Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. A disappointing start for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz both on and off the field!

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were poor in their first international match since the Covid-19 lockdown and it ended in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday. It is evident that off-the-field issues has seeped onto the field with the number of careless errors displayed in the match.

 Prior to the first friendly, Covid-19 infections within the Reggae Boyz delegation were a huge blow to the Theodore Whitmore-coached squad.  In addition to 30-year-old goalkeeper Dennis Taylor, who was travelling with the Reggae Boyz delegation testing positive for the virus while en route to Riyadh, another player and a member of the Jamaica Football Federation administration fell victim to the disease. In addition, two other players are under investigation with the JFF declining to name them.

The Reggae Boyz, who were on course to be the top team in the Caribbean, will need to get their act together very quickly as these matches could have influence their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup showing set for July 10 to August 1, 2021.

Prior to this 3-0 loss, it had been eight months since they last played an international match. Despite their inactivity, they remained at number 48 in the FIFA world rankings, even displacing Costa Rica at number 3 on the CONCACAF list. 

The Reggae Boyz looked out of sorts due to their preparation being hampered by the coronavirus. Without a doubt, there are top individual performers within the Jamaican team. However, football is a team sport and the success of the squad lies in whether or not Coach Whitmore can get each player to combine well with his teammates. It is not too late for the Reggae Boyz but they have work to do!

 

 

  1. Paternity leave for professional athletes? A step in the right direction.

India’s captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anuskha Sharma are expecting their first child and Kohli has asked for and been granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said the 32-year-old middle order batsman has been cleared to leave the India setup after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December. Although the skipper’s presence will be missed on the field, Kohli’s decision to be with his family increases my respect for him as a person.

 

Australia’s Head Coach Justin Langer praised Kohli’s decision.

 

“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields. I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision to return to India for the birth of his child,” Langer said.

“He’s human being like all of us. If I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do.”

 Paternity leave for professional athletes should be legislated and normalized. Once the government can create a formula within reason that avoids abuse of the system, paternity leave can be an asset. It will allow fathers to be present for the birth of their children while simultaneously providing support for the child’s mother. In the long term, it can also play a key role in the quality of families that are raised.

Policies that ensure fathers have the support they need to prioritize their family responsibilities, while also meeting work demands, can significantly increase the personal and economic well-being of their families. Paternity leave can promote parent-child bonding, improve outcomes for children, and even increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.

 

  1. A good call by Windies selectors to allow Kraigg Brathwaite to focus on his game.

 

West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper said stripping Kraigg Brathwaite of the team’s vice captaincy will allow him to concentrate on improving his batting. Brathwaite was first appointed Test vice-captain in 2015 but has averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series. Roston Chase has been appointed vice captain.

This is a good move by those leading the charge as it allows the 27-year-old to simply buckle down and get to work.

The Barbadian has had his fair share of struggles. His last Test century came against Bangladesh in Kingston two years ago and since then his game has been inconsistent. Before the Test series against England in July, Brathwaite played 20 innings without making a Test 50. In that time, he only scored 233 runs at an average of 12.26.

 Earlier this year, he showed signs of improvement with half-centuries in the first Test against England when he scored 65, and in the second test with 75. Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19.
 Like Roger Harper, I am hoping removing the additional responsibilty will allow Brathwaite to be more consistent.

 

 

 

 

 

Having to settle for three second-place finishes on Saturday, Alia Atkinson came out Sunday with a vengeance winning the 100m breaststroke in a time just shy of her world record.

The 31-year-old Olympian won the swim in 1:02.66, just out her world record of 1:02.36 in the semi-finals of the International Swimming League. It was the only time under 1:03 this year and is her fourth fastest time ever in the event.

As the London Roar make the push for the final, Atkinson stepped to meet the occasion winning by a clear 0.89s over Bennedetta Pilato (1:03.55) of reigning champions Energy Standard and Emily Escobedo of New York Breakers (1:04.31).

She was also a member of the Roar’s 4x100m medley relay team that clocked 3:46.59 to finish second to Energy Standard’s 3:45.58.

The win earned Atkinson and her team a valuable 15 points, which she added to the 12.5 points she won on Saturday.

It was another day of standout performances from the 31-year-old Jamaican who was second to Pilato (28.86) in the 50m breaststroke, touching in a quick 29.30.

Also on Saturday, Atkinson was seventh in 100m butterfly in a new national record of 57.13, breaking the record of 57.21 set on November 9.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has filed an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)the challenging the decision of an independent anti-doping tribunal to clear world 400m champion Salwa Eid Naser of committing an anti-doping violation by missing three out-of-competition tests in 2019.

The news comes on the heels of reports that the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) had issued a statement in support of Bahamian Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who questioned why World Athletics didn’t sanction to Bahrani athlete who defeated her in the final of the 2019 World Championships 400m final in Doha.

Naser won in a world-leading 48.14, the third fastest time in history. However, she had missed three tests on March 12 and 16 and April 12 that year but was not suspended. One of those missed tests was being investigated while Naser was competing in Doha.

Naser was provisionally suspended on June 5, 2020 but was cleared by an Independent Tribunal in October after it was revealed during the hearing that the doping control officer turned up at the wrong address to test Naser.

However, the AIU announced on Twitter today that they would be challenging the decision.

Kieron Pollard and Jofra Archer were among the major award winners of the just-concluded 2020 IPL season.

All members of the West Indies team have returned negative results from their third and final COVID-19 tests, conducted on Day 12 of the ongoing tour of New Zealand.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has apologized for the behavior of his players who breached New Zealand’s Covid-19 safety protocols and caused the team to be stripped of exemptions that had allowed to train while in isolation.

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.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave said he is especially disappointed with the West Indies who breached New Zealand’s strict Covid-19 protocols earlier this week, is that they arguably are the most experienced dealing with being in isolation since the return of competitive cricket.

Grave also hinted at the possibility of individual sanctions facing as many as four or five players who are alleged to have been involved and said there were plans to interview all the players and personnel who would have information salient to an investigation into the matter.

In a statement Tuesday night, CWI said it had launched an investigation to the reports that several players had breached protocols and as a result had been banned from training for the final two days of isolation.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health reported that members of the team were confirmed to have repeatedly broken isolation rules. Many of the incidents were captured on close circuit television and have been reported by staff at the facility where the players are being housed.

New Zealand cricket said the incidents included some players compromising bubble integrity by sharing food, and socializing in hallways. However, there is no evidence that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorized persons accessed it.

An embarrassed Grave speaking to media on a Zoom call expressed his disappointment at the situation while supporting the sanctions imposed on the players.

“I think my disappointment is mainly the fact that our players are probably the most experienced players in the world in dealing with these strict quarantine measures. I am not, for any second, saying that they’re easy and living in them day in and day out is obviously a massive challenge. It’s still not natural for people to always wear a mask and always do things we have been trained to do for so many years, living our lives in the way we have before Covid,’ he said.

“But these players, the majority of them have been in a seven-week quarantine isolation bubble for the duration of the England men’s tour that we held in June and July. They all pretty much went to Trinidad and Tobago, which had a very similar situation to New Zealand with its borders fully shut with the government dispensation to allow us to host the Caribbean Premier League, and they have been within that facility in Christchurch for virtually the whole quarantine period. So its hugely disappointing that players who knew what the protocols were have clearly broken them by mixing together.”

He said their actions have put the tour and the New Zealand population at risk.

When the Mumbai Indians defeated the Delhi Capitals on Tuesday’s final of the 2020 season of the Indian Premier League, it also made Kieron Pollard the player with the most T20 titles in the history of the format.

The powerfully built Trinidadian allrounder was winning his 15th title and his fifth with Mumbai, also a record for the franchise.

It puts him above compatriot Dwayne Bravo, who has 14, Shoaib Malik with 12, Rohit Sharma, Mumbai’s captain Rohit Sharma with 10 and Lasith Malinga, who has nine titles.

Following Tuesday’s comfortable five-wicket victory over the Capitals, Pollard expressed his joy at winning yet another title but confesses that the path to winning the many trophies he has won has never been easy.

“It's a great feeling. I've been here 11 years, fifth trophy,” said Pollard who won a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title with the Trinbago Knight Riders in September.

“No one sees the planning and training, it's pressure playing for a franchise like this. The amount of trophies, the amount of work, the amount of players who go on to play for their countries, I think we'll have to say so [that this is the best T20 franchise].”

Pollard praised the owners and management of the franchise and aimed a friendly dig at his fellow Trinidadian, who plays for the Chennai Super Kings.

“Dwayne Bravo you're behind now and I'm in front of you, just had to say it on camera.”

From all indications, he seems to relish the pressure that comes with a final. He made reference to this prior to Tuesday's final in a video on Mumbai's Twitter page.

“The name of the game is pressure, in a final. Everyone takes that pressure. You want to win and not commit a mistake, but at the end of the day, you have to try to take the finals as a normal game. Just go out there, enjoy yourself and the atmosphere,” Pollard said.

“Obviously, no crowds in this final, but enjoy the magnitude of it. It is an IPL final, it’s the biggest thing after the World Cup final,. 

Pollard will now head to New Zealand where he will represent the West Indies in their three-match T20 season set to begin on November 27.

Cricket West Indies have launched an international investigation into the circumstances under which members of the Windies touring party breached strict COVID-19 protocols within the team’s Managed Isolation Facility in Christchurch.

The breach has resulted in the team members being unable to train for their final days of isolation prior to their continued preparations for the upcoming T20 series that begin on November 27.

According to reports from New Zealand, NZ Cricket said it found out on Tuesday that some members of the West Indies team had "contravened protocols" within the managed isolation facility in Christchurch.

"These incidents included some players compromising bubble integrity by sharing food, and socializing in hallways,” New Zealand Cricket said.

However, there is no evidence that any members of the touring party left the facility, or that any unauthorized persons accessed it, reports said.

CWI said the New Zealand Ministry of Health advised them that all members of the West Indies touring party will now be unable to train for the remainder of the quarantine period and will have to complete their quarantine within the Managed Isolation Facility only.

“CWI is in full support of the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s position,” CWI said in a statement.

“From the information we have received so far, we have been told that the incidents in question included some players compromising the bubble integrity by mixing between two separate West Indies bubbles into which the touring party had been split.”

Ahead of the tour to New Zealand, the West Indies touring party all returned two negative COVID-19 tests before leaving the Caribbean, and underwent two further tests since they have been in New Zealand. All results were negative.

The players underwent their final scheduled tests yesterday and, results permitting, are scheduled to leave the Managed Isolation Facility on Friday to travel to Queenstown ahead of two warm-up matches against New Zealand “A”.

Stafanie Taylor’s Player of the Match performance helped Adelaide Strikers pull off a nail-biting six run win over the Melbourne Renegades in the Women’s Big Bash League in Sydney, Australia on Monday.

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

Deandra Dottin always wished to play in the Women’s T20 Challenge. Today, she not only fulfilled that wish but is now a champion as well.

The Barbadian all-rounder today scored 20 of the Trailblazer’s 118 for 8 that was good enough to defeat Supernovas by 16 runs in Sharjah.

Dottin and Smriti Mandhana who top scored with 68, shared in an opening stand of 17 before the Windies Women star was out in the 12th over, caught going for a big hit over deep midwicket off a Poonam Yadav delivery.

Their 50 partnership came up off just 38 deliveries with Mandhana doing the bulk of the scoring with 39.

After Mandhana got out in the 15th over, the innings fell away as Radha Yadav scythed through the remaining line up taking 5 for 16 as Trailblazers collapsed from 101 for 2 to 118 for 8.

Supernovas were never in the hunt as they lost wickets regularly, at one point being 37 for 3 after 8.2 overs.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur (30) and Shashikala Siriwardene (19) provided a fleeting moment of hope when they took the score to 74 when things went pear-shaped. Salam Katun 3 for 18 stifled the lower order which resulted in the Supernovas limping to 102 for 7 in reply.

Shakira Selman was unbeaten on 4 at the end.

Deepti Sharma returned figures of 2 for 9.

Dottin expressed her joy afterwards.

"I have always wanted to play this tournament, and to win the tournament has been good. Indeed, the pitch was struggling a bit, but Smriti was batting really well. I was just looking to give her the strike as much as possible," she said.

Dottin was the second highest scorer in the tournament with 76 runs scored in the three matches. She averaged 38 runs per innings and had a top score of 29 not out.

Only Mandhana with 107 runs score more.

If this is to be the final season of Clemson University’s men’s track and field and cross-country, then Head Coach Mark Elliott intends to make it one for the ages as he launches the seemingly improbable task of making the school change its mind.

Elliott, who joined Clemson in 2013 after 12 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana State University, was caught off guard when the Division I school announced the unthinkable late last week.

Athletics Director Dan Radakovich delivered the devastating news last Thursday, November 5. In a letter posted on the university’s website, he wrote:

“After consultation and communication with President Clements and the Board of Trustees, I have made the difficult decision to discontinue sponsorship of the men’s track and field program effective June 2021. The program includes indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country.

After a long period of deliberative discussion and analysis we concluded that discontinuing our men’s track and field program is in the best long-term interests of Clemson Athletics. While this decision comes during the significant financial challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, those challenges are just one of many factors that led to this decision. We will continue to honor all student-athlete scholarships and provide them with support as they work towards earning their degrees. “

He said the school would also honour the contracts of the six coaches employed by the school, which basically means until the end of the 20/21 season.

The athletic director said several factors contributed to the decision including, but not limited to: competitive balance, gender equity and Title IX compliance, financial positioning, impact on diversity among student-athletes and staff, and local and national  interest and participation in the sport.

“The annual $2-million plus in savings will be reinvested into other athletic department initiatives, including our remaining Olympic sports and will help to provide additional financial stability moving forward. The Department of Athletics has already undertaken several significant measures to address a projected resource shortfall of $25 million this fiscal year,” he rationalized.

Elliott told Sportsmax.TV he was stunned by the news.

“It came as a big surprise. I had no knowledge. I found out about an hour and a half after the student-athletes were told by the athletic director,” he said. “They (student-athletes) were caught off guard and they’re still trying to process it, just like we are.”

Jamaica currently has about five or six male athletes on scholarship at Clemson among them Fabian Hewitt, LaFrenz Campbell, Rayon Holmes, Zico Campbell and Rojae Stona. Of the five, three – Hewitt, Campbell and Holmes - are due to graduate this academic year but they will still have college eligibility.

What this means is that if any of them were planning to continue to pursue further college competition and eventually transition to the professional ranks, they will likely consider transfers to other schools. Elliott reveals that if that turns out to be the case, then he will do everything to help them find new schools.

“They would have to seek alternatives and I and the coaches would help them along that path,” Elliott said.

Besides the athletes, at least 50 per cent of the athletics coaching staff that includes Lennox Graham, are likely to lose their jobs as under NCAA rules, the number coaches a school can employ depends on whether the number of programmes they have.

“It affects everyone, three of us or six of us could be gone,” Elliott said while explaining why for him the situation is so regrettable.

“Track and field is what got me to where I am today. My parents could not afford to send me to college so I got a scholarship just like these young men,” he said.

“It hurts on many levels. This is my livelihood too but I don’t view it as that alone. It is an opportunity to give opportunity to those like myself. It does hurt.”

It is why he say wants this coming season to be one of Clemson’s best ever.

“The focus is on the student-athletes to be able to be competitive. That is where the focus is right now. Life offers you challenges. How you respond is what makes the difference. We will try to get them to reconsider," he said. 

 

 

 

 

Shimron Hetmyer scored an unbeaten 22-ball 42 today as the Delhi Capitals defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs to book a spot in Tuesday’s final of the 2020 IPL.

It is their first trip ever to an IPL final where they face four-time champions Mumbai Indians.

Hetmyer hit four fours and a six and shared in a 52-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan who top scored for the Capitals with a 50-ball 78.

The half-century stand came up in just 25 balls with Hetmyer scoring 34 of them as the Capitals raced towards their match-winning total of 189 for 3.

Man of the Match Marcus Stoinis opened the batting with Dhawan and scored 38 from 27 balls. He and Dhawan scored 50 runs from just 29 balls and were 65 without loss after six overs. Stoinis was unbeaten on 33 and Dhawan 30.

The pair took the score to 86 when Stoinis was bowled by Rashid Khan in the ninth over.

Shreyas Iyer joined Dhawan and together they took the score to 126 when Jason Holder had Iyer caught at mid-off for 21.

Hetmyer and Dhawan then took the Sunrisers’ bowling to task scoring at just about 12 runs an over. The Guyanese batsman was particularly harsh on the West Indies captain hitting him for four fours in the 18th over that yielded 18 runs.

Dhawan was trapped lbw in the 19th over two balls after he was dropped at deep midwicket by Rashid Khan.  The Capitals lost some momentum after that with only seven runs coming off the final over but managed a competitive total of 189 for 3.

Chasing 190, Sunrisers were immediately in trouble when the dangerous David Warner was bowled by Kagiso Rabada for 2 in the second over with the score at 12.

Three overs later, Sunrisers were in deeper trouble when Stoinis dismissed Priyam Garg (17) and Manish Pandey with the fourth and the sixth balls of the fifth over. At the break, Sunrisers were 64 for 3 from nine overs.

Holder stayed with Kane Williamson until the 12th over when he lost his wicket to Axar Patel for 11 and the Sunrisers 90 for 4.

Williamson and Abdul Samad put on a quick-fire 57 to bring Sunrisers back into the hunt. The 50-stand came up in just 27 balls but the chase began to unravel when Sunrisers lost their fifth wicket in the 17th over when Stoinis had Kane caught by Rabada for 67 with the score at 147.

At 167 for 5, Rabada inflicted the death blows when he had the wickets of Samad and Khan in successive deliveries as he finished with 4 for 29.

The double blow took the sting out of the Sunrisers attack and booked the Capitals spot in the finals.

Stoinis completed a good day with figures of 3 for 26.

 

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