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 contracts of all sports coaches, including head track coach Paul Francis and Stephen Francis, employed by the University of Technology (UTECH), have not been renewed for the coming academic year as the college moves to protect its staff and student population from possible COVID-19 infection.

The pandemic has forced the school to suspend its sports programmes until it decides how many students they will allow on campus for the academic year set to begin on August 26, 2020. 

Paul and Stephen Francis run the university’s track and field programme, and who under a Memorandum of Understanding with the university, also operate the MVP Track Club at the school’s Papine campus.

The university informed the coaches by letter on Monday, Sportsmax.TV understands.

However, the school said the move is temporary.

“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 Kamilah Hylton, the Dean of the Faculty of Sports and Science while 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 the school will have to determine how athletes would function under existing COVID-19 protocols, meaning how many athletes would be able to train together, adhere to the required physical distancing requirements and other related safety measures.

Hylton explained that depending on the state of the pandemic some contracts could be renewed as early as the second school semester.

“Of paramount importance is the safety of the athletes. We have to ensure that we have the necessary resources to facilitate the safety of our student-athletes,” Ms Hylton said.

 Ms Hylton also confirmed that, so far, no new sports scholarships have been offered to student-athletes.

As it relates to students who are already on scholarship, Ms Hylton said the school would maintain its obligations to them and they would attend classes as usual.

“We are bound by contract, so those students would continue to be supported once they continue to meet academic criteria,” she said.

Among other measures being taken by the school is the limiting of the number of students allowed to share dorm rooms on the campus. For now, only one student will be allowed to a room. 

The college prides itself as being home to a number of Jamaica's world-class athletes.

Former 100m world-record holder Asafa Powell, Olympic medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Sherone Simpson were all members of the UTECH track programme.

With an eye fixed a sprint-double campaign at what would be her final Olympic Games set for Tokyo next year, two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was encouraged by her performance at the Velocity Fest 4 and 5 meets held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Although Covid-19 has halted regional and international tournaments, since May the Jamaica Rifle Association’s (JRA) practical-pistol squad have been staging monthly mega matches with marksman Ryan Bramwell dominating the competitions.

After three months of matches, the top local and regional shooter remains undefeated, taking the Standard Division as well as Overall title on each occasion despite fierce competition.

For the big matchup in May, Bramwell scored 425 points to finish way ahead of runner-up Anthony Johnson who tallied 330.823 and Chris Hart who was third with 329.010.

In June, Bramwell trounced the field again with 1142.708 points while Kevin Cheung was second with 1073.810 and Greg Henry scored 949.026 to take third.  Then in July, Bramwell maintained his form to post 760.000 points and extend his streak while Darin Richards and Henry placed second and third, respectively, with 641.589 and 624.006 points.

“I have learned that the hallmark of a top performer is consistency, and while I know I don’t need to win every stage, I do want to win every match so I focus on consistency and thankfully I’ve been on a streak,” Bramwell said.

While the local landscape has always been competitive, 2020 has brought a heightened focus on home-field competitions as the pandemic forced a series of postponements including the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Area 6 Championships which should have been held in March in Florida.

The highly anticipated International Practical Shooting Confederation’s (IPSC) World Shoot originally scheduled for November has also been postponed until next year.

In addition, Jamaica was set to play host to Caribbean and American shooters at the Jamaica Invitational Pistol Tournament (JIPT) over the Easter weekend in April, but the prestigious competition was called off due to restrictions on travel because of health and safety protocols.

“With travel now involving 14-day quarantines to invite shooters here or to travel to a tournament is not practical so we are focusing on local competitions,” Bramwell explained.

Although initially, the pandemic disrupted practise and tournament schedules, the pistol shooters soon integrated the recommended safety precautions into their match procedures in order to resume training and competing.

“To stay safe while we’re competing, we shoot in small groups to allow for social distancing and we are also rigorous about sanitising,” Bramwell explained. “Naturally, we were disappointed that some of the bigger tournaments we have been preparing for are not going to happen, but the local competition schedule is giving us a lot of motivation to keep training and keep improving

William Knibbs produced a tournament-winning round on Sunday’s final day of the two-day Jamaica Golf Association Emancipendence Golf Classic at the Caymanas Golf Club in St. Catherine on the weekend.

In doing so, he dethroned Sean Morris to win his second tournament since competitions resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown earlier in the year.

Knibbs, who was recently crowned Jamaica’s national amateur golf champion, overcame a double-bogey on the final hole to shoot a two-over-par 74 for a combined score of 151.

The hole was a nightmare for Knibbs all weekend as he shot a triple bogey on Saturday. He was seven over par for the tournament.

“I feel good about winning the tournament.  A win is always a nice feeling,” Knibbs said.

“The conditions probably were not very much different yesterday (Saturday) compared to today, may have been slightly less windy but overall I managed the conditions better.”

 He now looks forward to the next JGA event and especially the “Jamaican Open is in December from what I gather so that should be nice.  It should be a strong field there.”

Knibbs revealed that playing under the threat of the pandemic has been a challenge.

“It’s more precautionary measures with regards to touching the flagsticks and stuff like that,” he said, “everyone is just being careful with regards to cross-contaminating where possible.”

Dr. Mark Newnham was three strokes behind with a final score of 154 over the two days after a 76 on the final day to follow up his 78 on Saturday.

Dethroned champion Sean Morris, who went into the tournament with high expectations, found it rough going over the two days.

He finished third overall having shot a seven-over par 79 on Sunday an improvement over his nine-over par 81 on Saturday.

His day two scorecard showed 10 bogeys and three birdies that saw him finish nine shots behind the winner.

“I came here to the golf course today about four or five shots back and decided I would look and see what was happening on the front nine for me,” he said.

“I just figured that I was not as sharp and as tournament-ready as I would like to be. I played the first nine holes three over par and really struggled to get the ball close to the hole. It was like that for the rest of the day and I figured that if you are a little off and your timing is a little off and your chipping is a little off and your putting is not as defined, you are going to end up with shots a couple over.

“My worst score today should have been 75. I missed some easy puts.  I just felt like I was in a participation mode rather than a competitive mode so I just chalked it up to just enjoying the day and finishing the tournament.  I was not tournament sharp this week.  I haven’t played a lot since the injured finger so I just got to wait, my turn will come.”

 Meanwhile, 14-year-old Aman Dhiman ended joint fifth with his father Vikram Dhiman, after shooting 87 and 83.

 The Men Super Senior 0-12 handicap section went to former JGA president Wayne Chai Chong, who shot 76 on Sunday for a two-day total of 149.

He was followed by Robert Chin on 151 (77, 74) and Mike Bradford 160 (79, 81) to round out the top three.

The Men & Men Senior 7-12 handicap was topped by Shamar Wilson 167 (82, 85) while Richard White 176 (93, 83) and Barry Eligon 182 (93m 89) copped the second and third spots respectively.

The golfers in the Men & Men Senior 13 – 24 handicap were Aubyn Ferguson 194 (11, 83) and Delroy Anderson 208 (111, 97).

The three ladies who completed the classic were Jennifer Mendes 183 (93, 90), Alison Reid 185 (98, 87) and Diane Hudson 191 (99, 92).

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) is in receipt of the comprehensive and detailed report prepared by the Independent Task Force for Corporate Governance Reform.

The Report recognised the enormous cricket talent in the region and the need to harness that talent and promote its growth and presented the way in which improved governance will contribute to the process.

The Task Force also conducted case studies of cricket governance models among major cricket nations and considered it important, in the exercise of their mandate, to highlight those principles of modern corporate governance, which in their opinion, should apply to the Board of Directors of CWI as a corporate entity carrying out a public function.

The objectives of the Governance Task Force included the need to undertake a review of the corporate governance framework, standards and practices of CWI and to recommend changes “to enhance stakeholder trust and ensure more transparency and accountability in line with modern best practices for corporate governance.

The objectives also included reviewing the roles of president and vice president, the structure and role of CWI’s Board of Directors and the committee framework of the Board of Directors.

Overall, the report noted that reform was needed to ensure the sustainability of CWI, highlighting the “need to foster the rebuilding of trust and a common purpose between CWI and the other stakeholders, especially with regional governments”.

Also among their recommendations were the comprehensive reform of the governance structure using key principles of modern governance to provide greater accountability and transparency. They also recommended that the membership of the Board of Directors reflect a wide cross-section of skills and competencies, and a smaller and more balanced Board of 12 (currently 18) in the immediate instance, with an eventual reducing to nine including at least two women.

Other key recommendations also included the redefining of the roles of president and vice president to be more Board specific and non-executive as well as the establishment of a nominations committee to identify and evaluate potential directors and to nominate future directors and committee members.

The reduction in CWI Committee structure from 12 to five (5) Committees was also recommended.

Jamaican Senator Don Wehby headed the Task Force, which also included Sir Hilary Beckles, Mr Deryck Murray, Mr O.K Melhado and Mr Charles Wilkin QC.  The Task Force consulted extensively within CWI, the region and internationally; and the 36-page report drew from a wide cross-section of expertise – from knowledgeable stakeholders in the West Indies as well as in the global game.

 “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my Task Force for their selfless dedication to the completion of this project, over the past year. Their time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made the finalisation of this report a reality. We would also like to commend CWI President Ricky Skerritt and his Board of Directors for seeing the need for governance reform and giving us the opportunity to make a contribution to the sport we love, and for which we wish the utmost best,” said Wehby.

“Our Task Force has met formally 16 times over the period and we have spent many hours preparing the report submitted (the Wehby Report). We are positive that, if implemented, the recommendations of the Wehby Report will improve the governance of CWI and result in positive effects on team performance.

“The principal roles and responsibilities of the Board are organisational and financial planning and reporting, decisions on investments and capital projects, preserving the assets of the company, establishing policy, selecting the executive, general oversight of the executive and exercising other powers given to it by the constituent documents of the company. The membership of the Board should reflect a wide cross-section of the skills and competencies required for carrying out its roles and responsibilities.”

CWI President Skerritt said reform was key to the success of West Indies cricket and was the basis for their campaign that led to victory in the CWI elections of March 2019.

“Governance reform is one of the important promises Vice President Kishore Shallow and myself made prior to our election last year. When all is said and done, we expect that the Wehby Report will be seriously considered by the Directors and member representatives,” Skerritt said.

“The task force and stakeholders can be assured that we will do all we can to ensure the implementation of this report.”

Jamaica’s track and field icons Merlene Ottey and Deon Hemmings McCatty, as well as female football star Khadija Shaw and legendary jockey Emilio Rodriquez, are among several sporting personalities, who are to receive national honours in October.

All 162 players, administrators and officials tested negative for the coronavirus Covid-19 after they arrived in Trinidad and Tobago for the 2020 season of the Hero CPL.

An aggressive, attack-oriented batman and penetrative spin bowler, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi could turn a match with either bat or ball. Out of the seven fastest ODI centuries of all time, Afridi has produced three of them.

Throughout his career, he had an ODI strike rate of 117 runs per 100 balls, the third-highest in the game's history. He is known for hitting long sixes, while his trademark shot is a cross-batted flick to the leg-side to a ball outside off stump.

As a bowler, his stock ball was the leg break but his armoury also includes the googly and a "quicker one" which he can deliver in the style of a medium-pacer, reaching speeds of around 130 km/h (81 mph).

At the 2007 World Twenty20, he performed poorly with the bat but brilliantly with the ball, earning the Man of the Series award, though he failed to take a wicket in the final and was out for a golden duck.

He also became the first person to receive the Player of the Tournament award in T20 World Cup history. But in the next ICC Twenty20 World Cup, held in 2009 Afridi performed brilliantly in the series scoring 50 runs in the semi-final and 54 in the final and leading his team to victory.

At the 2009 ICC World T20 final versus Sri Lanka at Lord's, he set several all-round records. He became the first player to score a fifty in a successful run chase in a World T20 final. He also became the first player to score a fifty and to take at least a single wicket in a World T20 final.

He also became the only player to win both the Player of the Final (2009) and the Player of the tournament awards in ICC World T20 history.

 

Career statistics (2004-present)

Full name: Sahibzada Mohammad Shahid Khan Afridi

Born: March 1, 1980, (40) Khyber Agency

Major teams: Pakistan, Asia XI, Brampton Wolves, Deccan Chargers, Dhaka Gladiators, Dhaka Platoon, Edmonton Royals, Fly Emirates XI, Griqualand West, Habib Bank Limited, Hampshire, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Karachi, Karachi Kings, Karachi Region Blues, Kowloon Cantons, Leicestershire, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Northamptonshire, Peshawar Zalmi, Rangpur Riders, Ruhuna Royals, South Australia, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Legbreak googly

 

T20I Career (Pakistan) Batting

Mat       Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR           100        50           4s         6s          

99           91          12          1416      54*        17.92     944        150.00          0          4           103        73          

T20 Career Batting

Mat      Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR           100        50           4s               6s          

317       271        38           4310      101        18.49     2801      153.87           1           9          320             245     

 

T20I Career Bowling

Mat       Inns        Balls       Runs      Wkts      BBI         BBM      Ave        Econ      SR           4w        5w          10w

99           97         2168        2396        98         4/11       4/11       24.44      6.63      22.1          3            0             0

 

T20 Career Bowling

Mat       Inns      Balls      Runs      Wkts      BBI         BBM      Ave        Econ      SR           4w           5w          10w

317        311        6742      7547       339        5/7         5/7       22.26       6.71      19.8           9             2             0

 

Career Highlights

  • Most T20 WC scalps (39)
  • 2007 T20 WC player of the tournament
  • 3 4-wicket hauls in T20I
  • Made 1416 T20I runs at an average of 17.92
  • Secured 98 T20I wickets at 24.45
  • Most T20I balls bowled (2168)
  • 4310 T20 runs at 18.49

With 63 international T20 wickets, Imran Tahir is South Africa’s leading bowler in that format.

At the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, Tahir returned his best figures of 4–21 in South Africa's match against the Netherlands and was awarded man of the match. Tahir was joint highest wicket-taker in the tournament along with Ahsan Malik from the Netherlands; both took 12 wickets in the tournament.

In the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final match between South Africa and Sri Lanka, Tahir helped South Africa to their first ever World Cup knockout win with a Man of the Match performance of 4-26.

In February 2017, he reached the top position in both the ODI and T20I rankings for bowlers, and three months later was named T20I Cricketer of the Year at Cricket South Africa's annual awards.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Mohammad Imran Tahir

Born: March 27, 1979, Lahore, Punjab (41)

Major teams:  South Africa, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Derbyshire, Dolphins, Durham, Durham 2nd XI, Duronto Rajshahi, Eastern Transvaal, Easterns, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Hampshire, Hampshire 2nd XI, Hampshire 2nd XI, ICC World XI, Lahore City, Lahore Lions, Lahore Ravi, Lahore Whites, Lions, Middlesex, Middlesex 2nd XI, Multan Sultans, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, North Eastern Transvaal, Nottinghamshire.

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Legbreak googly

 

T20I Career

Mat   Inns    Balls    Runs     Wkts     BBI      BBM     Ave      Econ    SR      4w    5w    10w

38       38        845     948         63       5/23      5/23     15.04    6.73    13.4      2        2      0

 

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   Balls     Runs     Wkts     BBI     BBM    Ave     Econ     SR       4w    5w    10w

290     276    6203      7246      365      5/23     5/23    19.85    7.00     16.9     10       2       0

 

Career Highlights

  • 63 T20I scalps in 38 matches at 15.04
  • 2 Four wkt hauls, 2 five wkt hauls in T20I
  • Leading wicket taker in 2014 T20 WC (12)
  • Tied 2nd fastest player to reach 50 T20I wickets (31 matches)
  • 4th most T20 wickets (365)
  • IPL purple cap winner for most wickets in 2019

When the pandemic shut the world down in March, it also shut down the world of sports.

All the major football leagues – the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Primera Liga; the NBA, Swimming, Super League Netball, everything was shut down for like four months.

It was the same here in Jamaica. The ISSA Boys and Girls Champs, Red Stripe Premier League, everything. If it was classified as a sport, it was done.

However, things gradually started to open back up.

The EPL and the other major European football leagues found a way to complete their respective seasons even if it came at great expense. Massive levels of testing of players and support staff, as well as technical people to facilitate the broadcast of the matches, played in empty stadia.

Players were quarantined in hotels and not allowed outside their respective bubbles in order to ensure that there was little chance that they or their teammates would become infected.

Here in Jamaica, there is talk of getting the Red Stripe Premier League going again later this year.  That should present quite a challenge for the 12 teams in the league and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who will have to figure out how they are going to get things going while keeping the players and support staff safe.

Will they quarantine players and staff? Where will they house them? Will fans be allowed into the stadia where the teams are playing? This latter issue could be a major factor in how teams will approach the season.

In the absence of broadcast money and most likely corporate sponsorship, teams in the RSPL will depend heavily on gate receipts. However, with restrictions being placed on the number of supporters that will be allowed inside the stadia, how will teams stay afloat while still paying players and covering all the other costs associated with running a football franchise?

Perhaps, the JFF and the 12 teams will be able to fashion some semblance of a season but for schoolboy football, things are a lot more uncertain. The situation is so tenuous that not even the JFF President Michael Ricketts can say for sure whether there will be a school-boy season.

More than 40 teams contest the Manning Cup in Jamaica’s Corporate Area. Out in rural Jamaica, the magnitude of the undertaking is so much larger. More than a hundred schools are set to take part in the daCosta Cup competition.

I am not sure the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association can pull that off.

How will schools handle the players? Will they be allowed to go home once training camps begin? Will players be allowed to attend regular classes with other kids from so many different backgrounds and communities that might have asymptomatic people walking around or living in their homes?

 How will the schools protect coaches? How do schools plan to pay for sanitizers and all the other things needed to ensure that everyone remains safe during the course of the season?

On the face of it, I don’t think they can.

There are way too many schools, way too many environments to control and secure and way too many players to place in any kind of bubble that will guarantee their safety while preventing a national outbreak of the coronavirus in schools across the island.

As of today, fewer than 1000 Jamaicans have been confirmed to be carrying the COVID-19 virus. If there are any missteps, any gaps in proposed protocols, ISSA runs the risk of causing an island-wide outbreak that could see tens of thousands of Jamaicans becoming infected and possibly hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

The disaster would be on such a scale, Jamaica’s medical facilities would be significantly overwhelmed.

The way I see it, there should be no school-boy football in Jamaica for 2020. It would be foolhardy to even attempt it.

 

 

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller said batsman Andre McCarthy is devastated that he will not be able to play in the 2020 CPL season that begins in Trinidad later this month.

Jamaican bodybuilder Dwayne Walker is as pleased as punch following his debut performance in the Open Class at the IFBB Tampa Pro tournament this past weekend.

Jamaica, West Indies and Guyana Amazon Warrior batsman Brandon King is doing his part in supporting the Black Lives Matter and assisting communities by the COVID19 pandemic.

Briana Williams has signed a three-year deal to become a Digicel  brand ambassador.

Asafa Powell has been paying child support to Amita Persaud-Webb but the mother of his child wants the former 100m world record holder to pay more.

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