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.