Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

After a 14-month hiatus, football resumes in the land of wood and water with the Jamaica Premier League is set to kick off spectator free on Saturday, June 26, with the final scheduled for Sunday, September 26, 2021.

Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association of Jamaica, Chris Williams, made the announcement earlier today during a Zoom press conference and which was attended by the main stakeholders including Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange as well representatives of team sponsors, presenting sponsors Digicel and broadcast partners Sportsmax Ltd.

Williams revealed that a total of 66 matches are expected to be played during the preliminary round of the competition where each of the 12 teams will play each other once. Matches will be played in double-headers on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. 

At the end of the round, the teams will be separated into two tiers. The bottom six teams will play each other in a round-robin format for points that will determine rank.

Meanwhile, the top two teams will automatically advance to the semi-finals while the remaining four will play for the remaining two spots.

The semi-finals will take over two legs with the team with the better aggregate advancing to the finals.

No team will face relegation this season.

Four venues have been approved for matches with the National Stadium and Sabina Park being the preferred venues. Should there be a scheduling conflict, Williams explained, Stadium East and the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus will be used to stage matches.

In relation to player and personnel safety, players and support staff will be tested for the Covid-19 virus in the days leading up to matches.

Minister Grange revealed that there is a plan is to have all players vaccinated.

Further announcements are planned to unveil team sponsors and uniforms as well as the fixture schedule.

 

The Jamaican government will provide more than JMD$45 million in direct financial support to athletes preparing for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Jamaica’s Minister of Sports Olivia Grange and the State Minister Alando Terrelonge, have expressed sadness at the death of veteran racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta who died today after battling the Covid-19 virus for the past few weeks.

He was admitted to the hospital in intensive care in February.

A major player in Jamaica’s horseracing industry for more than four decades, DaCosta won 18 trainer’s titles at Caymanas Park, the most ever by any trainer in Jamaica.

His death cast a pall over the country’s sporting fraternity including Minister Grange.

"I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta. We had been praying for his full recovery and I had heard through his son, Jason, that Wayne was regaining his strength; so I was shocked to receive this very sad news today,” Jamaica’s Sports Minister said.

“Wayne DaCosta served horseracing with distinction. His contribution has been mammoth and his impact will continue to be felt for a long time.  Wayne DaCosta is simply one of the greatest trainers that Jamaica has produced and he quite rightly won the trainers’ title a record 18 times. If horseracing is indeed the sport of kings, then Wayne wore his crown with distinction.

“I offer deepest condolences to his widow, his children, and other members of the family.  I ask that we keep them in our prayers at this time.”

Terrelonge, the Member of Parliament for the constituency where Caymanas Park is located in St Catherine, was equally moved by the news.

“The King is dead. But long shall his legacy live,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of stalwart trainer and 18-time champion racehorse trainer, Wayne DaCosta. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the racing community.

“The sport of kings will never be the same without the majestic contribution of this giant of a man. He gifted us the likes of the unforgettable She’s A Man Eater and Stranger Danger who have decorated and electrified horse-racing in Jamaica.

“The track at Caymanas, located in my constituency of East Central St Catherine, is where I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Mr DaCosta. The constituency will be forever in his debt for helping to provide jobs and a livelihood to many residents.”

He continued: “We mourn this tremendous loss to the racing community but are encouraged that his legacy will endure for generations to come. I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta.”

Jamaica’s female cricketer Rashada Williams got a major boost in pursuit of her degree in Physical Education on Monday when she received a cheque for JMD$500,000 from the country’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange.

The money will assist with Williams’ tuition.

“In this particular case, I’m extremely proud because I happen to be the Member of Parliament.  Rashada lives in my constituency.  She’s a product of Spanish Town,” said Minister Grange.

“Through the Sports Development Foundation, she’s getting assistance to continue her education.  And I really want to thank the Sports Development Foundation for the support that they’re giving her [and I want] to encourage her to continue to strive to be the best.”

Rashada Williams said the money would “fill a major gap” as she completes her undergraduate studies.

The young cricketer dreams of becoming “a cemented player in the West Indies team” and a source of “empowerment to the future generation”.

Minister Grange described Williams as an inspirational cricketer who “did not get a chance to play in school [as she was not allowed to play on the boys’ team]; there was not a female league that she could participate in, but in spite of that, she continued to work and she continues to do well”.

“I really want to encourage her.  Whatever support that can be given to her through the Sports Development Foundation I will advocate for her, and I know that she will make Jamaica proud,” the minister said.

Jamaica’s racing icon Peter Moodie is being remembered as being committed to excellence following his death after a brief illness on Saturday.

For decades, Moodie served Jamaica’s racing fraternity as perhaps it’s best ever driver, mechanic par excellence and a mentor who was revered by fellow race drivers and fans alike.

According to the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC), Moodie was renowned throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, North and South America for his commitment to excellence and meticulous approach to motor racing competition that were hallmarks throughout his racing career, first as a driver himself, then later as he coached numerous up and coming young drivers, including his children.

“Spanning several decades, his racing accolades too numerous to mention, he was always the “man to beat” in any competition he entered, whether circuit racing, rallying, sprints, dexterity tests or karting,” the JMMC said in a statement.

“His stern but always fair and by-the-rules approach provided an outstanding example to his fellow competitors to always be at their best when competing against him.”

The sentiments were shared by the Jamaica Race Driver’s Club JRDC), who said in a statement Saturday: “Mr Moodie’s contribution to the JRDC and to motorsports overall in Jamaica was tremendous and impacted many in the most positive way possible. His loss will be felt by all who knew him well and he will surely not be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Minister of Sport Olivia Grange said Moodie has earned himself a place in the top drawer of motorsports in Jamaica.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of former race car champion driver and mechanic, Peter Moodie Snr,” Minister Grange said.

“His superb skills as a race car driver were matched only by his phenomenal knowledge of the workings of motor vehicles. In fact, he was one of the pioneers and for the last four decades, the leading figure in circuit and go-cart racing.

“In addition, Peter was a top-notch instructor, ensuring that the knowledge was passed on to the succeeding drivers in the sport. With the passing of Peter Moodie, Snr, Jamaica has lost one who was totally dedicated to the development of his sport and his country.”

Those closest to him in the industry shared some of their memories on social media, including veteran driver Peter Rae.

“I remember racing karts at Hill Run in the early '80s and along a stretch in front of the pits I somehow flipped kart landed on me and I was a bit dazed and I clearly remember Mr Moodie shouting at me get the (expletive) out the way as Pinky was fast approaching,” Rae recalled on Facebook.

“Also remember my very first race at Dover was an amazing feat beating Pete Snr, Mark Moodie & Pinky in Watdat....fond memories. Peter Moodie Snr a true stalwart, a fierce competitor, engine/chassis builder and coach. You have made an indelible mark on the sport of motor racing. Race on my friend.”

The ill-advised decision of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to stage an impromptu and unapproved national camp, and the resulting positive Covid-19 cases, has played a part in delaying the sport’s resumption.

Earlier this month, the JFF landed in hot water after convening a national camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence without the requisite government approval.  The camp was shut down but not before at least six players and one official tested positive for COVID-19.

In a meeting on Friday, between sports minister Olivia Grange, the JFF, and representatives of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), meant to chart the way forward, the minister expressed her disappointment with the incident.  She also pointed out that any approval for the sport’s restart must include strict adherence to health protocols.

“I was very disappointed with the breach which has led to the delay of the restart of football but I am hoping that with this meeting, in which I spoke frankly and we came to a clear understanding, going forward, there will be no misunderstanding. This is a very serious matter, in light of the community spread of COVID-19, and all our actions have consequences,” Grange said.

“Therefore, no one can take unilateral decisions to commence training or competition because the action of any person or organisation can directly impact the players and the country in general. I know these are difficult times, so let us work together to overcome the challenges,” she added.

In response, both President of the JFF Michael Ricketts and PFJL Chairman, Christopher Williams, committed to both organisations following protocol and expressed eagerness for the return of local football.

With the exception of the national camp, organised football has not been played on the island since last March when the leagues and national programs were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Jamaican government has ordered the immediate shutdown of the Reggae Boyz training camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

The demand has come in the wake of news that Jamaica recorded 263 new cases of infections, the highest numbers since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Jamaica has recorded more than 355 deaths in that time.

Recent reports also said a number of players in the camp have also been infected by the Covid-19 virus.

With those concerns in mind, Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in a letter to the President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, is demanding that the un-authorized camp must cease with immediate effect.

She is also demanding that all participants in the camp remain at the facility to reduce the risk of infection and that the necessary application to host the camp be made to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

“We are now in receipt of the application for hosting the training camp to commence tomorrow, February 6, 2021, which was dated February 4, 2021,” the minister wrote.

“Please note that training cannot commence without the approval of the Director-General, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), with the Ministry of Health and Wellness advising that there is no breach and it is safe to resume. Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.

“Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.”

 

 

 

 

 

A special fund to assist former Jamaica’s national representatives who have fallen on the hard times is to be established by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed deep sadness at the passing of the Jamaican footballer Luton Shelton.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange says her ministry will be moving to finalize the transformation and streamlining of the national sports entities during this calendar year.

The national sports entities are the Sports Development Foundation, Independence Park Limited, and the Institute of Sports.

Minister Grange gave the update during a meeting of the Board of Directors of Independence Park Limited on Wednesday. She said the transformation was aimed at creating a more efficient and more effective government sport system.

Minister Grange urged the new board to pick up the pace of project implementation.  She said it was vital that the National Stadium and Trelawny Stadium infrastructure development project, which was affected by delays caused by covid-19 and weather conditions, get back on track as soon as possible.

The proposal for the Redevelopment and Upgrading of the National Stadium and Trelawny Stadium is going through all the required stages of the Public Investment Management Secretariat, including submission of a comprehensive project proposal, architectural drawings and the development of a 5-year Business Plan.

The project is now at the final stage which includes submitting financial projections before it can be recommended to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service for funding.

The members of the Board of Independence Park Limited are: Dr. the Honourable Michael Fennell (Chairman), Mr David Shirley (Deputy Chairman), Mrs Annmarie Heron, Assistant Commissioner Terrence Bent, Lieutenant Colonel Dameon Creary, Mr Lenford Salmon, Mr Carlton Dennis, Ms Audrey Chin, Mr Edward Barnes, Dr Peter Charles, Ms Shaneek Clacken, Ms Stefani Dewar, Major Desmon Brown, General Manager (ex officio)

The members have been appointed to serve for two years.  The new board was constituted in keeping with the National Policy for Gender Equality to ensure that a minimum of 30 per cent of either sex makes up the composition of government boards.

 

Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has revealed that the resurfacing of the track at the National Stadium in Kingston should be complete soon and that work on the one at the Montego Bay Sports Complex at the other end of the island is to begin soon.

The refurbishing work was carried out by German company BSW, who laid the previous surface in 2010.

The installation of the previous track in Kingston was completed in March 2011 and was expected to last for at least 10 years in line with international standards.

According to AthleticsBusiness, most modern tracks are built in three layers: a paved asphalt substrate, a rubber performance layer and a textured rubber top layer. Ideally, laser-levelling the asphalt to within a 3-mm tolerance is the first step toward making a consistent running surface across the entire oval. The middle layer can be poured on-site or manufactured in advance and delivered to the site — the latter scenario ensures the greatest consistency in terms of thickness.

According to Minister Grange, most of that work has now been done and the rest should be completed within days.

“The resurfacing of the National Stadium track is 90 per cent complete. We are a few days behind due to rain, but the resurfacing will be completed by the middle of next week, after which, the marking of lanes and boxes will commence,” the minister told Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner.

She said that after the marking is completed, World Athletics will send a technician to test the track and issue the expected certification of the Class One track, the highest possible certification.

The Minister had announced in November 2020 that work on the stadium track was set to begin and that the work on the one in Montego Bay was scheduled for the 2021-2022 financial year. She had asked that the Sports Development Foundation treat the Catherine Hall Sports Complex as a priority for the next financial year which starts on April 1, 2021.

At the time, she said two factors would determine when the work gets going at the National Stadium; the first is that because the track has to be laid on a completely dried surface, it must await the end of seasonal rains.

The other factor is the ability of the manufacturers’ representatives, BSW of Germany, to come to Jamaica to supervise the project and this will depend on covid restrictions.

The resurfacing comes at an opportune time as Jamaica is expected to have its national championships in June to select a team to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan scheduled for July 23 – August 8.

 

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) presented Guy’s Hill High School, Ensom City Primary School and Eltham Park Primary School with a total of 95 Samsung tablets at a ceremony held at the JADCO in Kingston on Wednesday.

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