Getting ready for World Juniors

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Bolt
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Melaine Walker
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In 2002, there was no clue that Usain Bolt would become the best 100-metre, sprinter in history. Save for a forlorn Class Three effort at Boys and Girls’ Champions two years earlier, he had concentrated on the 200 and 400 metres with much success. The penny dropped at a training camp hosted by the G.C. Foster College.

The nation’s finest junior athletes were assembled at the G.C. Foster College for an ongoing training camp. It was a key plank of Jamaica’s preparation for the World Junior Championships which were set for Kingston in July 2002. Bolt lined up against many of the best junior 100-metre sprinters of the day and cleaned their clocks. Those present were stunned by his speed. It was a glimpse into his famous future.

In those days, training camps were a standard part of preparation for our junior teams. In the late 1990s, stalwarts like Ian Forbes, Juliet Parkes and Brian Smith manned these camps. They ensured that our juniors faced the world’s best at their best.

There was even a time when support camps were held outside of the Corporate Area, with the late Constantine Haughton sharing his expertise with those who couldn’t reach Kingston.

The conversion of Melaine Walker to the 400-metre hurdles was done at camp by World Junior head coach Stephen Francis with the blessing of Walker’s high school Raymond ‘KC’ Graham after an injury had threatened her 2000 season. Walker took a bronze in the World Juniors in her new event and the rest is history.

In 2002, the juniors were housed each weekend at G.C. Foster and their school coaches freely attended and shared their knowledge. The out-turn was a brilliant performance by the team when the big show rolled around. Bolt famously won the 200m. Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Anniesha McLaughlin and Simone Facey clicked to gold in the 4×100 metres. Facey and McLaughlin took silver medals in the 100m and 200m respectively, with Jermaine Gonzales and Sherul Morgan third in their respective 400-metre finals.

Walker moved up to second in the hurdles, behind a world junior record by Lashinda Demus of the United States.

It’s a pity that the World Junior Championships won’t come to Jamaica in 2016 but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for it well. The aforementioned training camps have largely dropped off the calender. Where team members come from schools with self-sufficient programmes, they can arrive ready for national duty. That isn’t often the case.

In 2010, distance ace Kemoy Campbell was slowed when funding for track at his school ran out after Champs. A camp, like the one that heralded the sprint future of Bolt, would likely have seen to his welfare. Perhaps, a better prepared Campbell would have advanced past the first round on the 1500-metres in the World Juniors in Moncton, Canada.

Our top seniors largely have camps of their own, but our juniors suffer if left alone. Our medal haul at the World Juniors tell the story. In 2002, the team’s 11-medal performance may have been boosted by brilliant home support. Since then, the take has settled at lower levels.

Jamaica garnered nine medals in 2004, eight in 2006, six in 2008, three in 2010, five in 2012 and six in 2014 at successive stagings of the Under-20 championships. This year, a three-day camp helped to prepare Jamaica’s 2015 Pan-Am Junior team for a 13-medal haul.

The 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston were wonderful. The support by a capacity audience, night after night, and the performances by the likes of Carolina Kluft, Blanka Vlasic, Meseret Defar, Darrell Brown and Bolt make it worthwhile for the authorities to consider a return to Kingston at some point in the future. In the meantime, it makes sense to prepare well for the 2016 renewal, wherever it is staged. The revival of preparatory junior camps would be a good way to get out of the blocks.

– Hubert Lawrence was present at the 2002 World Juniors.

Young footballer seeks prosthetic leg

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Jordan Foote (centre) at Sabina Park in October where he received financial help to perform the operation on his leg. From left: Keith Wellington, chairman of the daCosta Cup, Dr Andre McDonald, chief executive officer of Sure Time Medical Centre, Ryan Foote, Jordan's brother, Devon Anderson, Holy Trinity High School head coach and Carlo Redwood, FLOW's VP Marketing & Products.

Outstanding Holy Trinity High School footballer Jordan Foote, who last Thursday had his leg amputated due to life-threatening bone cancer, is thankful to be alive, but his coach says he will need counselling to overcome the loss.

“He needs some professional help with counselling,” his coach Devon Anderson said as the former schoolboy football star begins to cope with life as an amputee.

The coach, who admits he has been a driving force and like a father to the cancer-stricken player, is hoping to receive assistance with a prosthetic leg for his charge.

His leg was amputated five inches above the knee during surgery at the University Hospital of the West Indies last Thursday.

get assistance

“We would like a prosthetic leg for him. I have been doing some research and for someone to come from Cuba to put it (prosthetic) on it will cost about $1.4 million. We would really like to put it out there so he can get assistance,” Anderson told The Gleaner yesterday.

He added that Foote is now recovering at home, and it will take four to six months before his leg heals.

Organisations such as schoolboy football sponsor FLOW, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association and the Premier League Clubs Association had assisted the player with his recent surgery and Anderson is hoping the same generosity can come to his rescue again.

“He puts the best outside and puts on a brave face when he sees people, but deep down the loss is very hard to take,” Anderson stressed.

Eighteen-year-old Foote made a name for himself as a Holy Trinity player last year in the FLOW Super Cup competition. They were surprise finalists and were beaten in the championship match by Jamaica College.

Sports Briefs

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McCullum

Pune, Rajkot get nod

NEW DELHI, India (AP):

The western cities of Pune and Rajkot will provide the franchises to fill in for the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League over the next two years.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India said the new teams will be temporary replacements after the Super Kings and Royals were suspended this year by a Supreme Court-appointed committee over corruption and spot-fixing.

New Rising Consortium-owned Pune and mobile phone manufacturer Intex-owned Rajkot were selected in a reverse-bidding process in which bidders were asked to discount their annual revenue share of US$6 million.

New Rising gave up that revenue entirely and also committed to pay US$2.4 million per year to the BCCI. Intex will pay US$1.5 million per year.

McCullum stands by evidence

DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP):

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum says he stands by the evidence he gave at the perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns, although Cairns’ acquittal has raised questions over whether he was believed by a jury in London.

McCullum was the prosecution’s leading witness in the trial of Cairns, the former New Zealand allrounder who was alleged to have lied in a libel action against Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, who accused him of involvement in match-fixing.

In evidence, McCullum said he was approached by Cairns in 2008 and encouraged to become involved in match-fixing. Cairns’ legal team sought to discredit McCullum’s evidence by pointing out he took three years to report the alleged approach, then changed elements of his story on later occasions.

On the eve New Zealand’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Dunedin, McCullum faced the media yesterday for the first time since Cairns’ acquittal. Few questions at the conference related to the Test match; instead, McCullum was quizzed on his evidence and the fallout from the Cairns trial.

Swansea sack Monk

SWANSEA, Wales (AP):

Swansea has fired manager Garry Monk after nearly two years in charge, following a dip in form that has seen the team win just one of their last eleven Premier League games.

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins says he made the decision because of “a drop of performance levels and run of results over the last three months.”

Jenkins says “when you take into account the excellent campaign we had last season when we broke all club records in the Premier League, nobody foresaw the position we would be in at this moment in time.”

Monk was with the club for more than 11 years, first as a defender and then manager since February 2014 when he replaced Michael Laudrup.

Barcelona aiming for third Club World Cup title

TOKYO, Japan (AP):

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez spearhead Barcelona’s attempt to win a third Club World Cup title when the European champions arrive in Japan next week.

Luis Enrique’s squad will play their first game on December 17 in Yokohama, just five days after hosting Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league.

The tournament begins on Thursday in Yokohama. Barcelona and Copa Libertadores winners River Plate are favourites to reach the December 20 final.

Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and 2011 and the Spanish league leaders are clear favourites to continue Europe’s domination.

The tournament, which features the top clubs from FIFA’s six continental confederations plus the champion of the host country, returns to Japan for the first time since 2012. It was hosted in Morocco the previous two years.

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Pattinson in for Starc in Aussie line-up versus WI

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Australia's James Pattison

HOBART, Australia (AP):

Fast bowler James Pattinson will replace the injured Mitchell Starc in Australia’s team for the first Test against the West Indies beginning tomorrow (this evening Jamaica time).

Australia captain Steve Smith said yesterday that Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle will form the hosts’ pace attack. Pattinson, who returns for his first Test since March 2014, edged out Nathan Coulter-Nile, who will be 12th man.

Starc sustained stress fracture in his right foot in the final Test against New Zealand and will not play in any of the three Tests against the West Indies. The teams play the second Test beginning December 26 in Melbourne and conclude the series in Sydney from January 3.

“I think he has played enough. He has been bowling really well; he deserves his chance,” Smith said of Pattinson. “He just needs to go out and do what he does well. He is similar to Hazlewood, the way he bowls. Hopefully, those two can lead the attack well.”

Smith said the Australian batting order would remain the same despite speculation that wicketkeeper Peter Nevill would replace all-rounder Mitch Marsh at No. 6.

NATURAL GAME

“He’s there to do a job, to score runs for the team,” Smith said of Marsh. “Hopefully, he plays his natural game.”

Cricket fans in Hobart have shown lacklustre interested in the match, with just over 15,000 tickets sold for the first four days. The Tasmanian capital has hosted 11 Tests since its first against Sri Lanka in 1989, with the average attendance about 21,000.

Line-ups: Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Kragg Brathwaite, Devandra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.

I don't trust the system – VCB

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Campbell-Brown

QUEENS, New York:

ONE of the world’s leading athletes, Veronica Campbell-Brown, says based on her own experience, she distrusts the way anti-doping measures are effected.

At the National Championships in 2013, Campbell-Brown returned a positive test for diuretics (lasix) and was provisionally suspended. She denied knowingly taking banned substances and was later cleared (October 2, 2013) by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and issued a public warning.

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the sport’s world governing body, appealed the decision, but the Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) cleared Campbell-Brown of all doping charges, citing the JAAA’s testing procedures for not being complicit with international standards.

As a consequence of that experience, she has no faith in the system and is urging fellow athletes to be honest and arm themselves with enough information to avoid making incorrect decisions pertaining to doping.

Seventeen-time Olympic and World Championships medallist Campbell-Brown was in New York at the weekend where she was a guest of honour at the 21st Children of Jamaica Outreach yearly function and presented with its Humanitarian Award for her work as a philanthropist.

While here to collect her award, she was asked about a couple of current drug-related happenings in her sport, one relating to the Russian Federation – and, by extension, its athletes – being banned from competition after a systematic doping programme was uncovered; and corruption allegations against former IAAF president, Senegal’s Lamine Diack.

“I tend not to judge people,” she said, when asked if the IAAF’s first-time decision to ban an entire country’s athletes from competition was unfair.

“You never know what’s going on, and based on my experiences, which I really don’t want to go into, I really do not trust the system, and I won’t ever trust the system and that’s the most I want to say,” Campbell-Brown stated firmly.

“But I do believe that God has blessed a lot of people and there are a lot of talented people out there, and the great talent that we have makes for great competition, but that’s all I’m going to say about that.

“The federation made their ruling and I don’t know all the information they have to make that ruling,” she added.

Diack is alleged to have taken bribes totalling more than US$1 million as part of a cover-up for Russia’s doping issues.

“I do not know the president personally, so there’s nothing I can say on that matter,” was the Jamaican sprinter’s offering on that topic.

She said the bad news isn’t good for track and field.

“I do not follow the negative part of my sport too much, because it is not good for us, it’s not good for the upliftment of the sport,” the 33-year-old pointed out.

“Track and field needs more support, we need more sponsors, and with the negative publicity that we’re getting, it’s not helping us, so I tend to just stay focused on me and I just pray that people will be honest in what they’re doing .”

Fudadin eyes 1,000 runs, five centuries

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Assad Fudadin

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

Opener Assad Fudadin says Guyana Jaguars’ rampage through the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) after four rounds may prevent him from achieving his goals in the regional tournament this season.

Fudadin has set a goal of 1,000 runs, including five centuries for the season, but says the Jaguars’ lopsided victories in the tournament are making it impossible for him to attain such a feat.

Fudadin scored 102, his fifth first-class century, to help Jaguars to a massive innings and 49-run victory over Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at the Queen’s Park oval on Monday.

 

HARDER GOAL

 

“When I began this competition, my goal was 1,000 runs and five centuries. With six matches to go, I still believe that is possible, but the way we (Jaguars) are beating teams by an innings will make that goal harder,” Fudadin said with a chuckle during an interview with Kaieteur News.

“But I can’t do it on my own; it has to be the will of God.”

Starting the final day on 52 for two, requiring a further 213 to make the visitors bat again, Red Force battled to 136 for two before suffering a sensational collapse to be bowled out for 216.

Jaguars have now vaulted clear at the top of the standings on 70 points after four straight victories.

“It feels good to get a hundred after so long. Alhamdulillah …. without God nothing is possible,” said Fudadin, a devout Muslim who played Test cricket in 2012.

“I have been working hard on my game. I was batting well for a long time but not spending enough time at the crease to build big scores. I never doubted my ability to bat. It was not a technical problem but more of a mental one.”

The talented left-hander has struggled to get starts in this season’s tournament with scores of four and zero in the first round, five in the second round and nine in the first innings of the third round.

However, he found some form and confidence in the second innings against Barbados when he made 42.

“I did not spend much time at the crease in my previous innings in this tournament because I did not manage too many runs,” said Fudadin, whose 102 was his first century since scoring 103 for West Indies ‘A’ against Sri Lanka ‘A’ October last year in Sri Lanka.

“In addition to perseverance, patience and self-belief, having a supporting family helps. My wife (Akeema) and friends are always there for me.”

C'down beat St Hugh's in netball thriller

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Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association urban senior netball champions, Camperdown High, celebrate with their trophy at the Leila Robinson Courts last night.
Gladstone Taylor
Rural senior Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association netball champions, Holmwood Technical High, celebrate their win at the Leila Robinson Courts yesterday.
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Gaynstead High and Camperdown High were crowned new champions in the urban area, while defending champions Denbigh High and Holmwood Technical retained their rural titles in the finals of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association netball competition at the Leila Robinson Courts yesterday.

The match of the day was the urban senior finals between Camperdown and last year’s beaten finalists, St Hugh’s High, where the large crowd in attendance was treated to a thriller. The game went into overtime, and Camperdown emerged 45-41 winners.

Both teams were meeting for the second time this season, and Camperdown maintained their dominance over their rivals. In the first game, they won by four goals, and yesterday’s game was no different.

It was Camperdown who came out of the blocks the quicker of the two as they raced to a 5-2 lead. St Hugh’s rallied to level at 6-6 before Camperdown took a 9-8 lead after the first quarter.

For most of the second quarter, only one or two goals separated the teams before St Hugh’s jumped into a 19-15 lead at half time.

 

Exciting affair

 

Camperdown drew level twice in the third quarter, but St Hugh’s maintained their lead going into the final quarter 27-24.

It was an exciting and thrilling affair in the final quarter, as at one stage, Camperdown went up by four goals at 29-25, before St Hugh’s rallied to even the score before the team traded goals. At full time, both teams were tied at 34-34.

With several of the St Hugh’s players showing fatigue and making several errors, Camperdown took charge in extra time to pull off a four-goal victory.

Goal shooter Kadie-Ann Dehaney top scored for St Hugh’s with 36 goals from 60 attempts. Camperdown’s goal attack, Ramone Lawrence, had 30 from 37 and goal shooter Idora McCarthy, 15 from 24.

Winning coach Wayne Stewart was very elated after his team’s victory.

“Both teams came out and played hard, as St Hugh’s are a good team, but I like the way my girls played this evening. They have been fantastic all season, and it was one of the best finals I have seen.

“We had beaten them before, and we were very confident that we would have won again. When we took the four-goal lead in the first minute of overtime, I knew then that it was over,” said Stewart.

 

DOMINANT HOLMWOOD

 

In the rural junior finals, Denbigh got the better of Knox 28-22, while in a one-sided senior finals, Holmwood picked up their 11th title after crushing first-times finalists Titchfield 49-25. Goal shooter Tracy Ann Francis was in fine form for the champions, scoring 48 goals from 54 attempts.

Gaynstead created history in the urban junior finals, as the Dalton Hinds-coached team defeated many-time champions the Queen’s School 25-21. Goal shooter Kelsey James top scored for Gaynstead with 18 from 22 attempts.

JAAA to present award for top 2015 performance

Rudolph Brown
Dr Warren Blake (second left), president of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA), in discussion with (from left) Simone Walker, director of marketing, Scotiabank Group; Lana Forbes, director of sales, Scotia Insurance; and Garth Gayle, general secretary of the JAAA, at yesterday’s press briefing to announce the names of this year’s nominees for male and female Athlete of the Year. The press briefing took place at Scotiabank Centre in Kingston.

Usain Bolt’s 100 metres final win over American Justin Gatlin, Danielle Williams’ women’s 100m hurdles victory , the women’s 4×400 team’s gold medal performance, Elaine Thompson and Hansle Parchment’s silver medal efforts in the 200m women and 110m hurdles respectively and Rusheen McDonald’s national 400m record run in the heats at the World Championships are the outstanding performances nominated for a new and exciting award that will be on offer at this year’s Scotiabank/JAAA Golden Cleats Awards ceremony.

The awards will be handed out on Saturday at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium starting at 6:30 p.m.

The announcement of this and other awards available to top athletes for their performances during 2015 was made at Scotia Centre in Kingston yesterday.

President of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, said the nominations for the new award will be criticised by some but argued that there were many great performances over the course of the year and they chose four of the best.

“At this time of the year like any good administrator you have to recognise the excellence of your support staff, and in this case our athletes have done us very proud at the junior and senior level,” he said while listing the nation’s athletic achievements for 2015.

“At the end of the day a lot of people are not going to be satisfied, as what they consider to be the performance of the year was not included,” Dr Blake said while pointing the performance of Christopher Taylor who won 400 metres gold in record time at the World Youth Championships.

“There were so many great performances that some had to be left out,’ he insisted..

Meanwhile, sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will face tough competition to reclaim the prestigious female athlete of the year award she last won in 2013. Fraser-Pryce faces a strong challenge from Williams the world 100m hurdles champion, Thompson the world 200m silver medalist and Shericka Jackson the world 400m bronze medalist.

Bolts, who also last won the award in 2013, has a very good chance of retaking it, with Parchment and O’Dayne Richards, the world shot put bronze medalist will be his rivals for the award..

Stephen Francis, Glen Mills and hurdles coach Lennox Graham are the coach of the year nominees.

The top youth athletes, male and female, will also be recognised. The female nominees are St Andrew Technical’s Ayesha Champaigne, Junelle Bloomfield of St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) and Excelsior High’s Shanice Love.

Edwin Allen High’s Demar Gayle, Marvin Williams and Juvaney James of STETHS, Calabar’s Christopher Taylor and Clayton Brown and O’brian Waysome of Jamaica College will make up the male selections.

Also, two to young athletes will be in line to receive the Howard Aris/Scotia scholarship, which will assist a male and female athlete in post secondary studies. The Howard Aris award will go to a junior athlete who has excelled in a non- traditional event.

Fraser McConnell makes impressive debut at Tall Pines Rally

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Fraser McConnell

Despite making his debut in one of the most challenging North American rally events, 17-year-old Fraser McConnell had an electrifying start to Canadian motorsport which saw him place a sensational 11th place in the national standings, at the North America Tall Pines recently.

It was the teen’s second rally as a young driver.

Co-driving for the Jamaican was the very experienced Nathalie Richard who helped the teen to third overall, first in class production in two-wheel drive, first in novice and 11th place in the national standings.

Co-driver Richard remarked of McConnell’s exploits: “For his first rally he chose the most challenging event in North America (Canada), Tall Pines. He did a great job and impressed me right from shakedown, which was his first time sitting in a car.

“I was almost as proud of him as his supportive (but freezing) family members! Good stuff, Fraser!” she added, describing Rally of the Tall Pines as one of the most challenging annual events of the Canadian Rally Championship series.

A total of four classes of cars in the order of speed/power: four-wheel drive open, four- wheel drive production, two-wheel drive open, and two-wheel drive production.

The registered competitors faced off for National and/or Regional points and drivers were classified as ‘Expert’ or ‘Novice’.

McConnell, who is currently a high school student in Canada, remains upbeat as he eyes a great future in the sport.

“It’s a new experience for me. Good learning experience with a new car and new navigator.

“Throughout the day I got faster and faster. It was quite a challenge, but what was exciting for me is that I was beating turbo four-wheel drive and open class,” the teen recalled.

He added: “It was like the biggest event in the world for me and I just wanted to make my name. I will be trying to compete more abroad next year and get more power in the car,” said the 17-year-old.”

Meanwhile, father Peter McConnell said: “We were torn about this decision because it coincided with Rally Jamaica, but we felt that he had much more to gain by competing in one of North America’s premier rally events.”

With Fraser now introduced to the North American Rally World in a big way, he will no doubt be able make an even positive impact next time and chart a way forward.