Jamaica’s amateur boxers will go up against a six-man contingent from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) tomorrow, in a show that has been arranged by the Jamaica Boxing Board, in association with the Olympia Crown Hotel, Molynes Road. There will be six international and two local bouts on the card, and fight time is 8 p.m. FULL TEAM The team of six boxers from the BVI is coached by Jamaican Julan Brown, who heads the boxing programme there. The full team is Andrew Lettsome, 20, Heavyweight (195); Elton Leonard, 21, Light Heavyweight(175); Elton King Leonard, 20, Middleweight (160); Tyriq Isles, 23, Welterweight (155); Romario Morgan, 19, Light Welterweight (139); and Dmoi Martin, 17, Flyweight (115). Lettsome and Isles arrived in the island yesterday, accompanied by team manager David Penn. The other boxers will arrive today. The boxing board stated yesterday that this card is part of its development programme, and is designed to give Jamaica’s amateurs competition involving other teams from the region. The plan is that over the next several months, Jamaica will engage in team tournaments, so as to keep the young amateurs busy.
Rules needed WESTERN BUREAU: Straight-talking Dwaine Humphrey, the assistant football coach at Irwin High School, has taken the establishment to task for allowing what he calls the predatory habit of some schools scavenging better players from less recognised institutions to boost their chances of winning the daCosta Cup. Humphrey told The Gleaner that the practice has left several schools with little chance of ever competing on a level playing field. “I am extremely angry because these so-called top coaches and schools for whom they work are given credit for work they have not done,” he said. “How many of these coaches really can boast of taking a player from scratch and making that player a top potential? Not many can. It is the coaches who groomed these players and taught them the basics who should be given credit, and as soon as that player becomes an asset to the school, big-name coaches scavenge them away,” said Humphrey. Irwin High, known as the Group A beating stick, were put to the sword in an 8-1 mauling by Cornwall College on Saturday’s opening day and then soundly thrashed 4-1 by St James High on Tuesday. They, according to the no-nonsense coach, number among such victims and he wants the body that governs local schoolboy football, the Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA), to put an end to the practice. He said scouting is a natural part of most sporting disciplines but added that some order must be there for the rule, noting that the practice of ‘buying’ a player is shadowing what occurs in the professional football world. “I may come across as a sore loser, but that’s far from the truth. I believe in giving youngsters a fair chance. Small schools with limited resources cannot do that because they are always being scavenged,” Humphrey said. “It’s like small, unrecognised coaches and small schools are employed to these big-name coaches and their schools. ISSA needs to take a long look at it because it cannot be fair to some schools,” argued Humphrey. In addition to the players’ ability, schools from which they are ‘bought’ also lose a student who could help bring the school’s average up. “When you scavenge, or as they ‘buy’ a player, they are not just taking a footballer, they are taking away a student. How then can that be fair to these schools. What chance will that school have of becoming one of those A-Class institutions? “They are swiping the most academically inclined players also, which cannot benefit the small schools such as the Irwins and the Anchovys,” the coach said. He noted that until schoolboy football goes professional, which, under certain statutes, will never be the case, ISSA must come up with a concrete plan to at least limit the practice to give small-name schools a chance to succeed not just in football, but through academics as well.
NAGPUR, India (AP):The first day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand to be played at the Adelaide Oval from Friday will be remembered for years to come, India Test captain Virat Kohli said yesterday.”It’s a landmark Test and a big step towards changing something in Test cricket,” Kohli said ahead of the third Test against South Africa. “I hope it can be another option and I’m glad that the two teams have agreed to play an official Test like that, as an experiment.”Kohli said that cricketers should be willing to accept changes to increase attendances in Test cricket, although limited overs games are popular under lights.”It might be a step that we’ll all remember a few years down the line, let’s hope so. As cricketers, we all should be willing and accepting of the need to step forward and contribute to the game, however possible.”If this is a step towards improving the excitement and popularity of Test cricket, then I think every team should be in for it. Hopefully, it will be better for the game,” he said.The opening Test of the four-match series at Mohali saw only a few thousand spectators and crowds are not expected to be high for the Nagpur Test.A pink ball will be used for the historic game. Kohli, whose team leads South Africa 1-0 in the four-Test series, said he had heard seeing the ball could be a problem at twilight.”I’ve heard a few players giving feedback on playing with the pink ball. The only thing they were concerned about was that during twilight it was very hard to pick the ball. During the day it was fine, during the night it was all right as well. But when the floodlights are not on and when the sun is going down, is when they found it difficult,” Kohli said.
Western Bureau: Neville Graham scored a blistering free kick yesterday to inspire St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) to a 2-1 ISSA-FLOW daCosta Cup semi-final victory over Lennon High in driving rain at the Juici Park in Clarendon. The winners will face Dinthill Technical High in the December 5 final. The Santa Cruz-based STETHS will now have a chance to add the biggest title of them all – the daCosta Cup – to their Ben Francis Cup win and keep them on track to winning three of the four schoolboy titles on offer. Graham, the STETHS left-back, has been playing like a man possessed all season and was all over the field, grimacing as a result of a leg injury that he has been playing through. Like an injured soldier, he battled on to score the opening goal in the 19th minute. His teammate and the competition’s deadliest striker, Michael Kerr, netted his 29th goal of the campaign from the penalty spot in the 66th minute, as STETHS regained the lead after Shawayne Nelson had equalised for the Merron Gordon-conditioned Lennon. It was yet another familiar outcome for STETHS as they seem always able to create goals and wins. Lennon hit back in the 50th minute after STETHS had taken the lead. Nelson outran his marker and struck a low, hard shot under STETHS goalie Kenroy Wallace to level the score at 1-1. But STETHS found the winner, when Kerr slotted home from the penalty spot, after the referee penalised Lennon for a handled ball in the box. STETHS came close to making it 3-1. Graham’s shot from an acute angle in the 77th minute had Lennon goalkeeper Shevoy Williams in serious trouble, but the ball failed to dip sufficiently and crashed against the crossbar, much to the relief of the entire Lennon squad and their band of supporters. A venue for the final is expected to be announced early this week by ISSA.
Veteran trainer Harry Parsard says tomorrow’s inaugural running of the Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile at Caymanas Park with a record purse of $13.5 million is a shot in the arm for the horse racing industry. Parsard, who is enjoying a marvellous season, having won the St Leger with 35-1 outsider SUPERLUMINAL in July, along with a number of grade- one trophy races with UPPA TUNE and POTCHEEN, said the race could not have come at a better time, especially with all accompanying races on the card offering no less than $1 million in purse money. “This is unprecedented in the history of local racing, and the response from stakeholders to each of the races has been tremendous. The industry needs another race day such as this on the annual calendar, and whichever entity gets the track through divestment, if it becomes a reality in 2016, should seriously considered having two such racedays,” added Parsard, who will saddle three of the 16 starters in the Diamond Mile. The trio will be led by his crack imported horse, UPPA TUNE, outgoing champion sprinter POTCHEEN and PETE’SWILDONE. All three will be vying for the winner’s share of $6.5 million, a record allocation, as well as $2.1 million for second or $1.25 for third. In fact, purse money will be paid on the first 10 past the post. “My horses will definitely earn, but considering the distance, UPPA TUNE, with champion jockey Dane Nelson, would appear to have the best chance. But the others should still give good account of themselves,” he reasoned. “Uppa Tune missed the recent Coca Cola Invitational Mile as the conditions of weight allotment were not kind to him, but the good thing is that he will report nicely refreshed for this race and his strong pace and proven class could make a difference in this star-studded field,” added the trainer. Parsard, however, has one regret. This has to do with the fact that his vastly improved 3-y-o filly, LONG RUNNING TRAIN, did not have sufficient earnings at this stage to make the top 16. LONG RUNNING TRAIN was among the 10 reserves named in the 26 entries, but it was highly unlikely that she would make the cut with purse money going to the top 10. Parsard said while he is thankful to the sponsors Supreme Ventures Limited and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission in joining hands for this historic race day, he is proposing a change for next year. “I think the format should be changed to an invitational race rather than one based on lifetime earnings as now obtains. This would ensure that horses such as LONG RUNNING TRAIN and another progressive three-year-old colt, POKER STAR, would get in ahead of some of the older horses with built-in earnings over the years due to age,” he concluded.
ARSENAL (4-2-3-1)CECHBELLERIN, GABRIEL, KOSCIELNY, MONREAL,FLAMINI, RAMSEY,CAMPBELL, OZIL,WALCOTT,GIROUDNEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1)MITROVIC,COLBACK , WIJNALDUM, PEREZ,ANITA, SISSOKO,DUMMETT, COLOCCINI, MBEMBE, JANMAAT,ELLIOTOn Monday night Arsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League. And with Leicester drawing 0-0 a day later, Arsene Wenger’s men stay top, albeit on goal difference.The Gunners are unbeaten at the Emirates Stadium since the opening day of the season, when they lost to West Ham. Since then, Arsenal have won six and drawn two at home.Mesut Ozil made one goal and scored another against Bournemouth – his 16th assist of the season,The game also saw Gunners goalkeeper Petr Cech keep the 170th clean sheet of his Premier League career, a new record in the competition and achieved in just 352 games. Previous record holder David James kept 169 clean sheets in 572 games.Now Arsenal face a Newcastle United side with only five away goals this season, the fewest in the Premier League.When these teams met at St James’ Park earlier this season Newcastle had Aleksandar Mitrovic sent off after just 16 minutes and lost 1-0 thanks to a Fabricio Coloccini own goal.That was Arsenal’s eighth straight win against Newcastle in the Premier League and extended their unbeaten run against them to 10 games. The Magpies last beat Arsenal in November 2010, at the Emirates. Since then they have lost four in a row while conceding 16 goals.Arsenal test Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Flamini but are still without a host of key players including Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla. Newcastle test Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse and Rob Elliot.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC): All-rounder Andre Russell grabbed three wickets to help fire Islamabad United into the final of the Pakistan Super League, with a 50-run victory over Darren Sammy’s Peshawar Zalmi’s in yesterday’s last semi-final. United posted 176 for three off 20 overs after being sent in at the Dubai International Stadium and then restricted Zalmi to 126 all out of 18 overs to book their spot in the championship game against Quetta Gladiators tomorrow. Seamer Russell picked up three for 37 from his four overs, including the wicket of captain Shahid Afridi, who smashed a 17-ball 38 with two fours and four sixes. Left-arm spinner Imran Khalid was the best bowler with four for 20, while opener Kamran Akmal stroked the top score of 45 from 32 deliveries. Sammy made nine from eight balls with two fours before he was fifth out at 80 for five in the 13th over. Earlier, opener Sharjeel Khan smashed 117 off 62 deliveries to propel United’s innings. He put on 108 for the first wicket with Barbados and West Indies right-hander, Dwayne Smith, who made a painstaking 19 off 37 balls. On Saturday, in contrast, Smith hit an unbeaten 50 from 48 deliveries to help United post a nine-wicket victory over Karachi Kings.
PORTLAND, USA:Disappointing is the word Kemoy Campbell used to describe his race, and generally disappointing it was for most Jamaicans in the first session on the first day of action at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.Asafa Powell was the only bright spark in the morning session as he clocked a world-leading 6.44 seconds to win heat five of the men’s 60m and advance to the semi-finals, which were scheduled for last night.”I was just focusing on my technique, wasn’t focusing on anyone or my time, just focusing on my technique and getting to the finish line,” Powell told The Gleaner.Neither Kevaughn Rattray nor Odean Skeen, though declared among the team, were in the line-up for the 100m.Campbell disappointedCampbell, who ran in the men’s 3000m, never got into a useful rhythm and finished eighth of nine competitors in heat one in a time of 8:00.22. The heat was won by Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha in 7:51.01.”I went out there thinking I would do better, but I was sick with flu and I was just flat. I tried my best and I wasn’t making any progress in the race, and all I can say it was a bit disappointing for me because I know I can run a lot faster. I’ve run a lot faster before and the time wasn’t even close to my PR, and I’m just disappointed. That’s all I can say,” Campbell said.Chrisann Gordon had a strange race in the third heat of the 400m. At the start, she stepped out of the block and the track umpire ruled a faulty start.When the race actually got under way, the athlete ran one lap of the two-lap event, and while on the curve, just stepped off the track. It appeared that she had been pushed, but video replays showed a voluntary departure from the track.She was later seen being attended to by medical officials and seemed to indicate that she had an ankle issue.Salcia Slack, who was recovering from a bout of pneumonia, had a poor start running in the women’s 60m hurdles, the first event of the five-discipline pentathlon, and finished last in heat two in a time of 8.72 seconds.She failed to record a score in the high jump after three failed attempts to cross the bar at the opening height of 1.64m.She had the shot put, long jump, and 800m to come later in the day.Earlier, Fitzroy Dunkley and Stephenie-Ann McPherson advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s and women’s 400m.Dunkley advanced running in heat two of the heats. He ran well on the first lap and grabbed the second qualifying spot in a time of 46.83 seconds behind Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago in 46.72 seconds.Chambers outRicardo Chambers failed to move past the first round as he struggled to finish third in heat three in 47.07 seconds.McPherson closed well in the final 50m to finish second in heat one of the women’s 400m in a time of 52.56seconds behind Olukawemi Adekoya of Bahrain in 52.27 seconds.Outdoor World champion Danielle Williams was to line up in lane five of heat two of the women’s 60m hurdles last night. Samantha Scarlett was scheduled to compete in heat one of the event.Meanwhile, six Jamaicans are set to bow into action today. Elaine Thompson lines up in heat one of the women’s 60m, while Simone Facey competes in heat three.National champion Natoya Goule will be the first Jamaican in action on the second day as she competes in heat three of the women’s 800m at 1:15 p.m. Jamaica time.Shanieka Thomas is down for action in the triple jump at 1:37 p.m. The men’s 60m hurdles also begins tonight, with Omar McLeod lining up in heat two of that event at 7:05 p.m. Jamaica’s men will compete in heat two of the 4x400m relay at 2:40 p.m.
Three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson left the island yesterday to ride in Canada for an extended period for the second consecutive year. The 32-year-old, who is the leading jockey with 26 winners so far this season, will ride at Assiniboia Downs, Northlands, and Canada’s premier racetrack, Woodbine in Toronto. Nelson, popularly called the ‘Warrior Chief’, was champion jockey for three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014. Having ridden the brilliant 3-y-o filly to victory in the recent Post to Post Guineas over a mile, Nelson will miss the ride in the April 30 Jamaica Oaks. He has, however, disclosed that he will return home to ride her in the June 25 Jamaica Derby over 2400 metres. Meanwhile, the filly’s trainer, Gary Subratie, said reigning champion Shane Ellis is likely to ride her in the Oaks. Nelson, who rode 46 winners on his first visit to Canada last year, joins fellow jockeys Paul ‘Country” Francis, Richard Mairs, and Shamaree Muir, who all left the island in recent weeks to ride in Canada. – O.C.
From that same core, however, there remains enough genuine talent and quality to keep the flames of hope burning. I have seen teams with players spread across both the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup this season with enough of the basic fundamentals and more – strength, power, speed, balance, pace, deft touches and vision enough raw material to be positively exploited. The mistake that many local football thinkers seem to be making is to use the comparative quality of the overall football being played in the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions to assess and identify individual talent. Individual qualities and skill sets can shine through the rubble of very mediocre play. Very special talent can emerge from a very poor team. Most football fans watch games for the entertainment value it brings, talent scouting is a different proposition. General or even specific qualities in a player can be spotted even in a poor team performance or a poor individual performance. A prospective young forward could display lightning speed down the flanks all game, but proceeds to miss three or four easy chances. The fact that he missed those chances, however, does not take away from his speed, which could be exactly what the team most needs at that point in time. It is a mistake to keep looking for the complete item when scouting young players. What will often appear are diamonds in the rough, it’s all up to the systems and structures to unearth and bring out the beauty and the value in those diamonds. A change of mindset is in the air, thanks to another failed World Cup campaign. Let us use this window of opportunity to try and change not just how our young players think about themselves as players, but in this new cycle of progress, more Jamaicans need to understand that the well is not dry and the tree is not withered. Jamaica is still producing out-standing, young football talent. Let us stop blaming these young players, for our blindness in not being able to see this talent. FLAMES OF HOPE The misguided philosophy of the aggressive and widescale importation of foreign-born players to represent the senior Reggae Boyz must have, over time, resulted in a general erosion of faith, confidence and belief in the quality of the local-based player pool. This prolonged practice must not have only affected the players themselves, who would have gradually grown into believing they really had inferior and inadequate talent, but there emerged a sense that the local fraternity in general; began to feed into the narrative that Jamaica has stopped producing talented football players. With confidence a little bit shaken myself, I started paying even closer attention to the local competitions, especially the Manning and daCosta Cups. I put myself on deliberate lookout for this so-called dramatic fall in quality of our young players. It hardly took more than a couple of games and, in some cases, mere portions of games to realise the folly, falseness and inaccuracy of this conclusion. The naysayers and preachers of doom and gloom for local talent either have an agenda, bad eyesight, or inept and incompetent judgement as to what constitutes raw talent. Jamaica is still rife with natural football talent. Various levels of talent from the ordinary to the extra-ordinary continue to be on show across the school grounds of Jamaica. The fact of the matter is, most of the 2,000-3,000 schoolboy footballers registered per season will not become superstars of the sport; the majority of these youngsters will not even play competitive football after high school.