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’.
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.