No Ari Rodgers regret – Myrie

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Kingston College’s Ari Rodgers (left) successfully beats St George’s College goalkeeper Orville Smikle (right) but is unable to score during the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup final last season.
Ian Allen
Myrie
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Principal of Kingston College (KC) Dave Myrie said he has no regrets over his decision to allow injured middle-distance star Ari Rodgers to participate in last year’s ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup competition.

The Uganda-born Rodgers, who is yet to compete this season, is currently nursing an ankle injury and is a major doubt for next month’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, which will be held from March 26-30 at the National Stadium.

In fact, Rodgers, who won the 2000m steeplechase at last year’s championships, suffered the injury in the final against St George’s College last December. KC won the game 3-2 to end a three-decade wait for the coveted Manning Cup title.

First love

“Ari’s first love is football and not track and field and to be honest with you, I think if Ari never played football, he would have been one of the most depressed youngsters ever,” said Myrie.

“At the end of the day, injuries happen, and if the injury is as such and the medicals don’t clear him for tracks, then it is just one of those things,” Myrie said.

Rodgers, who netted eight goals for KC last season, played an instrumental role throughout the campaign, and particularly in the semi-final, as he provided both assists to help his team to a 2-1 win over St Andrew Technical.

“He was instrumental in the team getting to the final and so it is unfortunate that he got injured in the final game of the season, but in all of these contact sports, these things happen and we just have to accept whatever happens,” Myrie said.

He added that the decision to play Rodgers in the Manning Cup was a collective one.

“I don’t regret the fact that he played football because he was the one who wanted to play, and he wanted to play from last year (2017), and we said no,” Myrie said.

“Last year (2018), he said he wanted to play football because it is a sport that he loves, and when you saw him out there training, his understanding of the game is really at a high level, and so, I did not deny him,” he said.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190216/no-ari-rodgers-regret-myrie

Jockey Able still hopeful of securing first win

Robert Bailey
Able

Having failed to so far secure a victory in the saddle, female apprentice jockey Abigail Able says she remains hopeful that she will be able to break her drought soon.

Able is one of three female apprentice jockeys who began riding on September 29 last year at Caymanas Park. She has, however, failed to pass the winning post in front from 46 mounts so far.

In fact, Able’s fellow jockey Samantha Fletcher has recorded three wins, while Tamicka Lawrence has failed to win a race.

However, the 22-year-old Able told The Gleaner that she has been working hard to improve her craft and that she is very hopeful that her time will come soon.

“I don’t feel any way, honestly, because each time I ride out there, I learn something new, and so, by the time I win my first race, everybody is going to say, ‘She looks good and she is all right and she is coming on’,” said Able.

“This drought just makes me feel stronger and builds my confidence,” she said. “I am not rushing anything because by the time I am ready to win a race, I will be a better jockey, and when I start, I don’t have any stop to stop,” said Able, who is a past student of Waterford High School.

“Not because I am not winning any races; I get rides, and so, even if it is one ride I get, I just go out there and show my talent and be grateful for it,” she added.

Able shared that she has received a lot of support and encouragement from trainers and fellow jockeys, and this has helped to build her confidence.

“The trainers have accepted me well because they have been saying, ‘You know that you are coming on and you start look better in your saddle and you start looking comfortable’,” Able said.

“That is what I wanted to hear from them long time, and so, the more I work and the more rides I get, I come on more faster,” she said.

“My confidence is still high, and nobody can’t break it even though I don’t win any race as yet,” Able stated.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190216/jockey-able-still-hopeful-securing-first-win

Get a good start with El Profesor

Kenyon Hemans
EARN YOUR STRIPES (Robert Halledeen) wins the sixth race at Caymanas Park last Saturday.

EL PROFESOR won a fast 1000 metres round race on January 23 and is poised to make it two in a row when he runs in tomorrow’s second race, Race One of the Sunrise Six at Caymanas Park.

Trained by Patrick Lynch, EL PROFESOR romped that event in 59.2 seconds. The distance has been increased by 200 metres, but EL PROFESOR, a Classic contender last year, will not be inconvenienced. Last September, he was fourth by four lengths to OUTRAGEOUS TAJ over the same distance, clocking a final time of 1:12.4 behind the winner’s 1:12.0. Trevor Simpson who rode him in January is in fine form, and the Casual Trick – The Principal four-year-old gelding will be difficult to beat.

JAMALJAMES will be racing against the clock in the third race on the card, a 1000 metres straight event. The Fitzroy Glispie-trained gelding has dropped two levels to enter this event. He faces $450,000 claimers after placing third to ADONIS among the $600,000 claiming group on January 30. That race was won in 58.3 seconds, with JAMALJAMES crossing the line in 59.4. He has the pace to be up with the leaders and will be finishing best of all in the final 200 metres.

The fourth, Race Three of the Sunrise Six, should provide SEA SWAN with an easy win. She gets the perfect distance, 1000 metres round, and will use her speed to blow away rivals. The lightly raced four-year-old filly has done two bullet works in recent days after a near four-month rest. On February 3, she clocked 47.4 for 800m, and seven days later, scorched the exercise track in 35.2×47.4. This will be just the fourth start for the Adore The Gold – Saint Cecelia filly, and she has tons of room for improvement.

The blinkers should do the trick for ADORING LADY in the fifth race over 1000 metres round. She is one of the fastest in the line-up and has trained well ahead of the event.

Take the very light HOUDINI’S MAGIC to get the better of the also well-handicapped PEKING CRUZ in the sixth race while course ­specialist BULLET RAJ is strongly fancied for the seventh, the sixth and final race of the Sunrise Six.

SUNRISE SIX SELECTIONS

2. EL PROFESOR

3. JAMALJAMES

4. SEA SWAN

5. ADORING LADY

6. HOUDINI’S MAGIC

7. BULLET RAJ

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/get-good-start-el-profesor

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Wilson: 2019 is big

Lionel Rookwood
Maurice Wilson

This is a year for Jamaica to remind the world of its standing in international track and field. That’s the considered view of Maurice Wilson, head of the Sprintec Track Club. According to Wilson, a high performance by the Jamaican team will depend on what he calls conscientious planning.

“It is, if I would say, one of those years where we really need to remind the world what we do best, and it is going to take a lot of conscientious planning on behalf of the coaches and support by the officials to make it happen, but we’re not in a luxury zone, and we must be cognisant that the world has targeted us,” Wilson said at the recent Milo Western Relays at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport.

The coach added, “We have to do our due diligence to make our Jamaican people proud.”

The centrepiece of the season is the IAAF World Championships, which begin on September 27 in Doha, Qatar.

“I see all of our athletes coming out to participate early and it’s going to be a long season. I’m just hoping and praying that all the athletes, not only those that are trained at G.C. Foster, but all our athletes, are able to stay the length of the season without any injuries,” Wilson said.

He believes that Jamaica made progress last year. “I think we did well at the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships and the Commonwealth Games,” he assessed, “and we want to carry on the same sort of performances into the World Championships.”

Jamaica won 24 medals, including seven gold, at the Commonwealth Games in April last year and 22 at the NACAC Championships, again with seven gold medals. In addition, Briana Williams, Damion Thomas, and Kai Chang combined to win four events for Jamaica at the World Under-20 Championships.

Those performances follow a modest team showing at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Jamaica came home with four medals, with 110 metres hurdler supreme Omar McLeod the only winner.

There were early signs at the Milo Western Relays that Wilson’s Sprintec athletes would be there to help Jamaica at the World Championships this year. One such indicator came at the end with a win in the 4×400 metres relay. World Championships 2017 400 metres finalist Demish Gaye anchored Sprintec to a record time of three minutes 06.45 seconds.

Gaye’s leg took just 44.9 seconds and earned commendations from coach Wilson. “I was extremely happy with the performance,” said the man who also serves as acting principal of the sports college.

He concluded, “I was just really pleased to see him come out and perform the way he did.”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/wilson-2019-big

Morrison now with Sweden’s Ostersunds

Lefteris Pitarakis
Morrison

Ravel Morrison, a player who has been on the radar of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) for a long time, has left Italian Serie A Club Lazio for Swedish outfit Ostersunds FK.

According to Sky Sports News the 26-year-old former Manchester United Youth star has signed a six-month contract with an option to extend his stay further.

Morrison, who ended a loan stint at Mexican Club Atlas last summer, has not been in action for Lazio since then.

The JFF has been chasing the England-born player for some time as he qualifies to play for the Reggae Boyz through his mother. In January, JFF president Michael Ricketts said the federation was still interested in securing the services of the player. He now has a Jamaican passport and was called up by head coach Theodore Whitmore for the Concacaf Nations League match against Suriname in November last year, but he did not accept the invitation.

Ricketts said last month that the player is still committed to Jamaica.

“I know he is keen on playing, and we are still tracking his progress because we are going to need him for the next game,” Ricketts told The Gleaner.

The Reggae Boyz are scheduled to play El Salvador in their final group-stage game of the Concacaf Nations League on March 23 in the Central American country, and Ricketts is hoping that Morrison will be available for that fixture.

“The Central Americans can be really tough at times, especially when the game is being played there, so we would welcome his presence in the side,” Ricketts said.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/morrison-now-swedens-ostersunds

CWI backs ICC policy – Grave: Gabriel will learn from incident

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Shannon Gabriel
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Grave
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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

Cricket West Indies chief ­executive Johnny Grave says that CWI is in firm agreement with the International Cricket Council’s get-tough policy on player abuse in the wake of the severe punishment dished out to fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.

And while conceding that Gabriel’s four-match one-day ban was a huge blow for the Windies, Grave said he also expected the 30-year-old to learn from the incident.

Gabriel was suspended for the first four One-Day Internationals against England, starting next week, following a verbal exchange with England captain Joe Root on the third day of the final Test on Tuesday, which was deemed to be in breach of the ICC’s code of conduct.

“The ICC has put in place a zero tolerance on any abuse on the field by players, and we are fully supportive of that,” Grave told the Newsday publication here.

He added: “I think in terms of the way the series has been played. It’s been played in great spirits by two teams that have gone hard at each other over three Tests.

“It is disappointing we are talking about one isolated incident, which, I hope, does not tarnish what has otherwise been a fantastic series in terms of the quality of the cricket and also the manner and spirit in which both sides have played.”

The matter came to the fore when stump microphones picked up Root telling Gabriel: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”

And though Gabriel’s ­initial comments had not been detected, international media created a ­firestorm over the matter, alleging that Gabriel had made ­homophobic remarks.

It was only yesterday that Gabriel, in a statement, revealed that he had said to Root in the heat of the moment: “Why are you ­smiling at me? Do you like boys?”

Gabriel said he considered the comment nothing more than “inoffensive picong and sporting banter”, but nonetheless, issued an apology to Root, the England team, and his Windies teammates.

“I am sure Shannon will learn from this, and it is disappointing he has to learn the hard way,” Grave noted.

Gabriel was not named in the Windies squad for the first two one-dayers in Barbados but was expected to feature later in the five-match series.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/cwi-backs-icc-policy-grave-gabriel-will-learn-incident

Tanya Lee | Jamaica’s 10-sport plan for Tokyo 2020

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Richard Lyder
Cyclist Dahlia Palmer
Ricardo Makyn
Ryan Foster
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Earlier this week, I attended the Jamaica Olympic Association’s (JOA) partner’s breakfast forum where they outlined plans for the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In a room that included the media, member associations, and sponsor partners, the association outlined, among other things, their 10 in 20 campaign.

The 10 in 20 campaign is the JOA’s mission of having representation for Jamaica in 10 or more disciplines at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Olympics will host athletes from 33 disciplines from July 24 to August 9.

In Rio 2016, Jamaica had representation in four disciplines as we sent athletes in gymnastics, diving, swimming, and athletics. Jamaica’s most diverse representation came all the way back in Munich 1972 when our delegation included athletes across cycling, yachting, swimming, diving, athletics, and boxing.

Competing in 10 disciplines at Tokyo 2020 is quite an ambitious, yet achievable, undertaking. The JOA and its member associations are working to make the vision a reality. This includes reaching out to prospects both locally and across the diaspora to galvanise support and participation in qualifying events while providing funding support to various athletes and associations to aid in their bid and general sporting development.

Currently, the JOA’s support spans across various projects, some of which include providing support for the coaching of athletes, the training of coaches, the provision of equipment, and ­facilitating participation in ­qualification bids, which varies for each discipline. At present, eleven athletes are accessing, through the JOA, the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity scholarship, which provides funding for their sporting development.

JOA’s chief executive officer, Ryan Foster, believes it is essential for Jamaica to diversify its ­participation across broader disciplines,

“The JOA is keen on showing that we have a diversely talented people, and through coaching and infrastructure, we can create more opportunities for our athletes to earn outside of the Games. The Olympics provides the best platform to showcase the sporting talents of Jamaicans, and there are opportunities for them to earn beyond the games across some of the broader disciplines,” Foster said.

With just 16 months to go before the Olympics, qualification is still possible across a number of disciplines. Alton Brown is seeking to make it in karate. Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games silver medallist Caitlin Chang, who won Jamaica’s first ever medal in fencing last July, is hopeful. Twenty-year-old Britain-based Lydia Heywood is hoping to gallop her way into the equestrian event. Teen sensation Lori Sharpe created history last April when she became the first Jamaican to complete a triathlon event at the Commonwealth Games. She hopes to do the same in Tokyo 2020.

Cyclist Dahlia Palmer is hoping for a Tokyo 2020 berth, and she already has the backing of David Weller, OD, who won a bronze medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. That remains the only non-track and field medal ever won by a Jamaican athlete at the Olympics.

Jamaica’s skateboarding duo of Tafari Whitter and Mario Notice are chasing the Olympic dream and have already created history as the first to participate in an Olympic qualifier at the World Championship Global Open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in January.

We also have qualification events to go in a number of other disciplines, including judo, tae kwon do, badminton, rugby, and boxing.

While Jamaica has historically done well on the track, there is a wealth of other talent emerging in the field events. The hope is that we will finally have a breakthrough for a historic first gold medal off the track as we have strong contenders such as the discus trio of Fedrick Dacres, Travis Smikle, and junior sensation Kai Chang. For the females, Jamaica could very well find ourselves with podium finishes as well via shot-putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd or triple jumper Kimberley Williams and Shanika Ricketts.

Let’s continue to support our various sportsmen and women as they work towards making the Olympic dream a reality while also hoping to increase their earning potential in some of the more lucrative sporting endeavours outside of track and field. Jamaica has much more to offer.

One love.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/tanya-lee-jamaicas-10-sport-plan-tokyo-2020

Petersfield’s Watson ready again

Ricardo Makyn
Woolery

Antonio Watson gave fans at last Saturday’s Western Relays more evidence of his exciting potential. Running anchor for the Petersfield High School 4×400 metres team, Watson sped through his leg in 45.6 seconds. The effort moved Petersfield into the runner-up spot and put Watson back on the radar.

That relay split was the fastest in the high school race and wouldn’t have been out of place in the men’s event.

According to Petersfield coach Machel Woolery, the 2017 World Under-18 four hundred metres champion is relearning how to run the one-lap event.

“We’re working on the execution, and we’re trying to change the way he approaches running the 400 metres,” said Woolery recently.

Usually, Watson goes out slowly and then charges through the last part of his races. That tactic earned him the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships Class Two title last year but could be a liability in the future.

“I know that,” Woolery conceded, “and he has a few little issues, and he said this year, he’s ready, and so far, he looks good.”

The 17-year-old will go for gold in Class One on Saturday at the Western Championships, having comfortably qualified for the final earlier this week at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS). He won the Class Two title last year and has already clocked 47.55 seconds in 2019.

MAIN FOCUS

The clock is his focus this year. “This season, we just want to really run fast,” Woolery said of the 46.45 seconds racer. “We’re just going to the Carifta Games. We don’t think we’re going to Pan-Am this year,” he surmised. “We have had a rough two years, and we’re looking at the World Juniors next year, so I think we might close early this year and give him enough rest to approach World Juniors next year,” explained coach Woolery.

Watson took the 200 metres silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in October. “We really wanted it, the gold medal,” he said, “however, he came with a silver – not bad.”

It seems that Watson may not run too many 200-metre races this season despite gold-medal performances in 2018 at Western Championships, and Boys and Girls’ Championships, and a personal best of 20.90 seconds. At the Western Relays, he ran the 400 metres hurdles, and at Western Championships, he is again doing that event and not the 200m.

CAUTIOUS RUN

A cautious run at the Western Relays produced a time of 55.53 seconds.

If Watson hopes to win that event on Saturday at the Western Championships finals, he will have to improve. Dashinelle Dyer of STETHS, a school known for its prowess in the 400 metres hurdles, won the McKenley/Wint Classic in 53.31 seconds. Brithon Senior of Rusea’s High, Dyer’s schoolmate, Rashane Bartlett, and Javed Jones of B.B. Coke High all have better times.

Notably, Senior and Jones are the highest returners from last year’s final and clocked 53.62 and 54.19 seconds, respectively, for third and fourth place. Dyer, Jones, Senior, and Watson all won their preliminary races on Tuesday, with Bartlett safe in second behind Jones, who had the fastest qualifying time on the grass at Herbert Morrison High – 55.50 seconds.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190215/petersfields-watson-ready-again

‘A heavy blow’ – ‘Concrete’ Moncriffe devastated by coach Chris Brown’s murder

Gladstone Taylor
Brown

Devon ‘Concrete’ Moncriffe said that he is devastated about the murder of his trainer, Chris Brown. Brown, 52 years old, coached Moncriffe, who became the Wray and Nephew Contender Series champion in 2013. He was sitting on the steps of the Fit Farm Fitness Club on Upper Braemar Avenue in St Andrew, where he routinely trains, when men approached and shot him multiple times at around 5:20 a.m yesterday.

Moncriffe said that he was at work when he received the news about the killing and immediately contacted fellow boxer Sakima ‘Mr Smooth’ Mullings, whom Brown also coached to the 2014 and 2017 titles.

“Mi really sad about it, to be honest to yuh,” Moncriffe said. “Mi feel it, man. He was a nice person, believe me. He had a wonderful personality.

He said that he last spoke with Brown on Monday because they were making plans for an upcoming fight.

“Mi was supposed to start train wid him, but because him did affi go weh wha day, him never start di training wid mi,” he said. “Him did seh him a line up sup’n fi mi and Frog (Richard Holmes) fight. Him seh “Yeh man, mi a go call yuh back (Tuesday) morning but him never call mi, suh mi seh mi a go call him todeh (Wednesday). When mi hear the news, bredren, believe mi, mi freeze.”

He remembers the respect Brown had for his discipline and his resilience in training.

“Sometimes him put mi under pressure and him always a seh ,“Yuh know seh dis yute is the only man mi train and him neva bawl. Him always a do it,’” Moncriffe said with a slight laugh. “Suh yuh know, mi have dem likle ting deh fi look to, and bwoy, a part of mi a go always wonder if Chris gone fi true.”

Moncriffe compared the shock of the news of Brown’s murder to when he found out last year that his mother died.

Can’t take another surprise

“Right now, mi mada surprise mi last year and mi nuh feel seh mi can get another surprise,” he said. “Di whole day mi deh beside mi mada and she drop out (died), and she neva tell mi seh she feel nuh way. A mi likle niece come tell mi seh she dead. Mi nearly have heart attack. But mi relax and mi calm down, and mi see it.

“Right now, Chris gone, and to be honest wid yuh, mi doe know what happened, but it’s a sad story.

“Inna dis life, anything can happen, bredren. Wi just affi give thanks and walk pon di right side a di road.”

Jamaica Boxing Board president Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones sent condolences to Brown’s family.

“One can never know the correct words to say in a situation like this,” he said. “No matter what the circumstances, it’s always unfortunate for one to lose their life in such a tragic manner. So on behalf of the Boxing Board, condolences go out to all his family and loved ones as our wish is for those lives that he touched positively through sport will help to be the change that our future generations need.”

Mullings, when contacted, was unavailable to comment on the incident.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190214/heavy-blow-concrete-moncriffe-devastated-coach-chris-browns-murder

Global concern about JAAA Trials

Ian Allen
Ronald Levy winning the Men's 110m hurdles at the JAAA/SVL National Senior Championships on Sunday, June 24, 2018. File

Several IAAF Diamond League meet organisers in Europe are expressing concern over the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) scheduling of its National Senior Athletics Championships.

The organisers fear that Jamaica’s trials, which are set for June 20-23, could result in many of the country’s top athletes missing their Diamond League meets.

The Championships, which also serve as trials for the upcoming IAAF World Championships this September, would be held near or during the dates set for the Rabat, Morocco, leg of the Diamond League and Adidas Boost Boston Games, both on June 16.

The event also clashes with the Golden Spike Ostrava meet on June 20 and the Prefontaine Classic, Diamond League meet in Stanford, California on June 30.

“The decision is not good in principle for the worldwide calendar,” Ostrava Golden Spike meet director Jan Zelezny said in an email to Reuters.

Time not ideal

“It would be more appropriate to stage it when the period is reserved for the national championships in the Americas like USA has it at the end of July.”

Zelezny said the decision would be unlikely to have a major impact on this year’s Ostrava meeting in the Czech Republic.

“In the past, it would be a big problem when we expected stars like Usain Bolt or Asafa Powell.”

Meanwhile, Athletics’ global governing body, the IAAF, confirmed that “there are ongoing discussions between the IAAF and the JAAA about this scheduling issue.”

The JAAA announced earlier this month that June was the most convenient date for all stakeholders involved.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20190214/global-concern-about-jaaa-trials