Sloppy second-half play from Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls resulted in them losing to New Zealand in the final of the 2020 Vitality Nations Cup at the Copper Box Arena in England on Sunday.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls booked a spot in the final of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup final following a 70-66 win over England Roses at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday.

In another strong performance, the Jamaicans led wire to wire before eventually outpacing the slow-starting Roses who staged a furious fourth-quarter rally.  The win will see the Sunshine Girls taking on New Zealand for the title on Sunday.

The Jamaicans started quickly, driving the ball up court with quick passes, the moves expertly finished off by a dominant Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.  Defensively, they managed to force the Roses into careless errors, approaching the first break with a 19-15 lead.

In an attempt to shot down Fowler-Reid in the second quarter, England double-teamed the 6ft 6in phenom with defenders Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin.  The Caribbean team, however, quickly switched the passes to goal attack Shanice Beckford, who finished just as effectively.  At halftime, the Jamaicans held a 39-31 lead.

The Sunshine Girls looked to press their advantage soon after the resumption and held an 11-goal lead with 9 minutes of the third remaining and ended the period up 57-44 and seemingly set for a comfortable win.

A furious fourth-quarter rally from the home team, however, made things seem far less academic as they clawed their way back to within a four-goal deficit.  The Jamaicans, however, held on to cross the finish line.

 

England Roses coach Jess Thirlby insists the team is clear on the approach to take in a crucial encounter against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls, as the sides battle for a spot in the Vitality Netball Nations Cup final on Saturday.

The Jamaicans started the competition in spectacular fashion with a big win over South Africa but experienced a set-back after a loss to the Silver Ferns.  The Roses also defeated SPAR Proteas but were also defeated by New Zealand.  The teams will now meet for a spot in the first-versus-second play-off match.

Thirlby expects to put the Jamaicans under pressure from the opening whistle in the winner take all showdown.

"We know what we need to do, we know we’re going to have to win the ball and pressure it early,” the coach told Sky Sports.

"It's going to be a tough one against Jamaica but I'm really looking forward to the fact that we have put ourselves in that position [winner-takes-all] on Saturday," she added.

"Coming into the tournament I said that, ideally, we want to get into these finals, and we have every opportunity to do so now.  It's going to be tough with that height in the back, but South Africa pushed them the other day. Everyone was a bit critical of us against New Zealand, but you saw the margin between the Silver Ferns and Jamaica (26 goals) so I think it's game on.”

 

 

 

The fastest man that has ever lived is about to become a dad.

New Zealand drubbed Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls 71-45 in their round two match-up in the Vitality Nations Cup Netball Tournament in Birmingham, England on Wednesday.

The Commentators share their views on a video posted on social media with Jamaican Olympic diver Yona Knight-Wisdom speaking to a group of high school girls. He was heavily criticized on social media for speaking to the young ladies while wearing only his Swim Trunks.

The Commentators argued Yona did nothing wrong while assessing how well the 24-year old dealt with the situation from a public relations standpoint.  

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Conan Osborne will lead a 15-man squad named to represent Jamaica 7s at the inaugural World Rugby Challenger Series Tournament to be held in Chile & Uruguay February 15-23, 2020.

Sunshine Girl vice-captain Nicole Dixon showered praise on head coach Connie Francis following Sunday’s 59-54 win over South Africa in their opening match of the 2020 Vitality Nations Cup.

Jamaican sprint superstar Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce insists athletes should retire on their own terms not feel pressure to step aside due to factors like aging.

With sprinting and sports in general often considered the domain of younger athlete, Fraser-Pryce became one of several current stars willing to buck that trend after capturing gold at the Doha World Championships last year.  In the process, she became the oldest woman to ever win 100m gold at a global championship.  The 33-year-old also became the only sprinter to be crowned world champion over the 100m four times (2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019) and the first woman to hold dual world and Olympic titles on two separate occasions.

With 10-years having passed since she made her debut as a 21-year-old at the 2008 Olympic Games, her achievements are as much a testament to her longevity as much as it is to her talent.

“The last time I won this award was 2015 and to be here over a decade later still representing the unique legacy that we have here for Jamaica in sprinting and athletics is a huge honour,” Fraser-Pryce said.

“I hope that with this award a lot more athletes can understand that there is so much more to us as athletes and so much more to give.  You decide when its time to go,” she added.

Fraser-Pryce registered another milestone two years ago when she took time off from the sport to have her first child.

 

World Champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle were named the 2019 RJRGleaner Sports Foundation Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year in an awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday.

Fraser-Pryce saw the award presented to her for a fourth time, having previously claimed the honour in 2012, 2013 and 2015.  The recognition capped off an exceptional season for the diminutive sprinter who previously became the only athlete to win the 100m World Championship title on four occasions with triumph in Doha.

Quartermiler Shericka Jackson, who claimed three gold medals at the World Championships, with bronze in the 400m and 4x400m along with gold in the 4x100m, was runner up behind Fraser-Pryce.

The year was also an exceptional one for Gayle.  The athlete created history at the Doha World Championships after upstaging Juan Miguel Echevarria to claim top spot.  The winning jump was the longest in the world in 10 years.  It was also the farthest distance recorded at the World Championships since Ivan Pedroso’s 8.70m leap in Gothenburg, recorded some 24 years ago.

Fedrick Dacres, the World Championships discus silver medallist, was voted runner up to the Sportsman of the Year.  The other male nominees were Christopher Binnie (squash), Yona Knight-Wisdom (diving) and Travis Smikle (athletics).  Fraser-Pryce and Jackson were joined by Alia Atkinson (swimming) and Rushell Clayton, Natoya Goule, Shanieka Ricketts, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Elaine Thompson and Danielle Williams.

Briana Williams has gone pro!

The 17-year-old Jamaican, who had an outstanding year in 2019, has signed a multi-year contract with Nike. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Recognized as one of the rising stars in track and field having won the sprint double at the World U20 Championships in Tampere in 2018, Williams was courted by a number of shoe companies with PUMA and Nike being the frontrunners.

Nike eventually won the right to the signature of the talented teen, whose coach Ato Boldon confirmed the signing to Sportsmax.TV.

“Briana has had people dedicated to her abilities for many years. Even before me, Coach Tennessee and Coach Damion Thomas, have done right by her,” Boldon said.

“I was just handed the baton for this leg of the race, but I’ve been around this industry a long time and for a company like Nike, who can back anyone, to put this level of support behind Briana, makes all of the work over the last five years, worth it. She is extremely blessed and fortunate to be where she is at just 17.”

Williams, who turns 18 in March, said the Nike deal has provided a platform for her to chase her dreams.

“I’m extremely proud. I have come a long way. This is a big deal for me because I’m young but I’m ready to show the world what I am capable of,” said Williams who now belongs to the group (HSI) that includes indoor 400m WR holder Mike Norman and world champions Christian Coleman and Dalilah Muhammad.

“I’m glad that Nike gave me this opportunity. It means the world to me as a girl with big dreams.”

The year 2019 was a big year for Williams. She won the 100m at the NACAC U18 Championships in Mexico and the Pan Am U20 Championships in Costa Rica during the year in which she ran unbeaten at the junior level.

She also won the Austin Sealy Award at the CARIFTA Games for the second year running after winning three gold medals, duplicating her achievements in 2018. In June, she set a Jamaican junior record of 11.02s in New Mexico.

Track & Field News, considered the bible of the sport, recognized her stellar year by naming her their High School Athlete of the Year for 2019.

The prodigious teen suffered a setback during the year when she returned an adverse finding for a banned diuretic found in her urine sample at the Jamaican National Championships in June where she finished third in the 100m behind two-time Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

As such, her time of 10.94s, which would have been a U18 world record and a national junior record for Jamaica, was subsequently struck from the record books.

Following a hearing before an Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel in September, Williams was reprimanded but was free to compete. However, due to how late the verdict came, her chances of competing at the 2019 World Championships in Doha were effectively dashed.

St Mary High School will be aiming to defend the boys and girls titles when the Northern Championships track and field meet gets underway at Grizzlys Plantation Grove in Priory, St. Ann on Saturday, January 25.

Four-time 100-metre world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser is among six women nominated for the prestigious Laureus Sportswoman of the Year.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has been unable to take part in training with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen due to an unspecified muscular problem.

The 22-year-old winger has been plagued with injury issues for the last several months. After suffering a hamstring injury towards the end of last season, Bailey sat out of a full month of action early this season after suffering a thigh muscle injury during the Champions League.

After returning in November, the player again had a brief spell on the sideline.  The player’s latest minor set-back will not impact his chances of appearing for the club as the club resumes the Bundesliga campaign against Paderborn on the weekend. 

Bailey is currently serving a three-match after being sent off against FC Koln.  The card was the player’s second of the season after also picking one against Borussia Mönchengladbach earlier this season.  The player was also fined €20,000.  The dismissals were the first of the player’s career.

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has insisted he is ready to move on from a tumultuous start to the season, which saw the player pick up two red cards in five appearances.

The 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger was given his marching orders in matches against FC Koln and Borussia Mönchengladbach, a strange position for him to find himself in as they were the first of his career.

 Against Koln, where Bailey was given a red card for pushing his hand into the face of Kingsley Ehzibue, he was asked to apologize to the team by captain Lars Bender.  The Jamaican insists the request was completely understandable.

“Of course I had to apologize to the team for that. That was also important to me,” Bailey said in an interview with RP Online.

“We are a unit and the team should understand how I see the situation and that it was very tough for me. I regret what happened. It was a mistake - especially in the game in Cologne that was so important to the fans, but it was never a bad intention behind it. It was just some very bad reactions from me. But now everything is fine again. In the second half of the season, I want to be more relaxed and, above all, more efficient on the pitch so that we can achieve our goals,” he added.

After a troubling several months that have seen the player plagued by injury and inconsistent form, Bailey has attributed the increased aggressiveness to high levels of motivation.

“It is relatively easy for me to stay cool - no matter how much I am provoked by an opponent. But last season I had a lot of ups and downs and some injuries. It also affected my head and my psyche. That's why I was over-motivated in the first half of the season in the two situations and much too aggressive.”

 

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