It’s Jamaica Racehorse Trainers’ Association (JRTA) Day at Caymanas Park, the well-supported 10-race programme featuring the JRTA Trophy over 1200 metres.A maximum field of 16 native-bred three-year-olds (non-winners of two) is down to face the starter, and victory should go to the lightly-raced 3-y-o colt, MAN IN BLUE, who left on a winning note on February 8 in maiden company.Trained by Richard Azan for emerging big owners, New Blue Limited, the chestnut colt by Miracle Man out of Lady Chiriya oufinished ROAD WI SEH by a short head over 1300 metres – as the howling 2-5 favourite back then – and although returning from a 10-month absence, has trained well and should take up where he left off.Truth be told, MAN IN BLUE looks to have a bit more class than his 15 opponents, on a line through ROAD WI SEH. He has worked fairly well alongside stable companions FRANFIELD, the recent Superstakes winner, and EDISON, in preparation for this trophy and reporting with only 52.5kg and champion jockey-designate Shane Ellis aboard, gets the nod over TURBO MACHINE CAT, TROJAN and the fleet-footed FIRE ALARM.I am expecting MAN IN BLUE to track the expected leaders FIRE ALARM and TROJAN into the straight, before disposing of both a furlong out. Thereafter, it should be smooth sailing as he should supplement New Blue’s December 5 double with the two-year-olds CUP O TEA and MISS MYRTLE.Supporting features on the card are the Dye Job Sprint over 1200 metres, for native and imported two-year-olds; the Andrew H.B. Aguilar Memorial Cup over a mile, for maiden two-year-olds; and restricted stakes over a mile for the Seymour ‘Foggy’ Mullings Memorial Trophy, to be contested by nine starters. The field for the latter race includes top contenders BRAWN, ORIGINAL TRAIN and SOUTHERN CRUISE.Significantly, the programme is staged annually by the Vin Edwards-led JRTA. Most of the races have been named in honour of prominent members, including Enos Brown, Dalton Sirjue, Clifford Atkinson Sr. and founding member, the late Roderick ‘Pilot’ Francis.BRAWN catches my fancy in the Seymour Mullings Memorial Cup, while other firm fancies include BLUE DIXIE IN the first for two-year-olds; FORCE DE JOUR to repeat in the fourth; BIGDADDYKOOL in the Andrew H.B. Aguilar Memorial Trophy; NATASHADONTPLAY in the sixth; and SIRMANDI In the eighth.
BEIJING, China:Seven years ago, Jamaican 800 metres athlete Natoya Goule, then a student at Manchester High School, was invited to the 2008 Olympic Games as an Olympic youth ambassador.Goule has returned to the Chinese city – this time as national champion and as Jamaica’s leading athlete in the event at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics.Goule, who relived her experiences during the 2008 Olympic Games as she witnessed dominating performance after dominating performance from her countrymen, says she was influenced to get more focused in her event and is now eager to make her own mark in the Bird’s Nest.”After coming here and seeing all the Jamaicans doing so well here in the Bird’s Nest at the Olympics in 2008, I was really driven to try and qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. That didn’t happen, but I know with God’s help, I will make it next year. But coming back to the same place, I’m just looking forward to running on the track. I’m looking forward to it,” an elated Goule told The Gleaner.”I’m physically fit and I feel like I’m ready to go out there and run. I just need to focus and run my race and not focus on others,” added Goule, whose winning time of 1:59.63 at the National Senior Championships was the fastest she had ever registered.She credits her improvements to the added international exposure she enjoyed competing at the IAAF World Relays in the 4x800m in The Bahamas, as well as at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.ADDED CONFIDENCE”I think competing with other 800m runners at that level has given me added confidence, so it’s really exciting, and all these international meets and championships have been preparing me for times like these. I have been praying really hard about it and my training will speak for itself on the track,” said Goule, who has won six of her nine races this year, even though she has only broken the two-minute mark once. “I know that a lot of persons won’t expect much from me, but I’m hoping to prove them wrong.”Her coach, Mark Elliott, a Jamaican who also coaches at Clemson University, believes she will do well once she paces herself well during her competition, while noting that the objective is to get her into the final.”Honestly, her progress is good, but expectation-wise I’d say she is still trying to learn to run at this level. It’s a process, but I’m more comfortable with her preparation now than in the past,” Elliott said.”She just needs to distribute her race. I think she is in shape to run at the top level. [I think] 1:59 is great, but I also think she is in better shape than that, honestly. It shows in practice; it’s now about applying that in the race,” added Elliott. “Take each round and do whatever it takes to make the final. That’s our objective.”email@example.com
The Marshall was in town, and he wore ‘light blue.’ Alex Marshall, the leading goal-scorer in the ISSA/Flow Manning Cup, powered St George’s College (STGC) to a cracking 2-0 win over neighbours and bitter rivals Kingston College at the Constant Spring field yesterday. STGC, as a result, finished with a perfect three wins to qualify for the semi-finals from Group J, while St Jago beat Haile Selassie 3-1 at the Prison Oval in their final game. The former national under-17 midfielder, now St George’s centre-forward, has been heroic all season, striking a whopping 21 goals in all competitions to plant them in the Super Cup and the Walker Cup final and now the Manning Cup semis. “St George’s probably has the player or the deciding x-factor, and that was the end result in their favour. We were undone, of course, by a very good player in Alex Marshall, all credit to him. I thought that we did well to contain him for the remainder of the game,” KC coach Ludlow Bernard reflected on yesterday’s 2-0 loss. High expectations Marshall told The Gleaner: “I wasn’t at my 100 per cent best, but I still went out there and did the job. I wouldn’t say they (St George’s) rely on me, but they expect me to go out there, get the opportunities, and make use of them,” he added. Marshall’s opening goal gave STGC the go-ahead inside minute 14, with the skillful, agile, and clinical finisher creating space for himself before firing home from just outside the box, past captain/goalkeeper Akim Larmond. His strike partner, Gregory Messam Jr, was dragged down by defender Jaziel Thompson inside the penalty box after getting on to a split-perfect through ball in the 78th minute. Marshall obliged, coolly dispatching the resulting penalty kick low and hard to the right of Larmond to round out the 2-0 triumph. KC had their chances with Javain Brown leaving Matthew Wilson and Paul Young for dead with his express pace before rolling an inviting pass across the face of the STGC goal, begging Jerome Lodge to tap it inside the net. The offer wasn’t taken, and KC missed what was a great chance to pull level before half-time. Throughout the game, KC’s leading forward, Rashawn Mackison, had a good game, providing through passes and goal-scoring opportunities but was not supported. Paul Young was given a straight red card in the 80th minute for violent conduct, while six yellow cards were issued in the historically-hot North Street derby. “Thank God we are in the semi-finals! This is what we wanted. Kingston College pushed us. I dare say Kingston College and St George’s is the greatest rivalry in schoolboy football, and we expected this from them,” Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell said.
DURBAN, South Africa, (CMC): West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was only one of two players in double figures as Dolphins suffered their second straight loss, going down to Titans by 66 runs in the Ram Slam Twenty20 Challenge here yesterday. Chasing a hardly imposing 137 for victory at Kingsmead, Dolphins were bundled out for 70 in the 16th over, with Bravo top-scoring with 27 from 31 balls batting at number six. David Miller, with 12, was the only other batsman in double figures as seamer Chris Morris (4-9) and new ball partner Albie Morkel, with two for 14, destroyed the innings. Dolphins were slumping at 35 for six in the tenth over when Bravo partnered with Andile Phehlukwayo (7) in a 25-run stand for the seventh wicket to get their side past the 50-run mark. The right-handed Bravo struck three fours before he was eighth out, caught at the wicket to give Morris his third scalp. Earlier, Bravo had taken one for 31 from his four overs of medium pace as Titans tallied 136 for nine after being sent in. Opener Quinton de Kock top-scored with 38 from 31 deliveries, while Mangaliso Mosehle struck 25 from 27 balls. In his first game for Dolphins on Sunday, Bravo suffered the indignity of a first ball ‘duck’ as the side crashed to their first defeat following four straight wins. – CMC
WESTERN BUREAU:Red Stripe Premier League club FC Reno has been busy during the January transfer window, and Dean Malloy, the club’s manager, believes the new recruits have already started to make an impact.Six players were brought and two left, and Malloy is confident they will help pull the club up the standings and finish the season on a high.”We have been doing some business and, so far, we are happy with the players we have brought in,” Malloy said.”Two players have left the club, including central midfielder Leonard Rankine, who joined Western Confederation Super League club Sandals Whitehouse.Joining the former three-time champions are two attacking players in Anthony Markes, formerly of Harbour View FC, and Taj Coley, who played for Appleton in the St Elizabeth Major League.It’s in attack that FC Reno are mostly bereft of talent, so with the addition of Markes and Coley, they should at least be converting more chances.FRESH SQUAD”These players have freshened up the squad, and the team is beginning to look the part once again,” Malloy said.On Sunday, while none of the new recruits got onto the score sheet, FC Reno posted a hard-working 2-0 win over Cavalier SC at the Frome Sports Complex.Romario Downswell and Dershan Bryan scored in the seventh and 91st minutes, respectively, to give Reno their first win in five matches.Sunday’s win comes on the heels of another decent performance, as they played to a draw in their previous outing and are looking a lot more settled.”We are hoping that the new players will add some impetus and help steer the club away from relegation,” said Malloy.”It is fair to say that we are charting a new way forward, and all the players in our squad will have a role to play in moving the club forward,” he added.
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) secretary, Fritz Harris, has confirmed that he intends to run for the office of president of the organisation.A two-year, two-term secretary of the association, Harris is set to square-off with incumbent president, Billy Heaven.Harris was one of Heaven’s campaign directors when he was elected to office two years ago.”Yes, it’s true. I will be running for the position of president,” noted Harris.Harris was also the secretary of previous president, Lyndel Wright, who served one term.Heaven, head of the government-run Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund, was criticised last year for not supporting the candidacy of the Jamaican, Dave Cameron, for the post of president of the West Indies Cricket Board.The JCA membership, at their annual general meeting, thereafter, subsequently rescinded the stance that was taken by Heaven and the board of directors.Heaven, among his list of accomplishments, has overseen the implementation of artificial lights at Sabina Park.The next JCA annual general meeting and election of officers is scheduled to be held by June this year.
Brown’s Town need a win against Seaview Gardens today to qualify for the mid-season final in the Charley’s JB Rum/Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Super League.Both teams will meet in the opening game of a double header at Constant Spring Complex today, starting at 6 p.m.In the second of the double-header, Real Mona face Maverley/Hughenden, starting at 8 p.m.The first game is of high interest as Zone B leaders Brown’s Town will be in the hunt for maximum three points to advance to next Friday’s mid-season final where they will face Maverley/Hughenden.Brown’s Town lead the zone with 13 points. They are followed by Rae Town (8) and Santos (7).The east Kingston-based Brown’s Town are in pole position. They could lose against Seaview and still contest the final. Rae Town’s game against Maverley/Hughenden ended prematurely last week after a stabbing incident with the teams locked at 1-1. KSAFA are yet to issue a ruling on that match.Santos could move onto the final if they win their two remaining games but other results go their way.The Browns Town camp are in a positive mood ahead of tonight’s game.”We will be very serious about this game as we want to be in the final,” coach of Brown’s Town, Karumie Huie, told The Gleaner yesterday.”The team started the season slowly by losing the first two league games, but has not lost since, having won four and drawn once in the last five games. We want to continue on that platform,” he said.In the late game, Maverley/Hughenden will look to preserve their winning streak in Zone A. The Maverley/Hughenden team, under the guidance of coach Lijasu Simms, has won six games in a row to be on maximum 19 points. They are seven points clear of second placed Barbican with a game to be played in the first round.
POSITIVE IMPACT NEW YORK (CMC): Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, has reacted angrily to the sacking of West Indies head coach Phil Simmons, blasting the move as “bizarre” and motivated by “spite and vendetta”. In a strongly worded press statement released yesterday afternoon, Mitchell expressed his “disgust” with the decision and said it was not in the best interest of West Indies cricket. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) announced the sacking on Tuesday as the team was preparing to leave for the United Arab Emirates for a series against Pakistan in all three formats of the game. “The decision to fire coach Simmons is consistent with the actions of this current WICB, whose actions are usually motivated by spite and vendetta, rather than by what is in the best interest of West Indies cricket,” said Mitchell, who is in New York on state business. “I wish to go on record to register my disgust, although I am not surprised, at this latest move by the board, which will only be disadvantageous to the game and the players who have come to know and love working with coach Simmons.” Simmons was suspended for public pronouncements over the omissions of all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the one-day squad last year but was reinstalled after issuing a public apology. “Coach Simmons had a positive impact on the players and could have resurrected West Indies cricket if he was allowed to create a learning environment for his players,” said Mitchell. “Instead, he was stymied by uncooperative administrators, antiquated structures and systems, and by a hostile working environment. Once again, the board failed to see and seize a glaring opportunity.” The Grenadian leader, a former national cricket captain and ardent follower of the game, also lamented the steady decline of West Indies cricket in the last two decades, saying: “The board’s major problem over the years has not just been its leadership – some of its former leaders were competent people. “However, it has been doomed to failure because of the environment and structures in which it has operated. Structure controls behaviour and performance,” said the Grenadian leader, who has been spearheading efforts to restructure the WICB as chairman of CARICOM’s subcommittee on cricket governance. “If reform and restructuring are not incorporated in the board’s improvement plan and strategy, West Indies cricket will remain trapped in its ever-increasing failure spiral.” The WICB has rejected new proposals for reform contained in a CARICOM governance report in which the main recommendation is for the body to be dissolved. In its statement on Tuesday, the WICB said its decision to fire Simmons was based on public pronouncements of the coach, as well as differences in culture and strategic approach.
Jamaica’s Under-17 footballers secured their place in the CONCACAF Finals and a place in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Championship semi-finals after beating hosts Trinidad and Tobago 3-2 in their final CFU Group A match at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday night.The Andrew Edwards-coached team went 2-0 up in the first half with strikes from Raewin Senior (13th) and Nicque Daley (35th).However, the young Reggae Boyz allowed their eternal rivals back into the contest with second-half goals from Niom Lamy (47th) and Jayden Prowell (57th). But Senior secured all three points for the Jamaicans and broke Trinidadian hearts with his second of the evening after 74 minutes.The result means Jamaica finished their group with seven points from three games, the same as Haiti, who brushed aside Bermuda 5-0 to top the group with a better goal difference.Jamaica beat Bermuda 6-2 in their opening game, then drew 0-0 with the Haitians in their second match, before ending the preliminaries with their narrow 3-2 win over the hosts.The Jamaicans will face Group B winners Cuba in one semi-final tomorrow, while Haiti take on Curacao in the other game.
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is looking to add to its pool of referees and will begin its search through a recruitment drive with students along with military and police personnel being targeted. This exercise, it hopes, will improve the standard of refereeing in local football. Chairman of the JFF’s referees committee, Michael Ricketts, doesn’t, in fact, believe that the standard of officiating among the island’s officials is that bad, but believes there is a need to get more persons involved. “I don’t think the state of refereeing is that terrible. We have some good referees in Jamaica,” Ricketts told The Gleaner yesterday. “We are looking to start a serious recruitment drive soon. We are having dialogue with ISSA (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association) in order to get at least one student from [as many] high schools to start training,” he disclosed. “The committee is also looking to get into tertiary institutions, as well as the police force and the Jamaica Defence Force for persons,” Ricketts, who is also a JFF board member, added. Before that, however, the JFF will conduct a course for new match commissioners, which is set to start on January 28, and is also looking to add new match assessors to the programme. “We currently have 16 assessors, who are all former referees, but we need more persons to be a part of that pool,” Ricketts pointed out. Former FIFA referee Peter Prendergast also believes there is no need to panic with regards to the standard of local refereeing. “I think we have some refs that should make better judgement. I’m not saying that they are incompetent,” said Prendergast, who officiated at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. firstname.lastname@example.org