Nine members of Jamaica’s successful delegation to the World Athletics World Under 20 Championships have tested positive for Covid 19, the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association announced today. Four tested positive earlier in the week while five more persons tested positive in the final set of tests that were done before travelling today. 

All are asymptomatic and are in isolation and will not be able to depart Nairobi until September 2.  The Jamaica team medical staff have remained with the nine persons and they will be accompanied home by senior staff including the medical personnel who have also remained with the group. 

 The main body of athletes and staff are now on their way home, the JAAA said.

Jamaica won 11 medals - three gold, six silver and three bronze - at the championships that concluded on Sunday, their second-best medal haul at the championships. Seven of those medals were won on Sunday’s final day when the girls 4x100m relay team set a new world record of 42.94.

 

Dr. Akshai Mansingh, a member of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Medical Advisory Committee, has cautioned that unvaccinated players could eventually find it difficult to take part in leagues around the world as more of the global population gets vaccinated.

At current, there are no cricket leagues around the world that require players to be vaccinated in order to take part in a competition.  However, with the risk and expense attached to the current model of staging tournaments in a biosecure environment and increasing evidence of the positive effect of vaccination on preventing the spread of the virus, there is no guarantee things will stay the same.

At current, a few members of the squad have taken the vaccine, but some remain hesitant at this point in time.  Mansingh pointed out that it was the duty of the medical team to educate the players on the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated but, at the end of the day, the freedom to make individual choices had to be respected.  He speculated, however, that the choices could plausibly, in the near future, affect an individual’s ability to earn income.

“We live in a free society, and we have to respect the decisions of people.  But there may be leagues around the world who say if you are not vaccinated then we will not take you and that is when personal decisions will have to made,” Mansingh told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We have erred on the side of freedom of choice, etc., etc. and we will entertain the discussion but there are leagues that are going to pop up, which will not entertain the discussion,” he added.

“We allowed people to opt-out of bubbles that we knew were safe and some of the people that opted out at that time made a completely different choice when they went to India, which was the second most infected country in the world.”

 

 

 

Following PCR Tests administered on Friday, 21 May, for all members of the West Indies Men’s red-ball training camp being held in St Lucia, Jamaican fast bowler, Marquino Mindley, tested positive on his second COVID-19 test.

In accordance with the medical protocols established with the St Lucian Ministry of Health, Mindley, who is currently asymptomatic, will now self-isolate in his hotel room under the supervision of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Medical Team until he returns two back-to-back negative results.

All other members of the training squad and coaching team were re-tested and isolated in their rooms, with training cancelled for the weekend. All of these training squad and coaching team members have now tested negative following their repeat tests and the squad will train in small groups starting on Monday 24 May, at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

The West Indies red-ball training camp is being held in a bio-secure environment ahead of the ICC World Test Championship two-match Series against South Africa, scheduled to start on June 10.

CWI continues to work with all the regional governments and CARPHA to encourage and assist all squad members to get vaccinated.  To date, 43 members of West Indies Men’s playing and coaching staff have received vaccination doses.

 

 

The West Indies cricket team camp in St Lucia is reportedly dealing with a COVID-19 scare, which has seen players and the management team forced into isolation.

The details or extent of the outbreak are yet to be confirmed by Cricket West Indies (CWI), but the team’s practice session at the Darren Sammy Grounds in St Lucia on Saturday was cancelled, with no official reason yet to be provided.

Several members of an 18-man squad, which had been called ahead of a flurry of upcoming T20 international series, reported to a bio-secure environment, where they were to live and train in preparation for the upcoming series.  The players and support staff were expected to undergo rigorous COVID-19 testing.

In addition to that, however, 13 members of the training squad and management received vaccinations against the coronavirus last week.

CWI has been painstakingly and, for the most part, successfully navigating play during the coronavirus pandemic for the last several months.  The West Indies and England were the first teams to return to playing international cricket, with the Raise The Bat series, which took place in a biosecure environment in England in July of last year.

Track and field legend and coach, Olympian Dennis Johnson, died on Thursday night after a month-long battle with Covid-19.

He was 81.

Considered the architect of the modern Jamaica track programme, Johnson started a sports program at the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) now the University of Technology in 1971. It was a programme that yielded Anthony Davis, Jamaica’s first home-grown Olympic athlete.

As head coach at CAST, Johnson, in the 1980s created the famous Bolts of Lightning 4x100m relay team, the first club side to break 40 seconds for the sprint relay. He also led CAST to a more than decade-long dominance of the Intercollegiate Championships.

It was Johnson in partnership with UTech and Stephen Francis that saw the world-famous MVP Track Club having its base on the college campus and producing a number of world-beating athletes like Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Melaine Walker, Michael Frater, Shelly-Ann Frater-Pryce and Elaine Thompson.

Johnson, who was also Sports Director at Utech, was also an outstanding athlete. While attending San Jose State University in the United States, equalled the 100-yard world record of 9.3 seconds three times over a six-week span from March 11- May 5 that year.

Unfortunately, injury prevented him from competing for an NCAA title that year.

He was a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that finished fourth at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Fifth in the 110-yards at the British Empire Games of 1962, he was forced to withdraw from the 220 yards with a groin injury.

Johnson, who was affectionately called ‘DJ’ was inducted into the San Jose State Spartans Hall of Fame. In 2001, the same year he was awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) by the government of Jamaica. He was awarded the UTech Chancellor’s medal in 2009 and in 2012, UTech renamed its athletes’ residence, previously known as the Track House, in Johnson's honour.

With recent spikes in the number of Covid-19 cases in Bermuda, a final decision on the fate of the 2021 Carifta Games will be announced in May.

The Jamaica Track and Field Coaches Association (JATAFCA) believes the absence of track and field competitions because of the Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be destructive.

In light of this claim, they have called upon the relevant authorities to immediately authorize the resumption of track and field that will allow the country to maintain its standing in global athletics.

The last track meet was held on March 20, 2021, and with the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships and the World Relays in Poland looming, Jamaica’s athletes will be at a significant disadvantage.

“The current delay is destructive. The psychological and mental damage to our athletes and coaches is almost irreparable. As a nation, we cannot afford a cancellation of ISSA Champs 2021, which the delay will cause. Not only is the competition a major pillar for our world-renowned track and field prowess, it provides the platform for student-athletes to earn athletics scholarships to overseas colleges and universities.”

JATAFCA said that the available data indicates that Jamaica’s student-athletes earn scholarships valued at over J$2 billion. This is a stark contrast to the J$85.791 million allocated in the 2019-20 Estimates of Expenditures for the Ministry of Sports for Athlete’s insurance. No other line item was identified as applicable.

“We, therefore, call upon the authorities to recognize the importance of track and field to the overall national development, the psyche and contribution to the young people of our nation. We implore them to partner with the JAAA, ISSA and their sponsors, to stage these competitions safely and successfully,” they said.

The inactivity, JATAFCA said, is due to the absence of approval by the authorities for the additional competitions organized and managed by the governing body the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA).

“We are made to understand that the authorities are concerned about the spike in COVID-19 cases and the stress on the public health system,” the JATAFCA said in a statement Thursday.

“Let it be clear that we too are equally concerned. We are, however, of the opinion that concern for public health is not diametrically opposed to the staging of COVID-19 safe track and field competitions. It is all about striking a balance, minimize the fallouts, and pursue the things we are best at.”

The coaches’ association said that over a three-week period from February 27 to March 20th, the JAAA staged 20 competitions that saw 39 junior athletes - 27 boys and 12 girls - making the very rigorous qualifying standards for the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi Kenya.

In addition, there was at least one world-leading performance from a senior athlete.

“With some 1500 juniors and close to 300 senior athletes competing in the Qualification Trial Series (QTS), there was no reported positive COVID-19 case(s) among athletes, officials or athlete support personnel,” the coaches said.

“The JAAA executed well and established a blueprint that several countries across the NACAC region, including USA and Canada, have now adopted.

 “We also make the call for authorities to provide clear and immediate responses, within 24 hours, to the applications for permits now in their possession. Further delay would be tantamount to assisting our global competitors in making light of our efforts when we meet on the track or in the field later this year.

“As an association, we will continue to play our part in encouraging our members to practice all the COVID-19 protocols for mask-wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene. They know we hold them to a high standard of compliance, a similar standard that has resulted in us being ranked third in World Athletics.”

Veteran Jamaican racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta, who was hospitalized in February, has died.

 West Indies and Jamaica star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted to some amount of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and would not want to take the medication if given a choice.

With the disease having a devastating impact on normal life over the last year, countries around the globe have already launched various campaigns to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a bid to halt its devastating impact on those most vulnerable to its effects. 

According to research, the majority of the vaccines have efficacy rates between 80 and 100 percent when it comes to preventing serious illness and deaths for those who contract the virus.  Despite the evidence of clinical trials, however, some have questioned the safety of the vaccines.  Last week, Jamaican World Champion Yohan Blake stated that he would rather not compete at the Olympics than take the vaccine.

“If I don’t have to take it, I wouldn’t want to take it. I wouldn’t want to take any vaccine at all, to be honest, because I am naturally living fine. So, I don’t want anything being injected inside of me,” Gayle told the Antigua Radio program Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

So far, no sport has mandated that athletes looking to compete at any event be vaccinated.  Gayle, however, believes that in the future it could be a requirement for those wishing to compete.

“Down the road, there is a possibility they are going to slow you down from your earnings and say if you don’t take it you can’t do this or you can’t do that and you can’t earn. So, it’s a situation where they might hold you ransom at some stage, but for me, if I don’t have to take it, I don’t want to,” he added.

“I am sure that at some stage they are going to hold everybody ransom by saying you can’t travel, you can’t play in a particular tournament or you can’t fly on a particular airline, but I am not up for it. I’ve been tested maybe over 60 times, 70 times since I’ve been flying and playing and being in a bubble and knock wood because I haven’t caught the Covid.”

Texas A&M’s Charokee Young will miss out on the SEC Championships that began on Thursday because she has been exposed to someone infected by Covid-19.

Only 13 new positive cases of COVID-19 were detected by MLB in its initial round of COVID-19 testing ahead of full-squad spring training, the league announced on Friday. 

The new cases represent 0.3 per cent of the 4,336 intake tests as players and staff reported to team facilities in preparation for spring training games.

Nine of the 13 positive tests were produced by players, while four came from staff members. The 13 positives were spread among 11 teams.

MLB also announced that once players have cleared intake testing they will continue to be tested regularly, and 2,298 additional monitoring tests have been processed without any new positives. 

Pitchers and catchers for all teams had already reported to team facilities in Arizona or Florida. Most clubs plan to start full-squad workouts on Monday, with the first spring training games scheduled for Sunday, February 28.

The 2021 MLB regular season will begin April 1 under a number of coronavirus safety and testing guidelines.

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