Para-cyclist Marloe Rodman returns to national representation at the Pan American Para-Cycling Track and Road Championships

By Sports Desk March 17, 2022

National cyclist Marloe Rodman is set to represent Jamaica at the Pan American Para-Cycling Track and Road Championships in Maringa, Brazil this week.

The races are scheduled for March 17-20.

Rodman, who has a paralyzed upper limb from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in 2018, will be the first Jamaican athlete to represent the nation in para-cycling.

Prior to his injury, Rodman was a multiple national track cycling champion and has represented Jamaica at several international competitions.

Rodman, who left the island on Sunday, is set to do the scratch race and omnium, which is his speciality event on the track, as well as the road race. This event is a qualifier for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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    Vinicius Junior acknowledged that he and his team-mates must improve following their goalless draw with Costa Rica in their opening game of the Copa America. 

    The nine-time champions were frustrated by their opponents at the SoFi Stadium, with Los Ticos becoming only the third CONCACAF side to keep a clean sheet against the Selecao Canarinho at the tournament after Mexico (2001 and 2007) and Honduras (2001).

    Brazil registered 19 attempts at Patrick Sequeira's goal, but only three were on target, with Rodrygo (6) and Lucas Paqueta (5) having the majority of those chances. 

    Vinicius failed to make an impact on proceedings in Los Angeles and was replaced by future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick for the final 20 minutes. 

    The 23-year-old has now been substituted in Brazil's last six competitive matches and knows Dorival Junior's side must improve to achieve success at the tournament. 

    "We know we can improve, we have to improve," Vinícius said. "I also know what I can improve, evolve and do for our team."

    Vinicius, who scored 24 goals in 39 appearances for Los Blancos this season, arrived at the tournament with the weight of a nation on his shoulders with all-time leading scorer Neymar, out of the Copa America due to injury. 

    The Real Madrid winger has registered just one assist in his last five appearances for his nation, but has called for patience from the Brazil fans. 

    "New coach, new players, everything takes time," Vinícius said. "Our fans want everything immediately done, but we're going little by little. In the next game, I'm sure we'll play much better because we now already understand what the competition will be like, what the pitch, what the referees will be like.

    "Every time I enter the field for the national team, I have three or four players marking me."

    Brazil face Paraguay in Las Vegas on Saturday before concluding their Group D campaign against Colombia, who beat the Albirroja on Matchday 1. 

  • Positive vibes: Boyz striker Nicholson hoping to overcome bittersweet milestone with victory over Ecuador Positive vibes: Boyz striker Nicholson hoping to overcome bittersweet milestone with victory over Ecuador

    For Shamar Nicholson, Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz 1-0 loss to Mexico in their Copa America opener was a bittersweet occasion, as that encounter marked his 50th international appearance for the country.

    Though Nicholson would have loved to celebrate the significant milestone in victory, but it was not to be. As such, he was left ruing what could have been, as he reflected on his career journey which started at Trench Town High school, blossomed at Boys' Town Football Club, and he is now bearing fruit as one of Jamaica's top-rated strikers.

    Across those 50 games, Nicholson has so far tallied 19 goals and won three medals –silver and the 2017 Caribbean Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, and an historic bronze at 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League.

    "Yeah, it was special moment," Nicholson declared in a recent interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

    "It's just a pity that we didn't get to win to make it more special, but it was a proud moment for me and my family, my friends, coaching staff, and everyone, who have supported me along the way during bad time and good time. So it was really a proud moment," he added.

    Shamar Nicholson (right) and rising sensation Keheim Dixon.

    Nicholson’s rise to becoming one of Jamaica's key players has been marked by determination and hard work. Though a man of few words, the 27-year-old's achievements on the international stage is a testament to his dedication and talent, as his true personality comes to light when the ball is at his feet.

    Since making his debut in 2017, the towering striker has become a mainstay in the senior Reggae Boyz team, especially giving his scoring prowess and physical presence on the field, which makes him a constant threat to opponents.

    In fact, it is for that reason why Nicholson has made the rounds at clubs in Slovenia, Belgium, Russia and now France. In Slovenia he scored 18 goals for Domzale, and later tallied 30 goals for Belgian outfit Charleroi. He later moved to Spartak Moscow, where he had eight goals and won the Russian Cup, before being loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Clermont, where has four goals to date.

    Each league and club offered a different challenge, but for Nicholson, the experiences were worthwhile contributions to his development.

    "Yes, I will say culture wise (France and Belgium are somewhat similar), but I think it was also a good experience, you know, because the level is high and really physical, and it also challenges you mentally. So I think it was a good experience and I learned a lot," Nicholson shared.

    Despite the defeat to Mexico in keen contest where Michail Antonio had a goal ruled out for offside and the Boyz generally squandered a few good half chances.

    While that result was not in their favour, Nicholson believes there were positives to take from the game, and, as such, he remains optimistic and focused on the challenges ahead, particularly the upcoming clash against Ecuador.

    Shamar Nicholson celebrates with Reggae Boyz teammates.

    He emphasized the importance of staying positive and focused, as the Heimir Hallgrimsson-coached Boyz hunt an historic first goal and, by extension, point at the prestigious Copa America tournament 

    The Reggae Boyz have shown in previous tournaments that they can bounce back from setbacks, and Nicholson is confident they will do so again. Hallgrimsson’s side is currently at the foot of Group B without a point, a statistic they could very well change with victory over Ecuador on Wednesday at Allegiant Stadium.

    They will then close out the group stage against current leaders Venezuela on Sunday.

    “The vibe is right, you know, everyone is positive despite the loss (against Mexico), and we all have a positive mindset. So, it's just to take things step by step. You know, we prepare in training, so it's just to go there and believe, and I think we're ready for that game,” Nicholson ended.

  • Dorival bemoans lack of end product as Brazil frustrated in Copa America opener Dorival bemoans lack of end product as Brazil frustrated in Copa America opener

    Dorival Junior bemoaned a lack of end product after Brazil were frustrated in a goalless draw with Costa Rica in their Copa America opener on Monday.

    Despite enjoying 73.5% of the possession and firing off 19 shots to their opponents' two, Brazil failed to win their first game at a Copa America for the first time since 2016.

    The Selecao's 49 final-third entries throughout the match were the joint-most since such data began being recorded in 2011, alongside their own tally versus Paraguay in 2019, yet they only registered a paltry three shots on target.

    The result means Brazil have lost early ground on Colombia, who lead Group D following their 2-1 win over Paraguay earlier on Monday.

    Speaking after the game, Dorival said: "We rotated the ball well, went from side to side and got our attackers one-versus-one. 

    "We have a smaller field and that makes it easier for those who defend and difficult for those who attack. Vini received the ball with two men on him and a third approaching. 

    "We tried with Savio and were successful in some moments. The detail and definition were lacking, but freedom was given, everyone had the opportunity. 

    "We lacked some in-depth moves. It was the aspect that we intensified the most in training, this dirty work to find space between the opposing lines.

    "Our ball recovery was impressive. In my opinion, what was missing too much was that we failed to do this job of spreading the opponent's backline more."

    Vinicius Junior endured an underwhelming performance, being replaced by future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick with 71 minutes gone after failing to record a single shot and only managing five touches in the Costa Rica area.

    Asked about the decision to withdraw the winger, who shone as Madrid won a Champions League and LaLiga double in 2023-24, Dorival said: "We put him on the side, on the inside, we didn't find the way with either. 

    "He was well marked and we had to look for a solution, to make a change. 

    "I believe the game was well played within a context. We played closely, we created good chances, but we weren't happy with the finishing. 

    "The games will be like this, we have to find ways to improve. It is natural that if the result does not come, questions arise, but I know what we are developing." 

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