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.

Steven Gardiner and Tynia Gaither of the Bahamas had podium finishes at the UAB Blazer Invite in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

  1. Windies men- Nothing to lose so much to gain!

It is no secret that as the West Indies get set to face Bangladesh on January 20, in their first One-Day International, the home side is the overwhelming favourite, especially because of their track record of winning at home. The Windies enter against a backdrop comprising of several senior players opting out, Hayden Walsh Jr getting Covid-19 mere days before the first ODI, eight players making their ODI debut and the captain, Jason Mohammed, who last played for the Windies in 2018. Despite all these factors, they walk into this series with nothing to lose and so much to gain.

It is easy to point out the lack of experience in the Windies team. Simply put, as I mentioned before, eight of the players suiting up will be making their debuts. In the ODI setup, Rovman Powell is the most experienced having played 34 matches with the skipper Jason Mohammed ranked second with 28. While this is enough to say the Windies team is inexperienced we must also note that Bangladesh also has three uncapped players - off-spinner Mahadi Hasan and pacers Shorful Islam and Hasan Mahmud.

Similarly, it is natural to feel uneasy that ODI skipper Jason Mohammed has been out of Windies cricket since 2018. However, we cannot forget that Mohammed previously captained the Windies in an ODI against England in 2017 and in three T20Is during their 2018 Pakistan tour.

It was during a similar situation when key players refused to play and CWI thrust Mohammed to the helm.

All things considered, it is not always a disadvantage to be the underdogs if the team is physically and mentally ready. In World-Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd’s open letter to the team, he highlighted that he made his debut on short notice against India 1966. He got his call up just hours before the game and went on to score 82 and 78. 

And, in that is the bigger picture. A ticket to the World Cup awaits any player who seizes this moment. Wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva impressed on his Test debut in New Zealand where he scored an impressive half-century.

Batsman Kjorn Ottley is another player who could force his way into the first team. In 2019, he played for Barbados in the 50-over competition and scored 325 runs in the nine innings at an average of 54.16.  All-rounder Akeal Hosein will be eager to transfer his CPL form into this format of the game.

The 27-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in T&T’s 2020 first-class season with a total of 36 wickets at an average of 20.61. 

 

  1. Brooklyn Nets Success: One Word- Sacrifice.

News of James Harden leaving the Houston Rockets and joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit very well with me as a Rockets supporter. It took me a few days to process his exit. However, as Harden’s biggest supporter and critic I understand the reason for the move. The three-time NBA scoring champion is desperate to win a Championship and he is not getting younger. However, if the Nets are to be successful it comes down to a key factor - sacrifice.

 The “Big Three” of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant can only work well if they share the ball. Over the last 10 seasons, all three players have ranked in the top 10 in the highest usage rate in clutch time. Harden described it best while addressing the media. 

“When it comes to facilitating it depends on the flow of the game. Some nights I’ll be a facilitator. Some nights I might get it going and score the ball at a high clip. That is the beauty of being versatile and being able to do more than one thing. Same with Kevin and same with Kyrie. Every night is going to be different.”

 Each of the three players will be required to sacrifice whatever is going on behind the scenes of their lives if they are to win a championship. Irving was fined USD$50,000 for breaching the NBA Covid-19 protocols after a video surfaced on social media that showed him at a birthday party with no mask.

He also made an appearance at a Zoom fundraiser for a progressive political candidate half-hour before the tipoff of a Nets game.  He needs to show up mentally and physically.  Harden is out of shape and will have to avoid getting into Covid-19 trouble again. Additionally, it will be in the team’s best interest if KD stays injury free and avoids getting the virus again.

 In order for the Nets to get the best of the Harden trade all egos have to be put aside and the players need to allow rookie head coach Steve Nash and assistant coach Michael  D'Antoni to do their jobs without interference.

A positive to draw from this is Harden has worked well with D’Antoni at the Rockets and even cited his move had a lot to do with the influence of the assistant coach.

Kevin Durant, without a doubt, is a selfless player. He sacrificed his Achilles when he returned to the 2019 NBA finals too soon.  His value to the team goes without saying, however, a key element of the Nets success this season will be his acceptance of the leadership role. 

The Brooklyn Nets are championship contenders for 2021. The big question is then “Who is selfless enough to step back?” 

  

  1. Widespread vaccination and speedy rollout can ensure the Tokyo Olympics proceed.

Japanese government officials say they are committed to hosting the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo despite a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.  Reports indicate that the international Olympic Committee is working on ways to ensure that athletes are vaccinated so the event can proceed safely in July.

As of Friday, 15 January, Tokyo confirmed 2001 new infections. The number of new infections and the shortage of hospital beds are making it difficult to hospitalize coronavirus patients.  Deputy head of the Tokyo Medical Association Masataka Inakuchi has warned that the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients could rise to approximately 4600 in a week and 7000 in two weeks.

One can only hope that there will be widespread vaccination rollouts and speedy distribution in Tokyo so the Olympic Games can proceed without any further delay. 

 

 

Emerging sprinter Kiara Grant of Norfolk State University and Ackera Nugent of Baylor were among several Jamaicans who produced top NCAA performances between Friday and Saturday as the collegiate indoor circuit unfolded in earnest in the United States.

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.

 

After a long string of low scores, Andre Fletcher finally came good with a man-of-the-match performance that saw the Melbourne Stars score a massive 111-run victory over the Adelaide Strikers in Melbourne on Thursday.

Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Sydney Schneider says she feels blessed to have made history once again and is eager to begin training with the Washington Spirit in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Reggae Girlz custodian Sydney Schneider created history on Wednesday when she became the first player from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to be selected in the National Women’s Soccer League Draft.

Reggae Boyz forward Junior Flemmings has signed a one-year deal with Birmingham Legion FC in the United Soccer League in the United States.

Steven Gardiner became one of the fastest men in history when he won the gold medal in the 400m at the World Championships in Doha last year. The 25-year-old Bahamian crossed the finish line in 43.48s, the sixth-fastest time ever run over the distance.

But while he dreams of one day breaking Wayde van Niekerk’s four-year-old world record of 43.03, he would prefer for it to come as a surprise.

“I would say that is everybody’s dream! If I do set the world record, I want it to be a surprise,” Gardiner said in a recent interview with World Athletics.

“I just want to go out, compete and then when I look at the clock, find that I’ve set a world record.”

The soft-spoken Bahamian harbours hope to have a good year competing in 2021 culminating with another gold medal in Tokyo.

“I just want to compete the best I can and leave with a medal, specifically the gold medal. I know what I have to do. For the season, I’d like to run a few PBs and then win an Olympic medal,” he said.

With most of the major meets cancelled or postponed during 2020, Gardiner said he spent much of the time focused on improving his speed, a potentially critical element in any attempt at a world record.

“Many things were the same, although my coach, Gary Evans, introduced a lot more speed work. It was fun and it really paid off,” he said.

“I had a lot of fun. During the pandemic, we decided to focus on the shorter sprints and leave competing again in the 400m to 2021.”

 

 

With 13584 runs, 22 centuries and 85 50s under his belt Christopher Henry Gayle is arguably the greatest T20 batsman in history.

Chris Gayle, Chadwick Walton and Sherfane Rutherford and Carlos Brathwaite were the four West Indies players selected to play in the Pakistan Super League following the 2021 Draft held in Lahore on Sunday.

Jamaican Olympian and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell said he intends to get to that elusive mark of 100 legal sub-10 times and an Olympic medal before he hangs up his spikes.

Carlos Brathwaite took four wickets which helped Sydney Sixers pull off Brisbane Heat by three wickets at Carrara on Saturday to move to the top of the standings in Australia’s Big Bash League.

Brathwaite returned figures of 4 for 18 that included the wickets of Chris Lynn, who top-scored with 56, the dangerous Joe Burns for 7, James Bazley for a duck and Mark Steketee for 2 as Brisbane were restricted to 148 all out.

Jake Ball took 3 for 25 from his too over to provide support to the giant Barbadian. Jackson Bird also weighed in with the ball taking 2 for 22.

Chasing 149 for victory, the Sixers were struggling at 54 for 4 before Captain Daniel Hughes’ 51 helped steady the ship.  Hughes’s dismissal in the 17th   created jitters for the Sixers. Brathwaite lost his wicket six balls later for just 2 as Sydney slipped to 130 for 6, which opened the door for Brisbane.

However, Daniel Christian’s unbeaten 38-ball 61 took the Sixers home, hitting the winning boundary off the final ball of the match with his side closing on 152 for 7.

The win put the Sixers on 25 points, two points clear of second-placed Sydney Thunder while the Hobart Hurricanes are third on 19 points.

 

A personal health crisis is what Olympian Michael Frater said got him interested in the medicinal benefits of cannabis and eventually led to the opening of the 4/20 Therapeutic Bliss dispensary in Manor Park, Kingston on Saturday.

Frater, 38, represented Jamaica at the senior level for more than a decade, winning gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s world-record-setting 4x100m relay teams at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 and again at the London Olympics in 2012.

He also won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. He was also a 100m champion at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic.

However, about five years ago persistent problems with his knees forced him to retire.

At Saturday’s launch, he explained how those knee problems introduced him to the healing properties of cannabis.

“I had very bad knees, and I remember waking up one day, and my knees were swollen, and I couldn’t walk. I went to the University Hospital (of the West Indies) where I met with Dr (Carl) Bruce and ran some tests but nobody could figure out what was wrong,” he told the gathering that included Jamaica’s Minister of Sports Olivia Grange, former world record holder Asafa Powell and Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle.

Christopher Samuda, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association and Ali McNab, an advisor to the sports minister were also in attendance and were in rapt attention as Frater shared his harrowing experience.

“I had an IAAF (World Athletics) function in Monaco. I remember leaving on Monday and got there on Tuesday and I couldn’t even walk off the plane. They had to send a wheelchair for me,” he recalled.

Initially, doctors in Monaco believed his condition was the result of doping, he said, but subsequent tests disproved their theories even though they were still unable to determine what was the cause of the constant swelling and fluid build-up in his knees.

He spent two weeks in hospital there where doctors ‘patched’ him up enough to enable him to fly home.

A subsequent visit to a medical facility in Florida was also unable to help him get any closer to identifying what was wrong with his knees, he said which left him fearing he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

It was then that his father, Lindel Frater, suggested he tried cannabis oil. He tried it and within a month he felt ‘brand new’, he said.

“I started studying a lot about it and realized that a drug that has been taboo for most of my life is really a miracle drug. It’s really a drug that once taken properly with the proper prescription, the medicinal purposes are exponential.”

Minister Grange applauded the retired Olympian and praised him for his initiative in opening the dispensary. She eventually made the first purchase of medicinal marijuana. Samuda also shared similar sentiments while praising Frater for his venture into the cannabis industry.

Gayle, meanwhile, said Frater’s venture was an example for other retired athletes to emulate.

“I am a big supporter of Michael's career and now his business venture, and from a sportsman's point of view, there is life after your original career and to actually venture in a business is good for him and we are here to support him 100 per cent,” said Gayle.

Powell, who was Frater’s teammate on several national teams, said, his friend and colleague, was always a budding entrepreneur.

“From ever since, Michael has always been the brains among all of us. He has always been driven, business-oriented. I have always admired that about him,” said the former 100m world record holder who brought his wife Alyshia along.

“It’s kind of intimidating sometimes when you’re talking to him, and he is saying some stuff I don’t even know about, so I have always known he would make this step into business.

“He keeps pushing and I am very, very happy for him.”

Reggae Boyz manager Roy Simpson is to meet with representatives with midfielder Ravel Morrison after the player’s recent departure from Dutch club ADO Den Haag by mutual consent.

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