Jamaica and indeed the entire world, got excited over the weekend on seeing world sprint king Usain Bolt return to some semblance of form with identical 9.87 second clockings in the heats and final of the 100 metres event at the London 2012 Olympics anniversary games. Having been the first person brave enough to predict that Bolt would lose his World Championships 100m title to the widely loathed American Justin Gatlin, I watched both races with keen interest to see just how much my prediction was on track. It was absolutely great to see the big man competing healthy again, and seeming to be relaxed in doing so. After all, my prediction in no way compromises my respect for Usain Bolt as the undisputed champion athlete, who is already the greatest sprinter to have ever lived. BOLT’S BIG CHALLENGE All things being equal, and if conditions are right, the feisty and resilient Gatlin should break 9.7 in Beijing. Therefore, by my estimation, the winner of that gold medal will have to run between 9.65 and 9.69. The big challenge for Bolt is to get that 9.87 down to 9.69 in very limited time. A lot of the optimism coming from Jamaicans after Bolt’s London appearances seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact Gatlin is still ahead of Bolt in terms of form, and, certainly, as far as times are concerned. It therefore follows that if both sprinters prepare and improve accordingly, then Gatlin is still the man to beat in Beijing. One good thing coming out of Bolt’s London runs is that the clash between himself and Gatlin, it appears, will actually take place in Beijing. For many moments this season, there were credible doubts as to whether or not this face off would materialise, but with Bolt showing his hand, it now seems certain the race is on. From where I am sitting, Gatlin, on form, should win that 100m event on the wire ahead of Usain Bolt. Again, for the record, I sincerely hope I am wrong. GATLIN STILL ON TRACK Having said all that, though, and casting emotions aside, I refuse to recant on my prediction. Gatlin is still on track to beat Bolt in Beijing. A lot of the expectant Jamaican and indeed track and field officials and fans across the world simply don’t want to see Gatlin dethrone Bolt. I don’t want to see that either, but the reality remains the same even after the two races in London. Bolt has lots of work to do. In the heats, Bolt was off to his usual ordinary start and indeed trailed Mike Rodgers up to about 70m before extending to get by the American before shutting down for a relatively easy win. In the final, Bolt had an atrocious start and had to pull out all the stops to get by and then hold off Rodgers, as well as his fast-finishing stable mate, Kemar Bailey-Cole. Upon seeing the intensity of Bolt’s effort in the final, I was surprised to see the clock showing 9.87. Of course, the conditions for sprinting were far from perfect – the track was wet, there was a -1.2 and -0.8 metres per second headwind in the heats and final, respectively. As for the overall execution of the race, I would grade Bolt at about 6.5 out of 10. On that same scale, he needs to be closer to 9 out of 10 to beat Gatlin. Bolt and his astute coaching staff, led by Glen Mills, will have to pull out all the tricks with just under three weeks to go. It is obvious from what we saw that Bolt has been working hard on the training ground. He looks much fitter and trimmer, and seems to have shed the excess bulk we saw earlier in the season. Race sharpness and his notoriously poor start continue to be his main areas of concern.
Jordan in court for trial on his brand value CHICAGO (AP): Michael Jordan has arrived at a Chicago federal courthouse for a civil trial that will examine the market value of the basketball star’s identity. The trial that began yesterday stems from a lawsuit the ex-Chicago Bull brought against a grocery-store chain for the unauthorised use of his name and persona in an ad. The six-time NBA champion entered through front doors after a judge denied his request to enter through a security tunnel. Jordan walked through a metal detector and showed ID to security. A judge previously found the now-defunct Dominick’s Finer Foods invoked Jordan’s identity without permission. The unresolved issue is damages. The 2009 magazine ad congratulated Jordan on his Hall of Fame induction. Over a $2-off steak coupon, the text says, “You are a cut above.” Jordan is expected to testify. Harting to skip Worlds FRANKFURT, Germany (AP): Olympic discus champion Robert Harting will not defend his World title in Beijing later this month because he is still recovering from a knee injury. Harting told reporters yesterday that “it was absolutely not possible” for him to compete at the World Championship because he did not want to risk another injury ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Harting has not competed in a major meet since tearing his knee ligaments 11 months ago. The German won the last three World Championship titles and is the 2012 Olympic champion. Harting led a group of athletes who released a video message earlier this week saying track and field’s world governing body had “betrayed” them by not doing enough to fight doping.
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) – Australia continued its recovery from losing the Ashes to England by winning the first match of their one-day international series by 59 runs yesterday.Matthew Wade’s bustling batting proved decisive for Australia at the Rose Bowl. Wade and Mitch Marsh’s unbroken 112-run stand for the seventh wicket kept Australia competitive at 305 for six, following a mid-innings stumble as Adil Rashid took the first four wickets.”We probably had a bit of a hiccup with the bat in the middle order, but Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh at the end there, to score 93 off the last 10, was an extremely good effort,” Australia captain Steve Smith said.Then England’s chase fizzled out under lights, as the hosts lost quick wickets when they could least afford to – their last eight for 94 to end up 246 all out with 4.3 overs unused.England made a flying start with openers Jason Roy (67) and Alex Hales (22) putting on 70 for the first wicket in 11 overs.But the English could not capitalise on that platform despite starts for James Taylor (49) and captain Eoin Morgan (38). Their fate was sealed at 194-4 when they lost three wickets without a run scored. Nathan Coulter-Nile couldn’t pull off a hat trick.”We got off to a fantastic start, Alex Hales and Jason Roy set the tone early, and when we get off to a start like that we should be chasing down 305,” Morgan said.Australia looked for a while like they wouldn’t make 250.Joe Burns and David Warner made a start of 76 in 15 overs, with Warner going on to his seventh 50-plus score against England on this tour, with 59.Then Australia was put in strife, losing four wickets in six overs. Rashid took out Smith for 44 and George Bailey for 23 in consecutive overs, his third and fourth wickets for 4-59, the best haul by a spinner in an ODI at the Rose Bowl.That left Australia on 178-4 in the 33rd over, facing a refired England. Australia fired back, especially Wade, who compensated for running out Shane Watson on six. He finished on 71 not out with a dozen boundaries, and Marsh on 40, in the second highest seventh-wicket stand by Australia in an ODI.The second in the five-match series is on tomorrow at Lord’s. Australia ended the Ashes with a victory but lost the series 3-2.”We’ll look at our plans and our execution of them and how they look on replays and stuff, and obviously try and improve them for Lord’s,” Morgan said. “But certainly, at the start of the game, we would have taken that score (of 305 by Australia).”It is frustrating … today was an opportunity that’s gone amiss.”
President of the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) Dr Walton Small believes that the organisation that oversees schoolboy sports in Jamaica needs to find new ways of keeping the more traditional football competitions relevant or run the risk of having them overshadowed by the increasingly popular ISSA/FLOW Super Cup.Such has been the success of the competition that offers cash incentives to participating schools that even the traditional competitions – the Manning Cup, daCosta Cup, and Olivier Shield – are paling in comparison. The FLOW Super Cup competition was designed to be the true symbol of schoolboy supremacy as it pits the top eight teams from both competitions against each other for $2.5 million in cash and prizes. The money goes towards football-development programmes at the participating schools.the finalAn estimated 15,000 people crammed into Sabina Park last year to watch the final and many more watched on television as Jamaica College won the inaugural competition. The instant success, Dr Small revealed, put pressure on ISSA to improve upon the more traditional tournaments.”In terms of excitement, we are aware that the buzz is about the Super Cup, naturally, because of the competition between the rural and the urban and also because there is cash incentive,” Dr Small said Tuesday following the launch.”We have to do something so as not to let it diminish the Manning and daCosta Cup, therefore, we have to do some more things. We are not sure what they are yet, but we have to do something to make sure (we generate) the same kind of excitement because overall, the quality has risen.”Small revealed that he had discussed the matter with FLOW.”I said to Mr (Carlo) Redwood, FLOW’s vice-president of marketing and content, this is your property (FLOW Super Cup), and we have to make sure that whatever we do with any of the cups it is not to diminish one over the other because it is a property that you have invested heavily in, and you want to get your return, so I am sure that when we put our heads together, we can do something to ensure that the Olivier Shield becomes the real cup of the tournaments.”Redwood is in agreement and said his company would do whatever was necessary to help restore the value of the more traditional tournaments.”The FLOW Super Cup helps ISSA to view football differently. There is a lot of tradition behind the Manning and daCosta Cup. FLOW is the title sponsor of schoolboy football. We don’t want to have a separation of both of them, but we want to move both of them forward for the benefit of the players and the fans, and we believe that there are a lot of opportunities to do that, and we expect that ISSA will be partnering with us in the near future to improve schoolboy football overall as well.”
CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC):New Zealand power-hitter Brendon McCullum and Sri Lankan stroke-maker Kumar Sangakkara are among five international stars confirmed for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft set for February 11 in Barbados.They will be joined by South African Faf du Plessis, New Zealander Martin Guptill and Australian Shane Watson, all of whom represent the inaugural inclusion of marquee international players for this year’s tournament, which bowls off in June.CPL organisers are expected to announce the final marquee player closer to the draft.Australian Tom Moody, CPL’s director of international cricket, said the arrival of such quality players would bring the Caribbean tournament on par with other well established global T20 competitions.”With the confirmation of these marquee players, the CPL is now truly established as one of the leading T20 leagues and compares favourably with the likes of the IPL and Big Bash League,” Moody said.”We are entering into a fascinating year of T20 cricket, with a number of players in this year’s draft set to feature for their countries in the forthcoming ICC World T20 in India, as well as in other leading domestic T20 competitions.”With the West Indies currently sitting atop the World T20 team rankings, we believe that the top quality signings of iconic and hugely decorated marquee players demonstrate CPL’s intentions to captivate the attention of both the West Indies public and cricket followers globally.”TWO CENTURIESKnown for his all-out attacking style at the top of the order, McCullum is likely to attract the most attention. The former Black Caps captain was the first player to reach 1,000 runs in T20 Internationals and the only one to have scored two centuries in T20 Internationals.He has played 99 Tests and 256 one-day internationals and is set to retire in February after playing his final two Tests against the touring Australians.Sangakkara, meanwhile, one of the most sought after players on the T20 circuit, has featured in the CPL before along with Guptill, while all-rounder Watson will be turning out in the Caribbean tournament for the first time.The six marquee players will enter the draft and will each be assigned to one of the six franchises – Barbados Pride, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, St Lucia Zouks and Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel.
It’s Portia’s place, but the Comrades in South East St Andrew are taking no chances. From Maxfield Avenue to Payne Land to Whitefield Town and Majesty Gardens, they were out in their numbers already casting their votes — leaving no doubt that it is Portia Simpson- Miller that they are voting for. In front of every polling station there is a string of orange clad persons dictating their support for Simpson-Miller. The handful of Jamaica Labour Party workers have been seen at one or two stations but they are out numbered by the sellers offering breakfast, lunch, fruits and liquor. Simpson Miller is scheduled to vote at 9 a.m. at the Whitfield Town All Age School.
Emerging Jamaica Scorpions batsman, Brandon King, slammed a second straight century to guide Kingston Cricket Club to an eight wickets win over Lucas Cricket Club in their second round Jamaica Cricket Association Senior Cup clash at Nelson Oval on Sunday.King, who slammed 179 in the first round, returned to post an unbeaten 119 as Kingston, replying to 116, put up 289 for four declared in their first innings.Lucas, batting a second time, were then dismissed for 203, setting in the process a victory target of 31, which Kingston overhauled at 31-2.The attacking King, captain of Kingston, struck 11 sixes and four fours during his innings and was supported by national all-rounder Derval Green, 50 and former captain Garth Garvey, who scored 49.Earlier, Lucas were bowled out in their first innings by left-arm spinner, Patrick Harty, five for 25 and Green, who claimed three for 20 with his medium pacers.Harty was also the pick of the bowlers in Lucas’ second innings, picking up three for 35 with Paul Harrison, three for 36, the next best.Ricardo McGeashey, 29, and Richard Allen, 64, top-scored for Lucas in first and second innings, respectively.SECONDWINThe result represented Kingston’s second win in as many matches, while Lucas were experiencing their second loss in as many outings.”Our preliminary-round zone is a very tricky one and is going to come down to the team that is most consistent,” said Kingston technical director, Kerry Scott.”We are now off to a good start and the aim is to continue like this going forward.”Meanwhile, over at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, reigning champions Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) romped to their second straight win as well after recording a 146-run win over Trelawny CA.The hosts were first blown away for 58, courtesy of left-arm spinner Iva Johnson, who took four for 24, and part-time off-spinner, Joseph Palmer, five for eight.The JDF, on the back of 153 not out from Rasheed Outar and 105 not out from Bereston Reid, then made 373 for nine in their second innings.Trelawny, batting a second time, scored 155 for nine, with Johnson ending with five for 76, Joseph two for 36 and fast bowler Reynard Leveridge, two for 26.
Portugal’s Pedro Martins and Italy’s Jeanine Cicognini won the men’s and women’s singles titles at the second annual Jamaica International Badminton Tournament, which ended with the finals at the National Indoor Sports Centre last Sunday.Martins defeated the steady and purposeful play from David Obernosterer (Austria), using his strong defensive play and consistent attack to handle the hard hitting of the Austrian, to emerge with a 21-19, 21-17 scoreline.Third went to Howard Shu (USA) and Osleni Guerrero (Cuba).In the women’s showdown, Cicognini defeated Lithuanian Akvile Stapusaityte 21-16, 22-20 in a very closely contested match.The Lithuanian fought back in the second game, but Cicognini, using a series of crafty plays, eventually defeated her opponent. Third place awards were won by Mariana Ugalde (Mexico) and Telma Santos (Portugal).Jamaica’s Katherine Wynter/Ruth Williams combination continued their dominance and emerged as the country’s top female pair by defeating Geordine Henry and Mikaylia Haldane in the women’s doubles.Wynter and Williams won the first game, lost the second game, but rebounded in the third to take the crown.This was Jamaica’s only positive result for the tournament.The third place awards went to Jamaicans Tiana Daley/Shezelle McTyson and Christine Leyow/Esther Reynolds.MEN’S DOUBLES CHAMPSBelgians Matias Dierickx and Freek Golinski (Belgium) are the new men’s doubles champions, after scoring a 21-19, retired margin over Alwin Francis and Kona Tarun of India.The match lasted only one game as the Indians retired due to injury. However, in the only game of the match, they were able to match the Belgians with excellent defence and crafty shots in a very exciting game.Austria’s Obernosterer and Elizabeth Baldauf defeated Bjorn Sequin (USA) and Ugalde (Mexico) for the mixed doubles crown. Seemingly tired from the effects of the singles final, Obernosterer and his partner closed the first game easily, but struggled and lost the second. After a commanding start in the third game, the Austrians did not look back and took the championship 21-19, 28-21, 22-11.Third place finishers were Gareth Henry/Geordine Henry (Jamaica) and Dennis Coke/Katherine Wynter (Jamaica).The major sponsors were Mayberry Investment Ltd, Sports Development Foundation, Jamaica Sport, RJR, The Gleaner, as well as Sun Island, JMMB, Milex Security Ltd, Yonex, Tastee, Icool, North Business Eco Systems, Yardie Sport, National Outdoor Advertising, Pure National Ice, Zip Technologies, HiLyte and Jamaica Producers Ltd.
Sunday11:30 a.m.: Leicester vs Everton SPORTSMAX2 Saturday9 a.m.: Sunderland vs Chelsea4 p.m.: West Ham vs Swansea6 p.m.: Aston Villa vs Newcastle9 p.m.: Bournemouth vs West Brom11 p.m.: Crystal Palace vs StokeSunday7:30 a.m.: Tottenham vs Southampton10 a.m.: Man City vs Arsenal4 p.m.: Liverpool vs WatfordSPORTSMAX
The Chileans tried desperately to get an equaliser but the Winfried Schafer-coached team held firm in defence to come away with a famous victory. Clayton Donaldson fired the Reggae Boyz in front after 36 minutes and Joel Grant made it 2-0 on 53 minutes, before Nicholas Castillo pulled a goal back for the home team eight minutes from time. Jamaica led at half-time when Je-Vaughn Watson slipped a pass to the wily Gareth McCleary down the right and the tricky winger’s low cross found the Donaldson, who didn’t get the best first touch but reacted sharply to toe the ball past the advancing Chilean goalkeeper from six yards. The Chileans, who also had their chances in the half kept the Jamaicans under constant pressure for the last five minutes but the Boyz held their lead to the break After the break, the hosts had the Boyz under siege with wave after wave of attacks but the Boyz caught them on the counter and Grant headed home from Giles Barnes’ cross on 53 minutes to make it 2-0. The home team increased their intensity afterwards and created but squandered numerous opportunities. But they eventually got a goal back. Kemar Lawrence’s attempted clearance hit Nicolas Castillo and went into the net. Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz had the perfect warm-up for next month’s Copa Centenario Cup when they stunned World number three ranked Chile 2-1 in Santiago last night. The Boyz produced a disciplined and resolute performance over the defending Copa America champions and now appear ready to surprise some of the big guns when the Copa Centenario kicks off in the United States.