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"

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 World Championships discus silver medalist is now in a race against time after undergoing surgery on his wrist to repair a damaged ligament suffered during a recent fall.

Dacres, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games, revealed his wrist in a cast on social media after reportedly undergoing surgery on the weekend while announcing that he had started his own YouTube channel.

With the rescheduled 2020 Olympic set to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021, a mere eight months away, Dacres could be hard-pressed to be healthy in time as there is the chance that his repaired wrist could take as long as six months to heal. There is chance, however, that he could be fully healed before then.

His coach, Julian Robinson is optimistic that the 2018 Commonwealth champion and national record holder will be able to recover in time.

“There is some physical work that we can do on the intervening period. We will try and maximize that,” he said.

“However, the throwing part will have to start after he has recovered. When that is, I don’t know. Time will tell. I am praying that its sooner rather than later.”

The affable 26-year-old is Jamaica’s most successful thrower. He became the first Jamaican to win a World Championship medal when he claimed silver in Doha in 2019. In 2018, perhaps his most successful year as a professional athlete, Dacres won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and the NACAC Championships in Toronto, Canada.

He is the 2015 Pan Am Games champion and has a national record of 70.78m set in Rabat on July 16 2019. He is the only Jamaican to ever throw 70m in the men’s discus.

Jamaica’s Olympics-bound gymnast Danusia Francis is eager to get back into competition as she continues her preparation for Tokyo 2021.

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah has been included on a shortlist of athletes for the IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year award.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28-year-old double Olympic champion has put together a strong season.  Thompson-Herah won all seven of her 100m races and finished the campaign with a world-leading time of 10.85 seconds, which was recorded at the Rome Diamond League in September.

In addition to Thompson-Herah, the list includes Femke Bol (Netherlands), Letesenbet Gibey (Ethiopia), Sifan Hassan (Netherlands), Peres Jepchirchir (Kenya), Faith Kipyegon (Kenya), Laura Muir (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Hellen Obiri (Kenya), Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela) and Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia).

The Jamaican will face still competition to land the prize, with world records broken this year by Gidey (5000m), Hassan (hour run), Jepchirchir (half marathon, women only), Rojas (triple jump, indoors), and Yeshaneh (half marathon).

The list will be trimmed to five athletes after voting takes place among the World Athletics Council (50 percent), World Athletics family (25 percent), and by fans (25 percent) by liking individual athlete graphics on World Athletics’ Facebook and Instagram or by retweets.

Thompson-Herah is the only Jamaican nominated on either the male or female list.  American Dalilah Muhammad took the honour last year when she twice lowered the 400m hurdles world record.

 

 

 

I recently had a rather eye-opening conversation with an 18-year old about one of Jamaica’s greatest ever female sprinters Merlene Joyce Ottey.

I would say this young man has a strong working knowledge of sports but especially of Jamaican athletes and their accomplishments.

It, therefore, struck me by surprise when the name Merlene Ottey did not resonate with him, certainly not in the way I would have expected.

It isn’t that he hadn’t heard the name before but the significance of it did not immediately dawn on him, not in the way speaking of a modern star like Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce would.  Sadly, I find this of most I speak to from the younger generation.

I will admit when Ottey was in her prime his generation would not have been born but to me, she is such a legendary figure that her legacy of placing Jamaica and the English-speaking Caribbean on the female track and field map must never be forgotten.

And so, I took the opportunity to educate this youngster about Ottey and her stunning career, from becoming the first English-speaking Caribbean female to win an Olympic medal in 1980, to her switch to and subsequent major appearances for Slovenia post the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

I especially focused on some narrow misses for World and Olympic 100 metres gold at the 1993 Stuttgart World Championships and the 1996 Olympics, on both occasions narrowly, and some would say controversially, losing to American Gail Devers.

This young man seemed in awe, as he should be.

“She was cute too,” he said as he watched the 1993 IAAF World Championship 200 metres final when she finally won a global outdoor gold medal.

So many youngsters are unaware of the history and believe Jamaica’s track and field success started at the Beijing Games with Bolt and company.

But since 1948, the world has respected what we have offered in the global track and field space and for 20 years 1980-2000, Ottey stood front and centre as the leading figure not only but especially for women in the English-speaking Caribbean.  

She won nine Olympic medals, including 7 in individual events, the most by any woman in track and field.

She backed that up with 14 World Outdoor medals and 7 World Indoor medals and she still holds the 200m world indoor record at 21.87 seconds.

Just this week, Ottey was again recognised at the National Honours and Awards ceremony on Heroes’ Day, receiving the country’s fourth highest honour, The Order of Jamaica.

This is a well-deserved and timely reminder of the greatness of the woman.

She was dubbed “Bronze Queen” as 15 of her 30 global medals, indoors and out, were of that variety.  She had many narrow misses for gold but Merlene Ottey’s impact in inspiring generations of Caribbean female sprinters is worth honouring and celebrating even to this day.

So, this is in honour of Merlene Ottey.

May we never forget her impact on Jamaica, the Caribbean, and indeed global track and field.  

Dani Ceballos wants to see Sergio Ramos marauding across Europe with Spain next year before going for gold in Tokyo.

The prospect of a European Championship and Olympic Games double has been shunted back by 12 months, and Ramos will be 35 by the time they take place.

But the captain of Real Madrid and Spain has indicated an appetite for playing in both, and Ceballos would love to see him flying the flag both in his home continent and in Japan.

The European Championship will be played across a host of countries, with Spain having home advantage for their three group games which will all be played in Bilbao.

Everything is conditional on the pandemic situation allowing such tournaments to go ahead, but Ceballos, who is also hoping to double up, sees Ramos as a leader who would lift Spain on the Olympic stage.

"Sergio has earned the right to decide by the performance he gives," said Spain midfielder Ceballos.

"I always want him in my team. He has been a fundamental player, he continues to be, and of course I would want to have him at the Olympic Games on my side."

The European Championship final is due to be played on July 11 in London, a mere 11 days before the Olympic men's football tournament begins in Tokyo.

Ceballos spoke of there being 15 days' difference and suggested that was "still compatible" with being able to take part in both.

Regardless of the exact gap between those events, it will be demanding for any player to fully commit to both.

Midfielder Ceballos just wants to make sure he has a chance of being involved regularly with Spain, which is why again this season he is on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid.

At Arsenal he is set for an integral role under Mikel Arteta's leadership, but there were no guarantees he would be a fixture in Zinedine Zidane's Madrid team.

"You know that to take part you have to play for your team," Ceballos said.

"When a player is happy in his team that is for the best and that is why I decided to stay for one more year at Arsenal where I could develop my game as normal.

"After confinement we have seen a Dani Ceballos that we all wanted. I have improved a lot and I am very happy to continue at Arsenal."

The next NBA season is unlikely to stop to accommodate players who want to compete in the Olympic Games, according to commissioner Adam Silver.

Both the NBA and the Olympics were significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA was forced to take a four-month break and 2019-20 season is now two games into the Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat at the bubble in Florida.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Games in Tokyo were pushed back to 2021, with a plethora of NBA stars from the United States and beyond originally slated to compete in Japan.

But, with the new NBA season expected to begin in January and the Olympics set to start on July 23, there is a potential scheduling conflict that Silver concedes he can do little about.

"We'll consider it. I think it's unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics," Silver told NBA TV.

"Because, as you know, it's not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require [the] training camp, and then they require rest afterwards.

"There are so many incredible players, beginning with the USA team, we'll be able to field a very competitive team.

"I am a bit worried about some of the international teams, because, as you know, some of their stars play in our league, and their absence would make a huge difference for those national teams.

"Having said that, I'd only say these are such extraordinary circumstances that, even if we set out to plan for the Olympics, how can they even know what the world is going to be like next summer and whether they can go forward?

"So, I think during these extraordinary times, all the conventional rules are off the table, and everybody is going to have to make certain accommodations."

Two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has targeted breaking the 10.70-second barrier as she goes for an unprecedented third Olympic title in Tokyo next year.

There are many famous quotes that talk about the inevitability of change. 

They all say, “change is inevitable” and I agree. 

After all, in this fast-paced world, things are constantly developing, constant changes in technology means we are always having to adjust to keep pace with a rapidly evolving world.  

Those who can adapt are often more likely to succeed while those who can’t often get left behind. 

In my own field, the advent of social media and the tools that assist with easy dissemination of information have meant a change in attitude and approach to how content is created for traditional media. 

But in my field and many others, there are people who constantly resist change for whatever reason. 

I must admit, change isn’t always good and so it can sometimes be difficult to determine when change is necessary as opposed to when to maintain the status quo. 

In sports, many athletes are faced with this dilemma. As a teenager, which sport should I focus on? I think I could be world-class at a couple and then at the highest level what’s my best position or what is my best event? Those are questions many athletes constantly ask themselves. 

The answers are never easy to find and that is exactly why when an athlete makes drastic career alterations and still finds more success they should be lauded. 

I think about former Jamaican hurdler Danny McFarlane, the 2004 Olympic 400 metre hurdles silver medallist.  

Before Danny was a hurdler, he was a more than competent flat 400 metres athlete. 

By the time he ran his first ever race over 400m hurdles, in April of 2003, Danny was already an Olympic 400 metres finalist, an Olympic mile relay silver medallist, four times an IAAF World Championship mile relay silver medallist, an IAAF World Indoor mile relay champion and also 400 metres bronze medallist. 

To say he had carved out a solid career is an understatement. 

But clearly Danny felt he could have achieved more from the sport of track and field. However, his personal best at 400 metres was 44.90 seconds, set in 1995. 

If he wasn’t going to run much faster, which was unlikely at 31 years old when he changed events, then it’s unlikely he would have done much more than appear on a few Jamaican relay teams. 

So, he took the bold step despite little to no hurdling experience. 

I won’t chart the race by race improvements he made between April 2003 and his Olympic silver medal performance at the Athens Games in 2004 but I will say his rise was meteoric. 

In his first year of contesting the event, he won the Jamaican title, improved to 48.30 seconds, and finished fourth at the World Championships in Paris France. 

And so, it wasn’t a massive surprise that he was a contender when the Olympic Games rolled around in 2004. 

With eventual champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and American James Carter favored to battle for Gold, many felt McFarlane was running for bronze. 

But the 32-year-old timed it perfectly, running a personal best 48.00 seconds to win his semi-final and when Carter blew up down the stretch in the final, McFarlane pounced and captured a deserved silver. 

My recollection of Caribbean voice Lance Whittaker, “and McFarlane looks as if he will get silver – and he does,” as his voice raised almost in shock.   

One thing we all remember from that Danny McFarlane performance is that it was far from perfect. 

His 400 metre hurdles journey from 2003 to the point of his retirement as a 40-year-old in 2012 was characterized by less than perfect hurdling. 

While he improved over time, for the most part, his hurdling could be described as jumping. 

But he jumped his way into the hearts of Jamaicans who adored him because of his willingness to try something new, to embrace change, to fight, and when technique failed to turn to heart. 

For all that and more, Danny McFarlane isn’t just a lesson for 2004 but a lesson for life. 

Danny isn’t just a lesson for track and field or just for sport but a lesson for all endeavors.  Danny, we salute you and say thank you for teaching us all a valuable lesson.  

 

 In general, the idea of what a woman should look has become a problematic issue, increasingly within our current societal framework.  In athletics, it seems to be no different.

Women’s tennis legend Serena Williams once said: “I think of all the girls who could become top athletes but quit sports because they’re afraid of having too many defined muscles, being made fun of, or called unattractive.”

While not implicitly stated, appearances are also judged and discriminated against in athletics.  Women with conditions like hyperandrogenism tend to have bigger muscles due to high natural levels of testosterone and are as such, in my opinion, singled out for discrimination by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules.  Despite the fact that it is how they were born.

  In fact, women who compete with such conditions can be subject to gender verification testing should ‘suspicions’ arise. Hyperandrogenism or androgen excess is a medical condition characterized by excessive levels of testosterone in the body and the condition affects approximately 1% of elite female athletes.  Such embarrassing stipulations not only serve as a barrier to some women competing but also as a deterrent to getting involved in the first place.

In a recent chat with the Olympic Channel, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah credited fellow athlete Dutee Chand for helping put India on the global athletics stage.

Thompson-Herah gushed over the idea of athletes from other countries vying to claim a space on the global athletics map, in hopes of proudly representing themselves and their country.

“As an athlete, I think that is really exciting and great to see them coming in to deliver and perform well,” said the Olympic champion.

Having come from an impoverished community to become one of the world’s best, Thompson-Herah knows all about challenges.  Even now she battles with a nagging Achilles injury that has affected her for a good portion of her career.

For athletes like Chand, the list of obstacles can be even longer.  Thompson-Herah pointed to the athlete’s first language as another likely barrier to perhaps sharing nuggets of wisdom.

“English is not the native language for her,” Thompson-Herah explained.

“It is kind of hard to translate everything to another person who doesn't speak English, but Dutee is getting to know more and getting better each time.”

But in her short time competing as an athlete she has overcome an even bigger one.  One that were it not for her grit and determination, could have meant the end of her competing.

In June 2014, after she won two gold medals at the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in the 200 metres and 4 × 400 m relays, Chand was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games contingent at the last minute after the Athletic Federation of India revealed that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.  Chand challenged the gender testing policies and on July 26, 2015, the court ruled in favour.  The IAAF, as a result, temporarily suspended the hyperandrogenism regulations.

Consequently, she qualified for the 2016 Olympic games without having to alter her natural hormone levels.

The issue was, however, far from concluded. After further analysis in April 2018, the IAAF announced new eligibility regulations for female runners setting an upper testosterone limit, which applied to the 400m, 800m, and 1500m events.  Chand was left unaffected by the revised regulations and has her eyes set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  The rule amendment did, however, impact another woman, South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya. 

The three-time World Championship gold medallist and two times Olympic champion could no longer compete in her preferred 800m event after the new IAAF "differences of sex development" rules that required athletes with specific disorders of sex development, testosterone levels of 5 nmol/L and above, and certain androgen sensitivity, take medication to lower their testosterone levels.  Semenya, like Chand, contested the decision but lost the case at both the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and appeal at the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.  She has considered switching to the 200m event.

September is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) awareness month.  PCOS is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age and is one of the conditions that can affect these elite athletes.  When women have PCOS, they may have excess male hormone (androgen) levels.

Sports governing bodies should accept the fact that some women naturally produce higher levels of testosterone and those who do should be allowed to compete. When will women just be allowed to be women?

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!

 

Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn created history on Friday after becoming the first Olympic medallist to be appointed a Jamaican government minister.

Jamaican Olympian Jason Morgan has expressed gratitude after winning an award at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, The Young Professionals and Bayou Life Magazine 2020 Top20 Under-40 Awards.

The award recognises outstanding professionals in North and Central in Louisiana, who have made a positive impact on their communities.

The 37-year-old Morgan has been a standout member of his community where he is the Fatherhood Programme Coordinator for Life of Choice North Central Louisiana. He also serves as the Campus Coordinator for at-risk kids and is a motivational speaker for youth groups on character and leadership.

Morgan said he was humbled and honoured at being an award winner.

“Thank you kindly, Monroe Chamber of Commerce for recognizing me as one of the North East and North Central Louisiana Top 20 young professional,” he said in a post on Facebook.

“I will continue to be a servant and let God be my guide on this journey. I also want to thank all the people who have supported me and believed in me and giving me the opportunity to work with them.”

Morgan is a motivational speaker at several high schools in his community, churches and at youth events. He has also worked with teenagers and young adults aiding their personal development and also as a mentor and coach.

“It’s also a jubilant feeling when I can share that in the past eight years I have coached over 19 high school athletes receiving college track and field scholarships in the discus, shot put and javelin, so they could get an education and excel in sports,” he said.

Brazil's men's and women's teams have been paid at the same rate since March and will continue to be treated equally moving forward, CBF president Rogerio Caboclo has announced.

In what the CBF described as an "unprecedented measure", Brazil Women - led by captain Marta - receive the same daily wages and prize money as the five-time men's world champions.

Caboclo revealed the change at a news conference as Duda Luizelli and Aline Pellegrino were hired as the CBF's new women's football coordinators.

"Since March of this year, the CBF has paid an equal value in terms of prizes and daily rates between men's and women's football," Caboclo said.

"The men's players earn the same as the women's players during their call-ups. What they receive daily, the women also receive.

"What the men will gain by winning or advancing at the Olympics next year will be the same as the women will have.

"What men will receive at the next World Cup will be proportionally equal to what is proposed by FIFA.

"There is no more gender difference, as the CBF is treating men and women equally."

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, Elaine Thompson-Herah became the first Jamaican woman and the seventh woman ever to win the 100/200m double at the same Olympic Games.

If she has her way, if the Olympics are held in Tokyo next year, she will be in a pantheon of one- the only female sprinter to successfully defend an Olympic sprint double at the same Olympics.

She believes it is possible but it depends on one key factor.

“(Being) healthy is key because when I am healthy I am in the best shape of my life, I don’t think I have reached that yet. I just want to maintain that health. I really want to capture back my double at the Olympics,” she said while speaking on the Drive Phase Podcast with host Dalton Myers.

“I want to retain my titles.”

When she won the sprint double in Rio, the achievement thrust her into the global spotlight as one of the greatest-ever female sprinters and made her a national treasure in a country known for athletic icons like Herb McKenley, Donald Quarrie, Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt.

However, unlike Fraser-Pryce and Bolt, Thompson-Herah has so far failed to build on that legacy. Injury and illness robbed her of possible gold medals at the 2017 World Championships in London and again at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, where she finished fourth in the 100m final, having gone into the meet with the joint fastest time in the world.

She said she doesn’t intend to dwell on those disappointments and will continue to work hard, hoping that that elusive World Championships gold medal will soon be hanging from her neck.

Meantime, she has other goals in mind.

 “I still want to get below that 10.7 barrier,” said the woman who shares Jamaica’s national record of 10.70 with two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“I think I have it in me. It’s just about the time for it to come.”

She also believes she can go faster than her 200m 21.66 PB set in 2015 when she won the silver medal at the World Championships in Beijing, China.

“Once I am healthy anything is possible,” she said.

Yuriy Ganus has been removed as the Russian Anti-Doping Agency's (RUSADA) director general, prompting concerns over its independence from the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

RUSADA's supervisory board earlier this month recommended its founders - the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committee - dismiss Ganus, advice that was taken on Friday.

Deputy director general Margarita Pakhnotskaya and the supervisory board's independent international expert member Sergey Khrychikov resigned this week.

RUSADA's non-compliance case is pending before the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it appealed the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) four-year suspension of Russia from global sporting events.

WADA and the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) each responded to news of Ganus' removal with unease.

WADA, which previously said it was "extremely concerned" by the supervisory board's recommendation, said: "These developments reinforce the concerns expressed by WADA in its statement of August 5 in relation to the manner in which the founders reached the decision regarding Mr Ganus following a recommendation by RUSADA's supervisory board.

"[The developments] re-emphasise the critical importance for RUSADA to maintain its operational independence going forward.

"WADA is in contact with RUSADA and other relevant Russian authorities to get further clarifications on the latest developments."

It added: "It is a critical element of the World Anti-Doping Code that national anti-doping organisations, such as RUSADA, remain safe from interference in their operational decisions and activities in order to conduct their work independently and effectively.

"This is why the Compliance Review Committee made it a condition of RUSADA's reinstatement that WADA remains satisfied that RUSADA's independence is being respected and there is no improper outside interference with its operations."

iNADO said: "iNADO is deeply concerned by the control that the Russian Olympic and Paralympic Committee exercise over RUSADA.

"This was made evident today in the dismissal of Yuriy Ganus as director general by these two organisations."

It added: "It is a clear conflict of interest when sport organisations have the power to remove the head of a national anti-doping agency unopposed."

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