Antigua and Barbuda track and field star Daniel Bailey has launched a broadside on the county’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), who he accuses of being a 'sham' and not caring about the nation’s athletes.

The 34-year, who has represented the county at the Olympic Games on several occasions, retired from international competition in 2018, pointing to the exorbitant cost of competing as a major factor in his decision. 

Earlier this year, Bailey announced that he had decided to return to the sport in order to compete at next year’s Olympic Games.  It seems, however, that some things have yet to change.

“They turned down my stuff and I left it alone, but I knew that was going to happen and I just think that the NOC is a sham because they don’t care about the athletes,” Bailey said recently on the Good Morning Jojo sports show.

“It is the first time I have sent the NOC an email about funding and the murmuring stated as to why Bakka want this and why Bakka wants that but at the end of the day, the money does not belong to any one of them and without the athletes, they can’t get any funding,” he added.

Earlier this year, EP Chet Greene, politician, and president of the NOC pledged to support the athlete after learning of his bid to qualify for the Olympics.

Bailey’s scorn was not, however, limited to the NOC as he reflected on a long career of footing his own expense.

“For the majority, I had to do it myself along with two or three corporate sponsors.  The NOC is not coming on board, the athletics association is not coming on board and the Ministry of Sports is not coming on board.  At the age of 18 years, I left for Jamaica on an IOC scholarship, and ever since then I have never gotten any help from the NOC, the government nor the Ministry of Sports.  I have been to four Olympic Games, spent 100s of thousands of dollars on myself, and represented this country without a dollar from anybody.”

Bailey, who has a personal best of 9.91, has made it to the semi-finals of two Olympic Games and was fourth at the 2009 World Championships.

Three-time Olympian Michael Frater said the new administration of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), plans to engage the country’s athletes in a move to improve relations between the governing body and its primary stakeholders.

After an almost three-year hiatus from the sport, sprinter Daniel Bailey is planning a comeback at the 2021 World Indoor Championships from March 19-21 in Nanjing, China. His coach Carl Casey believes the veteran sprinter could be even better than before on his return.

The 34-year-old Bailey, the first Antiguan to win a 60m indoor global medal, took a break from the sport in 2018 and many believed he had retired.

However, according to Casey, he has been preparing Bailey for his intended return to the sport in 2021 and things have been going well.

“Daniel is not really a person who shies away from working…when it comes to training he is very focused,” Casey said during a recent interview on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show in Antigua.

“This time around we are seeing a whole different person in terms of maturity and focus.”

A decade ago Bailey, who boasts a personal best of 9.91, was among the best sprinters in the world, he was fourth in the final of the Men’s 100m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, where Usain Bolt set the world record of 9.58s.

The following year he won bronze at the World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar and won a silver medal in the 100m at the Continental Cup in Split.

Despite Bailey’s age, Casey believes there is a lot more in the tank.

“He is the first person to run sub-10 in a South American country. Daniel Bailey is the only (Antiguan) athlete to have won a medal at indoors so he has substance,” the former national coach said.

“Maybe it’s me but I think the second time coming is a better Daniel Bailey.”

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange has congratulated Garth Gayle on his ascendency to the presidency of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA).

Gayle, who was the Honorary Secretary of the JAAA for two decades, replaced Dr Warren Blake who stepped down after two four-year terms. Gayle defeated Olympic Quarrie in a landslide winning 236 delegate votes to Quarrie’s 28.

Marie Tavares will fill Gayle’s former position, after defeating Anthony Davis while Leroy Cooke is the Director of Records.

Ian Forbes was elected unopposed as First Vice President, as were second Vice President Lincoln Eatmon, Third Vice President Olympian Michael Frater and Fourth Vice President Vilma Charlton. Ludlow Watts returns as Treasurer while Brian Smith will be Assistant Secretary.

In her congratulatory message, Minister Grange said she was expecting great things from the new administration.

“As I offer my congratulations to Garth and those on his slate for the success in the elections yesterday, I say Jamaica is looking forward to the best performance over the next four years in the best interests of the country’s track and field athletes,” she said.

“There is a lot to be done in the further development of the sport and as the Minister of Sport, I am right here in the middle to give my support to the new administration.

“I am also hoping that with the elections out of the way, all will work together to build on Jamaica’s long, proud and wonderful record of performance in track and field.”

The full executive of the new JAAA administration also include committee members Keith Wellington, Heleen Francis, Julette Parkes-Livermore, Ewan Scott, Judith Ewart, Fedrick Dacres, Dr Carl Bruce and Gregory Hamilton.

 

 

In a time of national crises stemming from the eight-month old global pandemic, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to come to the rescue of many of those in need.

Jamaica sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah has been included in a shortlist of five athletes in contention for the World Athletics 2020 Female Athlete of the Year.

Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc upon the international track and field calendar, the Jamaican managed to put together a series of strong performances.  Thompson-Herah ran unbeaten over seven races in which she also set a world-leading 10.85 over the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome. She also closed the season with a strong 10.87s in Doha.

Making the final five with Thompson-Herah are Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia) Sifan Hassan, Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir, and Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela).  Gidey set a world record of 14:06.62 over 5000m and was second in the 5000m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Hassan also set a world record in the one hour run as well as a European record of 29:36.67 over 10,000m, the fourth-fastest performance in history.  Jepchirchir won the world half marathon title and twice broke the world half-marathon record, while Rojas was undefeated in four triple jump competitions indoors and outdoors and broke the world indoor triple jump record with 15.43m.

The male and female World Athletes of the Year will be announced live at the World Athletics Awards 2020 to be staged as a virtual event on Saturday 5 December and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube channel, its Facebook page, and via Twitter.

 

 

 

The resurfacing of Jamaica’s National Stadium track and a similar project at Catherine Hall Sports Complex are scheduled to get underway in coming months, according to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

Both projects will fall within the remit of a government maintenance program geared towards ensuring that money is set aside for upgrading the island's stadiums.  According to Grange, resurfacing work at the National Stadium is expected to begin “any time now, with Catherine Hall Sports Complex penciled in as a priority for the next year.

According to Grange two factors will determine when the work gets going at the National Stadium.  The first is the fact that the track has to be laid on a completely dried surface, and the process must therefore await the end of seasonal rains.  The other factor is the ability of the manufacturers' representatives, BSW of Germany, to leave Germany to come to Jamaica to supervise the project and that will depend on COVID restrictions.

“The material for the resurfacing of the Stadium track is on site. Upgrading after 10 years of usage is now necessary for the track to retain its Class 1 certification by World Athletics, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations. The track was laid in 2010 with a projected lifespan of eight years. But because of maintenance and care we were able to extend it by another two years to 2020,” Grange said.

 “The Government is putting a maintenance/replacement program to ensure that there is money for upgrading stadiums. It is through such a plan for the National Stadium that we have money for a new track. Money was actually put aside for the National Stadium because of proper planning and going forward we will be using that approach for upgrading of the facilities.”

Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport has settled the balance of outstanding medical bills for Olympian Kemoy Campbell.

Notwithstanding the presence of athletes like Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman, two of the world’s fastest men, 100 and 200m world-record holder Usain Bolt does not believe his records are under threat.

Usain Bolt believes Juventus and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is "definitely" quicker than him.

Bolt retired from athletics in 2017 but the eight-time Olympic gold medallist still holds the world records over 100 and 200 metres.

The 34-year-old clocked a world-record time of 9.58 seconds in the 100m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, while he also ran 200m in 19.19s 11 years ago in the German city.

But Bolt feels five-time Ballon d'Or winner and footballer Ronaldo is faster.

"For sure Cristiano [is faster than me]," Manchester United fan Bolt, who also tried to forge a career in football post-athletics following trials with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and A-League side Central Coast Mariners, told Marca Sport Weekend.

"For me he works out every day, he is a super athlete.

"He always on top of his game, he works hard and he is focussed. Right now I definitely think he would be faster than me."

Ronaldo has scored six goals in four Serie A appearances for Juventus this season, while the 35-year-old netted in Portugal's 7-0 friendly rout of Andorra on Wednesday.

After bursting onto the scene at Sporting CP, Ronaldo spent six years at United, where he won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours.

Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in 2009, having scored 118 goals for the Red Devils across all competitions.

In the Spanish capital, Ronaldo became Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer with 450 – 311 of those coming in LaLiga.

Ronaldo claimed four Champions League crowns, a pair of LaLiga trophies, three Club World Cup honours and two UEFA Super Cups among other silverware before joining Juventus in 2018.

In Turin, Ronaldo already has 71 goals and two Serie A trophies to his name amid speculation he could depart for Paris Saint-Germain or United.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)the challenging the decision of an independent anti-doping tribunal to clear world 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser of committing an anti-doping violation by missing three out-of-competition tests in 2019.

The news comes on the heels of reports that the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) had issued a statement in support of Bahamian Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who questioned why World Athletics didn’t sanction to Bahrani athlete who defeated her in the final of the 2019 World Championships 400m final in Doha.

Naser won in a world-leading 48.14, the third fastest time in history. However, she had missed three tests on March 12 and 16 and April 12 that year but was not suspended. One of those missed tests was being investigated while Naser was competing in Doha.

Naser was provisionally suspended on June 5, 2020 but was cleared by an Independent Tribunal in October after it was revealed during the hearing that the doping control officer turned up at the wrong address to test Naser.

However, the AIU announced on Twitter today that they would be challenging the decision.

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 World Championships discus silver medalist is now in a race against time after undergoing surgery on his wrist to repair a damaged ligament suffered during a recent fall.

Dacres, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games, revealed his wrist in a cast on social media after reportedly undergoing surgery on the weekend while announcing that he had started his own YouTube channel.

With the rescheduled 2020 Olympic set to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021, a mere eight months away, Dacres could be hard-pressed to be healthy in time as there is the chance that his repaired wrist could take as long as six months to heal. There is chance, however, that he could be fully healed before then.

His coach, Julian Robinson is optimistic that the 2018 Commonwealth champion and national record holder will be able to recover in time.

“There is some physical work that we can do on the intervening period. We will try and maximize that,” he said.

“However, the throwing part will have to start after he has recovered. When that is, I don’t know. Time will tell. I am praying that its sooner rather than later.”

The affable 26-year-old is Jamaica’s most successful thrower. He became the first Jamaican to win a World Championship medal when he claimed silver in Doha in 2019. In 2018, perhaps his most successful year as a professional athlete, Dacres won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and the NACAC Championships in Toronto, Canada.

He is the 2015 Pan Am Games champion and has a national record of 70.78m set in Rabat on July 16 2019. He is the only Jamaican to ever throw 70m in the men’s discus.

If this is to be the final season of Clemson University’s men’s track and field and cross-country, then Head Coach Mark Elliott intends to make it one for the ages as he launches the seemingly improbable task of making the school change its mind.

Elliott, who joined Clemson in 2013 after 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University, was caught off guard when the Division I school announced the unthinkable late last week.

Athletics Director Dan Radakovich delivered the devastating news last Thursday, November 5. In a letter posted on the university’s website, he wrote:

“After consultation and communication with President Clements and the Board of Trustees, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue sponsorship of the men’s track and field program effective June 2021. The program includes indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country.

After a long period of deliberative discussion and analysis we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field program is in the best long-term interests of Clemson Athletics. While this decision comes during the significant financial challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, those challenges are just one of many factors that led to this decision. We will continue to honor all student-athlete scholarships and provide them with support as they work towards earning their degrees. “

He said the school would also honour the contracts of the six coaches employed by the school, which basically means until the end of the 20/21 season.

The athletic director said several factors contributed to the decision including, but not limited to: competitive balance, gender equity and Title IX compliance, financial positioning, impact on diversity among student-athletes and staff, and local and national  interest and participation in the sport.

“The annual $2-million plus in savings will be reinvested into other athletic department initiatives, including our remaining Olympic sports and will help to provide additional financial stability moving forward. The Department of Athletics has already undertaken several significant measures to address a projected resource shortfall of $25 million this fiscal year,” he rationalized.

Elliott told Sportsmax.TV he was stunned by the news.

“It came as a big surprise. I had no knowledge. I found out about an hour and a half after the student-athletes were told by the athletic director,” he said. “They (student-athletes) were caught off guard and they’re still trying to process it, just like we are.”

Jamaica currently has about five or six male athletes on scholarship at Clemson among them Fabian Hewitt, LaFrenz Campbell, Rayon Holmes, Zico Campbell and Rojae Stona. Of the five, three – Hewitt, Campbell and Holmes - are due to graduate this academic year but they will still have college eligibility.

What this means is that if any of them were planning to continue to pursue further college competition and eventually transition to the professional ranks, they will likely consider transfers to other schools. Elliott reveals that if that turns out to be the case, then he will do everything to help them find new schools.

“They would have to seek alternatives and I and the coaches would help them along that path,” Elliott said.

Besides the athletes, at least 50 per cent of the athletics coaching staff that includes Lennox Graham, are likely to lose their jobs as under NCAA rules, the number coaches a school can employ depends on whether the number of programmes they have.

“It affects everyone, three of us or six of us could be gone,” Elliott said while explaining why for him the situation is so regrettable.

“Track and field is what got me to where I am today. My parents could not afford to send me to college so I got a scholarship just like these young men,” he said.

“It hurts on many levels. This is my livelihood too but I don’t view it as that alone. It is an opportunity to give opportunity to those like myself. It does hurt.”

It is why he say wants this coming season to be one of Clemson’s best ever.

“The focus is on the student-athletes to be able to be competitive. That is where the focus is right now. Life offers you challenges. How you respond is what makes the difference. We will try to get them to reconsider," he said. 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican coaches Mark Elliott and Lennox Graham are in limbo after Clemson University announced today that it will discontinue its men’s track and field and cross country program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 athletic season.

Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich made the announcement this afternoon saying that the programmes to be discontinued include indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Radakovich said the university will honour the contracts of the coaches through to their full term, which means that the coaches will be paid up until June 2021.

Clemson Athletics will also honour the scholarships of all impacted student-athletes through their undergraduate years at the level of financial aid that they are presently receiving, the statement said.

The NCAA-maximum number of allowable scholarships for men’s track is 12. Clemson’s 12 scholarships are presently split among 26 student-athletes, 15 of whom are scheduled to graduate by August 2021.

Clemson also supports an additional 25 walk-on student-athletes in the program.

“This difficult decision is a result of an exhaustive examination of our athletics department over the past several  months,” said Radakovich. “After careful analysis, we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field  program is in the best long-term interest of Clemson Athletics. This decision impacts incredible student-athletes,  and we know how hard they work and the effort and pride they take in representing Clemson University.”

Head Coach Mark Elliott’s phone went unanswered when Sportsmax.TV called today. He took the Clemson head coaching position in 2013 after spending 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University.

Notably, Jamaican Olympian and 800m national record holder, Natoya Goule, who won an NCAA title under Elliott’s watch, followed him to Clemson that year.

Assistant Coach Lennox Graham (hurdles and long sprints) joined the coaching staff in 2017 after spending a decade at Johnson C Smith University where he enjoyed tremendous success guiding 27 athletes to NCAA Division II championships titles, both indoors and outdoors.

In a brief comment to Sportsmax.TV, he said he just heard the news prior to being called and that he was still processing it.

Graham’s professional club, TRS, currently trains at Clemson. Danielle Williams, the 2015 World 100m champion, Kyron McMaster, the Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion and World Championship 400m hurdles finalist Leah Nugent are all members of the club.

Men’s track and field has been sponsored at Clemson since 1953, claiming 23 combined ACC Team Championships, 16 individual NCAA champions, 22 Olympians and four Olympic Gold Medalists.

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