World records Dibaba and Wlodarczyk both set world records – three minutes 50.07 seconds for the 1500 and 81.08 metres for the hammer throw, respectively – before their wins at the World Championships. The Track and Field News panel could only separate them by three points, 312 to 309. In fact, 17 members of the panel felt that the Pole was number one compared to 16 who voted for Dibaba. Holland’s Dafne Schippers finished third with Jamaica’s 100-metre World champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, appearing at number six. Bolt and Fraser-Pryce were voted as the year’s top performers in the men’s 200 metres and the women’s 100m, respectively. American Justin Gatlin, and not Bolt, is the magazine’s number one in the 100 metres. Details aren’t available yet on the website, but in its 2014 Annual World Rankings issue, Track and Field said: “As important as major meets are, we should also note that no competition, not even the Olympic Games, is the be-all, end-all. We’re looking for people who maintain high standards over a whole year.” Restricted by injuries, Bolt did the 100 metres in only three 2015 athletics meetings, with clockings of 10.12, 9.87 and 9.79 seconds, respectively. The latter time pipped Gatlin in the World Championships. That was the American’s only loss of a seven-meet season that yielded times of 9.74, the fastest in 2015, 9.75 twice, 9.77, 9.78, 9.80 behind Bolt at the Worlds and 9.98 seconds. Gatlin isn’t the only athlete to top the rankings in an individual event despite losing at the World Championships. Others include Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar, who was fourth in the high jump at the Worlds, French pole vault star Renaud Lavillenie, Kenyan Eunice Sum in the 800 metres, Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic and American Dawn Harper-Nelson, who fell in the semis of the 100-metre hurdles. The respected United States publication, Track and Field News, has named American Ashton Eaton and Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia as its Athletes of the Year for 2015. Despite contesting just one decathlon for the entire season, Eaton won the bulk of the votes from a 36-member international panel to emerge ahead of triple jumper Christian Taylor and Jamaican sprinter supreme Usain Bolt. It was far closer among the women, with Dibaba edging Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk, the 2014 Athlete of the Year. According to a notification appearing on the magazine’s Internet site, Eaton’s world record performance – 9,045 points – at the World Championships tipped the voting his way. In fact, it was voted the Performance of the Year. The magazine’s website notes that two members of the panel objected to the season on the grounds that Eaton’s single decathlon did not ‘constitute a full season’.
WESTERN BUREAU: Defending ISSA Western Conference double champions, Herbert Morrison Technical, will put both their Under-16 and Under-19 titles on the line, when they take on Cornwall College in the final of both categories. Ralique Grant and Devon Watson spearheaded the lopsided 106-58 win for Herbert Morrison, whose Under-16s brushed aside Muschett High 80-36, while Cornwall eased past Holland High 56-16. Cornwall’s Leacroft Lettman was the game’s high-point man, leading all scorers with 14 points for Cornwall College. He also held five rebounds to go with four steals and two assists. Teammates Jowayne Jones added 10 points and two rebounds and Alwade Thompson chipped in with a handy nine points for the winners. Owen Rodney was the only player with a significant performance for Holland, with eight points, two rebounds and five steals. In the Under-16 semi-final against Muschett, Okieffe Noble was brilliant, topping all scorers with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The outstanding Shaqueal Benti also made himself useful with a 19-point, 13-rebound game, while Davaughn Campbell’s 12 points added to the huge margin of victory. In the senior category, Grant outlined his liking for the big games when he and Watson combined for 55 of Herbert Morrison’s total output. Grant had a game-high 28 points, while Watson finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. Tafari Vassell grabbed 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals to help stave off the William Knibb charge in the final quarter. Herbert Morrison led from the opening tip-off and held a 49-23 lead at half-time and never allowed their opponents to close the gap. The best-of-three final takes place with Game One set for Montego Bay Cricket Club this afternoon at 4 p.m. (Under-16) and 6 p.m. for the Under-19s.
Officials of one of the world’s foremost sports investment agencies, Doyen Sports Group, and Arsenal Football Club are expected to sign an agreement with the Phoenix All-Star Academy this afternoon in Kingston.The deal, which is being hailed by Phoenix co-founder Craig Butler as a major development for Jamaican football, will see the agency, which, among other ventures, manages the certain affairs for some of the planet’s leading footballers, partner with Phoenix in the establishment of a state-of-the-art football academy just outside of Montego Bay, as well as prepare, market and place talent from the club into the European market.Doyen’s website lists names such as Neymar, Radamel Falcao, Mangala, Alvaro Morata, Alvaro Negredo, and Marcos Rojo, but does not outline the nature of their involvement with the players.The group is considered to be an investment-based organisation that facilitates player transfers.Phoenix already has several players on overseas contracts, with Belgium-based Leon Bailey, who is already in the Genk first team, and Kyle Butler, both doing well. But Craig Butler is confident that this partnership will create opportunities for more players and open another avenue to the international markets.”This partnership between Phoenix Academy and Doyen has many positives. They will partner with us in the building of an academy in Trelawny, as well as the marketing and placement of players in Europe,” Butler told The Gleaner ahead of today’s signing, which is scheduled to take place at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.”Phoenix have done extremely well over the years in terms of our standard of developing players in technical, tactical and personal development. We are creating players that are ready for the European market,” Butler added, while referring to Arsenal’s interest.”Leon (Bailey), at 18 years old, is already one of the best players in Belgium, and is already in the first team there. Kyle is also doing well and should be in the first team soon.”Arsenal have taken note of that and want to come and take a look and see what our other players are about,” added Butler.”This is huge for the country. I still believe that with development, Jamaica can become one of the teams that challenge for World Cups, not just strive to participate and make up numbers,” Butler said.Butler also underlined that a 14-acre property has already been secured by Phoenix All-Star Academy and will be developed to accommodate a full academy, in collaboration with Doyen Sports.
Patrick Roberts, the man who has been chosen by the People’s National Party (PNP) to unseat leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness in St Andrew West Central is very displeased. Both Holness and Roberts crossed path at the Dupont Primary School, located on Olympic Way in the constituency. As Holness did earlier, Roberts expressed concern about the slow pace of the electoral machines being used in seven of the 63 constituencies, complaining that they are frustrating the electoral process. But unlike Holness, Roberts was fuming. He charged that some of the machines are malfunctioning. This, he said, has slowed up the process considerably. As such, Roberts charged that persons administering the electoral process in the constituency are taking as much as half hour per voter.
The useful but unpredictable GENUINE FRIEND, with 3.0kg claiming apprentice Odean Edwards aboard, is weighed to win the third race over 1200 metres for five-year-olds and up. The 6-y-o mare from the stables of Linton Calder has come down 4.0kg in the weights and if getting it right at the start, should win from the front running EXPLOSIVE PRINCESS with top jockey Dane Nelson up and SEMPER FIDELIS in a field of 11. IAN LINKS, who beat all barring the promising SOL SENOR over 1400 metres in March 5, should go one better in the fourth race over a mile – for maiden three-year-olds – with former champion Omar Walker riding for 15-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta. MR DOITBETTA and HEY CHAMP are twin dangers in a 14-strong field. Briefly, the last two races in the first Super-6 should be won by RAY RAY (Oneil Beckford up) and down in class UNCLE G with apprentice Patterson aboard. Their respective dangers are NO MONEY FRIEND and LEGAL ACCOUNT. With CAPTAIN GRANVILLE (21-1) and ZEEVA (10-1) scoring notable upsets at Caymanas Park last Saturday, the Pick-9 had no takers and the carry-over to tomorrow stands at $3.6 million. This should ensure a Pick-9 payout in excess of $5 million. Both Super-6s on the other hand were cornered and start anew with guaranteed minimums of $750,000. The Pick-9 will embrace races three to 11, the first Super-6 from race one to six, the late Super-6 from race six to 11. We look at the first Super-6, which gets under way with a $450,000-$400,000 claiming race over the straight five course to be contested by six starters. Despite the small field, the race promises keen competition, what with the presence of last Saturday’s course winner, ZEEVA, ROCKETEER, FRANKENSTOR and OFFICIAL REPORT, who has beaten better in the not too distant past. Trained by Philip Lee, OFFICIAL REPORT last won over this trip via the Stewards’ Room last August on the disqualification of WOMAN IS BOSS in overnight allowance company and with a mere 48.0kg with apprentice Javaniel Patterson aboard, gets the nod over FRANKENSTORM and ZEEVA. Next on the programme is a maiden condition race for four-year-olds and up, which will more than likely come down to a straight fight between BIG BUCK with apprentice Jerome Innis and MR. TOPPER TOP MAN with in-form Aaron Chatrie aboard. Both finished second and third, respectively, behind FREE RANGE over 1200 metres last Saturday, but with Chatrie replacing female apprentice Andree Powell aboard the Donovan Plummer-trained MR. TOPPER TOP MAN, he should reverse the placings as only three-quarter length separated them at the finish. (1) OFFICIAL REPORT/FRANKENSTORM (20 MR. TOPPER TOP MAN/BIG BUCK (3) GENUINE FRIEND/EXPLOSIVE PRINCESS (4) IAN LINKS (5) RAY RAY/NO MONEY FRIEND (6) UNCLE G/LEGAL ACCOUNT USEFUL BUT UNPREDICTABLE FIRST SUPER-6 FANCIES
Scotiabank, who pride themselves as sponsors of the regional game, starting from the youth level, pumped a 25 per cent increase into this year’s Scotiabank/Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Prep Schools Cricket competition yesterday.The increase will bring the sponsorship package to $5 million, along with MVP cash prizes of $50,000 for players in the counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey.”This increase in sponsorship is a testimony to our continued belief in the importance of investing in youth through developmental sports,” said Yanique Forbes-Patrick, vice-president, Scotiabank Marketing.”Always play your best game. Strive to be the best on your team. Be champions in your own right and make a difference in everything you do,” she implored the youngsters during yesterday’s launch at Lucas Cricket Club, after which defending champions Quest Prep and Richmond Prep played the competition’s opening game.BETTER CITIZENSCourtney Francis, CEO, Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), lauded Scotiabank for ensuring that “cricket is part of the medium to make you all (players) better citizens, more responsible, understand and learn at this stage how to be part of a team and how to be able to contribute to society”.Quest were crowned national champions for the first time last year, after defeating Hydel Prep by 10 runs in the final at Lucas.Hydel, the most successful school with two national titles (2012, 2013) and four in Surrey, followed by St Peter and Paul, Monymusk, Mona, Lannaman, Belair Prep and Quest one each.In Cornwall, there are only two winners; Denis Tobin in 2005 and 2006, while St James have been unbeatable since 2007.Quest’s coach, Leonard Malcolm, told The Gleaner his team is missing about eight players from last year, “but we are a competitive school and we are going to compete to try and retain our crown”.The competition will run to June 12 and feature a total of 48 teams, with approximately 121 matches across three counties.The competition began in 2003 and has grown from 24 schools to 48; 24 from Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine, 12 from Middlesex and 12 from Cornwall.Prep school standouts to come from the competition include Brandon King, who has represented Jamaica at all levels, Brad Barnes (2013), Raewin Senior (2014) and Kirk McKenzie last year.West Indies’ World T20 men and women’s champions, Marlon Samuels and Stafanie Taylor, respectively, also participated and signed bats and balls for the youngsters.
Gasparyan wins Baku Cup BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP): Margarita Gasparyan of Russia won her first WTA title yesterday by beating Patricia Maria Tig of Romania 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 in the Baku Cup final. Gasparyan served for the match when up 5-4 in the second set but was broken back at love. However, she dominated the final set to wrap up the win in 21/2 hours. Gasparyan had never won a main-draw match at the WTA level before this tournament, while Tig – a qualifier – was also playing in her first tour final. The 112th-ranked Gasparyan said “it’s been an amazing tournament for me.” South Sudan gains Olympic status KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP): With an Olympic flag draped around his neck, the official from South Sudan couldn’t contain his emotion. Moments after his war-torn country was officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday, Tong Chor Malke Deran wiped tears from his eyes and later broke down when talking about the plight of his nation’s athletes. The decision means the world’s newest nation will be able to have its competitors enter the stadium in Rio de Janeiro next year behind their own flag. More importantly, the country’s near non-existent sporting infrastructure and athletes will receive funding assistance from the IOC. South Sudan, which split from Sudan and became independent in 2011, has been hit by civil war for the past two years. Three straight for Isner ATLANTA (AP): John Isner won the Atlanta Open for the third straight year, beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3 yesterday at Atlantic Station. The top-seeded former University of Georgia star has reached the finals in Atlanta in five of the past six years and is 20-3 in the event. He has 10 ATP Tour titles. Baghdatis, who appeared to suffer a right-leg injury late in the first set of his 12th ATP final and first since 2011, scored just two points against 18 Isner serves in the second set. The 6-foot-10 Isner ripped 13 aces to push his four-match total to 90. He won 27 of 28 points on his first serves and nine of 11 points on his second serves. Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles final for their record 107th title, beating Gilles Muller and Colin Fleming 4-6, 7-6 (2), 10-3.
WESTERN BUREAU:Linnel McLean, President of the Trelawny Football Association, said he is anticipating a great season of football in his parish, following Sunday’s final of the President’s Cup, which Coopers Pen won in convincing fashion – 4-2 over Harmony FC – at the Elleston Wakeland Centre.”Of course the most important result we hope for at the end of this season of football in Trelawny is for our clubs to feature significantly in the Confederation’s Super League and of course stake a claim for a spot in the Premier League,” McLean said.”That would be the greatest of all coming out of this pending season,” he reiterated.The parish has not produced a Premier League club since the high-flying act of Village United, which ended in relegation at the end of the 2011-12 season.With the likes of Clarks Town (Trelawny Major League champions) gaining promotion to the Western Confederation Super League and with Coopers Pen, Duanvale and Baca Star also in the mix, McLean is hopeful.”These clubs are on an upward trend over the last couple of seasons and all indications are that this will continue. It can only augur well for the football in this parish as we try to improve all aspects of the game here,” noted McLean, “that they get all available support to grow and become better.”Two of the most critical areas for such development are in the areas of quality of playing surfaces and the number of young players coming through the ranks.The long-serving president believes that once these areas are addressed, it would make it easier for clubs to begin challenging the other dominant parishes for spots in the bigger, more lucrative leagues.Part of the plan, according to McLean, is to drive derbies and rivalries to its maximum, in order to stimulate interest and garner much needed sponsorship.”It’s on these platforms that we must build. Trelawny football is not the worst of the western parishes, neither do we boast of being the best, because we have some ways to go on that note. But I think we can get there,” reasoned McLean.On Sunday, McLean presented the winning team, Coopers Pen, with the President’s Cup, the symbol of the opening of the football season in Trelawny.The win was made possible thanks to a double strike from Christopher Noble in the 22nd and 31st minutes, plus goals from Shaunavan McKenzie, who netted the opener in the sixth and Andre Palmer, who scored in the 79th minute.Shaquelle Reid and Ricardo Reid (no relations) scored for Harmony, which ended with 10 players after O’Shane Stewart was shown a red card.
Looking to the immediate future, DaCosta is hoping his luck will change in this Saturday’s rich and prestigious Burger King Superstakes, over 2000 metres, the only major race that has eluded him in a long and distinguished career. “I will run three horses in the Superstakes – PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, HOVER CRAFT, and ROYAL VIBES,” he disclosed. “I think I have a really good chance of finally breaking the ice with the 2013 derby and St Leger winner, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who has done everything asked of him coming into the race,” he added. Halledeen again has the ride aboard the recent Gold Cup hero. The grey colt SILVER CLOUD, running at odds of 7-2 with title-chasing jockey Robert Halledeen riding for champion trainer Wayne DaCosta, upstaged the front-running 6-5 favourite ROYAL ASSAULT to win the inaugural running of the Ronron Trophy over 1200 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday. The race was run in honour of the crack imported filly RONRON, who won a string of grade one races for owner Kenval Wallace and trainer Gary Subratie five or so years ago. RONRON won 10 races from 16 starts for Subratie in 2010 and 2011. This, however, was a fitting win for DaCosta as RONRON ended her career with the 14-time champion after a brief stint with him. SILVER cloud, who was notching his second consecutive win with Halledeen in the saddle, bided his time in third, passing the half mile as ROYAL ASSAULT, with star apprentice Linton Steadman, led under pressure from the well-backed ROAD WI SEH (9-5) until disposing of him on entering the straight. But SILVER CLOUD, who was always in touch, soon found his best strides and closed smoothly on the rails to overhaul ROYAL ASSAULT midway the last furlong, going on to beat him by 2 1/2 lengths in the good time of 1:12.0 behind splits of 22.3, 45.4 for the first half-mile. The 34-1 outsider, DREAMCOMETRUE, closed rapidly for third in a field of 12 native-bred three-year-olds. Owned by the trainer’s wife, Elizabeth DaCosta, SILVER CLOUD is by He’stherealthing out of the Royal Minister mare Preach Preacher and bred by the trainer. DaCosta said he was pleased by his progress and is looking forward to further successes in the months ahead. superstakes
Montego Bay United FC (MBU) will face sanctions for their absence from yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) weekly press conference at Red Stripe Hospitality Lounge, Spanish Town Road. The finalists, Portmore United FC and MBU, were invited, but only Portmore’s representatives turned up. Chairman of MBU Orville Powell is holding firm that his club will not contest Sunday’s final if the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) continues to insist that the game will kick-off at 4 p.m. “We continue to protest. We are protesting. They (the PFAJ) continue to disrespect people. We are also stakeholders as clubs. I will not take the field on Sunday at 4 p.m. If they don’t compromise, we won’t compromise,” Powell told The Gleaner when contacted yesterday morning. General manager of the Premier League Clubs’ Association (PLCA) Andrew Price said yesterday that MBU would be sanctioned for not attending the weekly press conference. “This is a part of the rules and regulations of the body … so if a club is not here, they will be sanctioned,” Price said during the press conference. The PFAJ is responsible for taking decisions on match dates and kick-off times. The RSPL final will be aired live on TVJ and SportsMax. It will also be on CNTV in America and Canada.