Duncan Scott intends to "control the controllables" at the Tokyo Olympics and has given no thought to repeating the anti-doping protest he made at the World Championships two years ago.

Team GB swimmer Scott made headlines in Gwangju when, after winning bronze in the 200 metres freestyle, he refused to share the podium with gold medal winner Sun Yang.

Sun, who previously served a three-month doping ban in 2014, was at the time subject to a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case over a smashed vial during a drugs test. Last month CAS reduced an eight-year ban to four years backdated to May 2020, meaning he could potentially compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Following the podium snub, Sun reacted angrily to Scott and appeared to shout "you're a loser, I'm a winner" at this rival.

Scott insists his actions at the time were not personal and merely a message at promoting a clean sport, while his focus in the coming month is purely on affecting his own performance.

"I don't really know [if the situation has improved], obviously we've had COVID so there were no competitions in 2020," Scott, who collected two golds and three silvers at the rescheduled European Championships in May, told a round-table of journalists. 

"I would say since then I can only really control the controllables. I know that's so cliche but especially with COVID and with dates moving about it's made me think even less about things I can't influence. 

"I can't affect it so why should I bother about it? It's not something I've thought about to be honest.

"I think then, doing it and making that stance was for a purpose of clean sport it was nothing personal against anyone. And I think that was seen in the right way, several people have made their voices heard for those reasons.

"I think [fellow Team GB swimmer Adam] Peaty comes out and speaks about it well a lot, as a team-mate of his in different competitions I've got to back what he says and the way he puts it across I think is really well."

Several athletes voiced concerns at reduced drug testing during the height of the coronavirus pandemic – which caused a postponement of the Games – last year, but Scott added: "I can't control it, it's not something I think about. 

"If I perform at my best I'll be there or thereabouts. I did some nice drops at the trials and for me I've really just got to focus on myself.

"Swimming isn't like many team sports, you can't influence what someone does in the lane next to you, you've just got to focus on your own race."

Last month, Scott swapped the swimming cap for a graduation cap after receiving a 2:1 in Business and Sports Studies at the University of Stirling.

Scott, who is dyslexic, said he may revisit his studies further down the line, but for now is focused on his goals in the pool.

"Personally, I found it really challenging, as not much of a school person at all I found that really difficult so to be able to do a degree in itself and be offered a place was great, and I thought I may as well while I'm swimming," he added.

"I think halfway through my second year I was like I need to try and sort something out with the uni I'm finding this really difficult to manage. And the uni were great, I did my first two years full-time, then split third and fourth year up. 

"I would have actually finished in 2020 but decided to take January to June out, I was like the Olympics [are happening] I'll take that out – never happened! 

"I did really enjoy it, I found it really challenging which I think potentially was a really good thing. Being dyslexic and not really enjoying school too much and being stuck in a classroom I'm really proud of the fact I was able to get a 2:1. 

"It may be something I go back to and potentially do a Masters but I can't see that for a while. I'd like to do the next cycle and just focus on swimming – there are a lot of meets next year, with all the governing bodies not really talking to each other you've got Europeans, commies [Commonwealth Games] and Worlds all next year, I was just delighted to finish it to be honest."

Scott, who won two silver relay medals at Rio 2016, says he takes inspiration from some of Scotland's finest competitors, such as cycling legend Chris Hoy and tennis great Andy Murray as he aims to earn more accolades in Tokyo.

"I don't really know them, I say I sort of still look up to many of them, I wouldn't put myself in the same bracket at all," he said.

"Personally, I used to look up a lot to – not that I don't anymore it sounds bad – but Chris Hoy for example, and the way Murray conducts himself on and off the tennis court I think is phenomenal. 

"I find it inspiring the way he still plays and people ask why he still competes and he says he just enjoys the hard work, that's quite refreshing to hear."

For athletes heading to Tokyo for the Olympic Games, winning medals would rank high on their list of priorities. For every Jamaican athlete who medals at the Tokyo Games, there is now an even greater incentive as anyone who wins a medal will get a bonus of free insurance for one year.

This latest incentive is one of the benefits from a recent partnership inked between the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and Marathon Insurance Brokers Limited. The partnership is valued at J$12 million and will run for the three-year period leading up to the 2024 Olympic Games.

In reference to the benefits, Ryan Foster, Secretary General/CEO, JOA, gave a broader perspective of the deal that was announced nearly one week ago.

“The JOA/Marathon partnership was centred around expanding our member services to our associations. For far too long we have looked at sport as just attending Games, but have not done enough to tap into the sport as an avenue for social change,” he said.

“One of the benefits of this partnership is for the direct benefit of our athletes for which all medalists at the Olympic Games will receive free insurance for one year. This is in addition to the comprehensive coverage that Marathon will be providing for all members attending the Olympic Games.”

Marathon Insurance has had a long partnership with the JOA, dating back to the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. This time they will be diving further into the deal with the JOA to deliver projects that involve the Athlete’s Commission and female empowerment through the Women’s Commission.

“The partnership has gone even further as Marathon will be partnering with the JOA and the Women’s Commission and Athlete Commission on various social projects geared towards, including, at-risk girls in sport and the expansion of Olympism values in schools,” Foster shared.

“All of these initiatives will be funded under this partnership and will involve the JOA engaging in providing not just mentoring and educational activities, but will involve nutritional support, school fees and school materials for the selected young athletes."

The first two athletes to test positive for coronavirus in Tokyo's Olympic Village have been confirmed as members of South Africa's men's football team.

Games organisers announced in their daily update on Sunday that there had been 10 positive cases in the latest round of testing, taking the overall total this month to 55.

That includes three individuals based in the athletes' village, with an event official previously testing positive on Saturday.

The South African Football Association released a statement later on Sunday confirming Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi were the pair to return positive tests.

Orlando Pirates right-back Monyane and Moroka Swallows attacking midfielder Mahlatsi, plus video analyst Mario Masha, will now isolate in a hotel room for 14 days.

A fourth South African participant, rugby sevens coach Neil Powell, also produced a positive result. All four individuals tested negative before flying to Japan this week.

Team South Africa chief medical officer Dr Phatho Zondi said in a statement: "Every member of Team South Africa required full medical clearance as an eligibility criteria. 

"In addition, they were encouraged to isolate for two weeks pre-departure, monitor health daily, report any symptoms, and produce two negative nasopharyngeal PCR tests taken within 96 hours of departure, as per Tokyo 2020 requirements.

"The timing of the positive results suggests that the PCR test in these individuals was done during the incubation period of the infection, which is how they could be negative in South Africa and then positive in Japan. 

"They are now in isolation where they will continue to be monitored and will not be allowed to train or have any physical contact with the rest of the squad."

South Africa are scheduled to face tournament hosts Japan in their opening Group A game next Thursday, before taking on France and Mexico on July 25 and July 28 respectively.

Sunday's news of two athletes testing positive for COVID-19 inside the athletes' village will raise further concerns over the Olympics going ahead as planned.

The 2020 Games, already delayed by a year due to the global health pandemic, officially begins on Friday and will be held mostly without spectators due to a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo.

Infection rates in the Japanese capital have topped 1,000 for four days running.

Around 11,000 athletes from 205 national Olympic committees are expected to stay at the village over the next three weeks.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach reiterated on Saturday that the first positive case posed no risk to the Japanese population.

"We are well aware of the scepticism a number of people have here in Japan," he added at a news conference. "My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions."

Two athletes in Tokyo's Olympic Village have tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the Games, organisers confirmed on Sunday.

The pair - listed as non-residents of Japan - will now isolate in a hotel room for 14 days. It takes the total number of known cases in the athletes' village to three, after an official had also tested positive.

There has already been a total of 55 cases linked to the Olympics this month, 10 of which were added to the list on Sunday, with another athlete from outside the village also contracting the virus.

Infection rates in Tokyo have topped 1,000 for four days running, raising further concerns about the global event going ahead.

The 2020 Games, delayed by a year due to the global health pandemic, officially begins on Friday and will be held mostly without spectators due to a state of emergency being declared in Tokyo.

Around 11,000 athletes from 205 national Olympic committees are expected to stay at the village over the next three weeks.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach reiterated on Saturday that the first positive case posed no risk to the Japanese population.

"We are well aware of the scepticism a number of people have here in Japan," he added at a news conference. 

"My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions."

Japan men's football captain Maya Yoshida has called on Olympics organisers to reconsider their decision to stage the Tokyo Games behind closed doors.

The call to ban spectators from attending events was taken earlier this month after Japan's capital city was placed into a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases.

However, fans are still able to attend certain other sporting contests within the country away from the Olympics, such as Japan's friendly with Spain in Kobe on Saturday.

A socially distanced crowd was present for the 1-1 draw and Yoshida has questioned why locals will not be permitted to attend matches when the Games begin next week.

"I think a lot of people's tax money is going to hold these Olympics," Yoshida is quoted as saying by the Asahi newspaper.

"Despite that, people can't go and watch. So you wonder about who the Olympics is for, and what it is for. Of course athletes want to play in front of fans."

Tokyo 2020 officials confirmed the first coronavirus case at the Olympic Village on Saturday, since when two athletes have reportedly tested positive.

"Our families have sacrificed and put up with things, they supported us when we were competing in Europe," Sampdoria defender Yoshida added.

"It's not just the players who were competing, but the family members, every one of them.

"So if they can't watch the match, well who and what is that match for, there is that question. I really hope we can reconsider that seriously."

Japan will take on South Africa in their opening Group A game on Thursday, before facing Mexico and France. The top two sides will advance to the quarter-finals.

Sport has a nasty habit of chewing up and spitting out even the most elite of athletes, so the idea of any competitor being a shoo-in for Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 may seem a little silly.

But, and whisper this quietly, Adam Peaty is about as close to a certainty to sit atop the podium in the Japanese capital as you can get, such has been his utter dominance of the 100 metres breaststroke.

Four years ago, Peaty was one of the posterboys of Great Britain's success at the Rio Olympics, breaking the world record en route to winning gold.

Since then, he has beaten his own benchmark twice including going under 57 seconds at the World Championships in Gwangju two years ago. Indeed, he is remarkably in possession of the 20 fastest times ever recorded in the event.

It would be an almighty high horse from which to fall but a laser-focused Peaty is convinced Tokyo is not the time the tide will turn on his fortunes.

"I don't know I guess it's just a by-product of what I've done for the last seven years," Peaty told a round-table of journalists during a pre-Games Team GB camp.

"I think if you're as dominant as I have been, without trying to sound arrogant, you come to a realistic fact I haven't lost a championship in the 100m in a long time. 

"It's kind of nice to go into the Games knowing I've got that and obviously I have the heritage of what have I done and a history of performing when it matters. I think going into these Games I'm the most liberated I have ever been.

"Let's hope that lightning strike doesn't hit me but sport is sport, it can happen - anything can happen in sport, we all know that and sometimes the greats do fall. I believe this Olympics isn't my time yet so I think it's going to be a good one."

 

Pressure can do funny things to an athlete and there is no more pressurised environment than an Olympic Games.

But Peaty's confidence is not misplaced. Over the past seven years, the now 26-year-old has been untouchable in his speciality.

In an ominous sign for his rivals, Peaty appears more serene than ever as he aims to become the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title thanks to a mix of becoming a father to his son George – now 10 months old – and the ability to take stock of what is important after over a year and a half of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic that so nearly curtailed these Olympics altogether.

Asked if being a father is part of what has helped him feel so liberated, Peaty replied: "I think so.

"And I think lockdown last year gave me that kind of a second wind, I always felt like I was charging, charging, charging. Now I can switch off very easily. 

"It might be to do with having a kid. I feel like I've got more energy when I come to a holding camp because I haven't got a kid screaming, or a kid to feed or a kid to hold. 

"But also I think it is having a bit more maturity, I've grown up more in this last year than I have in the last six years. I think if you look at a picture of me from Rio and a picture now it's like I've had 10 kids!

"I've had a bit of a face change, but that's part and parcel of it as you do get older and become a better athlete and more experienced athlete, these environments become a lot easier and you know what it feels like to bring a gold medal home to the country so it's a good position to be in."

The struggles so many have endured due to the proliferation of COVID-19 has only added fuel to the fire for Peaty, who is determined to inspire a new generation into the pool.

"I think going into these Games next week, no British swimmer has ever defended an Olympic title. That's something in the back of my mind but it's not a distraction. And obviously, every Olympics I want to inspire as many people as possible back home," he said.

"Especially this year when people have been through such a rough time, we can show that just because we have been through that doesn't mean we have to stand still or retreat, or take a step backwards, we can always go through that adversity with a bit of British humour and say 'you know what let's have this one' and take it on the chin really. 

"That pure passion and inspiration just comes naturally to me and hopefully when people wake up in the morning I can show I have done that."

 

One thing all athletes will miss this year is the roar of the crowd and the adrenaline rush received from that wall of noise.

Organisers decided no spectators can be in attendance at venues in Tokyo due to the fear of the spread of coronavirus.

Peaty acknowledges it is a shame to lose that part of the spectacle but is used to racing in the absence of spectators by now.

"It's definitely going to take something out of the arena, no one likes to perform without fans - it does feel a little bit eerie," he said.

"But you've always got to acknowledge millions of people around the world watch it on TV, so I think mentally it's probably one of the toughest arenas to race in because they get such a high off the crowd. 

"Also, I think it's an opportunity for other people who are scared of the crowd, so these Olympics are going to be a bit different in terms of psychology and performance psychology especially.

"For me I'm going to make sure I'm in the most optimal mindset – I've been racing without crowds now for a year, I've still broken world records without the crowd and yeah we'll just see how it goes. Obviously you want people there to witness history."

There has been much-publicised opposition to the Games from within Japan and plenty of scepticism from others too about the decision to go ahead during a pandemic.

Peaty is philosophical, though, saying: "It's quite a hard question, obviously you have to think about normal people who do live here. 

"But at the opposite end of the spectrum you've got to have the realisation and respect athletes have trained every single day for five years, getting up at 5am, going to bed at half 10 with a screaming baby!

"They commit their whole lives to this three-week event, so you're never going to get the right answer. You have to look at it - if you sat everyone around a table, everyone would have an opinion."

The Games will begin and history is within reach. So, what does the man himself think makes him so brilliant at this craft?

"It sounds very cliche but I'm very obsessed with continual improvement and pushing the boundaries of what's possible," he said. 

"I don't want to end my career and go 'oh I could have done that or I should have done this'. It's that relationship with the team that makes me that person. But I think it's also I just love to race, I love to scrap and I like to dominate. That's why I swim, that's why I race it gives me something I can't get in normal life. 

"Also I spoke to my performance psychologist, my mind I see it almost as a landscape because he was talking about levels and you go this level, you have elite levels and possibly some of the best athletes ever born. 

"But I don't see it as levels anymore, it's just too linear to think of it like that you have to think of it as a landscape – some days you've just got to attack the f*****g mountain, that's as simple as it is.

"You've got to go, you've got to work hard, you've got to go out there with that option. But also I need a pint at the weekend sometimes to calm me down. That's going back into the valley, almost a strategic withdrawal from my training.

"I think that balance has given me so much more this year that I didn't even know existed. Lockdown has obviously been awful for everyone, but also I think it's given me that extra edge of what matters and what does work and doesn't work either."

And another world record sure would be nice, wouldn't it?

"A world record at this stage is obviously very, very hard but never impossible," he conceded.

"It's within my reach if I get my preparation right this next seven days. Obviously I'll see how the heats goes, the semi-finals goes and can kind of take it from there."

Tokyo Olympics organisers have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 at the athletes' village, raising further concerns about the Games going ahead.

Thousands of athletes and media personnel are arriving in the Japanese capital ahead of the global competition beginning on July 23.

There has already been a total of 44 coronavirus cases linked to the Olympics, including one overseas visitor who is involved in organising the Games.

The person in question, whose nationality has not been disclosed for privacy reasons, is now quarantining for 14 days in a hotel room.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed the news at a news conference on Saturday and added: "That positive cases arise is something we must assume is possible."

Around 11,000 athletes from 205 national Olympic committees are expected to stay at the Olympic Village over the next three weeks.

Speaking earlier this week, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach vowed Tokyo would host a "safe and secure" Olympics.

IOC official Joan Coates also insisted it was down to organisers to ensure the Olympic Village "is the safest place in Tokyo".

Following news of Friday's positive case in the camp, however, Games chief Seiko Hashimoto says it is understandable that some athletes may be concerned.

"Athletes who are coming to Japan are probably very worried. I understand that," Hashimoto said.

"That is the reason why we need to make full disclosure.

"We are doing everything to prevent any COVID-19 outbreaks. If we end up with an outbreak we will make sure we have a plan in place to respond."

The 2020 Games, delayed by a year, will be held mostly without spectators after a state of emergency was called in Tokyo amid rising coronavirus cases.

Another 1,271 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday, compared to 822 on the same day last week.

Ten-time Jamaican national shot put champion Dorian Scott has been appointed head coach of the women's track & field/cross country programs at UNLV, the university announced on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old Scott takes up the appointment after serving for the last nine years as the Director of Field Events and Throws Coach at Florida State University where he coached the likes of Gleneve Grange, Shanice Love, Kellion Knibb, who were each national junior record holders as well as Emmanuel Oniya and Chadwick DaCosta.

According to UNLV’s Athletics Director Desiree Reed-Francois, Scott, a two-time Olympian was the best fit for the school.

"Dorian's values-based leadership, preparation both as an Olympic athlete and as a coach at the highest levels, along with his commitment to the student-athletes holistic development became apparent throughout this process," Reed-Francois said.

"He has an infectious enthusiasm, a relentless work ethic and he will bring a very high energy to our program. His focus on excellence both on and off the track and field, as well as his coaching and recruiting experience at Florida State will continue our upward trajectory and positive momentum.

 "Dorian's plan and vision for the future of the UNLV track & field and cross country programs were impressive, and we look forward to competing for championships under his direction in the near future. Thank you to Sarah Wattenberg and the search committee for their leadership throughout this search."

Scott, who is also a two-time Commonwealth Games silver medalist said he was grateful for the opportunity.

"I would like to thank UNLV President Keith E. Whitfield and Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois for the opportunity to join such an exciting and dynamic athletics department. It is a true honour to become the head coach of track and field/cross country at UNLV,” he said.

“I'm excited to elevate the program and to bring some special student-athletes to this amazing city. My family and I can't wait to join the UNLV community!

"I would also like to thank the administration and staff at Florida State, especially head coach Bob Braman, for his leadership and support. He entrusted me to help build up the field events and gave me a lot of freedom to make FSU throws my own. I would not be the coach I am without my experience at FSU."

During Scott’s tenure at FSU, the women’s programme won seven ACC titles while the men have won nine. His throwers have also set seven school records.

Scott, who was named the 2017 USATFCCA South Region Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, rejoined the Florida State program in 2012 after coaching the 2012 season at San Diego State University as an assistant. While there, he coached one of SDSU's student-athletes to the 2012 NCAA Outdoor discus title, which contributed to the Aztecs finishing in the top 10.

 As a student-athlete at Florida State, Scott became the No. 2 shot-putter in school history. He earned first-team All-America honours in 2005, contributing to the team's fourth-place national finish - the program's best in 25 years. The 2005 ACC Outdoor shot put champion, he was a five-time All-ACC honoree and part of five conference team titles. He still holds FSU's Mike Long Track record (21.45 meters/70-4.50), which he set as a professional in 2008 prior to the Beijing Olympics. Scott also became the first Jamaican thrower to reach the finals in the shot put during the 2012 London Olympics.

American Trayvon Bromell reinforced his favouritism for gold at the Tokyo Olympics after flying to victory in the men's 100m sprint at Gateshead on Tuesday.

Bromell won the final Diamond League race prior to the Olympics in 9.98 seconds from British pair CJ Ujah (10.10) and Zharnel Hughes (10.13) in second and third respectively.

The victory at Gateshead was 26-year-old Bromell's first-ever Diamond League triumph, following years plagued by injuries.

"I’ll take the win,” Bromell said. “I’m happy to cross the line with no injuries.

"I’m just trying to tune up for Tokyo, stay mentally relaxed and continue to fight."

Bromell started strong and finished well ahead of the field, despite Ujah's surge.

“I know I can do better than that. I want the gold," Ujah said. "This is a different CJ and I am really excited.

"It’s now about getting out to Japan, acclimatising and preparing for the race.”

Switzerland's Ajla Del Ponte won the women's 100m in 11.19 seconds, ahead of Canadian pair Khamica Bingham and Crystal Emmanuel.

Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah claimed her career 23rd Diamond League win in the women's 200m in 22.43 seconds.

“I am very pleased. I am going to train, reset and stay focused,” the Olympic champion said.

Britain's Jodie Williams ran second in the 200m before competing in the 400m less than an hour later and finishing second with a personal best 50.94 behind Stephenie McPherson.

Ronald Levy won the men's 110m hurdles in 13.22, while Cindy Sember won the women's equivalent in 12.69.

Iconic St Lucian high jumper Levern Spencer is yet to achieve her dream of standing on the Olympic medal podium, but very few could dispute the great heights she has already achieved for the tiny island and the wider Caribbean as a whole.

It would have been easy to sit back and accept that odds are stacked against her.  After all, she hails from an island with a population of less than 200,000 and much fewer resources to spare for sport than much bigger nations. 

She did not begin competing in the sport until 14, much later than many of her peers, and at 5’ 9’ in a field where competitors consistently range well over 6ft she is routinely one of the smallest.  But, throughout her life and career, Spencer has habitually slain her fair share of Goliaths.

What she may lack in height, is more than made up for in a big heart filled with determination that has driven her journey of unprecedented achievement so far and the burning desire to keep flying higher.

In total, Spencer, who began representing St Lucia as a junior some 22-years ago, has claimed 21 gold medals for her country so far.  Most famously, she won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, a first for both herself and her country.  It was a proud moment.

“St Lucia had never won a gold medal at this event, and it was my fifth Commonwealth Games, and winning a gold, having won two bronze medals in 2014 and 2010, it was a big deal for us,” Spencer recalled.

 Levern Spencer Wins High Jump Title At Hvezdy v Nehvizdech | World-Track  and Field Website

 

“Being the one to create history is something I will always remember…whenever I stand on the podium hearing my country’s national anthem, seeing the flag being flown, it’s always very special and emotional.  I always had in the back of the mind that it is because of my efforts, because of something I did,” she added.

As with a great many things, barring a twist of fate, the world might never have heard of Spencer.  Things could have turned out much differently for herself and the country.  The athlete did not consider doing the jumps as a very young athlete and only gave it some consideration after it was suggested by a teacher.

“One of my teachers at the time just advised that I do the high jump for my house (intra-school team) and I won the event not knowing anything about technique or the high jump.  So, I’m so thankful that I did not say no and gave it a try,” Spencer said.

“I’m just happy that, that teacher who was my first coach as well, Mr. Gregory Lewin, introduced me to the sport.  Sometimes it’s good to listen and say yes, you’ll give it a try.  Maybe if I had said no, I probably would not have been the high jumper I am today.”

The rest as they say is history, in addition to winning numerous medals and awards, Spencer went on break the county’s national records on several occasions.  In fact, she set the first when she was just a 14-year-old, not too long after starting the event.  She set the current mark of 1.98m in 2010.

At 37, the jumper is heading into the twilight of her career and the time for Olympic glory has all but run out.  Heading into her fourth Olympic Games, however, hope burns eternal that she may be able to create history for St Lucia, yet again, but this time on the grandest of stages.  Spencer knows it will take something extraordinary.

“In order to win Olympic gold, I would definitely need something special on that day.  It might take around a clearance of 2m, which I haven’t done but it’s possible, anything is possible.  I would need something special on that day,” she said.

“Two high jumpers that inspire me are Ruth Beitia and Chaunte Lowe, Ruth despite her age and not having an Olympic medal after three attempts, just like me, she kept going until she won her gold medal and 37 and Chaunte because like me she is one of the smallest in the field and always manages to be competitive despite having to overcome so many challenges.”

In truth, however, even if the athlete were to leave the Games empty-handed, perhaps, for the final time, she had more importantly already served as inspiration for future generations and when it comes to putting her country on the map, flew well clear of that bar, with plenty to spare, a long time ago.

“Despite the many medals that I have won, what I regard as my biggest success in my athletic career is that coming from a tiny nation of only 180,000 people I was able to work hard and be competitive against the best in the world.  Sometimes on many occasions defeating them.  I am happy I have served as an inspiration for up-and-coming St Lucian athletes and I know that I gave my all and my best at whatever I did and persevered to the end.”

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been signed to represent HUMBL, the company announced today.

HUMBL provides merchant services software that is being developed to accommodate the migration by governments to digital forms of their national currency. It also serves to facilitate key functions like cross-border remittance, foreign exchange, bill payment, and lending products from smartphones.

“HUMBL has signed Jamaican track and field athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to represent the brand for the coming year,” it said on Twitter this morning.

“Excited to have you onboard, Shelly-Ann.

Fraser-Pryce, 34, is a GraceKennedy Global Brand Ambassador and a brand ambassador for digital company Digicel.

She is one of the most successful track and field athletes in history having won Olympic 100m titles in Beijing in 2008 and again in London in 2012. She was third in the 100m in 2016 in Rio. She goes for an unprecedented third Olympic title later this month in Tokyo.

In addition to her Olympic 100m titles, Fraser-Pryce is also a four-time World 100m champion. No other athlete - male or female - has ever won four 100m titles. She also has a 200m title from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.

She won silver in the 200m at the 2012 London Games.

She won the World Indoor 60m title in 2014 and has won four Diamond League titles.

 

 

A bitter-sounding Omar McLeod said he is heartbroken after not being given an opportunity to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo later this month and has described as absurd, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association’s (JAAA) decision to exclude from the country’s Olympic team.

The 27-year-old McLeod was speaking today at a press conference on the eve of the Gateshead Diamond League meeting on Tuesday.

The 2016 Olympic champion hit the first hurdle at his country’s national championships on Sunday, June 27 and finished eighth. He complained afterwards that he had suffered a cramp after being forced to run the finals on Sunday morning having won his semi-final on the night before in 13.04 his second-fastest time this season.

Ronald Levy, who was second in McLeod’s semi-final in a season-best 13.08, won the final in 13.10 ahead of Damion Thomas (13.11) and Hansle Parchment (13.16), all top 10 times in the world. However, the national record holder felt he should have been considered for selection, despite the competition rules which state that the first three places will be selected.

Asked about his situation, McLeod held nothing back.

“I am very heartbroken, honestly. I don’t think I was given or granted a fair opportunity to make the team with this ridiculous schedule that I have never seen in my years in track and field where they have semi-finals late in the evening and then, without recovery and the country was in complete lockdown so we were unable to go back to the hotel and get food,” he lamented, his voice near the point of breaking.

“So, my team and I, we did the best we could and we went to a little lounge at the hotel and drank some soup and had a salad because that was all they had, trying to go back to the track and five in the morning for a final at eight, I mean, that’s stupid.

“For an event that has your reigning Olympic champion, you don’t treat the event like that. Give me a fair opportunity like everybody else to come and make the team. I didn’t have the audacity to not show up at the trials thinking I was obligated to make the team. I went there ready to compete and earn my spot.”

He said on the morning of the race he suffered a severe cramp and thought that his country would have ‘had my back."

“We did a medical exemption. It’s been done for Usain Bolt and other athletes before where they couldn’t run in the final or something happened. I was in the same position where I won all the major gold medals and historic moments where I was the first Jamaican to win (110mh) gold medals in every championship so I thought I was going to be okay.”

McLeod said his team exhausted every possible avenue of appeal including sending emails and meeting with the members of the selection committee. He also put out a statement on social media explaining what happened prior to the race.

The distraught sprint hurdler, who said he was denied the chance to run ‘something ridiculous’ at the trials, perhaps a national or world record, suggested he doesn’t know what he will do at the meet on Tuesday as he will be running on pure emotion waiting for the season to end.

“To be denied the opportunity is really absurd,” he said.

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Tina Clayton produced the most outstanding performance over the weekend (9-11) as her team Jamaica dominated the NACAC U23 and U18 Championships, the first of the area’s regional events in 17 months.

Clayton improved her 100m personal best from 11.25 to 11.17 to claim gold in the U18 category. Despite her impressive time, the best by world ranking standards, the mark was not among the 17 championship records broken at Costa Rica’s National Stadium. Her countrywoman and 2018 world U20 champion Briana Williams kept her 11.11 time clocked at the previous edition in Mexico in 2019.

A world leader among U18 athletes, Clayton’s 11.17 places her third-fastest among U20 athletes in 2021, behind fellow Jamaicans Williams (10.97) and Ackera Nugent (11.09).

Two other 16-year-old Jamaicans also left their mark in San Jose. Alana Reid ran 23.78 for 200m gold and became the first U18 woman to break 24 seconds at the championships. Reid also anchored her team to the 4x100m title in 45.49. She was joined by 100m silver medallist Serena Cole, Clayton and Kerrica Hill.

World leader Jaydon Hibbert broke the 16-metre barrier with a 16.02m leap in the triple jump, a 34cm improvement on his previous best.

The world’s fastest U20 sprint hurdler and fourth-fastest ever, Nugent, returned to the regional event where she placed second in the U18 category and to the same stadium where she claimed silver at the Pan American U20 Championships in 1999. The 2021 NCAA bronze medallist easily dominated the 100m hurdles in 13.64, despite a strong headwind of -2.2m/s.

Sprint hurdler Orlando Bennett (13.65), 400m specialist Charokee Young (52.06) and long jumper Shakwon Coke (7.88m into a -2.6m/s wind) also shone for Jamaica, all in the U23 category. Alicke Cranston also impressed with his 10.42 winning time in the 100m.

Alexander Ogando, member of the bronze medal-winning team for the Dominican Republic at the 2021 World Athletics Relays in Poland, impressed on the final day by winning the 200m in 20.59, just 0.05 shy of his personal best. Ogando, who has run 45.01 for 400m, will be a key piece in his country’s mixed relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

With the CARIFTA Games suspended two consecutive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the regional championships opened an elusive competitive opportunity for U20 athletes in the region. Eighteen-year-old Bahamian Camille Rutherford took the sprint double in 11.36 and 23.42, a personal best at the longer distance.

National record-holder and Tokyo-bound Jonathan Jones won one of the five gold medals for Barbados by covering the one-lap race in 46.20, in a close battle with Jamaica’s 2018 world U20 silver medallist Christopher Taylor, who was second with 46.58. Taylor is also qualified for the Summer Games.

Shiann Salmon, Taylor, 100m silver medallist Odaine Mcpherson and Young joined their efforts to set a new standard of 3:20.71 in the mixed relay, contested for the first time at the championships. Their Jamaican teammates Kishay Rowe, Roshawn Clarke, Oneika Brissett and Delano Kennedy set the new time of 3:25.27 in the U18 category.

 Juan Diego Castro led the home team with a victory in the 800m in 1:48.82. Fourth at the 2017 World U18 Championships, he has improved his national record in both the 800m and 1500m. His 17-year-old compatriot Sharon Lisseth Herrera set a meeting record in the 5000m race walk with 23:18.14.

In the same event, Guatemala’s Yasury Betzayda Palacios rewrote the record books with a 22:31.13 effort in the U23 category. In total 13 records were broken, plus the two mixed relays.

With 61 athletes, Jamaica dominated the medal tally with 67 medals (39 gold, 18 silver and 10 bronze), ahead of the host nation (19-20-23=62) and Bahamas (17-18-7=42). All 19 participating nations won at least one medal. Due to Covid restrictions, some regional powerhouses did not attend, including the United States, Canada, Cuba and Mexico.

Following her victory in the triple jump at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco today, Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts said she feels like she is on track for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics that gets underway later this month.

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