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.

Asafa Powell appeared before the Family Court in Jamaica on Thursday over child support payments. Meantime, Powell has requested that the court order a paternity test.

Powel, 37, appeared before the court after the child’s mother Amita Persaud-Webb filed documents seeking financial maintenance of JMD$25,000 a month.

Attorney-at-law Michelle Thomas represents Webb while Annaliesa Lindsay is representing the former world record holder.

The parties are to return to court on October 9.

There is something special about the first time.

The first time you saw your child walk or talk, first day of high school, first time you did something significant in sport from as small as the first match at any level all the way to a first World Cup, first century, first goal, first triple-double, first Gold medal for country.

No matter the level or scale, first times tend to be heartwarming and often unforgettable and not just for those achieving but equally for those witnessing it.

That is exactly how I feel about a Commonwealth Gold medal won by a Jamaican at the 2002 Games in Manchester, England.


A commonwealth Gold medal.

It was won by Jamaica’s Claston Bernard in the Men’s Decathlon, making him the first Caribbean athlete to secure a medal in this event at the Commonwealth, World or Olympic level.

I was only 12 years old at the time and barely knew anything about the Games and it’s history but I vividly recall sportscasters and analysts discussing with shock that Bernard, a 23-year-old from St Elizabeth, Jamaica, was leading the Decathlon after day one.

Bernard had accumulated 4285 points on day one, almost 300 points clear of Scotland’s Jamie Quarry who had tallied 4015 points.

By the end of day two, shock had turned to celebration as sportscasters across various stations in Jamaica led with news that history had been created and the country had it’s first-ever Decathlon Gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games.

I myself beamed with pride and joy for a man I had never heard about before then, but one who was the country’s first.

By no means did Bernard hit his best performances in that competition. He ended up scoring 7830 points which was off his lifetime best of 8094 points set just over a month prior.

He also set just one personal best, 56.34 metres in the Javelin throw which all but secured victory.

However, at the time, I knew none of those details and to be honest, none of them mattered.

What mattered was that this former Munro College and Louisiana State University graduate had set a new standard and given hope to every young Jamaican and maybe even Caribbean athlete who might not be great at any one event but could deliver when 10 were combined.

Injuries hindered his overall development and he never quite hit the heights one would have hoped at the World Championship and Olympic levels but the foundation was set.

Since his triumph, the Caribbean has won three more medals in the Decathlon at the Commonwealth Games and one at the IAAF World Championships.

Maurice Smith, with a silver medal at Melbourne 2006, Grenada’s Kurt Felix with Bronze at Glasgow 2014 and his brother Lindon Victor with Gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Games are the English-speaking Caribbean athletes to have graced the Commonwealth Games medal podium since Bernard’s breakthrough.

Smith took an even bigger step when he became the first English-speaking Caribbean athlete to win a global medal in the event, silver at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Smith, for sure, who eventually competed alongside Bernard must have gained some inspiration from his fellow Jamaican.

And while we remember and celebrate Maurice’s effort at the global level, we must never forget that Claston Bernard, on July 28, 2002, made a significant contribution by becoming Jamaica’s first and the first for the English-speaking Caribbean.

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah has been confirmed to race at the Herculis Diamond League meeting in Monaco on August 14.

After a season battling injuries in 2019, Nathon Allen seems to be on the mend and relishing the feeling.

Rebounding from a year when she was plagued by injury Jamaican 400-metre hurdler made a triumphant return to the track on the weekend, winning the rarely run 300-metre hurdles at the American Track League meeting at Life University in Marietta, Georgia.

With her 10.98/21.98 sprint double at the Back to the Track: Clermont meeting in Florida, Shaunae Miller-Uibo was the toast of the track and field world last weekend.

It’s been a week. Seven days or more than 10, 080 minutes since Michael Norman of the USA dropped a personal best of 9.86s at the AP Ranch High-Performance Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

It was an amazing performance by Norman, especially considering that he is a quarter-miler. It is even more amazing when you realize that Norman last ran a 100m in April 16, 2016, four years and three months ago.

Now, these observations are not to cast any doubts about the legitimacy of Norman’s time. In fact, I celebrate it. I like seeing new talent emerge; new exciting talent like Norman who many believe could be the man to break the 43-second barrier in the 400m.

I made the observation because over the past week I was waiting for one Carl Lewis to say whether he believes the time is suspicious because Norman’s previous best was 0.41 seconds slower than the time he ran in Texas last week Monday.

About 12 years ago, another talented sprinter that goes by the name of Usain Bolt secured the first of eight Olympic gold medals when he won the blue-ribbon sprint in Beijing in an astounding 9.69s. Lewis was quick to try to discredit Bolt’s achievement.

“…For someone to run 10.03 one year and 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport that has the reputation it has right now, you’re a fool. Period,” Lewis told Sports Illustrated magazine in 2008.

Back when Bolt dropped his 9.69 world record during the Beijing, Olympics, he had managed to shave 0.34 seconds off his previous personal best. If my memory serves me, he clocked 10.03 at GC Foster and then a couple of weeks later, he lowered his personal best to 9.76s at the Jamaica Invitational at the National Stadium in May that year.

He would run a 9.94 in Trinidad before heading to New York where he lowered his PB to 9.72, a new world record. He then shaved a further 0.03s off while winning in Beijing.

Like Norman, Bolt was a 200/400m man before he attempted the 100m. Before Bolt had transitioned from the junior ranks, he had run a World U20 200m record of 19.93 that still stands today. That was 2004. Since that time, Bolt had season-best times of 19.99 in 2005, 19.88 in 2006, and 19.75 in 2007;  time that indicated that by the time 2008 rolled around, Bolt was already capable of breaking 10 seconds.

Norman ran 19.70 in July 2019, while defeating Noah Lyles in an epic battle at the Diamond League meeting in Rome, 43.45 to open in 2019 as well as 43.61 while winning the NCAA Division 1 title for USC in 2018. Like with Bolt, the times suggest that Norman was already capable of breaking 10 seconds over the 100m.

So, to me, when Norman shaved a whopping 0.41 seconds off his previous best when he ran that 100m in Texas last week, it really wasn’t a surprise. However, we are still waiting to hear something from Lewis whether or not we are all fools not to suspect the young American.

That to me is where Lewis’ ignorance and hypocrisy are exposed.

To people like Lewis, the factors that lead to Bolt’s fast times were never taken into consideration. In his mind, someone like Bolt from a Third World country like Jamaica could not possibly run as fast without some kind of pharmaceutical assistance.

His silence now since Norman’s amazing run lays bare his true motivations when he spoke with Sports Illustrated 12 years ago.

When Shaunae Miller-Uibo completed her fantastic sprint double at the Back to the Track: Clermont track meet on the weekend, she moved up the ranks in an elite class of athlete – the combined sprinter.

Despite a cramping hamstring Akeem Bloomfield uncorked his fastest ever season opener while winning the 400m at the Back To The Track: Clermont meeting in Florida on Friday.

Elaine Thompson-Herah never lost belief in her abilities even after struggling with an injury that has caused her to miss out on podium finishes at the last two major championships.

Relatively healthy again for the first time in two years, Jamaican Olympian Julian Forte said he is finally getting back to his best form.

July 19 marked 18 years since Lorraine Fenton set the Jamaican record in the women’s 400 metres.

It is hard to believe that this record is still standing in an era when most Jamaican athletics best from 100 to 400 metres, including hurdles, have been shattered.

Jamaica has had a great history of medalling in the women’s 400 metres at global events.

Since Sandie Richards won silver at the 1997 IAAF World Championships in Athens it has been rare for a Jamaican woman not to be on the medal podium for the 400 metres thanks to Fenton, Novlene Williams-Mills, Shericka Williams, Stephanie-Ann Mcpherson and most recently Shericka Jackson.

Of this group, Fenton is still the most decorated individual performer.  

Indeed, Fenton was among the country’s most consistent championship performers from the late 1990s into the turn of the 21st century.

The former Manchester High school athlete won four individual global outdoor medals, three at the IAAF World Championships and an Olympic silver between 1999 and 2003.

She also captured five relay medals between 1997 and 2005, including anchoring the team to a first ever 4x400 female Gold at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton Canada.

No Jamaican athlete, male or female, won as many global medals, as Fenton did between 1997 and 2005.

Fenton holds a special place in my heart because as an 11-year-old, she was the first Jamaican athlete I saw compete live at the Olympic Games.

It was Sydney 2000 and to the disapproval of my parents, I was watching television in the early hours of the morning when the heats of the women’s 400 metres came on.

She had that beautiful, smooth running action that was hard to ignore.

However, because of Jamaica’s subsequent success it is easy to forget her and her accomplishments.

The truth is, there are recent athletics fans who have simply never heard her name.

For all of us who have favourite athletes, we also have races we wish they could have a shot at re-running.

For me, I would dearly love if Lorraine could go back to the blocks for the 2001 World Championship final.

It was one of those open races.

Mexico’s Ana Guevara was on the rise, but hadn’t yet hit her peak.

Senegal’s Amy Mbacke-Thiam was an unknown quantity but looked great in qualifying while Fenton was the silver medallist from the Olympic Games and with the Olympic champion, Australia’s Cathy Freeman now retired, Fenton had a great shot at individual glory.

It was a great race too. Three across the track with 50 metres to go as they battled for the title.

Fenton appeared to have a slight lead in the closing steps but Thiam’s long strides took her past the Jamaican in the final strides to win gold by 2-hundredths of a second; 49.86 to 49.88.

Of course Fenton did get a Gold medal in Edmonton when she anchored the mile relay team to victory after the United States who led up to the final change, had a mix-up with the baton.

Less than a year after her Edmonton exploits, Fenton set the Jamaican record at 49.30 seconds in Monaco.

The previous mark, 49.57s, set by Grace Jackson had lasted 14 years.

Shericka Williams 49.32s in Berlin 2009, Fenton herself with a 49.43s-run in Paris 2003 and Shericka Jackson 49.47s in Doha 2019 have come closest to the national mark but July 19 has come and gone for a 18th time and once again it has survived.

Now 2021 is what we look to, with the Olympics in sight and Shericka Jackson improving all the time, maybe it will go.

But until then, we celebrate and honour Lorraine Graham-Fenton and her outstanding achievement.

The rescheduled Tokyo Games cannot go ahead if the present global health situation persists, the chairman of the Olympics organising committee has admitted.

Friday was supposed to be the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, but the coronavirus pandemic saw the Games postponed until 2021.

Organising chief Yoshiro Mori was asked by national broadcaster NHK if the Olympics would be able to go ahead if things were unchanged.

"If the current situation continues, we couldn't," he said, before adding that he believes such a scenario is hypothetical and the outlook will improve.

"I can't imagine a situation like this will continue for another year."

Mori stated that finding a vaccine is likely to be crucial for the Olympics to take place in 2021.

"Whether the Olympics can be done or not is about whether humanity can beat the coronavirus. Specifically, the first point will be that a vaccine or drug has been developed," Mori added.

International Olympics Committee chief Thomas Bach recently suggested the Olympics may go ahead with reduced spectator numbers.

Mori suggested Bach was referring to a worst-case scenario and, while acknowledging different scenarios may have to be looked at if the pandemic continues as it is now, he is against a behind-closed-doors Olympics.

"We shouldn't make spectators go through hard times. Sporting events are all about the whole country empathising," Mori told Kyodo News.

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