot of demand on the last team in respect to me going outside the breaststroke events so I think this time I will be able to focus more on my specialities and hopefully we will be able to make it to the finals.”

That said, she was quick to point out that there is no ill will towards Team Iron, for whom she debuted in the ISL.

“Last year was still a fantastic experience and I wish the best for all the teams, especially with the COVID situation going on, but this time I am staying closer to the green and gold,” she said in reference to the London Roar’s team colours.

The London Roar reached the Las Vegas final last season and finished second behind Energy Standard. It returns a lot of key players in season two, including team captain Adam Peaty and big point scorers Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon. The club is composed primarily of the best British and Australian swimmers, including some of the best swimmers based in the two countries, such as Andreas Vazaios and Anna Hopkin.

The Roar lost key pieces in Canadians Yuri Kisil and Finlay Knox to the Toronto Titans as well as Mireia Belmonte, who has jumped ship to Team Iron.

This year, the competition is expected to be even fiercer with the addition of two new teams - Toronto Titans and Tokyo Frog Kings. The organisers have also brought in new rules for the league that is set to get underway on October 16 in Bucharest, Hungary.

St Lucia Zouks Captain Darren Sammy said his team fell several runs short of what was required to achieve victory against the Trinbago Knight Riders in today’s final of the 2020 Hero CPL.

Kieron Pollard believes the Trinbago Knight Riders were destined to win their fourth Hero CPL title this season.

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