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.

Ms. Arlene L. Martin, a certified business and leadership coach and strategy consultant, has been appointed Acting General Manager of the newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL). Her appointment takes effect December 1, 2020.

Naming Ms Martin to the post comes on the heels of the appointment of three independent directors and the selection of independent Chairman, Mr. Christopher Williams, who continues to strengthen its administrative structure in preparation for improved commercial success of the Jamaica Premier League.

“This is the first in a series of moves by the organization to build out our staff complement over the coming weeks,” said Williams following Ms Martin’s appointment.

Meanwhile, the PFJL continues to press forward as the 2020-2021 Premier League season draws nearer. In preparation for start of the league, clubs have advanced all registration requirements with the JFF Registration guidelines, as well as the club-licensing regime for CONCANCAF League qualification.

“The Clubs are seized with the importance of this exercise and while not yet fully complete, they are putting in all efforts for the timely completion and readiness for the league start,” Williams said.

The PFJL has also continued to advance its commercial agreements and partnerships as well as its work with the JFF to secure the approval from the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MoHW) for the protocols governing the league.

In October, the PFJL, through the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), submitted comprehensive protocols based on the CONCACAF guidelines and and models from leagues and federations globally. These protocols covered match play, club protocols and player lifestyle protocols.

The PFJL and the JFF will meet this week before going back to the MoHW in seeking approval for a league to be played for the 2020-2021 season. Since the end of the last season in March, the only professional match played was the November 5 CONCACAF match featuring Premier League Club, Waterhouse FC.

From the perspective of the observance of protocols, the event was deemed a success, leaving the JFF and PFJL optimistic.

The Jamaica Premier league is the largest economic engine in sports in Jamaica, providing employment for more than 600 Jamaicans and generating more than $500m in economic activity.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will continue its developmental initiative dubbed ‘Olympic Invest’ to honour its commitment to athletes who are challenging for an Olympic berth in Tokyo next year, by investing JMD$40,000,000.00 in their preparation and qualifying events of the greatest global sporting event.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) said it welcomes the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to increase the budget of Olympic Solidarity for the quadrennial period 2021 to 2024 by 16 per cent with the resultant increase in the budgetary allocation to each National Olympic Committee for its national activities and in the funding of direct athlete-support programmes.

IOC President Thomas Bach, in announcing the decision Wednesday said there was a clear need for more solidarity.

"One important lesson that I hope we have all learnt from the current Coronavirus crisis is that we need more solidarity,” he said. “We need more solidarity within societies, but also among societies. Solidarity is one of the key Olympic values which the Olympic community is actively promoting. Today’s decision is a very strong demonstration in times of a worldwide crisis.”

Meantime, JOA President Christopher Samuda has hailed the decision by the IOC.

"The decision demonstrates an admirable commitment to the development of its member National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the athletes and is an empathetic response to the challenges being experienced by the global Olympic sport community in the wake of the COVID - 19 pandemic," he said.

The decision of the world governing body equates to 25 per cent increase in the funding of direct athlete support programmes which will benefit athletes of the national Olympic teams and IOC refugee Olympic teams and will support the wide range of athlete centric educational and developmental initiatives which the IOC undertakes particularly to empower NOCs to keep athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement.

"For the JOA the athletes come first and therefore we must invest strategically in their development in realising optimally their talents in competition and in providing them with a sound foundation and springboard beyond their competition life. The IOC's decision embodies this" President Samuda said.

One of the priorities of Olympic Solidarity for 2021-2024 quadrennial is to ensure good governance, financial control and compliance by strengthening capacity-building programmes for NOCs.

Secretary General and CEO of the JOA, Ryan Foster, commented: "the JOA is all about capacity building and institutional strengthening and therefore we can readily identify with and embrace this priority not only as a principle of good governance but as a way of life in sport"

Goalkeeper Jeadine White and midfielder Tyreek Magee have been called to the Reggae Boyz squad on its way to Saudi Arabia for two international friendlies on November 14 and 17.

Eight Jamaican high-school student-athletes had more than 400,000 reasons to smile on Wednesday when they were named recipients of scholarships for the remainder of their high school years by the Pocket Rocket Foundation run by four-time 100m world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The 2020 scholarship awardees were sixth-form students York Shane (St. Jago), track and field and volleyball; Jahiem Wedderburn (Kingston College), lacrosse and football; Samantha Morrison (St. Andrew High School), track and field, swimming; fifth-form student Adrian Nethersole (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; as well as fourth-form students Jasauna Dennis (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; Habiba Harris (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; Oshane Blackwood (St. Elizabeth Technical), track and field; and Solesha Young (Convent of Mercy), track and field, table tennis, badminton, hockey, netball.

According to the foundation, second to fifth-form recipients, received J$50,000 each while the sixth-formers each got J$60,000.00. The total value of the scholarships this year amounts to J$430,000.

These eight will join the 12 current student-athletes on scholarship, which means that the foundation is supporting 20 scholarship recipients for the duration of their high school education. To date, a total of 50 scholarships have been awarded through the foundation.

This year’s recipients were selected from 58 applications that included applicants from territories outside Jamaica including Turks & Caicos, Cuba, USA, Canada & South Africa). However, the scholarships are only available to Jamaican high school student athletes.

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has partnered with its member association, the Jamaica Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (JABBFA) to host virtual workout sessions under the name and style "We Train” commencing on October 19, 2020.

In delivering the keynote address at the launch at Olympic Manor on October 8, President of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, said that "long before the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic the JOA had gone virtual and digital in advocating that the business of sport is no longer a manual stroll in the park but has become 'highway' technology in its training methods and system and a science in engineering optimal performance of the athlete."

The workout sessions will feature national athletes going through technical paces under the supervision of experienced JABBFA instructors, who will demonstrate simple methods that can be done at home in the pursuit of and maintaining fitness.

President Samuda in lauding the partnership remarked that "the series 'We Train' will bring to Facebook, Instagram and their internet relatives, Olympism in action and in motion with each live session bringing alive the values of inspiration, courage, determination and respect for which the JOA and the Olympic movement are known" In a dynamic environment and amidst the pandemic where sport is battling to remain bankable and sustainable, President Samuda stated the imperative for change and transformation in sport.

"Sport has become a business of cost efficiency and revenue generation for the administrator, capital intensive for infrastructure development and ‘bang for the buck' investment for the sponsor and financier" he said.

President Samuda's exhortation to the virtual audience at the launch and stakeholders was direct: "We all had better get fit and with the programme if we are to get in the game, to stay in the game, to change the game and, ultimately, to transform the game".

The objectives and value of the partnership between the JOA and JABBFA will certainly go beyond the physical as President Samuda reminded: "An athlete, a bodybuilder, appreciates that a contoured body is but physical fitness and well-being; but an inspired athlete and bodybuilder understands, beyond the muscle of life and living, that character and transformation comes from within which are then reflected outwardly."

Lead selector for West Indies Women Ann Browne-John has echoed sentiments expressed by former team captain Merissa Aguilleira earlier this year that members of the current team lack the required passion for the game.

Aguilleira was speaking on Sportsmax’s Commentators Podcast in April when she made reference to the team's 5-nil home series defeat by India in November 2019 ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in February.

The team subsequently failed to advance from their group after losing two of their preliminary round matches. Another was rained out.

"Somehow the drive, the passion is not there and that's a huge cause for concern.,” Aguilieira said then. “We as West Indies players love to express ourselves, not just play cricket but have fun playing cricket, so when you look at the players and you realize they are not having fun, you realize that the passion is not there." 

Following their recent 5-0 drubbing at the hands of England, Browne-John said that lack of passion remained an issue of concern.

“We would like to see the passion we had before,” Browne-John said during an interview on Sportsnation Live on Nationwide Radio on Jamaica on Saturday.

“I have been involved with the team over a length of time even before I became a selector and that is one of the things I always hear the coaches mention to the girls. They want to see the intensity, they want to see the drive, the passion that we are supposed to have.”

The issue has been the subject of conversation on a number of occasions, she revealed, adding that she believes that the players have to embrace the idea of taking responsibility.

“It has been discussed a lot whether it is a lack of confidence, whether it is a dependency on one or two persons, and we always try to say to the girls, each individual must take responsibility. If you are batting at the top and opening, then you must take responsibility. If you are batting at three or four, anywhere you are you need to take responsibility for that position,” Browne-John said.

“Hopefully by doing that we could see some of the passion and drive coming back, but I am agreeing that we are not seeing that at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

Wolmer’s Boys’ School’s Manning Cup football players have matched outstanding performances on the field with solid academic achievements in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, with 11 members of the team getting six subjects or more, and one player five, in the 2020 sitting.

In recognition of their success, the student athletes and team officials celebrated in a relaxed atmosphere, where they noted the importance of balancing the books with play, highlighting the strong support received at the institution.

Trevin Nairne, the team’s manager and former Wolmer’s Boys’ Manning Cup player, who received a full scholarship to study in the United States, expressed his pride.

“I am very impressed with this group - 11 boys passing six subjects and more. Wolmer's has always been an institution which stresses excellence in all aspects of the student's life. We are renowned for this kind of performance and the principal and teachers continue to reinforce and encourage this culture of excellence,” Nairne said.

“They were within touching distance of winning the Manning Cup, losing on penalties in the semi-finals, and then performing excellently in the CSEC exams but their performance in the CSEC far trumps the exploits on the field.”

Ryan Foster, an old boy sponsor, said: "The performance of the boys is really commendable. The management team is extremely proud of their accomplishments and we will continue to support them along their journey of life. It was hard work from the team to ensure that these boys were not only prepared physically for the football season, but also mentally for their exams.

“We supported with extra classes, exam fees, nutrition, school fees and just general motivation and encouragement. We not only want to see them excel on the field of play, but we have built up a general bond with all, they are family."

Goalkeeper Denzil Smith, who passed seven of eight subjects, said the team’s management “played a great role”, also by facilitating extra classes for fifth formers and SAT sessions for sixth formers.

“It is very important (academic achievement) because we attend Wolmer’s Boys’ School and we have to keep it as high as possible. Also, I want to get a scholarship to go to a college in the US. So my manager always tells all of us to ‘do your best so that you can get a scholarship to go overseas’,” he added:

The goalie, who also got picked on Jamaica’s U15, then U17 teams, got a peek at professional football with trial in Spain.

“It was a tremendous experience,” said Smith. “The most important lesson I learnt was to make sure you are always early, always be on time.”

Rivaldo Mitchell, the team’s captain and Jamaica’s U17 vice-captain, has “dreams to actually play in the English Premier League”, noting that he got his leadership skills from his father, Jermaine, “because growing up I’ve always seen him leading, I’ve never seen him following anybody before”.

He scored 14 goals in the Manning Cup and also plays for Portmore United Football Club in the local Premier League.  Mitchell passed six CSEC subjects.

“It’s very important for athletes to do good in academics because it also helps them during the course of life. You never know what can happen. You can develop a bad injury and you don’t want to fall back off everything and all the work that you did while you were young, so it’s really important to have an academic background behind your sports.”

Commenting on team management, the skipper said: “They always target the mental side of the players, always show us and let us understand why we need to do our schoolwork. That motivated all the players on the team to get their subjects and to try and do well in school.”

Wolmer’s Boys’ presented a culture change, possibly life-changer, for striker Orlando Russell, who transferred from Donald Quarrie High into fourth form and scored 11 goals while providing nine assists last Manning Cup season.

“It took some time to fit in. I sat out one year and observed and realised what I should do and could not do,” said Russell. “Everything is different; attitude to school work, you know that you can’t be late for class, you’ve to always be in class, everything is just different. Going to Wolmer’s taught me a lot. In school you have the teachers helping you, so you have to know how to balance the work, and after school you do the extra work and then you get back to the field.

“I feel very excited because leaving from a lower performing school to a higher performing school and doing very good I’m so proud of myself and I’ve made my mother and my family proud. I’m very happy right now,” expressed Russell, who earned five passes.

Sixteen-year-old Jhavier Lynch earned seven grade ones - in Mathematics, English ‘A’, Social Studies, Technical Drawing, Information Technology, Principles Of Accounts, Principles Of Business, plus a Grade three in Physics.

“I feel elated with my achievement, knowing that I came to the school with a good GSAT average. It’s good knowing that I followed through with CSEC and obtained good grades,” said Lynch.

“It was a very different procedure, with the whole pandemic and everything. But with the guidance of teachers, school, coaches, everybody, they did what they could to make the process easy. The management, during the football season, they were very flexible with me going to extra classes. So I would leave training, go to classes and if we had camps for matches, they would allow me to go to class and come back and sleep with the team,” Lynch pointed out.

“They encouraged us to study all the time, not to be late with our assignments, always be ahead because we always had to do more with missing classes for matches and stuff like that. They always promoted going ahead and doing what we needed, building good relationships with our teachers, so they could also make the process easier for us.”

Technical Director of the football programme, Rudolph Speid, commended the players.

"The boys did well on and off the field, said Speid. “This group of boys has not only shown resilience on the field, but great focus and determination to excel in their exams. Well done." 

 

 

Ryan Foster, Secretary General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has been appointed to the Technical Commission of Centro Caribe Sports, the recently rebranded Central American and Caribbean Sport Organization, which owns the oldest multi-sport global championships, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.

Foster takes his seat at the table among regional experts from English, Spanish and French-speaking countries that form the membership of the sport organization and will, along with colleague commission members, script the technical agenda for over 35 sports of the Games.

"Jamaica has a seat on an important Commission, which really is the competition engine of the Games and our team, led by President Luis Meija Oviedo, will ensure that service above self and regional commitment guarantee the CAC vehicle firing on all cylinders and going the extra mile," said Foster in reacting to his appointment.

“The Technical Commission provides oversight management of all technical matters of the Games and this Foster said "is itself a mandate to ensure that the technical rules and protocols of the Games promote fairness and integrity in inspiring confidence in the athletes, officials and other stakeholders".

Jamaica has a distinguished history at the CAC Games and the last edition in 2018 in Barranquilla, Colombia, was the most successful Games on all counts - the largest athlete contingency, the most medals achieved and the most disciplines participating.

Foster has transitioned his technical expertise to the regional level. A member of the Finance Commission of the Pan American Sport Organization (PASO), Foster is a committed regionalist and brings to the leading sport entities over 15 years of advocacy for greater and more strategic resource management of sport for the region.

However, the JOA Secretary General, from a national perspective, promises that "Jamaica's experience at the next CAC Games will be very hi-tech in performance and management”.

President of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, was brief but pointed in his reaction to Foster's appointment.

"An athlete's best choice, an official and administrator's preferred choice and the region's sport benefactor. Well deserved," said Samuda.

 

FIFA has lifted financial restrictions imposed on the Jamaica Football Federation last year.

Two international friendlies that had been scheduled for Jamaica in the United States next month, have been cancelled because of the rise in the number of Covid-19 infections.

A mixture of shock, sadness and disappointment greeted Mickey Haughton-James’ announcement last week that he would close the Spartan Health Club indefinitely at the end of September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gym opened in 1976 and has largely been associated with the beautiful women of the Miss Jamaica World franchise but Spartan has also been home to some of Jamaica’s greatest athletes, among them some of the very best in the world.

Reggae legend Bob Marley also broke sweat there.

Members of the West Indies cricket team, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, World and Olympic medallists and Jamaica’s world-class netballers have all, at one time or another used the facilities to hone their bodies in the pursuit of athletic excellence.

Leeroy Gray was a physical trainer at the gym for many years. Before he migrated, he worked with some of the very best including eight-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt; 2011 100m World Champion Yohan Blake as well as Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir.

Gray also trained St Kitts’ Kim Collins, the 2003 100m World Champion; British 100m champion Dwayne Chambers, Olympian Aleen Bailey, World Championship bronze medallist Ristanana Tracey and Commonwealth 100m champion Kemar Bailey-Cole during his time at what he described as Jamaica’s No. 1 gym.

“To hear that the gym is closing for good, it is not good,” he told Sportsmax.TV, clearly at a loss for words.

He was not the only one taken by surprise.

“I don’t even know where to start,” said Blake, the second-fastest man of all time. “Usually, when I get up in the morning I scan through the news while preparing for training. It was a shock to find out that Spartan was closing for good.

“I remember clearly this amazing facility that helped not only me, but so many of our world-class athletes reach where they are today. It was a wonderful place to do your workout and have a talk with everyone. I have many good memories of Spartan. I still can't believe it. I understand this facility has been around from 1976. It represents the end of an era. I am truly sad that it has to close.”

Blake alluded to the fact that Spartan was more than just a gym. It was a place where like-minded athletes shared conversations and inspiration with the many patrons.

Weir, who along with Bolt and Blake, finished 1-2-3 in the 200m at the 2012 London Olympics also had fond memories of the days when he trained there.

“Spartan was that place where you went and just felt motivated to work because there was so much inspiration around you. People were always encouraging you to just be your best,” Weir recalled.

“I remember when I just started at Spartan, there were always people there telling you ‘you’re gonna be good, you’re gonna be great, just continue training’

“Then seeing other sports people and artistes there putting the work in, also motivates you and lets you see that you on the TV is work that is being done on the back end.”

Former West Indies opener Wavell Hinds spent a lot of time at Spartan after his Test career ended in 2005. The work he put in there helped him prolong his playing days and for that, he expressed his gratitude to Haughton-James.

“The generosity of Mr James and the Spartan Gym contributed immensely to my career between 2007 and 2011,” he said.

“In fact, the entire Jamaica Cricket team benefited from the use of Spartan gym during the said period.  I want publicly thank Mr James and Spartan for their contribution to the development of Jamaica's cricket.”

Former Netball Jamaica President Marva Bernard said read the news of the impending closure made her very sad.

“Many, many years ago we used to get support from Mickey to use the gym to train the Sunshine Girls and I vividly remember Connie Francis, in particular. I can still see her running on that treadmill as if her life depended on it, that is how hard she trained,” Bernard said.

“And so, I want to say to Mickey, thank you so much for the years of support that you have given, not only to Netball Jamaica but several of the elite athletes in all sporting disciplines.

“Your generosity knows no bounds and I hope that one day you will rebound because you’re a good man and your gym has made a difference in many people’s lives.”

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts said he was shocked by the news that emerged on Thursday night that former national player Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Johnson was among three persons shot in Central Kingston on election day.

Reports said the three persons shot were among a group of party supporters gathered near North Street and Foster Lane in Central Kingston about 4:00 pm when a black Honda Accord approached.

Shots were fired from inside the vehicle hitting all three. Johnson was hit multiple times.

He is in the hospital where his condition is described as being stable. Another of the victims is considered serious but stable.

 Ricketts said the news was disturbing.

“It was indeed a big shock to hear of his ordeal,” Ricketts said.

“We hope he will recover fully and be able to continue his long and illustrious career in the game.”

Johnson represented Jamaica at the senior level for many years and was also an ambassador for Jamaica’s football in both England and the United States. The player is registered with Tivoli Gardens Football Club.

The president and the JFF wished him a “full and speedy recovery from his injuries.”

 

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce said she was excited after running another world-leading time in the 100m at the Velocity Fest meeting at the National Stadium on Saturday in what could probably be her final race of the season.

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