THE country’s top junior athletes will be in action today and tomorrow inside the National Stadium as they seek places on the country’s team to the Carifta Games, which is scheduled to take place in George Town, Grenada between March 26-28.Fans are in for a treat as with the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships just a few days away, top performances are expected in both the Under 18 and Under 20 categories.Today’s opening day will see the finals of the 100m in the Under 20 section with St Elizabeth Technical’s Nigel Ellis commanding most attention here. He is expected to compete in both the Under 20 100m and 200m events.While Ellis will start favourite the likes St. Jago’s Raheem Chambers, Waseem Williams of Jamaica College along with the Calabar duo of Xavier Angus and Fabian Hewitt will be hoping for a major upset.After dominating the sprints all season, Calabar’s young sprinters including Dejour Russell, Michael Stevens and Tyreke Wilson, will get their first big test this season when they face Kingston College’s outstanding sprinter Jhevaughn Matherson in the boys Under 18 100m.KC’ 400 metres standout Akeem Bloomfield will finally make his first appearance on the track this season.Bloomfield, the Carifta Under 20 champion has been absent all season but looks set to control the event here as there has not been any special performance so far in the event this season.An exciting battle looms in the Boy’s Under 20 400m hurdles as the likes of St. Jago’s, Tmor Barrett and KC’s Sherwayne Allen, who both have gone sub 53 seconds so far this season are expected to have their hands full as Calabar’s Akyeme Francis and the talented Jauvaney James of St. Elizabeth Technical should make it an interesting affair.Calabar’s Christopher Taylor should continue his great form this season and score an easy win in the Boy’s Under 18 400m.Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on the Girls Under 20 400m as Junelle Bromfield of St Elizabeth Technical will square off with Tiffany James of the Mico University College and Shannon Kallawan of Edwin Allen.In the Under 18 Girl’s 100m, Kimone Shaw of St Jago and Shellece Clarke of Edwin Allen will renew their rivalry when they clash in the event. At Central Championships, it was Shaw who drew first blood after defeating Clarke in a close finish and Clarke will be hoping to avenge that defeat.
Dnipro among three clubs banned from EuropeNYON, Switzerland (AP):Last year’s Europa League finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk of Ukraine has been named among three clubs banned from European competition by UEFA over financial issues.UEFA says that Dnipro, Azerbaijan’s Inter Baku and Romania’s Targu Mures would be excluded from the next European competition for which they qualify in the next three seasons.All three clubs had been ordered by UEFA to clear “overdue payables” and told they would be excluded from Europe unless they cleared those debts by January 31.Dnipro have struggled with financial problems against a backdrop of political instability in Ukraine, but managed to reach last season’s Europa League final, losing 3-2 to Sevilla.Footballer banned eight gamesfor biting opponentLONDON (AP):A French forward for English club Leeds has been banned for eight matches for biting an opponent during a game in the second-tier League Championship.The English Football Association said yesterday that Souleymane Doukara was given the long ban because of the “seriousness and both unusual and violent nature of the misconduct.” Doukara had denied a charge of violent conduct.The incident occurred during Leeds’ match against Fulham at Elland Road on February 23. Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta was the victim of the bite and was booked for his reaction.The FA said Doukara was warned about his future conduct and fined US$7,200.Leeds, who have nine games left this season, said the club “is disappointed with the outcome and the length of the ban”.Germany’s euro bonusFRANKFURT, Germany (AP):Each German player will be 300,000 euros (US$339,720) richer if the team wins the European Championship.The German Football Federation says the agreement on bonus payments has been reached with senior players. The payments begin with reaching the quarterfinals of the 24-team tournament in France and are the same as four years ago.A place in the last eight will be worth €50,000 ($56,620), a semi-final appearance €100,000 ($113,240) and a fourth European title €300,000 ($339,720). A runners-up finish will be worth half that much.
A bumper crowd is expected a Caymanas Park today for the season’s first classics, the 42nd running of the Post to Post 1000 and 2000 Guineas for native bred three-year-old fillies and colts, respectively, over a mile.Both races are being sponsored by the betting and gaming entity, Post to Post, for the second consecutive year and will again offer purses of $3.25 million.Of the 13 fillies declared for the 1000 Guineas, there is a definite standout in the form of NUCLEAR AFFAIR, who is unbeaten in two starts this season.Trained by Gary Subratie, who also saddles the recent winners, CLASSY AVIATOR and GOLDEN GLORY, NUCLEAR AFFAIR caught the eye in four races as a two-year-old last season, culminating in her brave effort on Boxing Day when caught on the line by the top colt, FUTURE KING, in the $4.25 million Supreme Ventures two-year-old Stakes over this trip.According to Subratie, the bay filly by Nuclear Wayne out of Commandra Affair has not put a foot wrong since.”She is really a class act and truly impressed with her last performance, three weeks ago, when winning the Thornbird Trial Stakes over seven furlongs from well off the pace.PRINCIPAL DANGER”She has worked well in her preparation for this race and with a mile even more to her liking, I am pretty confident she will deliver with former champion jockey Dane Nelson again in the saddle,” said the second-generation trainer, who previously won the 1000 Guineas with NIPHAL in 2011.To my mind, the principal danger to NUCLEAR AFFAIR is highly regarded SORENTINO’S STAR, to be ridden by leading all-time classic winning jockey, Winston ‘Fanna’ Griffiths, for 14-time champion trainer, Philip Feanny.She beat FUTURE KING in the $3.6 million Pick-3 Super Challenge Trophy over 1400metres last November, and although failing to impress under topweight in the recent Thornbird Stakes, has worked well and should complete the exacta.If NUCLEAR AFFAIR is the one to beat in the fillies Guineas, the same holds true for Wayne DaCosta-trained FUTURE KING (Robert Halledeen up) in the 2000 Guineas, despite a recent setback (hoof injury) which forced him out of a recent overnight allowance race.DaCosta disclosed that although missing from exercise for two weeks, FUTURE KING, who returned to the exercise track late last week, is on the way back and although a bit short of work “his class should see him through” at the expense of recent Prince Consort Stakes winner, CHACE THE GREAT, runner-up ORPHEUS and BIGDADDYKOOL.Other firm fancies on the 11-race programme are BERRANCA to go one better in the first race, CONCLUSION in the fifth, SUPER COP in the sixth and ORIGINAL TRAIN in the 10th for overnight allowance horses.
WESTERN BUREAU: MONTEGO Bay United (MBU) wanted to register their point about not being afforded due respect ahead of yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football final against Portmore United at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in St James. In unprecedented and unceremonious fashion, they did. And they got a bonus after outplaying their opponents to win the 2015-16 Premier League title by a 2-1 scoreline in regulation time. Leading up to the season’s decisive contest, MBU owner and club Chairman Orville Powell had been voicing his disgust about club not being invited to a meeting by the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), at which the date and time of the game was changed. In no uncertain manner, Powell said they had been disrespected. He also challenged the decision and lobbied for the time of the game to be shifted, arguing that it wasn’t the culture of fans in Montego Bay to turn out that early for matches. Powell even threatened that his team would not to turn up for a 4 p.m. kickoff, which had spectators on hand, the opposing team, commentators for radio and television lined up for live viewing, and people in more than 24 countries receiving the feed wondering if they would ever turn up. They did. MBU held true to their promise, only taking the field at 3:55 p.m., fully clad in black with white letters on the back of shirts worn by their players. They wanted to send their message. It was one about ‘RESPECT’, the word spelt with one letter each on the back of the shirts of seven players – when they turned their back to the crowd – who stood in the front line. Then there was another part to the message: ‘IF YOU WANT TO GET IT, YOU MUST GIVE IT.’ That was spelt out when all the players lined up in a different order, again each with a letter on the back of his shirt. Afterwards, they left the pitch and returned clad in their green, blue-and white-coloured outfit, marching out from the tunnel to the playing field, side by side with members of the Portmore United team and FIFA’s anthem blaring over the microphones. This time, MBU were prepared to play. It was, by then, more than 20 minutes past the scheduled kickoff. The protest, it appeared, never affected MBU one bit, as they settled down into a composed passing game from the first whistle and maintained the upper hand throughout against a Portmore team that got to the venue early and went through its warm-up routine on the pitch. MoBay, instead, did theirs at the club’s home ground, Wespow Park, which is close to Catherine Hall. In the final analysis, Dino Williams came on as a second-half substitute to score the winning goal in their 2-1 victory. The win gave MBU a second title in three years and a first league title for Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis as coach. He had won the title twice as a player with the club, before its recent name change from Seba United. “This is an amazing feeling to know we are champions of the league against a very good, a technically sound Portmore side,” Davis said. Mercurial MBU midfielder Jermaine Woozencroft opened the scoring for MBU in the 62nd minute with a well-taken strike, after Portmore goalkeeper Shaven-Sean Paul raced off his line to block an initial attempt from MBU forward Corey Hylton, but spilt the ball. Portmore responded in fantastic fashion. Michael Binns’ torrid left-footed shot from 32 yards out gave Jacomeno Barrett in goal for MBU absolutely no chance for the equaliser, inciting huge celebration from the small pocket of Portmore supporters. Woozencroft said he knew when he had the ball in his possession that he had to score. “I knew I had to score; the goalkeeper missed the ball and I placed it well inside the post,” he said. “I am very happy for the team. We have gone through a lot this season, and to end it with the title is unbelievable,” Woozencroft added. Portmore’s head coach Jeffrey Hewitt said he was disappointed with the outcome of a keenly contested match of the league’s two best teams. “We started as we liked, but never breached their defence at all. That was our downfall, and when we scored to get back into the match, they got another to win it,” he said. “Congratulations to the MBU team. They played well to win. I thought we had some chances that perhaps we should have done better with. It was a great season for us, just unfortunate not to leave here with the title,” said Hewitt. His Portmore team was looking to seal a historic moment by becoming the first club to gain promotion and win the Premier League in the same season. They had earlier won the first-place cash award of $1 million after amassing the most points this season.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania:MICHAEL HECTOR has apologised to his teammates after two horrendous mistakes by the central defender led to two Mexican goals during Sunday’s Gold Cup final.Hector was at fault when Mexico scored twice in the first 16 minutes of the second half, as they went on to win the match 3-1 against Jamaica.”We’re disappointed, obviously,” he said after the match. “We felt that we played well … so I’m gutted for the players. I said to the players in the dressing room I’m sorry for the mistakes that caused the goals, that they didn’t deserve this, in a final especially.”As Hector’s teammates filed off during the presentation ceremony, the tall 23-year-old stood and watched Mexico celebrate as they lifted an unprecedented seventh title in the 13 competitions contested. The United States have won five and Canada once.FEELTHEPAIN”I wanted to watch them lift the trophy to make me realise what I’ve done and never to be in that situation again … that’s why I stayed out there and watched them lift the trophy,” Hector explained. “I don’t want to be in that situation again, I wanted to feel the pain of losing the final.”Jamaica were playing in the final for the first time, being the first Caribbean team to do so. Additionally, they had beaten the United States in the semi-finals at Atlanta 2-1 to record their first win over the Americans in their country.Jamaica also earned the Fair Play Trophy.”It’s a proud moment for the country to be the first Caribbean team to play in the final. We’ve positives to take. This team can go far in the future and, hopefully, we can do that, get in another final and win it next time,” Hector said.”It’s tough to take at the moment, but I think in the next few days or weeks, we’ll look back at this tournament and take the positives and be proud of what we’ve achieved,” the defender added. – Audley Boyd
Jamaica won the 2015 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Under-19 championship, de-throning Barbados 25-22, 25-23, 25-16 to win the four-team tournament, their first in international volleyball at any level. The team will now represent CAZOVA in the NORCECA Under -19 tournament to be held sometime between later this year and next year. Jamaica also exacted a measure of revenge on the defending champions, who had beaten them 3-1 on the first day of the tournament, last week Thursday. In Sunday’s final, Jamaica overcame a six-point deficit in what was a keenly contested first set that got the home crowd – consisting mainly of college students – cheering wildly. Barbados began the second set by racing to an 8-2 lead, before a time-out was called. On the resumption, Jamaica went on an eight-one run to lead 10-9. Ten to nine soon became 13-9 as the Jamaicans tried to race to a two-set to love lead. Barbados weren’t having it. The defending champions came into the final on an unbeaten streak of four games and were not going to roll over and die. Spurred by their outside hitter, No. 2 Brandon Callender, who had 18 spikes, and libero Akeel Oxley, Barbados rallied to take the lead 22-18, when Jamaica’s head coach, Steve Davis, called a time-out. Following the break, Jamaica clawed their way back to eke out a close 25-23 win. BRAVE BATTLE Facing the daunting task of winning three straight sets against an opponent growing in confidence as the game went on, Barbados battled bravely, but the influence of tournament MVP Jovan Thomas, Jamaica’s captain, whose nine left-handed spikes were virtually unstoppable; and six from No.8, Shavar James, enabled Jamaica to secure a comfortable 25-16 win to snatch the title. “I am extremely satisfied,” said an elated Davis, following the historic win. “Like I had been saying at the beginning, the guys are young but they are hard working. They never complained; and every training session, they got better, and every game, they got better. “We took a set from Barbados in the first match, and that set was 25-14, so we knew we had what it takes to beat them,” he noted. John Stuart, Barbados’ head coach, said unforced errors proved to be their downfall. “It was unforced errors and too many bad serves,” he said. “In all fairness, Jamaica played better than Barbados and deserved to win.”
Upcoming Jamaican sprinter Natasha Morrison has joined Asafa Powell and Kerron Stewart at the Texas-based Fast Twitch Factory after her recent departure from the MVP Track Club.Morrison, a 100m finalist and the lead-off runner on Jamaica’s gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team at the recent IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, was reportedly asked to leave the University of Technology-based MVP Track Club.There was speculation that she would remain in Jamaica and train with one of the other local outfits, but it has now been confirmed that she will work out of Austin, Texas, with Asafa’s older brother, Donovan.Morrison reportedly left the island earlier this week.A lot of potentialSpokesperson for the club Tara Playfair-Scott confirmed Morrison’s addition to the club, while sharing her impressions of the athlete, whom she considers a perfect complement to the growing group.”We are thrilled to have her on board. She is an amazing athlete with a lot of potential, and we are looking forward to working with her,” Playfair-Scott told The Gleaner yesterday.”Natasha is a great addition to the Fast Twitch family, and I think she complements the others very well. It’s a nice group and a nice mix of athletes,” added Playfair-Scott, who also shared that the club is unlikely to make any other additions going into the upcoming season.The club is completed by another Jamaican sprinter, Winston Barnes.Morrison, who ran a personal best 10.96 in the semi-finals of the World Championships, finished seventh in the final, with a time of 11.02.The sprinter, who has struggled somewhat with injuries over the past few seasons, made her breakthrough this season, earlier booking her spot on the World Championships team by finishing second in 11.03 at the National Senior Championships in June.She is considered by many to be among the island’s more promising sprinters but was surprisingly cut from the MVP Track Club shortly after the World Championships, becoming part of an exodus that included fellow world-class athletes Kaliese Spencer and Christine Day, who have since joined the Cameron Blazers unit.
Groups Quarter-final schedule Tuesday, October 27 – Lennon vs. Port Antonio at Juici Field Wednesday October 28 – Lacovia vs Manchester at St Elizabeth Tech – Paul Bogle vs St James at York Oval – Petersfield vs Seaforth at Frome Sports Complex – Vere vs Mannings at Wembley Comm. Field – Marcus Garvey vs STETHS at Drax Hall – Clarendon College vs Dinthill at Juici Field – Rusea’s vs Glenmuir at Jarrett Park All matches kick off at 3 p.m. Western Bureau: Champions Clarendon College have been drawn alongside three former winners in a very tough quarter-final round group in this year’s ISSA-FLOW daCosta Cup football competition. The champions have been grouped with Glenmuir High, Rusea’s High, and Dinthill Technical. All three have been doing well. They each topped their respective zones in the first round, and then eased past quality opposition in the inter-zone round. Except for the ‘Russians’ who had to overcome a do-or-die situation in the final inter-zone match on Tuesday, which they ultimately did with utmost ease, (7-1 victory over Herbert Morrison), this may well prove the group of death. Clarendon’s first match in the round will be against a free-scoring Dinthill team. This game will be at the Juici Field at Clarendon Park, with kick-off slated for 3 p.m. Former winners and defending Ben Francis champions St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) are drawn to face Marcus Garvey High, The Mannings School, and Vere Technical in Group R. The Omar Wedderburn-coached institution has not yet hit top gear. They, however, have shown good form in at least three matches and must now produce consistent performances to move even deeper into the business end of the competition. While STETHS have yet to look their best, for the most part, Manchester High, with the respected Donovan Duckie as coach, have been outstanding. Their only blemish, 0-1 loss to Clarendon, has been put firmly behind. Since then, they have gone on to defeat all others, including a very good Munro side 4-1 on Tuesday to advance and now they are focused on topping a strong Group P that include St James High, perennial contenders Paul Bogle High, and Lacovia. This Lacovia team has been improving with every game and could spoil the Manchester party when they meet on Wednesday, October 28, at the STETHS field in Santa Cruz. Meanwhile, surprise package Petersfield High must get the better of Port Antonio, Lennon, and Seaforth High in order to keep their campaign on track. Their historic victory on Tuesday against Cornwall College, according to their assistant coach, Dwayne Forrester, is ‘like a dose of vitamin’ and could serve to inject even more confidence into a bunch of players, who appear fearless in the face of strong opposition. They first tackle Seaforth High at the Frome Sports Complex and will start as favourites for the win. Group P: St James High, Paul Bogle High, Manchester High, Lacovia High Group Q: Port Antonio High, Petersfield High, Lennon High, Seaforth High Group R: Marcus Garvey High, Mannings School, STETHS, Vere Tech. Group S: Clarendon College, Glenmuir High, Rusea’s High, Dinthill Tech.
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Jamaica will start a training camp in preparation for a historic appearance at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Futsal Championship to be held in Havana, Cuba, January 22-26.A 16-man squad was named by player/coach Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore to start training today at the National Indoors Sports Centre.A total of eight teams, divided into two groups, will participate in the CFU tournament.Group One comprises: Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, CuraÁao and Guyana, while Group Two features host Cuba, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and St Maarten.Jamaica is scheduled to face Guadeloupe on January 22 in the opening game at the Sala Polivalente Kid Chocolate Complex in Cuba.The top three from the CFU will advance to the CONCACAF Championship on May 8-15 in Costa Rica. After that, the top four will advance to the 2016 World Futsal Championship.The training squad is: Anthony Marks, Savian Maxwell, Loran Lewis, Jason Wint, Theodore Whitmore, Fabian Taylor, Edsel Scott, Ramone Sibley, Jerome Haughton, David Swaby, Marcelino Blackburn, Shavar Blake, Marvin Morgan, Michily Waul, Donovan Carey and Kemeel Wolfe.