Track superstars, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, headline a stellar cast of five men and eight women nominated for the 55th annual RJR Sports Foundation’s 2015 National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards.Sports persons from seven categories will be up for awards on January 15, 2016, where the winners will be named.Bolt has won the main award on five occasions while Fraser-Pryce has won it twice.Bolt was the outstanding male athlete at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. He won gold in the 100m, 200m, and 4×100 metres.Fraser-Pryce won the 100m at the World Championships in a brilliant 10.76 and also anchored the 4x100m team to victory in a championship record 41.07 seconds.The other male nominees are Fedrick Dacres for his discus gold at the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto and coming seventh in the final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing; World Championships 110m hurdles silver medallist Hansle Parchment; shot putter O’Dayne Richards, who won bronze in Beijing; and Pan American Games 200m silver-medal winner Rasheed Dwyer.other nomineesIn the women’s category, the other nominees are boxer Alicia Ashley, who regained the WBC World Super Bantamweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision over veteran Irish Boxer Christina McMahon; swimmer Alia Atkinson, who set a national record 30.11 seconds in taking silver in the 50 metres backstroke at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia; World 100 meters hurdles gold medallist Danielle Williams; Veronica Campbell Brown, who earned bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing with a season best of 21.97 and also ran on the winning 4x100m relay team; Shericka Jackson, who earned an individual bronze in the 400m and gold in the 4x400m; World 200m silver medallist and 4x100m gold-medal winner Elaine Thompson and Sherone Simpson, who won gold in the 100m at the Pan Am Games in Canada in a season best 10.95 seconds, her fastest time in seven years.Michael Fennell, Jamaica Olympics Association president and chairman of the selection committee, praised the outstanding performers of 2015 at yesterday’s press launch at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.In defending those nominated, Fennell told The Gleaner: “Those are the people who have been preparing for the Rio (2016 Olympics). The only one outside of that would be Alicia (Ashley), who is a professional boxer, but these are the people who have been fine-tuning for Rio and it was a fantastic year for those people.”Gary Allen chairman, RJR Sports Foundation; Ingrid Card, vice-president group marketing and public relations at Sagicor Life; Christopher Denny, vice-president distribution Victoria Mutual; and Sean Latty, chief operating officer Digicel Jamaica Limited, also spoke at yesterday’s launch.Sir Hilary Beckles, vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, will be the guest speaker at January’s awards function.
“We came here after winning [the] tournament in 2012. A hail storm knocked us out in Bangladesh [in 2014]. It’s a format we’ve been consistent in, but nobody gives us a chance,” Sammy pointed out. “We just wanted to take six steps. It’s a six-step process to the Cup. We have taken five steps. We took a big one against India. We had a bit of a skid on the way [against Afghanistan], which kind of knocked us off, but we got up. We are left with one more step. “We have improved, we believe in each other. We enjoy each other’s success. Just thinking about lifting that Cup tomorrow, I could almost foresee what’s going to happen after. We have a cricket game to play first.” Sammy has been lucky enough to win the toss in every game to date, opting to chase on each occasion. And while they uncharacteristically struggled against the Afghans, they have been dominant in their pursuit of targets, especially packing a battery of big hitters like Gayle, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher and Andre Russell. He warned that West Indies were not only a chasing team and would bat well regardless of if they were asked to bat first or second. And with criticism that West Indies’ batting was one-dimensional with all power-hitters, Sammy said the side would continue to play to their strengths. “Whatever we do, we just have to do it well. I’ve been lucky enough to win all five tosses that I’ve taken, but in case England win [the toss], we’ve just got to bat well, bowl well or defend when that time comes. It’s a final and whatever each team does, we just have to do it well,” he outlined. Note: The match starts at 8:30 a.m. (Jamaica time) on ESPN. Strong belief Consistent KOLKATA, India, CMC: Confident West Indies will rely on their unshakable self-belief and devastating power hitting when they clash with an inform England in today’s final of the Twenty20 World Cup in a quest for their second title in five years. Ranked as outsiders before the start of the tournament, the Darren Sammy-led unit has torn up the form books and silenced critics, topping their group in the preliminaries, with just one defeat, before stunning title favourites India in last Thursday’s semi-final, to reach the championship game. While acknowledging the threat posed by a strong England side, Sammy told reporters there was strong belief in the squad that they could defeat whatever opposition was placed in front of them. “I feel very excited. We left the Caribbean with one goal on that journey, which was to win the Cup, and both our men’s and women’s teams have created that opportunity to do that and, as a group, we are really excited,” Sammy said. “The confidence in the group and the belief in the group are really high and really good, and we’re looking forward again to playing England. They are a very good side. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a step we’re willing to take.” West Indies will carry into the final the confidence of having beaten England already in the tournament. In their opening game in Mumbai, the Caribbean side chased down England’s 183 to win with 11 balls to spare, with superstar opener Chris Gayle lashing an unbeaten hundred. Since then, they defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets in Bangalore, edged South Africa by three wickets in Nagpur before suffering their only defeat days later at the same venue with a shock six-run loss to minnows Afghanistan. They remarkably chased down 193 to beat the Indians in Mumbai last Thursday, and Sammy said everyone was aware they were on the brink of their ultimate goal.
On a day when American Justin Gatlin dropped a wind-aided 9.90 seconds run in The Bahamas, 2011 World 100m champion Yohan Blake signalled his return after injury issues, with a world leading 9.95 (+1.4) win in the 100m at the MVP Track and field meet at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Blake, who has been bothered with hamstring injuries, which caused him to miss the 2013 World Championships and much of the subsequent seasons, confirmed whispers out of his training camp, which pointed to an athlete in good shape, after bursting out of the blocks and out-sprinting a solid field. 200m specialist Rasheed Dwyer and Zharnel Hughes both clocked 10.10 seconds for second and third respectively. Earlier, Gatlin, while competing at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium in Nassau, stopped the clock in 9.90 seconds but had an illegal +2.3 wind pushing him along. Qatar’s Femi Ogundoe, was second in 9.94 with Trinidad and Tobago’s Adrian Griffith taking third in 10.03. Also in The Bahamas, veteran Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown had to settle for third place in the women’s 100m, 11.17 in a tight finish behind Trinidadian Michelle-Lee Ahye, 11.14 and Murielle Ahoure (Ivory Coast), 11.17. Another Jamaican Aleen Bailey fell during the early stages of the race and was reportedly taken to hospital after hitting her head on the track. Quarter-miler LaShawn Merritt was a highlight at the meet, stopping the clock in a brilliant 19.78 (+0.9) to win the 200m event. Wallace Spearmon, 20.40 was next best with Mike Rodgers 20.42 finishing third, while Jamaica’s Jason Livermore was fifth in 21.01.
ROME (AP):The Italian football federation has announced it has been selected by the International Football Association Board to test video replays.Federation president, Carlo Tavecchio, said, “We were among the first supporters of using technology on the pitch and we believe we have everything required to offer our contribution to this important experiment.”Video will be restricted to referees ruling whether a goal has been scored, a penalty should be awarded, and a player should be sent off, or in cases of mistaken identity.Tests initially will be in private before moving to a live pilot phase with replay assistance by the 2017-18 season at the latest, the IFAB decided last month.The Italian federation said it was selected at a meeting in London last week.
Having pinpointed a number of areas where Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz failed to deliver in Friday night’s 2-0 surrender to Panama at the National Stadium, assistant coach Miguel Coley conceded a painful defeat, but said there will be no ‘licking of wounds’ as his charges will go all out to bounce back against Haiti on Wednesday. The Jamaicans failed to convince in Friday night’s opening game of their semi-final campaign in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying match and watched as Panama cruised to three points in Group B of the round robin phase. Armando Cooper, with a 42nd minute free kick and a Wes Morgan own goal, subjected Jamaica to defeat. Elsewhere, Costa Rica also won three points to share leadership in the group, following their 1-0 win over Haiti, who, like Jamaica, are without a point. “In terms of Panama, over the years, it is not a team that we have done so well against. It’s not about underestimating them. Panama has always got a good result from us, so it is a team that we wanted to beat more than anything else. They have now scored four set pieces against us, and it’s not about underestimating any team whatsoever. It’s football and we have to go out there and fight, and Panama is one of those teams that we needed to win against,” Coley stressed. “They have beaten us at home and we now have to get a good result in Haiti.” The Reggae Boyz, who once played at ‘The Office’ like world champions in years gone by, have now suffered successive defeats at the venue at the hands of Nicaragua (3-2) and now Panama. “We want to protect this field, it means a lot to us. It’s a lot of pressure the guys go under out there, they want to do well here. Needless to say it was a bad performance and going to Haiti we know that it’s a must win, it’s a tough group and we have to do good and win,” Coley continued. Only the top two teams will advance to the six-nation Hexagonal that ultimately decides the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia. “It’s a tough loss; in the first-half I don’t think we played that much cohesive. The Panamanians came here and they pressed us, we didn’t create the best chances as possible in the first-half,” assessed Coley. “In the second half the intent was to go out there and get back the goal. But we conceded an own goal and in the last 20 minutes of time we pushed and tried to get that goal, but it wasn’t to be,” Added Coley, who was in charge of the team in the absence of head coach Winfried Schäfer, who was serving a one-match FIFA ban. He remains buoyed by his team’s communication out on the pitch and said they “will improve”.
Former champion jockey Wesley ‘Callaloo’ Henry has successfully appealed a 20-day suspension and $10,000 fine imposed by the raceday stewards for his failure to ride MEET JUSTIN on its merits in the fourth race on Saturday, July 26.The Patrick Lynch-trained MEET JUSTIN finished fourth to the 30-1outsider DON TUDOR over the straight in a three-year-old maiden race on the day in question, but the stewards were not satisfied with the ride and summoned the jockey to an enquiry on September 29.His suspension was to have taken effect on October 10, but he appealed to the full commission and was granted a stay until the case was reviewed on Tuesday.COMPELLINGARGUMENTSAfter hearing submissions from the stewards, trainer Patrick Lynch and compelling arguments from Ed Barnes representing Henry, the full commission overturned the decision of the stewards, allowing Henry to walk.Since his return from a stint in the United States in July, Henry has been riding very well, notching 32 wins (including a recent four-timer) to hold down ninth position in the jockeys’ standings.- O.C.
MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC):Australia’s Big Bash League is bracing for the arrival of West Indies star Chris Gayle, and his Melbourne Renegades captain Aaron Finch says he is looking forward to the prospect of playing alongside one of the game’s biggest names.The left-handed Gayle will be making his first appearance in the Bash in three years, and Finch believes the big-hitting opener can make a huge impact as the Renegades challenge for their first ever title in the competition.”I’ve been on the receiving end of some of his enormous innings in the past, so it will be good to actually play with him,” Finch said.”If we can bat around Chris and allow him the right amount of time to get going, it doesn’t guarantee success, but I think it sets up a pretty good model.”He added: “The statistics would say that Chris is the best player in the world, and I’m a pretty good player as well, so it could turn out to be quite a nice combination.”Gayle came under heavy criticism during his last stint in the Big Bash when he turned out for Sydney Thunder. Then, he managed a mere 137 runs at an average of 19, with his lavish off-the-field lifestyle taking precedence.Finch downplayed the controversy, however, pointing out that with the player based this time around in Melbourne and having the presence of fellow West Indies teammate Dwayne Bravo, his focus would also be different.GREAT SPOT”He’ll be in Melbourne, for one. It’s a great spot, and Dwayne Bravo, one of his good mates, is here as well. So I think it will be a little bit more comfortable for him here, I think,” Finch contended.”He’s played enough cricket around the world – I think he’s played Twenty20 in most of the countries that you can play – so it’s just about making Chris as comfortable as he can possibly be and fit, that’s all we’re worried about.”Gayle reportedly underwent back surgery following the Caribbean Premier League in the summer and it has raised doubts about the player’s fitness.However, Finch said he was encouraged by Gayle’s readiness following his recent short stint in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.”I think it’s just a case of wait-and-see when he gets here,” Finch said. “I know he has been smacking them around in Bangladesh, and I’m sure hehas been swinging hard, testing it (back) out as well.”The Big Bash bowls off Thursday.
KINGSTON:The Usain Bolt Foundation (UBF) has announced that it has partnered with Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica to provide relief for communities in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.The amount of the relief is not being disclosed.However, instead of donating cash, the UBF supported Jamaican businesses by buying non-perishables and water from Lasco Distributors and FFP will be responsible for the distribution.The non-perishables included corned beef, canned mackerel, chicken sausage, water crackers, baked beans and food drink.”We were saddened to hear of the devastation in Haiti caused by Hurricane Matthew,” said Bolt, patron of the foundation.”I was particularly moved when I saw the pictures of the children who were affected and who had become homeless. We had to do our part to relieve some of the suffering of our Caribbean children.”FFP Jamaica Chairman Andrew Mahfood was honoured that FFP was chosen as the vehicle for distribution.”Food For The Poor has been instrumental in bringing aid to Haiti, and we are humbled that the Usain Bolt Foundation has chosen to collaborate with us in assisting the Haitian people.”
Jamaica College (JC), fresh from gaining a fourth consecutive lien on the coveted Manning Cup, will be aiming to complete a Corporate Area double this afternoon when they face Kingston College (KC) in the ISSA-FLOW Walker Cup final at the National Stadium. Kick off time is 5 p.m.The history of the Walker Cup shows that the school from Hope Road has only won the Walker Cup on just two occasions since it was first played for in 1961. KC, on the other hand, have lifted the Cup eight times. Only St George’s College, with nine liens, have a better record.While he has been very successful in the Manning Cup, JC’s coach, Miguel Coley, has not won the Walker Cup and he will, no doubt, want to add another cup to the school’s trophy cabinet.”JC are confident, but not overly confident. The work has been done, and it is just for the young men to go out and execute,” JC’s manager Ian Forbes told The Gleaner.Forbes, while maintaining respect for their old rivals, assured all that his players “want to win”.STRONG CHALLENGE”They have a very rich history and tradition, and it’s always a humdinger when both teams play, so we are expecting a strong challenge from KC, but as I said, we are confident in our abilities, and we expect to go out and do well,” Forbes said.While JC’s Coley is yet to win the Walker Cup, KC’s coach, Ludlow Bernard, has won it twice, in 2012 and 2013, at Wolmer’s Boys.He wants his charges to go all the way, having already ousted last season’s champions, Wolmer’s Boys.”I really expect the members of the team to give a good account of themselves. These are two competitive ball-playing teams. Both have faults within their ranks, and I think it’s just going to be a matter of who exploits each other’s weaknesses more,” he assessed.Bernard said his players have got over their 3-0 Manning Cup semi-final loss to Wolmer’s and are ready for today’s game.”The players are very upbeat. They see it as an opportunity to secure a piece of silverware for the team,” stressed Bernard.JC will expect top-level performances from key players Tyreke Magee, Donovan Dawkins – a man for the big occasion, and the leading scorer in this year’s competition with three goals, captain Oquin Robinson and Ronaldo Brown.KC will look to to goalscorer Rashaun Mackison, Trayvon Reid and defender Javian Brown, the team’s captain.Both teams recorded contrasting results en route to today’s decider.JC netted five goals, and conceded none. They beat Holy Trinity 3-0 and Haile Selassie 2-0.KC clipped Wolmer’s 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 full and extra-time scoreline and had a 1-0 win over Bridgeport.The ISSA-FLOW Urban Under-14 final between reigning champions KC and Tivoli High will precede the Walker Cup final. It’s set to kick off at 3 p.m.
WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP):Germany’s attacking midfielder Julian Draxler has joined Paris Saint-Germain from Wolfsburg in a deal reportedly worth up to US$49 million.The 23-year-old Draxler has reportedly received a four-and-a-half-year deal according to a release from Wolfsburg. Both sides agreed not to disclose the transfer fee.German news agency dpa reported a fee of $43.9 million with bonuses of up to $5.2 million.Draxler joined Wolfsburg from Bundesliga rival Schalke for around 36 million euros in August 2015, but he never really settled at the Volkswagen-backed club.Draxler’s fortunes mirrored that of Wolfsburg. Bundesliga runner-up and German Cup winner in 2015, Wolfsburg are fighting relegation, with coach Dieter Hecking and general manager Klaus Allofs both losing their jobs earlier this season.Draxler had previously looked for a move – resisted by Allofs – and below-par performances saw him whistled at times by the club’s own fans.WORST HALF-SEASON”It was the worst half-season in my life,” Draxler said last Tuesday after Wolfsburg’s 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.Draxler scored five goals in 34 league games for Wolfsburg. Altogether, he has 23 goals in 153 Bundesliga games and three in 27 games for Germany.”Of course, on one hand, I regret Julian’s departure because he’s an outstanding football player. On the other hand, I think this step is the right one for all parties,” Wolfsburg coach Valerien Ismael said. “In both games against (Eintracht) Frankfurt and in ‘Gladbach he again gave everything and showed that he cared about our club. I hope that he now finds a new challenge in France.”