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 Football Federation is denying reports in the British media claiming that veteran coach Sven-Goran Ericksson is set to become coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Christopher Samuda, the President of the Jamaica Olympic Association has been appointed chairman of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) Legal Commission.

As the 2020 season of the CPL season bowled off today in Trinidad and Tobago, news has emerged that all 237 members of the league have returned to negative tests in the latest round of COVID-19 tests conducted on Sunday.

Leon Bailey is a talent but that talent is not on display often enough.

That seems to be the view of  Bayer Leverkusen boss Rudi Völler who believes the 23-year-old Jamaican is not consistent enough.

Two seasons ago, Bailey brought his exciting talents to the fore scoring 12 goals to go along with six assists in 32 appearances for Leverkusen. However, since then Bailey has struggled to hold a place in the starting XI and subsequently fell down the pecking order at the club.

The malaise has not gone unnoticed.

"You can see that he's blessed with quality, but he has lacked continuity. It's also clear that he has to do a bit more," said Völler, whose sentiments were echoed by Sporting Director Simon Rolfes.

"You get the feeling with him that he wants to force things. He doesn't seem to be playing with the same looseness, freedom and intuitive as in his first season," Rolfes said.

The Jamaican international, whose contract expires in 2023, scored seven goals and made three assists in 33 games for Leverkusen in the 2019/20 season.

He has been linked with a move to the English Premier League.

 

 

 

Krish Persaud and Manish Patel, the American-based owners of Jamaica Tallawahs and Barbados Tridents, respectively, have purchased franchises in a T20 competition in the United States.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would have been done and dusted 10 days ago and sports fans across the world would still be gathering around water coolers and office enclosures buzzing about the spectacular show put on by the world’s greatest athletes.

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt said he is committing to effect the changes to the board’s governance structure as recommended by the Wehby Report that has now been shared with stakeholders.

World championship silver medallist Danniel Thomas Dodd won the shot put over an unlikely opponent at the American Track League meeting in Marietta, Georgia on Sunday.

Thomas-Dodd who lost the World Championship gold medal to China’s Gong Lijiao in Doha by just 8cm on October 3, 2019, 19.47 to 19.55), uncorked a 19.18m throw to win at the meet held at Life University.

The mark was the fourth-best throw in the world this year.

It was a lopsided affair as he opponent was World Championship 400m silver medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo. The Bahamian produced a best mark of 11.70m.

Meanwhile, Miller-Uibo’s former roommate at the University of Georgia, Chanice Porter jumped 6.35m in the long jump. She was the lone competitor.

In the women’s 200m former Holmwood Technical sprinter, Chrisann Gordon-Powell was second in the 200m in 24.38s. Gordon-Powell was beaten by the USA’s Jessica Beard who clocked 23.52 for the win.

The standout performance of the meet came from 18-year-old Justin Robinson, who outran a talented field to win the 400m in 44.91s. Michael Cherry, 44.98, and Matthew Hudson-Smith 45.58 were second and third, respectively.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio was fifth in 46.71.

 

Two-time Jamaican Olympian Shevon Nieto and her husband Jamie have announced the birth of their first child, a son, Jaysha King Nieto, who was born on August 10.

"On August 10, 2020, we welcomed the birth of our baby boy, Jaysha King Nieto. My world has now been made complete with this precious gift from God and the most amazing husband and now father @jamienieto," Shevon posted on her Facebook page late Thursday night.

Nieto, 37, represented Jamaica in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.

 Shevon Stoddart married USA high jumper Jamie Nieto in 2017. Jamie suffered a spinal injury in 2016 which left him paralyzed.

Earlier this year, Nieto, who is now pursuing a career as a singer entered the talent show America's Got Talent singing her song Through the Good and the Bad, that was dedicated to her husband. Her performance was praised by the judges including the world-famous Simon Cowell. She was four months' pregnant at the time.

However, she eventually withdrew from the competition after concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus caused a delay in production as well as concern for the safety of her unborn child.

"After the first round, which was pretty amazing. It was one of the best moments of my life. I was definitely looking forward to the next round. Even though Covid was there we waited to see what would happen, but when we realized that the virus was getting worse...the producers, they knew that that would be a concern. They wanted to make sure that I was also safe and I was also comfortable. It was bitter-sweet. I really appreciate the opportunity to being on the show."

 

 

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has offered its congratulations to Reggae Boyz Captain Andre Blake for having won the Golden Glove Award for the just-concluded MLS IS BACK Tournament.

 The Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice delivered a blow to FIFA on Thursday when it denied football’s world governing body’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate the dispute between the parties.

Both sides had submitted arguments before Justice Carol Gobin on July 29.

The TTFA and FIFA have been in dispute since March when FIFA dissolved the association’s administration who were in office four months and installed a normalization committee to oversee the affairs of the debt-ridden association.

TTFA took the matter to the CAS but later withdrew citing fears of institutional bias.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.

The TTFA was represented ly Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul of the New City Chambers while Fifa was represented Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie from M Hamel-Smith and Co.

FIFA now has 21 days to file a defence against an application for an injunction filed by the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). FIFA has also been ordered to pay costs.

The decision by the University of Technology (UTech) not to renew the contracts of their sports coaches, citing challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to have exposed ongoing tensions between the university’s Sports Director Orville Byfield and personnel running the school’s track programme including Head Track Coach Paul Francis.

Francis’ elder brother, MVP coach Stephen Francis, believes UTech’s decision not to renew the coaches’ contracts, among other things, creates the impression that Byfield is trying to destroy the university’s track programme.

Sportsmax.TV reported exclusively on Monday that UTech has not renewed the contracts of all its sports coaches, a move that Dr Kamilah Hylton, Dean of the Faculty of Sports and Science, described as a temporary measure.

“We have not made any final decision. We are waiting to hear from Intercol (Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association) and a directive from the Acting President (Professor Colin Gyles) in terms of how many students will be allowed on campus,” said Dr Hylton speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Monday night.

“We have to make decisions on how they (athletes) would train in a safe manner,” she said while explaining that training sessions would have to abide by established COVID-19 protocols, meaning athletes would have to train in smaller groups, adhere to the required physical distancing requirements and other related safety measures.

Among the coaches, whose contracts were not renewed were those of Francis and his elder brother Stephen. However, Stephen has continued to prepare some athletes from the MVP Track Club, which has an MOU with the university to use the school’s Papine campus as a training base.

It then begs the question: if MVP athletes are able to train why then would the university not allow the collegiate track athletes to do the same, especially since MVP, through negotiations had provided UTECH with funding for the programme from PUMA. Sources indicate that the funding amounts to about US$30,000.

Stephen was at pains to find an explanation.

“Discussions are being held at a higher level to sort out this situation so I don’t want to say anything which would compromise the whole thing but it does seem to be, on the face it, a very puzzling decision,” said Francis while speaking with Sportsmax.TV on Thursday morning at Stadium East in Kingston.

Asked to comment on whether there were underlying issues between the director of sports and MVP that could have influenced the decision to impact the sport that has brought tremendous success to the university, Francis said:

“As far as I know there is no problem between MVP and Byfield. The problem is between Byfield and the UTech track programme; in that, he is giving off signs that he doesn’t think that the programme should exist.

“Maybe he wants to be the coach, I don’t know what the reason is. He has not shown a tendency to be cooperative and even though it might sound improbable, a lot of people close to programme believe he is trying to destroy the programme.”

Byfield, a track coach who has worked with Kingston College, St. George's College and Hydel High, among other high schools, joined the staff at UTech around 2008 as a sports lecturer. He was appointed Director of Sports in October 2018 following the departure of Anthony Davis.

“I think there has been a lot of upheavals since Byfield became the Director of Sport. He doesn’t seem to have the role of a normal Director of Sport, which is to maximise the performance of the teams that the school puts out,” said Francis, who was reluctant to provide details of the afore-mentioned upheavals.

“Certainly in athletics, there are a lot of stumbling blocks that he puts in the way and I don’t think anybody can argue that he is trying to maximize the performance of the UTech student-athletes, certainly not in track, probably not in football, and based on the performance in most of the sports.

“So I don’t know what he thinks his job is and I don’t know what his job has been defined as but it is not what you would expect from a person in charge of collegiate sports programmes. It is what it is so we have to find a way to work around him and work around whatever it is that he is doing.”

In response, Byfield said Francis’ comments came as a surprise.

“I don’t know what he is talking about. This is news to me,” Byfield told Sportsmax.TV on Thursday afternoon. “Both of them (Paul and Stephen) work with the university. No concerns were raised to me. It’s the first I am hearing of this.”

He added that if the Francis brothers have any concerns they should take the matter to Human Resources and have those concerns addressed.

Speaking on KLAS Radio on Wednesday, the UTech sports director indicated that he did not unilaterally make the decision not to renew the contracts of the Francis brothers or the other coaches.

‘This was a collective decision from the university. Based on what is going on at the university at this point in time the university has decided to temporarily suspend the contracts, or not renew the contracts until the university can sort out how we are going to deal with everything for the academic year,” he said.

“The coaches will just have to be patient. We want to have our coaches here with us. Our coaches have been doing a good job for the university and we would love to continue to have them.

“These times are unprecedented so the university has to take certain precautions on how we manage and maintain certain things.”

Meanwhile, as it relates to the current situation, Francis said MVP will have to step in to help those track athletes who might be left out in the cold because the programme has been suspended.

“As it is now, if it happens that no change occurs it will not really stop anything because I guess MVP would have to take up UTech’s slack in trying to develop these athletes because UTech normally provides for them a place in school and also some accommodation for some of them,” Francis said.

“MVP would have to take up the slack in terms of making sure that the athletes who are supposed to come on board in September that they are not denied an opportunity because some of them would have decided to come to UTech even though they had opportunities abroad so it’s not fair for us not to honour their commitment.”

The UTech track programme has produced the like of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson, Elaine Thompson, Tahjay Gayle, Jenieve Russell, Shericka Jackson and Asafa Powell, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

The West Indies will be among four teams that will tour New Zealand during the home season, according to media reports. The Caribbean side is scheduled to play Tests and T20 Internationals in line with the Future Tours Programme.

 David White, CEO of New Zealand Cricket said the tours would go ahead despite the ongoing pandemic, saying that managed isolation arrangements are being worked out for the visiting teams.

"We are making tremendous progress. I was just on the phone to the West Indies, they're confirmed, Pakistan is confirmed, Australia and Bangladesh... so 37 days of international cricket," White told reporters in Auckland.

However, CWI CEO Johnny Grave told Sportsmax.TV that nothing has been confirmed for the Caribbean side to visit New Zealand where there were no reported COVID-19 infections for more than three months.

The West Indies recently returned from their three-Test bio-secure #Raisethebat series in England. The hosts won the series 2-1.

No one can question Andy Roberts’ passion for West Indies cricket. After an outstanding career for the West Indies where he took 202 wickets as part of a battery of fast bowlers, who terrorised teams for more than a decade, the no-nonsense Antiguan has for the last two decades has had to watch with despair and disdain while batting line ups have taken our bowling attacks apart almost at will.

I would imagine it would be even more frustrating for him to watch as West Indies’ batsmen, more often than not, seem incapable of batting for time in a Test match.

This was evident in the last two Test matches the West Indies lost to England at Old Trafford last month.

Therefore, it was no surprise to hear Roberts speak passionately about the team’s failures during an interview with Andrew Mason last week. Responding to comments regarding the lack of technological infrastructure that puts the West Indies at a disadvantage when compared to England, Roberts was quick to rubbish those claims, instead choosing to throw the blame squarely at the feet of the players.

“Infrastructure will not make you a better player.  You have to make yourself a better player and I don’t think the commitment is there from a lot of West Indies players,” he said.

“It’s not just the Test players but a lot of people who play cricket in the West Indies. I don’t think they commit themselves enough.  If you did, you would not be averaging 30 in first-class cricket and that is what we are getting.”

On the issue of commitment, I believe he makes a strong point. My perspective is that when you watch a West Indian batsman bat these days, you see a couple of things right away.

You see the deficiencies in technique but what you also see is how those weaknesses persist over time. I remember when Ronnie Sarwan just came into the West Indies. He was in love either with cutting balls that were close to or on his off stump.

Consequently, he would constantly get out by either playing on, being caught behind or snapped up somewhere between gully and point. However, over time he was more selective when choosing to play the shot and went on to have a successful career.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul adjusted his batting stance that allowed him to achieve incredible things like bat for 25 hours in a Test series between dismissals and face 1050 consecutive deliveries without losing his wicket.

This is something he did repeatedly – in 2002, 2004, and 2007 - all because he learned from his previous errors and adjusted.

I have yet to see this from any of the current players – a clear lack of commitment to improve, satisfied with mediocrity instead of striving for excellence.

You also see an inability to concentrate for extended periods. Watch any West Indies batsman in the current team. If they last more than an hour at the crease, you can literally see them struggling to maintain the high levels of concentration.

It manifests in bizarre shots unexpectedly as well as retreating into a defensive mode before eventually giving his wicket away.

You would never see that happen to Tiger because of how he practised.

Australian opener David Warner shared a story about how in 2011 Chanderpaul revealed to him the secret of how to occupy the crease for long periods.

“He batted on the bowling machine for six hours. I said, ‘This is ridiculous, how can you do this?’ And he said, ‘If you’re going to bat for six hours in a game you might as well practise it.’”

When you watch the current batsmen in the West Indies set up, I am sure none of them spends two hours batting in the nets let alone six.

This is the commitment needed and which Roberts believes is missing.

However, I do believe that improved structures would help the players improve.

Better facilities, better equipment, better coaches help deliver more information to players and in most cases lead to better performances even if marginal.

Better infrastructure allows players, regardless of the sport, to perform at a higher level. Think of it this way.

If you go to work each day in a rundown building where you don’t have access to the most basic of equipment; the copier doesn’t work, the air-conditioning makes you sick, and you have to take the stairs instead of an elevator, wouldn’t you feel demotivated?

To make matters worse every time you visit another office where the basics are in abundance, it depresses you. Eventually, the quality of your work deteriorates without you even realizing it.

It is the same with athletes.

If an athlete is not comfortable with his training environment, his or her ability to learn can be impacted. Like everyone else, athletes need to feel motivated in order to improve.

Modern facilities encourage athletes to work harder and hence improve..

 

 

 

 

 

Andre Ewers is encouraged that better days are ahead following his fast 100m run in Jacksonville, Florida last weekend.

The 25-year-old Jamaican clocked 10.04s to win his heat at the JAC Combined Events Championships, making him the second-fastest Jamaican this year. Julian Forte’s 10.03 set two weeks ago in Kingston, leads all Jamaican male sprinters for 2020.

The time was also an improvement on Ewers’ 10.10 run in Clermont, Florida, at the end of July that took the young sprinter closer to his goal in this COVID-19-impacted season.

“When I started to compete again the goal really was to execute, have fun and get a good run in and knock the rust off,” Ever said Monday. “After that, I told myself that I believe I can run sub-10 the next meet possibly 10.0x if I can find one.”

The time took him close to his personal best of 9.98 that he ran in Tampa, Florida, in May 2018 and is proving to be a boost to his belief that another sub-10 run is not far away.

“I believe I’m capable of it but, unfortunately, this may be my last meet for the year due to everything going on and the difficulties in finding meets,” he said. “Now, my focus is on the Olympics next year and working hard to accomplish my goals.

“Even though my ultimate goal was to run sub 10, I look at 10.04 as a blessing, given the circumstances and lack of resources I have right now. I’m honestly pleased with the time.”

During his final years at Florida State University, Ewers progress was hampered by persistent injury. He now says those days are behind him, thanks to the work of his coach, Ricky Argro.

“To prevent injuries, my coach makes me do a lot of different kinds of pool workouts,” he said. “My health right now is really good. I’m healthy and I’m thankful for that.”

 

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