When the RJR Sports Foundation announces speedsters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the 2015 recipients of the National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year awards at tonight’s ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus, it will hardly come as a surprise to many.Likewise, considering the year they both had, shot put strongman O’Dayne Richards – last year’s runner-up and sprint hurdles world champion Danielle Williams are sure to get hearty receptions, as they head the candidates seeking the runner-up spots.Richards struggled on the Diamond League circuit before coming to life at the Pan American Games in Toronto, where his national record heave of 21.69m won him a gold medal. He would repeat the mark a few weeks later at the World Championships in Beijing, to take the bronze and become Jamaica’s first medallist in the event at that level.Hansle Parchment’s World Championships silver medal in the 110m hurdles also makes him a strong contender for the runner-up spot. Additionally, the towering hurdler is the first Jamaican to win a silver medal in the 110m hurdles in senior-level global competition, given his result – like Richards’, considerable historical significance.He might, and dare we say, should, however, be edged out by Richards’ back-to-back national record efforts.Williams, flying below the radarOn the female side, Williams, flying below the radar in every pre-championships predictions, delivered when it mattered most in winning the gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the World Championships.That was a massive result for the pint-sized hurdler, who returned the gold to Jamaica after Brigitte Foster-Hylton’s win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.It should be enough to see her across the line – behind Fraser-Pryce, with some other top contenders such as World Championships 200m silver and 4x100m gold medal winner Elaine Thompson; boxer Alicia Ashley, who successfully defended her WBC super bantamweight title; World Championships bronze and relay gold medal winners – Shericka Jackson (400m and 4x400m); Veronica Campbell-Brown (200m and 4x100m); and ever-present swimmer Alia Atkinson (50m breaststroke silver and national record as well as 100m breaststroke bronze at the FINA World Championships plus a year-ending number-three world ranking in the 50m breaststroke, all presenting strong claims.Little doubt, however, as to who will spend tonight as the country’s top male and female sporting stars.Save for some major surprises, speed-king Bolt will win his sixth National Sportsman of the Year title.This will give him sole command of the second-place spot in the all-time list, which is headed by boxer Michael McCallum, who punched his way to seven titles.Bolt shook off a rusty start to his season to win World Championships gold medals in the 100m (with the third-fastest time in World Championships final history – 9.79), the 200m and as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team.Last year’s nod to Atkinson was the first time a non-track-and-field athlete won the Sportswoman of the Year award since 1976, when cricketer Vivalyn Latty-Scott won the award.Fraser-Pryce, who won this award in 2012 and 2013, won gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m at the World Championships as well as took the 100m title in the IAAF Diamond League series.
WESTERN BUREAU:Organisers are looking at participation in this year’s MoBay City Run/Walk races to top 4,000. The event last year drew almost 3,000 runners and raised approximately $3 million in the process.”We are doing our best to see how much we can, but we are realistically looking at about $5 million this year,” said chief organiser, Janet Silvera.The event is held to raise funds for assisting students in defraying costs at tertiary institutions.Four institutions will benefit directly from proceeds of the MoBay City Run – the University of the West Indies and University of Technology (western campuses), Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, and Montego Bay Community College.The event, which consist of a 5K Run/Walk and a 10K Run, had its launch on Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Resort and indications are that this year’s renewal will be much bigger and better for the runners.RACE ROUTEThe race will get under way on Sunday, May 1 in the vicinity of the Old Hospital Park in Montego Bay and will take the runners and walkers through the city and back to the starting line, where the race will end.Two-time men’s winner, Ronique Williams, will be back defending his title, as will female champion Arieta Martin.Williams have made the MoBay City Run his own, winning the overall title in the event’s inaugural staging in 2014, and return with a bang last year to defend his title, when he completed the race in 36 minutes and 17 seconds. He is among the favourites again this year.Martin took the female first place medal and trophy in a time of 47 minutes and 10 seconds and could repeat as champion.However, with an expected increase in overseas participation, especially among the female runners, Martin will be hard pressed to hold on to her crown.In preparation for the event, organisers have maintained the fitness camp, which will run from March 12 at the Old Hospital Park, on Gloucester Avenue.The team section was one of the most exciting aspects of the City Run last year and will again be a spectacle of colours. Riu Hotel won the team trophy by sending a huge contingent of 521 members in 2015.Scotiabank, FLOW and the Royalton Hotel will feature again this year with big contingents also.
Last year Calabar High matched their best ever winning streak at the annual Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, when they won their fourth successive crown. On Saturday, the Red Hills Road-based school lifted the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for the fifth time on the bounce, when they beat away the challenge of perennial rivals Kingston College (KC) to gain their 26th hold. For head coach, Clarke, last year was his first time winning four straight and after extending it to five-in-a-row on Saturday, the tactician described the victory as ‘memorable’ and says plans are in place for the school to go on and claim a sixth straight championship. “This is a memorable one, very historic. The school in its history has never done five straight before. KC is a talented team, very well coached, but today (Saturday) was our day. But that’s championships for you,” Clarke commented amid the team’s celebrations on the running track. “But it’s not so much for me, it’s for the school. They have never gone five straight, so that’s historic. For me it’s also quite an achievement and I am quite pleased by the success. “We are always planning ahead, like three years ahead so it’s quite a possibility,” he said about winning next year. 15 TITLES Clarke has won a combined 15 Boys’ Champs titles with three different schools. He won his first championship with St Jago in 1988; then moved to Jamaica College where he won seven titles. He won his first double in 1991-92 with the Old Hope Road-based school and his first triple with the ‘Dark Blues’ from 1998-2000. He joined his alma mater, Calabar, in 2003 and saw them to back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008. Last year he claimed his first four-peat and now he has won five straight titles for the first time. “I am humbled by the success and I give God thanks for it as well,” he told The Gleaner. Calabar finished with 287.50 points, well clear of KC, 250, and JC, 227.50.
THIS YEAR’S staging of the Hi-Pro All-Jamaica Senior Tennis Championships will serve off next Monday at the newly refurbished Eric Bell Centre at the headquarters of Tennis Jamaica, Piccadilly Road.The championships will run from August 17-22. The men’s champion will pocket $100,000, while the runner-up will collect $50,000. The ladies champion will receive $40,000, and the second place will walk away with $20,000. A total of $260,000 has been budgeted by the organisers for prize money.Categories will include men’s singles, women’s singles, Class II men’s singles, men’s singles 45-year-old and over, men’s doubles and Class II men’s doubles.”The tournament is particularly special for us this year because it will be the first senior tournament to be played on our recently refurbished courts. The venue has a rich history with some of the island’s more memorable Davis Cup battles having been played there, as well as the early display of the talents of many outstanding players,” Aswad Morgan, first vice-president of Tennis Jamaica, said during the launch and official reopening of the Eric Bell Tennis Centre.He said the Hi-Pro All-Jamaica Tennis Championships serves as a critical component in the long term vision of Tennis Jamaica.”We continue to be grateful to Hi-Pro for their sponsorship of our tennis events over the past four years. We also want to thank the other sponsors on board with the tournament this year,” Morgan added.exciting, challenging championshipsDavid Sanguinetti, Tennis Jamaica’s tournament director, said he is expecting an exciting and challenging championships.”We are expecting an exciting championships with competition from some of Jamaica’s top players, so come Monday, at approximately 3 p.m., the competition will serve off,” Sanguinetti said.Hi-Pro’s business development manager, Dayne Patterson, said his company was delighted to be associated with the staging of the 2015 tournament. Hi-Pro, a division of the Jamaica Broilers Group, is the title sponsor for the second year running.”We once again look forward to another exciting year of great plays and spectator interactions as we partner to grow the tournament exponentially each staging,” Patterson pointed out.Other sponsors include Salada Limited, Hi-Lyte, Reggae Jammin’ and Jamaica Money Market Brokers.The draw for the tournament will take place tomorrow.
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (CMC): World champion Lewis Hamilton equalled the legendary Ayrton Senna with 80 podium finishes, as he cruised to victory in yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix. The Brit, who started on pole, took the chequered flag in one hour, 23.40 minutes, to beat Mercedes teammate and main title rival Nico Rosberg into second and record his sixth win of the Formula One season and the 39th of an already stellar career. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean finished third for the troubled outfit’s first podium in two years. “It’s been incredible. The whole circuit just packed out with all you fans. So thank you all for coming. And for me, just an amazing weekend again,” a thrilled Hamilton said afterwards. “Incredible job done by the team throughout the pit stops, throughout the whole weekend, the guys back at the factory … . You know, today was a dream. The whole weekend, the car was fantastic. So thank you guys.” Starting on pole, Hamilton got away well, while Rosberg, second on the grid, struggled and fell behind Force India’s Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. By the time he reclaimed second spot, Hamilton was nearly nine seconds clear and controlled the race to the end. “Nico had obviously good pace, but I was able to answer most of the time. So I was fairly relaxed at the front,” said Hamilton, whose paternal grandparents hail from Grenada. “The car, was feeling great, and it was really about looking after the tyres, particularly at the end when I saw that one of the tyres had blown on another car. I was being very cautious. So in the last two laps, Nico was allowed to close the gap.” With the win, Hamilton moved to 227 points, 28 clear of Rosberg.
Djokovic wins again SHANGHAI (AP): Novak Djokovic has been winning with relative ease over the past week and a half in China. Djokovic defeated 15th-seeded Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters yesterday, extending his winning streak to 14 straight matches, dating back to his title run at the US Open. He has also captured 16 straight sets and hasn’t surrendered more than five games in a single match since the start of the China Open last week. On a day when 14 of the world’s top 17 players were playing, Andy Murray saved all seven break points he faced and held on to beat big-serving John Isner 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4; Rafael Nadal defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (3); and Stan Wawrinka topped Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-7 (7), 6-4. Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, meanwhile, was upset by South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 7-6 (10), 7-6 (3). Venus Williams in last eight HONG KONG (AP): Venus Williams advanced to the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open by beating Wang Yafan of China 6-0, 6-2 yesterday. The 35-year-old Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, won the Wuhan Open this month. Another win this week would bring her closer to qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore. Williams will next play eighth-seeded Alize Cornet of France, who defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4. Also, seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia of France beat Anastasiya Komardina of Russia 6-0, 6-2; and second-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-2, 6-2. UEFA members back suspended Platini NYON, Switzerland (AP): All 54 European football nations yesterday backed UEFA president Michel Platini’s fight to clear his name and overturn FIFA’s suspension. The support, which was announced through a UEFA statement, did not follow a vote in the meeting of UEFA members at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, and offered no view on the case itself. Platini and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were suspended for 90 days last week by the FIFA ethics committee following an investigation into a payment from football’s world-governing body. While Blatter has been replaced at FIFA by acting president Issa Hayatou, Platini retains the UEFA presidency and salary despite officially being banned.
Two of Jamaica’s top junior players, 15-year-old Selena Blythe and 13-year-old Damani Cain, took top honours in the 18 and Under sections of the Mayberry Investments Junior Tennis Tournament that was held at the Liguanea Club last Saturday and Sunday. They were also the outstanding players in the tournament.Playing standards were high and Anika Smith, vice-president, marketing, for sponsors Mayberry Investments, said she was so impressed, especially with the girls, that her company – which has sponsored the tournament for four years – would immediately pledge its commitment for 2016.Blythe had a stern challenge in the semi-finals from Michaela Stephens, but eventually prevailed 6-2, 1-6, 11-9. In the final, she had a fairly easy passage against Emma Dibbs and came out the winner 6-3, 6-3.competitive finalCain, who looked impressive throughout the tournament, defeated Gregory Spencer 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-finals. His finals opponent, Reuben Pinchas, defeated Myles Harrison 7-5, 6-3 in his semi-final.In a very competitive final, Cain got the better of Pinchas, because of his consistency. Cain played steadily throughout the match, but Pinchas, who showed touches of brilliance, did not play the difficult points well and went down 7-5, 7-6 (4).Other results were : (Girls 14 and Under) Jenna Harrison beat Kailey Chin 6-0, 6-1; (Girls 12 and Under) Savannah Thomson beat Cai Drummond 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 ; (Boys 14 and Under) Daniel Azar beat Jordan Parua 2-6, 6-3, 10-4; (Boys 10 and Under) Jordan Gibbs beat Kosel Gibbs 3-0, 2-1.
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP):Angelo Mathews made an unbeaten half-century and shared a record 136-run fifth-wicket stand with Milinda Siriwardana to help Sri Lanka to 264 for seven yesterday before rain ended the first day of the second cricket Test against New Zealand.Only two run outs and a stumble when the partnership between Mathews (63 not out) and Siriwardana (62) was broken detracting from Sri Lanka’s best batting effort of the series, which overturned expectations that the team that bowled first would win the day.New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and asked Sri Lanka to bat on a lush green pitch at Seddon Park, expecting his bowlers to dominate in conditions which supported both seam and swing.Apart from Mathews, who maintains a Test average in excess of 50, and Siriwardana, who reached his second Test half-century, Kusal Mendis made 31 and Dinesh Chandimal 47 as Sri Lanka kept up a lively run rate of four per over throughout the day.The partnership between Mathews and Siriwardana came in only 131 minutes and eclipsed the previous best fifth-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka against New Zealand. Trent Boult made the breakthrough when he produced an edge from Siriwardana, which Ross Taylor juggled before securing at first slip.
DOHA, Qatar:World Championships and Olympic Games 110 metres hurdles medallist Hansle Parchment strongly believes that Jamaica, with Omar McLeod and himself leading the way, can wrestle supremacy in the sprint hurdles away from the Americans and Russians.The 25-year-old Parchment won bronze in the event at the 2012 Olympics, with American Aries Merritt, the world record holder, taking gold. Parchment came even closer at last year’s World Championships when he copped silver behind Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov, with McLeod, in his first senior competition final, placing sixth.Parchment now believes that Jamaica has the ammunition to conquer the field at the Rio Olympics later this year.”I feel we have the potential. We are two strong athletes and we are working towards our goals,” Parchment said. “It would be great for us to start to dominate hurdling, which we have never done before.”McLeod, 22, is also keen on a Jamaican dominance of the event. He also envisions himself and Parchment making history.”He (Parchment) is my big bro (brother). We always give each other pep talks before races, we warm up together and we run together,” McLeod shared. “So it is always exciting running with him, and I just want both of us to continue to make Jamaica proud and create a lot of history.”The two gave a glimpse into the future when they finished first and second in the opening Diamond League meet of the season.McLeod won in a world leading and season’s best time of 13.05 seconds, while Parchment, who, like his compatriot, was competing in his first Diamond League, clocked a season-best 13.10.Spain’s Orlando Ortega (13.12) was third, while 2013 World Champion, American David Oliver (13.16) was fourth, and Merritt was sixth in 13.37.unpredictableParchment has, however, warned against complacency. He stressed that the event is very unpredictable and it is just a matter of who executes better on the day.”The hurdles are very unpredictable, so sometimes we can’t tell who will win,” Parchment said. “It is early and I believe everyone is still in the transition phase. This is my second race, so we are really just getting started. It is a very good start so far; probably the best ever for me, so I am giving thanks for that.”McLeod, on the other hand, already has his sights set on winning the Diamond trophy for the event and achieving Olympics glory.”That is my aim (to win everything); that is my goal; especially with the Olympics,” McLeod said. “So I am really just taking it one step at a time and not jumping the gun too much. One race at a time and I know if I do that and go out there and have fun, the sky is the limit.”firstname.lastname@example.org
Andre Lowe: They are building a nice little rivalry, and Saturday’s 200m clash between Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers should certainly be as exciting as their previous races against each other. KC Graham: I think this rivalry will be the best among female athletes for the next two years as both are kind of fresh on the scene and look likely to be the best over the event. Lowe: Well, their times certainly support that position. Those 21.66 and 21.63 runs by the two at last year’s World Championships are still fresh in the mind and certainly breathe fresh life into the event. Schippers has looked really good already this year – 7.00 in the 60m, 10.83 in the 100m and 22.02 after two 200m races. She has ran a lot this year, which is a discussion on its own. The point, though, is that this will be Thompson’s first 200m this season and maybe this will also come into play. KC Graham: Last year, Thompson was very inexperienced, plus she can also now commit some more time to her career after going pro. Now she will be more relaxed, and after her excellent debut on the world stage last year, I think she is ready to do some damage. Her coach, Stephen Francis, has worked on her start, and based on what I saw at the Jamaica International Invitational meet, she is going to do something special this year, and Eugene could be the start of this. Lowe: Her start has come a long way. It could hardly have been any worse, to be honest, and with this new weapon in her arsenal, she is now better equipped to beat the big Dutch sprinter. This one is going to be a hard call. I expect them to go very close to 22-flat here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they both scrape 21.9 highs. I’m inclined to give Dafne the edge for now, but I really can’t say that it’s a confident pick. KC Graham: Yes, Dafne has got the edge over Elaine the last two times they met, and with a season’s best of 22.02 seconds, which is a world-leading time in the event, the Dutch lady will start as favourite. Elaine is a monster and only lost because of inexperience in Beijing last year and is ready to avenge that defeat. I see both athletes going sub-22 seconds here. We cannot ignore Tori Bowie because, remember at this same track two years ago, she won the event running out of lane one in 22.18 seconds, and with a season’s best of 22.26 seconds in The Bahamas, she cannot be ignored. Lowe: Hmmm … Bowie could spoil the fun, for real. Since that run in Nassau, she has gone 10.80 and 10.91 in the 100m, so she is in good overall form. It’s her best start to a season in a while, and she’ll certainly complete the top three here. Where they each finish is the next question. I have my doubts, but I’ll go with Dafne, slightly over Elaine with Bowie pushing hard for third. KC Graham: I am going to make a bold prediction here, and people might say I am crazy. After her spectacular performance at the same track in 2014 and with her best start to a season, I am going with Bowie at home to surprise the big two here. Lowe: All things considered, it’s not that crazy. It’s a bolder prediction, but one that’s certainly possible. Either way, it’s not a race to be missed!