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
The last time both teams met in a friendly match was on April 11, 2006. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Teafore Bennett getting the goal for the Jamaicans. Both teams will be using today’s friendly as preparation for upcoming engagements. The United States are getting ready for their upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifiers against Honduras and Panama respectively. Jamaica will also face Honduras in a friendly on February 16, while later this year, they will defend their Caribbean Cup title and compete in the 2017 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. American coach Bruce Arena has called up an experienced squad for the game. It includes 29-year-old midfielder and captain Michael Bradley. The United States captain scored for the hosts in Jamaica’s 2-1 win at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. TWO TO WATCH Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will be without key defender Kemar Lawrence for today’s friendly international against the United States of America at the Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kick off time is 7 p.m. The New York Red Bulls player has a hamstring injury. “Kemar Lawrence will not be involved in the game tomorrow against the USA due to an hamstring injury,” team manager Roy Simpson told The Gleaner from Tennessee yesterday morning. He added that the other 19 players have settled in and are ready for the test against the Americans. “Everybody is settled. We had a light training session after arriving here on Tuesday,” Simpson added. The game will be the first time that both teams are meeting since the semi-finals of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Jamaica beat the United States for the first time on US soil. DREW LAST TIME AROUND The game is a big test for a Jamaica squad which will depend heavily on local-based players. Two players to watch are Boys’ Town forward Shamar Nicholson and schoolboy Jourdane Fletcher of Montego Bay United. Nicholson is the top scorer in the Red Stripe Premier League with 10 goals in 18 games, while Cornwall College’s Fletcher has impressed for the Red Stripe Premier League defending champions. The full squad: Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Dwayne Ambusley (Montego Bay United – MBU), Ladale Ritchie (MBU), Kevon Lambert (MBU), Jourdane Fletcher (MBU), Shamar Nicholson (Boys’ Town), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View), Michael Binns (Portmore), Owayne Gordon (MBU), Romario Williams (Atlanta United), Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steele), Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake), Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution), Sergio Campbell, Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Oneil Fisher (Seattle Sounders), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Ryan Thompson (Saint Louis) and Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers). The head coach is Theodore Whitmore.
A glimpse at the relay section of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships record books shows some of the reason for the current dominance of Calabar High School and Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School. Of the 11 records there listed, the champion schools have four each. It’s testimony to the importance placed on relay running by their respective head coaches Michael Clarke of Calabar and Michael Dyke of Edwin Allen. Today’s Gibson McCook Relays are an important last dress rehearsal for Champs, when 12 points are the reward for a relay victory. With all due respect to the other meets that include relays, nothing simulates the crowd interaction and the pressure of Champs quite like the Gibson McCook Relays. As Champs approaches, Calabar’s sprinters will probably have gotten used to Clarke taking over the last two weeks of baton-passing practise from his assistant coaches. The points are just too precious. Recently, however, Calabar’s fortunes have fluctuated in the relays at Champs. In 2014, the green-and-blacks scored a 50 point relay bonanza. Two years earlier, they managed only 26, and in 2015, just 28. If a boys’ team wins all the relays, it collects 60 points. The corresponding maximum number for the six girls’ relays is 72. Edwin Allen took 53 relay points in 2012, when they first won the Girls Champs title, 49 when it regained the crown from Holmwood in 2014, and 52 in 2015. The Edwin Allen relay point collection last year was a paltry 41. Today, the spoils will be bragging rights, practise for Champs, and perhaps a chance for Gibson McCook records. When Boys and Girls’ Champs starts on March 28, the stakes will be much higher. Calabar hold all the Champs 4x100m records and the 4x400m record, too. Edwin Allen have all the girls’ 4x100m records, except in Class Three, and the record in the sprint medley. It’s another statement of how well Clarke and Dyke prepare their teams. Some of those marks are stunning. Calabar’s 2015 Class One team of Edward Clarke Jr, Michael O’Hara, Julanie Walker and Sean Selvin set a world high-school best of 39.08 seconds. In the very next race, Edwin Allen became the first Class Two girls team to dip under 45 seconds, with a sweet run of 44.88 seconds. O’Hara and company are all gone, but that blinking quick Edwin Allen is in Class One now and will be in action today. They have already clocked 44.89 this season. If the weather is warm and if Kashieka Cameron, Patrice Moody, Shellece Clark and Khamoy Farquharson click, the Gibson McCook meet record of 44.48 seconds by St Jago could fall. Whatever happens today, Clarke, Dyke and their fellow coaches will study how their teams performed with Champs in mind. Some will leave a winning formula intact for April 1 when the Champs relay finals are contested. Others will tweak their line-ups a little to score the points they need on the day that counts the most. – Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980. HIGHER STAKES LATER
STOKE, England (AP):Gary Cahill made amends for conceding a penalty by scoring a late winner as Chelsea beat Stoke 2-1 to move 13 points clear atop the English Premier League (EPL) yesterday.The England centre back smashed home from close range following a corner in the 87th minute to seal a fifth straight victory for the likely champions.Willian’s free kick put Chelsea ahead in the 13th, and Jonathan Walters equalised from the penalty spot in the 37th after the striker was nudged by Cahill.Stoke right back Phil Bardsley was sent off in second-half stoppage time after collecting a second yellow card for a foul on Cesc Fabregas.Chelsea won without star winger Eden Hazard, who was missing because of an unspecified injury.Tottenham and Manchester City, who are tied on points and the nearest challengers to Chelsea, both play today.Yesterday’s results: West Brom 3 Arsenal 1; Crystal Palace 1 Watford 0; Everton 4 Hull City 0; Stoke City 1 Chelsea 2; Sunderland 0 Burnley 0; West Ham 2 Leicester 3; Bournemouth 2 Swansea 0.
KINGSTON: Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, said yesterday that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased with the operations of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). Minister Grange made her comments after meeting with a delegation from WADA. “WADA has given us a clean bill of health. Of course, there are little areas that have to be tweaked. There are some matters that need to be clarified as to the relationship between the board (of JADCO) and the executive director as well as the Minister. It’s important that we observe best practises and I’m really happy that we were able to sit with WADA and to have a greater understanding and have WADA indicate that we are compliant,” she said in a release from her ministry. WADA’s Director of Standards and Harmonisation, Tim Ricketts, led the delegation that met with Minister Grange. “WADA’s here in Jamaica to meet with JADCO to look at the post-operations of the partnership that JADCO had with Canada. And we’re very pleased with the outcome of that partnership and where JADCO is in terms of delivering effective anti-doping programmes,” Ricketts said. The chairman of the JADCO board, Alexander Williams, said he was pleased by WADA’s assessment which, he says, confirms that JADCO was “well on track to be one of the best national anti-doping organisations in the world.”