Jamaica’s track and field icon Merlene Ottey was among six sports personalities honoured for their contribution to sports at today’s Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards that were held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with Ottey, Olympian Deon Hemmings-McCatty, legendary jockey Emilio Rodriquez, as well as footballers Howard Bell and Khadijah Shaw were also awarded. Cedella Marley, daughter of global reggae icon Cedella Marley was also honoured for her work in providing critical support for the national women’s football programme.

Ottey, who turned 60 in May, previously held the Order of Distinction, for her sterling representation of Jamaica at the international level for more than two decades winning nine Olympic medals and 14 World Championship medals including gold medals in 1991, 1993 and 1995.

She was conferred with the Order of Jamaica.

The 52-year-old Hemmings-McCatty was also upgraded from the Order of Distinction, Officer Class to Order of Distinction Commander Class, in recognition for her contribution to Jamaica’s track and field legacy.

In 1996, Hemmings became the first woman from the English-speaking Caribbean to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the 400m hurdles at the Atlanta Olympic Games in an Olympic record 52.82s.

Khadija Shaw, Jamaica’s leading goalscorer across genders, led Jamaica to its first ever qualification to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the first Caribbean nation to do so. She was awarded the Order of Jamaica, Officer Class.

Jamaica’s Women’s team might not have qualified for the World Cup had it not been for Cedella Marley, who, through several fundraising efforts and other forms of support. She was also awarded the Order of Distinction, Officer Class for her yeoman work.

Howard ‘Juicy’ Bell has dedicated three decades of his life serving Jamaica as a member and captain of Jamaica’s national senior football team. He has also served as a manager for the national team and is currently an administrator employed by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

He also received the rank of Order of Distinction, Officer Class.

Also receiving the Order of Distinction, Officer Class was the legendary jockey, four-time national champion Emilio ‘Bimbo’ Rodriquez, who won more than a dozen classic races during his riding career that spanned decades.

 

 

 

 

Alia Atkinson chalked up wins, her first for the London Roar, in Budapest on Sunday.

Chris Gayle said he was not nervous in making his season debut for the Kings XI Punjab on Thursday.

The Jamaica Football Federation has expresses its condolences to the players, administrators of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association at the passing of the of Technical Director Ralston ‘Debu’ Williams.

Williams, 55, was the Technical Director of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) since 2015.

 “We have maintained a great relationship with this particular Federation over the years,” said President Michael Ricketts.

“These are tough times indeed and we pray that everybody who was touched by Mr Williams will stay strong. May his soul Rest in Peace.”

Williams died on Wednesday morning after going into hospital on Friday to undergo tests and await results, said ABFA President Everton Gonsalves, who hailed the late technical director for his contribution to the national football programme.

Debu, as he was called, had been ailing for some time but he never stopped working, Gonsalves said. He immersed himself in work, developing coaching education, women’s football and school football programmes in keeping with the strategic plans of the association that had just moved into its brand new offices.

The president said Williams complained of not feeling well on Friday last and went into hospital where things took a turn for the worse.

Williams was coach of the Antigua and Barbuda national football team in 2004 and was also head coach of the Parham FC. He also worked with Antigua and Barbuda women's national football team as well as the U20 and U17 teams.

In November 2012, he again became of the head coach of the Antigua and Barbuda team.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

 

 

 

Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shaunae Miller-Uibo ended their respective seasons with the number-one rankings in the 100m and 200m, respectively in what was a track season like no other.

The 2019/2020 track season was characterized by meet cancellations and the introduction of virtual formats because the pandemic that has been sweeping the globe since March. However, meets gradually returned largely before empty stadia but many athletes still managed to deliver world-class performances.

Among them was the 2016 double Olympic champion who was fastest in the world over 100m for 2020.

Thompson Herah’s 10.85 set in Rome on September 17 beat out her compatriot and rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who ended her year ranked second by virtue of the 10.86s run at the Velocity Fest meeting in Kingston’s National Stadium on August 22.

Rising star Sha’ Carri Richardson, in her first full season as a professional, was third fastest with 10.95.

The Bahamian sprint queen was equally impressive in the year in which she set a personal best of 10.98s in the 100m and the world’s best time of 21.98 in the 200m at the Back to the Track Meeting in Clermont, Florida on July 25.

Richardson capped her great year with a personal best 22.00 that was the second fastest for 2020 while Thompson Herah’s 22.19 ranked her third in the world for the year.

Miller-Uibo, who last year set 48.37 the sixth fastest time in history over the 400m was only second best for 2020 with 50.52 set in Monteverde, Florida on July 4. That time was only bettered by Lynna Irby’s 50.50, the fastest time in the world this year.

Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands clocked 50.98, which made her third best in the world for the year.

 Not so long-ago Andre Sharpe, the Executive Director of Get Sharp Soccer, hustled on the side just to make ends meet for his family.  These days, as much as anyone, he appreciates how the availability of opportunities can change one’s life for the better.   

Opportunities are exactly what he hopes to provide come December 30th, when he plans to host youth camps in Jamaica and further on, a futsal tournament in the summer of 2021.

The youth camps, it is hoped, will give promising players the opportunity to sharpen their skills. According to Sharpe, the players will be selected by local club coaches who will choose those they believe will benefit most from the unique opportunity. 

While it is undoubtedly an exciting opportunity for the players, it is for the young executive as well.  On one hand, Sharpe is excited about the overall development of football’s future.  Inevitably, however, his mind also shifts back to days not too long past and he wants to ensure the philanthropic efforts of the Cincinnati-based, Get Sharp Soccer, impacts communities in Kingston, Portmore, and Spanish Town.  He is convinced there are many youths who share a similar story to his.

“It was always me, my mom and brother with no father present. I had to step up and be the man of the house at a tender age. I would sell at the market on the weekend to help my mom out with bills around the house,” he recalled of days living in Spanish Town.

For the futsal tournament, four to five teams from Get Sharp Soccer are expected to travel to Jamaica to compete. However, the size of the local teams depend heavily on interest, that is, the number of applications received and the number of sponsors willing to support the event at the time.  Sharpe wants to host the tournament in Kingston, but the exact location remains undecided.

In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, he has assured that all requisite approvals will be sought, and protocols strictly followed for both events.

“We will follow all the health official protocols- have temperature checks for all players upon arrival and all staff will wear masks for the entire duration of the camp.”

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Chris Gayle is over his stomach infection and should be available for Kings XI Punjab’s nest match that comes up on Thursday.

KXIP made the announcement on their website that will be sure to please their many fans and those of the Universe Boss.

“Chris Gayle is back on the training ground, having recovered from his stomach bug. Chris Gayle was spotted back on the training ground on Monday, October 12, and in all likelihood should now be fit for Kings XI Punjab’s game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, October 15,” the club said.

Gayle has not played this season for the franchise that has won only one of its seven matches this season. He had been expected to play last week against Sunrisers Hyderabad but was unable to play because of the stomach infection that eventually caused him to be hospitalized on Saturday.

Following another outstanding shooting performance against the Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday, Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler has once again topped the scoring charts in the Suncorp Super Netball League.

Fowler, 31, has scored more goals than any other player in the league by some way, having sunk 910 goals from a league leading 967 attempts so far this season. It is the third consecutive season that the towering Jamaican shooter was dominating in the number of goals scored. She also had 66 offensive rebounds, second to Romelda Aiken's 110.

Aiken, who plays for the Queensland Firebirds, was some distance behind with 583 goals as Caribbean athletes asserted their dominance in this category. Trinidad and Tobago’s Samantha Wallace of the dethroned champions New South Wales Swifts, was third in the standings with 522 goals.

Fowler was also heads and shoulders above the rest in net points, the definitive measurement of player performance.

Every time someone scores a goal, blocks a pass, gets a defensive rebound, they get points. The bigger the impact, the bigger the points. If players make mistakes or cause turnovers, they lose points. At the end of the game, each player receives an individual net points score, which represents their contribution to the match.

During the season, Fowler accumulated 1740 net points, more than 500 more than compatriot Shamera Sterling of the Adelaide Thunderbirds, who amassed 1174 net points. Kate Moloney of the finalists, Melbourne Vixens was 700 points back with 1040.

Sterling, who led defensive rebounds with 37 also had the third-best number of intercepts with 37, trailing Kate Pretorius of the Sun Coast Lightning, who had 43 and Courtney Bruce of the West Coast Fever with 42.

Sterling compatriot Jodi-Ann Ward was fifth with 29.

Sterling also had 104 deflections, second most in the league.

 

Despite enjoying an outstanding 2020 track season World 400m hurdles champion, Karsten Warholm does not believe he is the man to replace Usain Bolt as the face of track and field. In fact, he believes no one can.

The 24-year-old Warholm came incredibly close to Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 set back in 1992, when he ran 46.87, a European record, at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm in August.

Warholm also became the first athlete to run 47.10 or faster over the 400m hurdles multiple times during the course of a single season. He did it four times.

His remarkable performances made him the standout star in 2020 as every time he raced fans expected him to challenge or break the world record.

During a recent chat on Instagram Live with Olympian and athletics broadcaster Ato Boldon, Warholm was asked he if was ready to assume the mantle of the man to replace Usain Bolt. Achieving that, he said, would be impossible.

"When Usain Bolt came into the sport, he didn't have anyone right before him that... He didn't have any shoes to fill at that point,” he said.

"Now everybody talks about who's going to be the next Usain Bolt. Nobody is going to be the next Usain Bolt! Nobody is going to be the next Ato Boldon either.

"I think everybody's got to find their own way, Usain Bolt was huge so it's an honour just being compared to him but for me it's always been about developing.

"I don't want to build myself up as the face of the sport or the next Usain because for me it's about the running. If what comes with it is that people get inspired by what I'm doing, then I think that's great."

Chris Gayle was hospitalized on Saturday presumably as a consequence of the food poisoning that he has been suffering from early last week.

Gayle posted a picture of himself on his Instagram page on Saturday in a hospital bed with cucumber slices over his eyes while chewing on a carrot strip while speaking on the phone.

He seemed to be in good spirits.

“I can tell you this!!! I will never go down without a fight. I am the #UniverseBoss – that will never change…Thanks for all your concern peeps, much appreciated,” he stated in part in the caption under the picture.

Gayle, 41, was expected to debut this IPL season for the struggling Kings XI Punjab on Thursday against Sunrisers Hyderabad, but according to coach Anil Kumble, the Universe Boss was unable to because he was in a lot of discomfort because of food poisoning.

“Chris Gayle was going to play today’s match but he is sick. He is down with food poisoning that’s why he isn’t in playing eleven,” Kumble told commentators during the game.

Gayle is still expected to come into the side to replace marquee player Glen Maxwell who has struggled for form so far this season.

KXIP have won only one of their seven games this season and sit at the foot of the 2020 IPL standings.

West Indies legend Courtney Walsh has cautioned up and coming fast bowler Oshane Thomas that being in top physical shape is a key component to success on the international cricket stage.

Thomas burst on the scene during the 2017 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where the fast bowler regularly clocked over 90 miles per hour.  That kind of promise quickly landed the 23-year-old straight into the senior Windies set-up, where he has so far played 20 ODIs and 12 Twenty20 Internationals.

Things have, however, not been going smoothly for the player since then with bouts of indifferent form leading to a less impressive showing in subsequent seasons of the CPL.  In 2018, Thomas finished with the second most wickets on 18, but the following season had just 9 and none in the 2020 edition, where he had limited playing time.  Some believe the 23-year-old’s dip in form has coincided with some amount of weight gain.  The player is indeed seemingly several pounds heavier than when he burst onto the scene three years ago.

“I think he has a lot of work to do.  He has to get himself back in shape,” Walsh told the Mason and Guest radio program.

 "He has the raw ability, talent, and pace but he has to reign himself back in and I had a very serious talk with him. If he wants his career to take off and be consistent, then he has to get himself back in shape, in fighting condition,” he added.

“That's one of the challenges that we had.  A lot of people probably don’t know that behind the scenes we had to do things to stay at the top of our game.  If it means running that extra lap, probably that extra bit of bowling in the nets or going to the gym.  Whatever it takes for you to be able to maintain that fighting weight and good body fitness for longevity.”

 

Three-time Olympian Sherone Simpson will be the patron for the inaugural Team Jamaica Bickle Virtual 5K run/walk set to take place between October 9 and 24. Team Jamaica Bickle hopes to raise US$25,000 from the event that will go towards supporting athlete welfare in the coming year.

This was announced during an online press conference hosted by TJB Chairman Irwin Claire on Friday morning.

The funds raised will support TJB’s programs, mainly its hospitality services which include the provision of meals, transportation, accommodations and medical care for Caribbean athletes participating at the annual Penn Relays Carnival at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. The organization also embarked on a Defibrillator to Schools program approximately six years ago ensuring that these life-saving devices are available to athletes participating in sports at high schools in Jamaica.

TJB are hoping to attract 1000 participants who are being asked to register via either the TJB website or https://events.elitefeats.com/bickle20.

Once registered, participants have approximately two weeks from October 9-24, 2020, to complete their run or walk and upload their time using the Strava APP which can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play Store. Two lucky runners will be awarded automatic entry to the Reggae Marathon, which will be held virtually this year. There will also be10n prizes, awarded to five males and five females. The announcement of these prizes will take place on Sunday October 25, 2020 at 12 noon and will be streamed live on Jamaicans.com, on TJB’s Facebook Page and its other Social Media Platforms.

Marvin Anderson, president of the Olympian Association of Jamaica, said the 5K run/walk fits perfectly with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between his association and TJB that was signed earlier this year.

Grace Kennedy, JTB, Caribbean Food Delights, Jamaicans.com, Energice, Reggae Marathon, Awesome Power Track Club, Joseph Sports LLC and True Tribute Organization are sponsors of the event.

 

 

Phoenix Rising forward and Jamaica international Junior Flemmings was slapped with a six-match ban following a review of the now infamous bust-up with San Diego Loyals' Collin Martin last week.

Coming out of an investigation of the incident, the USL Championship determined that Flemmings was guilty of using "foul and abusive language in the form of a homophobic slur."

 The USL said 11 persons were interviewed during the investigation. They included coaches, players, and match officials.

The ban will see the Jamaican miss out on the 2020 USL Championships playoffs, which could prove to be particularly hurtful as the in-form player had scored 14 goals in 14 matches. 

Upon closely examining the issue, The Commentators have taken umbrage with a lack of specific evidence provided by the USL in arriving at its decision, and the fact that Flemmings has been judged to be guilty by most, despite loudly continuing to proclaim his innocence.  After being placed on administrative leave, his future with the club is also in doubt as his contract expires on November 30.

As a disadvantaged youth who grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Andre Sharpe’s long road to redemption began when he caught the eye of Dan Ensley, then assistant coach of the University of Cincinnati, while playing in the U-21 league with Meadhaven United.

“I was on the bench until about the 70th minute and we were losing 1-0.  I came on and instantly assisted a goal to tie the game up 1-1. A few minutes later, I scored the game-winner. I was approached by coach Dan who offered me a full-ride scholarship on the spot,” Sharpe recalled.

Unfortunately, it’s life-changing opportunities like these that have been put on pause, following the suspension of the National Premier League, on March 12, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  Like many other athletes, Sharpe's fledgling football career was shaped by the nation’s top-flight football competition.

Unfortunately again for Sharpe, after receiving the scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, it fell through. Forced to make a quick decision, he frantically started emailing his resume to other schools.

It wasn't long before Graceland University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Iowa, ended his quest by offering him a partial scholarship without even seeing him play.

“I flew to Graceland University, in the middle of an Amish community, in Lamoni, surrounded by cornfields, with no clue how I was going to pay my tuition balance,” he said.

At the first scheduled practice, coaches were in awe the moment they saw him play and increased the value of his scholarship. Still, it wasn’t enough.

Though admittedly happy for the opportunity, Sharpe wanted to leave for Cincinnati after just one season in Iowa. He knew the University of Cincinnati still had an eye out and so, he worked ungodly shifts and pulled off insane all-nighters to get transferred.

While at the University of Cincinnati, Sharpe wrestled with a long-standing injury, which somewhat curtailed his football career.  But, he successfully completed his degree before going on to open 'Get Sharp Soccer' a well-known football academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I tore my quad as a junior and played very limited games after battling a terrible injury. I did not play my senior year as I continued to battle my injury, but graduated with an undergrad communication degree,” Sharpe said.

Even though injuries may have curtailed a promising career, it was football that continued to provide the avenue for Sharpe to adequately fulfill his ambitions.

 “I began coaching my senior year of college for Cincinnati United Soccer Club, one of the biggest youth clubs in Midwest America, and quickly became a director of coaching where I started doing small group training, which grew into summer camps.”

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Twenty-year-old Harbour View forward Norman Campbell has signed a one-year loan deal with Serbian Second Division Club FK Graficar Beograd.

Campbell was on trial at Udinese FC in Italy's Serie A earlier this year and had also attracted interest from English Championship club Watford FC in the United Kingdom.

Campbell’s agent, Kevin Cowan agreed terms and conditions over the past weekend with the club currently fourth in the Second Division prior to the closing of the European transfer window on Monday.

The loan agreement includes an option for a second year that can be extended based on performances, the market and opportunities in 2021, as the first priority is to continue the player's development in a professional environment.

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