Bolt to run at London Diamond League LONDON (AP): Usain Bolt said he will run at the London Diamond League meeting in July, weeks before he defends his Olympic titles in Rio de Janeiro. Bolt will run on July 22-23 at the Olympic Stadium, the venue where he won 100, 200 and 4×100-metre gold at the London Games. The Rio Olympics run from August 5-21, with track and field scheduled for August 12-19. Bolt said he is competing in London because “there are a lot of Jamaicans living in the UK and I always get great support. It is like my home away from home.” Bolt took part in the event this year, winning the 100m. He then won another sprint triple at the World Championships in Beijing in August. Gayle plans Test return in 2016 MELBOURNE, Australia (AP): Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle hopes to return to Test cricket next year after a two-year absence. The 36-year-old Gayle told reporters yesterday in Australia, where he is playing in the Twenty20 Big Bash League, that he hopes to be injury-free and able to bolster a struggling West Indies line-up in 2016. He said a back injury had prevented him playing for the West Indies who were mauled by Australia in a Test in Hobart last week, though he continues to play in lucrative Twenty 20 competitions. Gayle said “there’s no way I could have actually been part of that Test team, I’m just coming back from injury. Next year, hopefully, Test cricket is on the agenda.” Australia to add first-class day-night matches MELBOURNE, Australia (AP): Cricket Australia is continuing its push for more day-night Test cricket, scheduling first-class matches under lights at three venues early next year. Australia beat New Zealand last month in the first ever Test match played under lights and with a pink ball, at the Adelaide Oval. Sheffield Shield matches at Adelaide, the Gabba in Brisbane and the WACA ground in Perth will be played under lights in the round starting February 14 to continue refining the equipment.
Six-time champion Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova confirmed their quarter-final date with straight-set wins, ensuring a rematch between last year’s finalists. Williams, a 21-time major winner, had a 55-minute, 6-2, 6-1 win over Margarita Gasparyan to set up a big match against Sharapova, a player she has beaten in 18 of their 20 matches. Fifth-seeded Sharapova had a career-high 21 aces and hit 58 winners in her 7-5, 7-5 win over Belinda Bencic. Sharapova won consecutive matches against Williams in 2004, but has lost all 17 meetings since. It’s a statistic she tries to block from her mind. “I got myself into the quarter-final of a Grand Slam,” the 2008 Australian Open champion said. “There’s no reason I shouldn’t be looking to improve and to getting my game in a better position than any other previous round. It’s only going to be tougher, especially against Serena.” BIG MATCHUP Melbourne, Australia (AP): Novak Djokovic was looking everywhere for answers, even in the crowd. The top player in tennis, who won 27 of a possible 28 Grand Slam matches in 2015, had the number 100 in the unforced errors column after his 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Gilles Simon at the Australian Open. The win secured his spot in the quarter-finals for the 27th consecutive major, equalling Jimmy Connors at No. 2 in that streak and trailing only Roger Federer’s record of 36. Yet Djokovic still thought it was a forgettable day. He was dissecting the match in an on-court interview yesterday when a burst of laughter from the crowd caught his attention. “Sorry, everybody is laughing. I just want to hear, what did you say?” Djokovic said, looking into the stands. The answer came back loud and clear: “No more drop shots”. “OK, thanks buddy,” Djokovic deadpanned. “I hate to say, but you are absolutely right. “I don’t think I’ve had any number close to 100,” he said. “In terms of the level that I’ve played, it’s the match to forget for me.” He hit 62 winners and won 100 of the 176 rallies of four shots or fewer, but only 48 of the 101 featuring nine shots or more. Federer watched Djokovic’s match, before going out to beat No. 15 David Goffin 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that finished after midnight, and the error toll didn’t bring him any joy. Djokovic will next play No. 7 Kei Nishikori, who beat No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 with a more conventional style of game. Federer, a four-time champion in Australia, secured a quarter-final against No. 6 Tomas Berdych, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 winner over Roberto Bautista Agut.
Reggae Boyz and Leicester City captain Wes Morgan is hoping to continue his finest year in football to date with the Reggae Boyz as he rallies Jamaicans to help the national senior team to victory over Costa Rica next month in their key World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium.The Jamaicans will face off against a strong Costa Rican outfit on Friday, March 25, with the aim of pushing up the table after losing their opener to Panama (0-2) before their close 1-0 win over Haiti.Jamaica sits third in Group B with three points, with Costa Rica leading the way with six, followed by Panama on three and Haiti without a point.”I am asking the Jamaican people to come and support the Reggae Boyz and help us in our conquest to try and qualify for the World Cup,” said Morgan, who has captained Leicester City to the top of the Barclays Premier League.Morgan was speaking via a recording played at the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) secretariat yesterday.”We need you guys to come to the Stadium and make as much noise as possible and give us the drive and determination to perform and give our very best. We need you all there, so the more the merrier. Please come and support us. We need you guys, and, of course, see you guys at the game, and all the very best,” he said.
MIXED DOUBLES THE top seeds in the men’s singles event of the II Jamaica International 2016 badminton tournament Cuban Osleni Guerrero, Howard Shu of the United States, plus Austrians David Obernosterer and Luka Wraber progressed to the second round with byes. In the meantime, Jamaica’s number one, Gareth Henry, took on Barbadian Bradley Pilgrim in the first round. With a spate of withdrawals in the women’s singles, Mikaylia Haldane from Jamaica has been catapulted into the quarter-finals. Top Jamaican female, Katherine Wynter, faced last year’s runner-up, Czech Zuzana Pavelkova, in round one. The top seed in this event is Italian Jeanine Cicognini, followed by Austria’s Elisabeth Baldauf. In the men’s doubles, with the withdrawal of the number one seeds from Mexico, all eyes will be on Indian pair Kona Tarun and Alwin Francis, as well as the favourites and number two seeds from Belgium, Matjis Dierickx and Freek Golinski. The Ladies Doubles is an all Jamaican affair, with top seeds Wynter and Ruth Williams expected to be stiff competition for the rest of the draw. In the mixed doubles, the Austrian pair of Obernosterer and Baldauf are seeded number one, while the number two seeds are Mexican Mariana Ugalde and Bjorn Seguin (USA). Top mixed Jamaican pair, Henry siblings Gareth and Geordine, will face their Jamaican teammates, Kemar Valentine and Taina Daley in round one. The tournament is sponsored by Mayberry Investment Ltd, Sports Development Foundation, Jamaica Sport, RJR Group, The Gleaner, along with Sun Island, JMMB, Milex Security Ltd., Yonex, Tastee, Icool, North Business Eco Systems, Yardie Sport, National Outdoor Advertising, Pure National Ice, Zip Technologies, Hi-Lyte and Jamaica Producers.
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC): West Indies captain Jason Holder says he rejected a proposal from his opposite number Steve Smith to open up the third and final Test with a dramatic last-day run chase, because he did not believe such a scenario was in the best interest of the team’s development. With rain allowing just 68 deliveries on day two and forcing the abandonment of the third and fourth days, the Test was predictably headed for a draw when play finally resumed on Thursday’s final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The proposal would have seen West Indies declaring at their overnight 248 for seven, Australia then forfeiting their first innings, allowing the visitors to rattle up 121 off seven overs and then attempting to chase down 370 off 70 overs for victory. “He came to us and made an offer. I just went back to the team and we thought at this stage of our development, it wasn’t the best thing for us,” Holder told a media conference following the drawn contest. “We had (Denesh) Ramdin, who was scoring well and looking well, so [we decided to] give him the encouragement to go out there and build an innings and build some confidence. “We set out at the beginning of the series to make sure to bat 90 overs each time we batted and get past the 300 mark. That was one of the things that we wanted to achieve today and we achieved that.” Holder said with the disappointing series the Windies had experienced Down Under, it was more important for them to achieve team goals. “It was a team vote and a team decision. We started in Hobart and we didn’t play well at all there. We showed improvement in Melbourne, and we just had to come here to improve as well.”I think we just need to take it step by step; it’s not a case where you can just jump from losing Test matches to winning in one transition, especially against good opposition like Australia.” Australia won the series 2-0 after victories in Hobart and Melbourne in the first two Tests.
Lenroy Stewart:Usain Bolt for sure. It’s a given that Bolt will win, he is the best always. Swimmer Alia Atkinson will win the Sportswoman of the Year for me. She has been making waves in her sport.Oshane Green:I would definitely give it to Usain (Bolt). Alia Atkinson did a great job but Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been consistently delivering. I would give the Sportswoman title to Shelly.Clive Carr:No doubt in my mind, Usain Bolt is the greatest. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the big lady for me. She always rises to the occasion.Vanessa Madden:Usain Bolt will win the Sportsman of the Year title because he is the best. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is my pick for female sportswoman of the year because she always wins her races.Lisa Hall:I pick Usain Bolt because he has done things which have never been done before at the World Championships. For the women’s award I will pick Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as she is a champion.Heather Frampton:Usain Bolt deserves it, as he has performed well. For the women I think Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce will win. She is the clear leader. Who do you think will top tonight’s RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman awards?
The news that Liverpool footballer Mamadou Sakho has tested positive for a banned substance comes as a shock to football lovers, and indeed, fans of sport around the world. Sakho tested positive after a Europa League match in which he played the full 90 minutes against Manchester United, helping his side to earn a draw, thus qualifying them for the next round. The banned substance has not been officially released, but information suggests that it is a ‘fat burner’ similar to the drug used by his friend and teammate Kolo Toure, who tested positive in 2011 and received a six-month ban. While Sakho is not banned by the administrative body controlling the Europa League (UEFA), he has been provisionally banned by his club, who now awaits the B sample result and the mandatory investigation. This blot on the integrity of sports is another in the spate of positives from icons in a variety of sports. In December last year, Pakistani leg spinner Yasir Shah tested positive for a banned substance (a diuretic and masking agent) after playing in a one-day international (ODI) against England in Abu Dhabi. Maria Sharapova, a tennis superstar, has admitted to using the banned drug Melindronate (Meldonium) “for years”. And the list seems to be endless. Everybody is looking for an edge. Elite athletes seem to be especially vulnerable to “expert” advice from confidants and medical acquaintances who promise a “boost” that is necessary to compete consistently at the highest level. It seems as if the standard advice from anti-doping agencies that you don’t need dope to cope is falling on deaf ears. The lure of these supplements seems to lie in the promise of “extra energy”, not weight loss as the name suggests. They work by increasing your heart rate and metabolism so that you feel less tired, and in the case of an elite footballer, these drugs allow you to play at a high level of output for 90 minutes. However, taken as supplements, these substances can have devastating effects. DMMA, (DimethoxyNmethylamphetamine and methylhexanamine) have been implicated in the death of a marathon runner in the 2012 London Marathon. I have noticed the spirited attempt at defending athletes who bought a supplement that supposedly guaranteed them faster sprint times but was found to contain methylhexanamine. These athletes were appropriately sanctioned, mainly in the hope of sending a message that would resonate in the local athletic community. One athlete, unfortunately, never competed again, but if memory serves me right, none of the other athletes affected in that sordid episode tested positive again. Message learnt! Sport fans around the world are very wary of some of the astounding performances that we see from time to time. Drug testers are under keen scrutiny as laboratories are being accused of reporting negative results on samples that contain banned substances, while one lab simply threw away the samples. Administrators, doctors, doping control officers, and chemists have all been named and implicated in protecting cheaters. But the fight for clean sport continues. Money seems to be the driving force in the continued effort to win at all costs. I do believe, however, that once anti-doping agencies are given the requisite funding and an appointment to these positions is no longer in the hands of politicians, the fight can be won. Clean sport is possible. Those who are caught cheating have no business in sports. Life bans, after investigation and hearings, must be the new international order.
HOME MATCHES CONFIRMED KINGSTON (CMC): Jamaica Tallawahs have named Englishman Paul Nixon as their head coach for the upcoming Hero Caribbean Premier League campaign. Nixon, who led the Tallawahs to their capture of the inaugural title in 2013, replaces South African Mickey Arthur, who was earlier this month appointed Pakistan coach. “It’s great to be on board again. I’m very excited about the journey ahead. The squad that has been gathered ticks every box, and now it’s time to create some spirit and get an emotional buy-in from everyone,” the 45-year-old said. “When we get our thinking right and keep calm in the big moments, then we can make some magical memories for us all that will stay forever.” Nixon is a former England international, having played 19 one-day internationals and a single T20 International. Tallawahs general manager, Mohammad Khan, said he believed Nixon would partner well with captain Chris Gayle to bring success to the Kingston-based franchise. “We are proud to formally announce Paul Nixon as our head coach,” Mohammad Khan said. “Paul was one of many outstanding candidates interviewed by the Tallawahs, but, in the end, we believe that Paul alongside our captain, Chris Gayle, is best suited to take the franchise forward into the 2016 CPL season.” Nixon will have as his deputy Mark O’Donnell. Meanwhile, Tallawahs also confirmed their home matches for the new CPL campaign, which will see four contests being played from July 15-20, in the Jamaica capital. They open the Sabina Park leg against Guyana Amazon Warriors, face St Kitts and Nevis Patriots the following day, clash with Trinbago Knight Riders – formerly Trinidad Red Steel – on July 18 before closing out against 2014 champions Barbados Tridents. “Reflecting on last year’s electric atmosphere at home, we’re very much looking forward to once again defending Sabina Park and excite our passionate public with some strong performances,” Tallawahs co-owner and managing director, Manish Patel, said. “Our fans will enjoy watching the world-class established players, as well as the emerging local talent which includes the raw talent of Rovman Powell, who is the wild card in our 2016 squad. In addition, O’shane Thomas will no doubt excite those who have not seen him perform on the field.” Tallawahs also boast the likes of hometown boy Andre Russell, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, South Africa’s Dale Steyn, and Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara.
The batting frailties of Jamaica Scorpions were again exposed at Sabina Park yesterday.Sent it to bat on a grassy but even-paced batting pitch, the Scorpions struggled at 83 for six at the end of a rain-hit first day of their Digicel WICB Regional Four-day Championship clash against the Windward Islands.The batting, which started with John Campbell and Guyanese-born Trevon Griffith opening, had its only resistance from the former, who struck 32 runs against the controversial off-spin of Shane Shillingford and left-arm fast bowler Delorn Johnson.Shillingford, who has been reported at the international level for an illegal bowling action, and has since done rehabilitation work, ended with majestic figures of three for 11 off seven overs, and Johnson; two for 30 off 13.OPENING FIXTUREThe not-out batsmen at the end of play, are Devon Thomas, who after entering in the number three position, is on 18, and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs, on one.Jamaica, in their opening fixture under new coach Robert Samuels, made 208 and 147 against Guyana last weekend.This follows a series of similar average and below-par scores over the past three seasons, which saw the team finish fourth, fifth and third, respectively, under then coach Junior Bennett.The day began with Jamaica handing debuts to fast bowlers Reynard Leveridge and teenage pacer Oshane Thomas.Leveridge, a recent surprise pick for West Indies ‘A’ after impressing regional selectors during a West Indies training session, replaced the injured Jason Dawes, while Thomas, a member the recent title-winning Jamaica Tallawahs, replaced Marquino Mindley on the morning of the match.SCORING OPPURTUNITIESMindley is said to have picked up an illness overnight.The toss was won by the Windwards, who in short order imposed them self on the game with the opening pair of Johnson and Mervin Matthew limiting runs-scoring opportunities.It also saw Johnson dismissing Griffith caught at slip for six off 32 balls with the score on 19. Devon Thomas thereafter entered the fray and along with Campbell the pair putting on 39 for the second wicket.However, after getting into a groove Campbell was caught off Shillingford with the total on 58.A batting collapse, which yielded a mere 21 runs for four additional wickets then pursued, pushing Jamaica to 79 for six, before rain again brought an early closure.Play is scheduled to resume today at 9:30am weather permitting.
1. Sergio Aguero Manchester City 102. Diego Costa Chelsea 103. Alexis Sanchez Arsenal 8