The Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball League - Winter Season gets underway on Saturday at the National arena at 6:00 pm. Defending champions Elite Horizon will try to stave off competition from the likes of Elite Waves, Elite Rivers and Elite Storm. 

The league will feature double-headers on Saturdays and Wednesday until the final week when matches are scheduled for Friday January 27 and Sunday January 29 with the top two teams competing for the title.

Paulton Gordon, President of the Jamaica Basketball Association welcomed the start of the league while saying that it is very good for the local basketball scene as it gives opportunities to many local players who get to play with professionals and get exposed to the game at a higher level than is currently available in Jamaica. 

League President Wayne Dawkins was very optimistic about staging the league in Jamaica for the second time, following up on the Summer League last year.  He said that the quality of the players who are drawn from Jamaica (50% of each team are Jamaicans), the USA, Canada, Barbados and Nigeria (who are all professionals) are ready to play ball and entertain the Jamaican audience while creating opportunities for the local players to improve on their game and eventually get contracts abroad. 

Some of the players involved include USA's Tyran Walker, his countryman Brandon Armstrong and Jamaicans  Antjuan McFarlane and Duante Millis. Bobby Gray, MVP of the last season, also returns.

Fraser McConnell believes his dominating performance in the Nitro Rallycross fourth leg in Los Angeles on the weekend, is an indication of how much he has grown in the sport. However, he said he has no plans to be complacent now that he has won his first meet.

The 24-year-old Jamaican won his Group E heat on Saturday at the Glen Helen Raceway and then took his first-ever win on Sunday. In doing so, he defeated his more seasoned rivals Robin Larsson, Andreas Bakkerud and Oliver Bennett.

So impressive was his dominance on the weekend that some pundits have begun to see him as a near-future champion.

He told Sportsmax.TV that a lot of hard work has gone into him making progress this season.

“I have made a step forward. I have been working towards that and I knew we always had it in us to have the result come to fruition but it’s easier said than done,” he said.

“For everything to come together on the weekend just like that is really special. We won every single race and were by far the fastest out there the whole weekend, so I am very pleased to be able to represent Jamaica on that level with that level of dominance.”

He warned that now that he has won his first-ever Group E meet, means that he is going to be resting on his laurels.

“The key is to grow and keep going forward, not get complacent and keep working towards even better results,” said McConnell, who arrived home in Jamaica on Tuesday night telling local media that it was great to break through on the circuit at Glen Helen. (See video below)

“It’s a good feeling. We have been scratching at the door for a long time and had our foot in close enough a lot of the time but we never got to seal the deal and stand on the top step but to do it twice this weekend with the top qualifier and the P1 in the final was a great feeling and we are going to aim to do this more often and keep winning some of these,” he said, nodding toward the trophy he was holding.

 

US Elite International Track and Field Incorporated is to adopt two Jamaican high schools under an MOU with the country’s National Education Trust, Sportsmax.TV has learnt.

The initiative is expected to be announced at this year’s U.S Elite International’s Annual Scholarship and Athletic Convention in Jamaica that will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Downtown Kingston on November 5.

Founded by 2021 Global Teacher Prize winner Keishia Thorpe and her twin sister, Dr Treisha Thorpe, US Elite International Track and Field, Inc., a registered non-profit that provides student-athletes across the globe with opportunities to use their talents as a vehicle to access fully-funded scholarships to US colleges and universities.

The decision to adopt the schools is part of an initiative by Ambassador, the Honourable Audrey Marks in commemorating Jamaica's 60th year of independence and is also part of the Diaspora’s contribution to Jamaica in advancing its goals in education.

The convention will be held in person this year and Thorpe is expecting that there will be a strong turnout now that there is better management of the ongoing global pandemic.

 “We anticipate over 250 attendees, who have a lot to look forward to,” said Thorpe, who hinted that there will be incentives for the schools to get their student-athletes to attend.

“We will have college representatives to share critical information on COVID updates for international students, NCAA eligibility requirement updates, especially around athlete compensation, Optional Practical Training (OPT) for international students when they graduate college, changes in college admissions and areas in which SAT scores are mandatory and optional.

 “Of course, there will be our usual college fair at the end and we have athletic giveaways.  Another addition is that the school with the most students in attendance on that day will receive a cash prize to go towards developing their school programs.”

Trinidad & Tobago’s Calypso Girls defeated the Barbados Gems 50-40 in a top-of-the-table clash on day five of the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the national Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Thursday.

Entering the game, the Calypso Girls had already booked their spot in next year’s World Cup on the back of a perfect record after six games while the Gems were also unbeaten after five games and would’ve sealed their trip to Cape Town next year with a win.

The end of the first quarter saw Trinidad & Tobago build a 12-7 lead before Barbados outscored them 14-10 in the second to trail 21-22 at half-time. T&T then outscored them by four in the third quarter to lead 35-30 before eventually winning 50-40.

T&T was led by goal shooter Afeisha Noel’s 33 goals from 35 attempts while goal attack Joelisa Cooper had 17 goals from 21 attempts. Bajan goal shooters Faye Agard and Shonica Wharton had 14 goals from 16 attempts and 15 goals from 20 attempts, respectively.

“I am ecstatic about that performance. I think we went out there and executed exactly what the coach wanted and I can’t ask for anything else from the girls,” said Trinidad & Tobago captain Shaquanda Greene-Noel.

Barbados captain Shonette Azore-Bruce praised her team’s fighting spirit despite the result not going their way.

“It’s not the outcome that we wanted but I must say that I am proud of my girls for fighting to the end. We did not score the goals we should have but I’m still proud of my girls for fighting. At least we had that fight in us.”

The Gems will have another chance to confirm their spot at the World Cup when they take on Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday’s seventh and final day.

Other Thursday results saw Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls get by St. Lucia 85-30, St. Vincent beat Antigua & Barbuda 66-30 and the USA getting a 44-35 win over the Cayman Islands.

On Friday, Antigua and Barbuda will play St. Lucia, the USA will battle Grenada, Jamaica will play Barbados and St. Vincent & the Grenadines will play the Cayman Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trinidad & Tobago head coach Kemba Duncan gave her players all the credit after their 66-42 victory over Grenada at the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston on Tuesday.

Both teams entered the game with three wins from three games and begun the top-of-the-table clash in a competitive manner, battling throughout the first quarter which T&T eventually won 17-12. The leaders then held Grenada to just eight points in the second quarter, entering the half with a 32-20 lead. The Trinis then enjoyed a spectacular third quarter, contrary to the one they had against St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Monday. They forced the Grenadians into several turnovers and capitalized on those mistakes to enter the fourth quarter up 49-29 before eventually sealing a 66-42 win, their fourth in as many games.

Goal shooter Afeisha Noel and goal attack Joelisa Cooper dominated the Grenada defence with 45 goals from 49 attempts and 12 goals from 16 attempts, respectively.

“I think it was all about the players,” said Duncan.

“They had their goals and stayed focused. They worked together and maintained discipline to achieve the score we wanted.”

Even with a massive lead in the fourth quarter, Duncan’s team maintained a high level of intensity on both ends, something she says they’ve emphasized with big goals in mind.

“We have been training to maintain intensity. I think it’s the level of the game that is played in the higher tournaments so we want to push towards that.”

Grenadian captain Shakira Collymore blamed said injuries were a factor in their performance.

“We have a lot of injuries so we weren’t able to enjoy the entire match but I think we put up a good fight. We were able to stay with them for the first two quarters but couldn’t stick it out. We have more matches to play.”

In Tuesday’s other results, Jamaica got their highest point total of the tournament with an 81-27 win over the Cayman Islands, Barbados beat the USA 47-26 and St. Vincent & the Grenadines beat St. Lucia 49-36.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbados and St. Vincent & the Grenadines scored dominant victories to kick-off the Netball Americas World Cup Qualifiers at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday.

Barbados opened the competition with a commanding 67-27 victory over the Cayman Islands.

It was a relatively close affair after the first quarter as the Barbadians, currently ranked 13th in the world, led 13-4.

However, the Gems ramped up the intensity in second quarter stretching the lead to 21 to end the half ahead 34-13. They widened the lead 48-21 heading into the final quarter when they capped a fine display with 19 goals in the period to wind up 67-27 winners.

Goal shooter Faye Agard led the way for Barbados with 51 goals from 59 attempts while goal attack Brianna Holder had 16 goals from 21 attempts.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines were equally dominant in their 51-24 win over the USA.

St. Vincent got out to an early lead as the Americans struggled to put points on the board. The end of the first quarter saw the Vincentians up 15-3 and by halftime, the score was 30-9. The third quarter was no different as the USA found themselves getting their first basket at the four-minute mark, ending the quarter down 15-37 before ultimately suffering a 24-51 defeat.

Goal shooter Mary Ann Frederick led the way for S. Vincent & the Grenadines with 22 goals from 26 attempts while goal attack Kimesha Antoine also attempted 26 shots, converting 21 of them.

Coach of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Godfrey Harry, said his team got what they expected.

“It was predictable. We were expecting to win this game and we did. One of the things that we wanted to make sure of was that we experiment and use the depth of our team. All the players stepped up to the plate, which was great for us,” he said.

Despite the loss, USA assistant coach Keithan Grayson-Superville said she expects improvement after what was her team’s first international action in years.

“They didn’t do as much as I would’ve liked to see today but it’s our first game and we haven’t played internationally for over four years. We’re going to take it game by game and, as we go, we’re going to try to improve. We’re a work in progress.”

Several of the teams down to participate in the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifier which begins on Sunday at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, have already arrived ready to do battle for spots in the Netball World Cup.

The technical staff of Jamaica’s Senior Women’s football team have signed one-year contracts with the Jamaica Football Federation.

Attorneys representing Jamaica and West Indies opening batsman John Campbell have expressed disappointment at the decision of an independent anti-doping panel to ban the cricketer for four years effective May 2022.

Campbell was charged with evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection in April 2022. In their 18-page ruling, the panel said in part: "The panel is persuaded to a comfortable degree of satisfaction that the athlete committed an anti-doping rule violation, namely a breach of JADCO rule 2.3. The panel does not find, on the evidence presented, that the athlete's anti-doping violation was not intentional.

"In the circumstances of this case, the athlete is ineligible for a period of four years."

This means the 29-year-old batsman will not be able to play cricket until he is 33 years old, which could significantly impact his ability to represent the West Indies beyond 2026.

Campbell has scored 888 runs in 20 Tests for the West Indies.

In response to the ruling, attorneys Ayana L. Thomas and Mark-Paul Cowan of the noted legal firm Nunes Scholefield Deleon and Co. made clear their disappointment and did not rule out appealing the judgement.

“Mr Campbell has been a clean athlete throughout his outstanding career as a batsman and he remains committed to a clean sport,” the statement read.

“It is important to emphasize that the allegations against him was not relating to an adverse analytical finding or banned substances. The allegation concerned refusing or failing to submit a sample collection after proper notification pursuant to Article 2.3 of the JADCo Anti-Doping rules.

“Our client has to date, never returned an adverse analytical finding for banned substances.”

According to the attorneys, JADCO committed several breaches of the International Test Standards (IST).

“We have read the written decision of the disciplinary panel and believe there are legitimate grounds for an appeal concerning whether the necessary ingredients to sustain the alleged anti-doping rule violation were proved before the panel particularly as it relates to the notification requirements,” the lawyers said.

“Mr Campbell’s position was that he was not properly notified by JADCO. There were several breaches by JADCO of the mandatory International Testing Standards and Investigations in respect of the notification of the athlete of which, in our view, were not adequately addressed by the panel.”

That matter was not the only issue concern for Campbell’s attorneys.

“Additionally, there were several mitigatory factors supported by evidence which were not challenged by JADCO and which ought to have been mitigated against the imposition of the maximum penalty,” they said, “even if the panel found that the athlete committed a violation.

“It does not appear from the written decision that these factors in mitigation were adequately considered by the panel.

“Our client will, therefore, at this time, consider exercising his right of appeal after further consultation with his legal team and will make a decision shortly.”

 

 

 

 

Jamaica and West Indies opener John Campbell has been banned for four years by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo) after failing to provide a blood sample to doping control officers in April 2022.

In an 18-page ruling, Campbell who was charged with evading, refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, a three-member independent panel, found that the player was intentional in his actions.

"The panel is persuaded to a comfortable degree of satisfaction that the athlete committed an anti-doping rule violation, namely a breach of JADCO rule 2.3. The panel does not find, on the evidence presented, that the athlete's anti-doping violation was not intentional.

"In the circumstances of this case, the athlete is ineligible for a period of four years."

The ban takes effect retroactively in May 2022.

The 29-year-old left-hand batsman has played 20 Tests for the West Indies since he debuted in January 2019 against England.

In those Tests, he scored 888 runs at an average of 26.11 and included three half-centuries. His last Test was against Bangladesh in June 2022.

 

Goalkeeper Andre Blake has been added to the Reggae Boyz squad selected to play Argentina on September 27.

The 31-year-old Reggae Boyz’s captain exclusion from the squad had prompted speculation that the players’ remarks on social media suggesting that the hiring of a new coach would change nothing for the current administration.

Jamaica’s history-making female shooters will be leaving the island starting on Sunday to compete in the Pan American Handgun Championships in Polk County, Florida from September 14-21.

Members of the team, who were feted by title sponsor Spectrum Systems at the Jamaica Pegasus on Thursday, are looking forward to competing in the Production Optics Division. Yeonnie Campbell, Renee Rhickie, Sasha Mullings, Shayon Francis and Kayla Keane will make the trip to Florida where over 28 countries from Central, North and South America will compete over various divisions.

The Super-Six squad had intensified their tactical training under the watchful eyes of coaches Andy Yap and Anthony Johnson and their fitness levels have been enhanced thanks to physiotherapy courtesy of Spectrum Systems.

Team member Shayon Francis is satisfied with preparations going into the championships,

“We will be competing against shooters who have been doing this for years so we started training up to four times per week instead of just twice daily. Our physical training has really helped to improve our agility and speed going into the championships as a result,” she said.

 For this reason and others, Sasha Mullings, the team captain, believes they are ready to perform at their best.

 “I know we will perform well in Florida and I know this will boost more interest in the sport from licensed firearm holders. We are ready," she said.

 The team’s participation at the championships was made possible through a multimillion-dollar sponsorship from Spectrum Systems who will cover airfare, accommodation and match rounds.

Andrew Stanigar, the Managing Director of Spectrum Systems believes the women will represent the country well in Florida.

"I have seen these ladies rise to the challenge to beat the best male shooters in Jamaica and they did that through teamwork, ingenuity and strategy," he said. "I am confident that they are going to make Jamaica proud."

Also in attendance at the send-off ceremony were Jamaica Rifle Association President Major John Nelson and Formula Woman Driver Sara Misir who offered words of encouragement to the women.

President of the Melbourne Cricket Club in Kingston Mark Neita believes their hosting of the induction of USA Ambassador Noah Nickolas Perry into the Cricket Hall of Fame could be an important moment for the development of Jamaica’s cricket.

Born in Jamaica, Ambassador Perry, an alum of Kingston College, helped promote the growth of the sport in the United States during his tenure as a New York State Assemblyman and earned him the right to be inducted. 

“I did everything I could to make sure that New York’s government recognized the importance of cricket to the Caribbean-American Diaspora and that we are given rights and privileges to use the public parks and public sites to play the game we love,” he said in his acceptance speech during the induction ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Club on Friday.

Neita is hopeful that as the US Ambassador to Jamaica, he will do the same in the country of his birth.

“I think it’s very significant. The fact is the United States of America is going to be the next big cricket market and when you have somebody like the ambassador, who is passionate about the game of cricket and is prepared to help, I think it bodes well for the future of a lot of our youngsters,” Neita told Sportsmax. TV.

“I certainly hope that now that he is an inductee in the Cricket Hall of Fame it will open up the channels for us to have a very robust discussion about cricket, how we can develop the game, how the connection between the United States and Jamaica can be strengthened, how we can get gears here at discounted prices because we all know that the duty on cricket gear is prohibitive sometimes for our youngsters to get fully clothed for a game.”

His last point about the cost of cricket gear was an issue brought up at the induction ceremony by Executive Chairman of the Hall of Fame Mike Chambers.

Chambers mentioned that gear costing US$400 (approximately JMD$61,000) that was donated in Jamaica attracted duties amounting to more than JMD$100,000.

Neita expounded, explaining that the exorbitant duty has put a damper on the sport in Jamaica.

“The fact of the matter is that the high cost of the gear has a very negative impact on our young cricketers,” he said.

“It is almost up to the club for us to help to support the cricketers with all their gear because the reality is this; for a young player, say 12 or 13 years old, to be fully suited with a cricket bat, pair of pads, helmet, thigh pads, boots you’re talking about 60 to 70 thousand Jamaican dollars, and most of that is duty.

I just had an experience recently where I brought in a pair of cricket boots for one of my young cricketers because it was unavailable here, it cost me 35,000 Jamaican dollars just for duty alone and the shoes cost 120 Pounds; I mean that to me is just ridiculous.

 “Look around, you have fewer people playing cricket, fewer schools playing cricket and so we need to start about how to do something for the sport.”

He hopes that Ambassador Perry will be able to help with matters such as this.

“And this is why this is so important. I am sorry there weren’t members of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) here but this is a significant moment for us and I think this ambassador is passionate about the sport and I am almost certain that he is going to be a big asset to turn back some of that negativity when it comes to pricing the gear and the connection between Jamaica and the United States, so this is very positive,” Neita said.

“We are excited about this. I think it’s a significant event and I think the future is very bright for this collaboration between the US and Jamaica in terms of cricket.”

The 12th Annual David “Wagga” Hunt Football Classic kicks off on Saturday, August 20, at 4:00 pm with a clash between defending Manning Cup and Olivier Shield Champions Kingston College and Calabar High School at Calabar High School on Red Hills Road in Kingston.

The goodwill game is the David “Wagga” Hunt Scholarship Foundation’s way of reintroducing the Classic following the two-year hiatus caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Classic was established in 2009 in honour of the late David “Wagga” Hunt, a KC alum, who was a football coach and is also credited with reviving the sport at Calabar.

In 2005, Hunt coached Calabar to their first ever Manning Cup title in 28 years. Calabar also won the coveted Olivier Shield title that year.

The Classic is seen as a unifying force, emblematic of the generosity of spirit and community that Hunt embodied.

Hunt’s dedication to working with youth is the driving force behind the preservation of his legacy since his death in 2007. His mantra for the long-running rivalry between the schools was, “We can be rivals, not enemies.”

Since his passing, the foundation created in his memory offers scholarships to deserving students of both schools.

“I am very proud of the work the DWH Foundation has done since inception and I am eagerly looking forward to our abbreviated Classic, which will be our 12th staging,” said Christopher Hunt, David’s younger, who is also co-chair of the Washington, DC, based foundation.

He disclosed that for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, the foundation 24 will benefit from scholarships valued at USD$17,000 (J$2.4 million).

“I am very proud and appreciative that we are able to continue to keep David’s memory alive while impacting our boys from both schools,” Christopher said.

Since 2009 the scholarship initiative has disbursed approximately US$5,000 (J$700,000) per selected student, from grades 8 to 13, to defray costs of tuition, books, lunch, technology assistance, and other school-related expenses.

To date, 35 scholarships exceeding US$115,000 (J$16 million) have been awarded to recipients, who are selected based on academic performance and attitude, involvement in extracurricular activities and need.

Through the years, corporate donors based in Jamaica have supported the foundation’s work. They include VM Group, Supreme Ventures Limited, Proven Wealth and the Gibson McCook Relays.

Overseas sponsors GraceKennedy Foods (USA), Steuart Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Spencer Financial, and McIntosh & Associates complete the complement of corporate donors.

All fund the scholarships on an ongoing basis. 

“I wish to express heartfelt gratitude to our corporate and individual sponsors for sticking with us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic despite the constraints,” said Arnold “Dullo” McDonald, co-chair of the foundation’s Jamaica chapter.

“We thank our supporters and spectators of the annual football classic as well.  The goodwill game is being presented as a show of appreciation. We hope they enjoy this in-person event.”

When the P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy’s Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Summer League (E1CBL) tips off at the National Indoor Arena in Kingston on Saturday, August 13, one of the more highly anticipated match-ups, will be the game between Team Horizon (Red) and Team Rivers (Blue) as it will feature the number-one draft pick Nicholai Brown against the talented Dave Black, who are both looking forward to the contest.

Brown believes his team will be ready and expect to win based on what he believes will be the foundation of Team Horizon’s success.

“Going into this league, just the basic things of basketball, playing defence,” he said.

“I am a good defensive player so I am expecting my team to play good defence because from good defence comes great offence. So I am expecting my teammates to play good defence and each player, whether we are playing zone or man so I am expecting good things from them.”

From a personal standpoint, Brown, Team Horizon’s co-captain, said he is eagerly anticipating going up against Black, who is co-captain of Team Rivers.

“The first match is going to be great. We are playing against Dave (Black). He is a great player. I have always wanted to play against him. I have seen what he can do over the week that I have been playing with him,” Brown said.

“I think all my teammates are looking forward to playing against Team Blue. They are as excited as I am. My teammates are all good competitors so it’s going to be a good game.”

Meanwhile, Black said Team Rivers plans to play exciting basketball that will entertain the fans.

“After the first practice, I think we have good chemistry going into Saturday’s game. We just want to get up and down the court fast and play some exciting basketball,” Black said.

“We have a lot of talent on our team and we just want to go out there and compete. We had our first practice yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning (Thursday) and our expectation is to win the tournament.

“I think we have one of the best teams. In our first game, we’ll be trying to get stops, trying to go on the break and playing exciting basketball not only for the coaches but also for the fans. We want everybody to have fun watching some great basketball.”

The Caribbean’s biggest basketball entertainment event of the season is being hosted in collaboration with the Jamaica Basketball Association.

The tournament starts at 5:00 pm with an opening ceremony, followed by competition between the four teams in the league - Elite 1 Rivers, Elite 1 Waves, Elite 1 Horizon, and Elite 1 Storm. Each team comprises top-tier professional players from Jamaica, Barbados, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana.

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