IOC’s Bach: Refugees will be honoured at Rio

first_imgATHENS, Greece (AP): A group of refugee athletes will march together in the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a symbol of hope for the world’s migrants, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said yesterday. On a three-day visit to Greece, Bach also said a refugee would carry the torch during the Greek leg of the flame relay and that the route would include a stop at an Athens refugee camp. The flame-lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia will take place on April 21. “We want to turn the attention of the world to the fate and the problems of the 60 million refugees in our world and their suffering,” Bach said. He visited the refugee camp in Athens, played football with a group of young men, and met potential candidates who could compete for the first time as refugee athletes at the Rio Games. “They have no hope, no flag to march behind, and no anthem,” Bach said. “We have invited them to participate, and these athletes will march behind the Olympic flag” at the August 5 opening ceremony. Bach said he expected between five and 10 refugee athletes to qualify for the Olympics. He said he spoke to two potential Olympic competitors in Athens, who could compete in shooting events and karate. The IOC has already pledged US$2 million to help refugees, and is asking authorities in refugee camps to identify any top-level international athletes. Three athletes found The IOC said in December that three potential Olympic athletes had been identified so far from among the wave of refugees and migrants. Greece has been hard hit by the migration crisis that escalated dramatically in 2015 when more than 850,000 travelled in dinghies and mostly unsafe boats from Turkey to the Greek islands. Despite growing European pressure on Athens to toughen border controls, Bach described Greece’s assistance to refugees as “really extraordinary” and promised funds for planned sports facilities on the Greek island of Lesbos. Bach praised progress in Brazil’s Olympic preparations despite the country’s serious financial downturn and outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. “Brazil is in financial and political crisis, and is facing a great corruption scandal,” he said. “And under these circumstances, it is even more remarkable what the Brazilians have done.” Bach said the timing of the games, during Brazil’s winter, could limit difficulties caused by the virus outbreak, and he promised to have consultations with national Olympic Committees on safety guidelines by late today. Before leaving Athens yesterday, Bach said he would visit the marble Panathinian Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.last_img read more

All is not well at FC Reno

first_imgWestern Bureau:Following their narrow escape from relegation in the 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League, FC Reno head coach Michael Graham fired some stinging criticism at the attitude of club officials, which he says is the reason for the former champions yearly struggle to maintain a presence in the nation’s top league.Graham told The Gleaner, after his team’s 2-1 to UWI FC on Sunday, that the plan to return to being a force in local football circles and to once again battle for the title must never begin with the coach or the players.”That conversation must begin with the club’s executive. That winning mentality must start with those at the top and filter down to the coaches and the players,” he said.Reno struggleFC Reno have been in a state of flux over the past five seasons, creating a situation where they are either relegated from the league or struggling to avoid the drop, something they have successfully managed twice in successive seasons.But for Graham and Wendell Downswell, the club’s technical director, not much will change come next season if matters having to do with the club’s well-being are not addressed in the boardroom.”How can a club survive when there are no serious plans on how to do so? This is the current state of affairs at FC Reno. If it weren’t for Mr Downswell and I, we would all be thinking about the lower leagues, if any, at the moment,” stated Graham.He said acquisition of gears boots and ball, among other needed pieces of equipment necessary for the club to carry out training and match-day necessities, are all being sourced by him and Downswell, noting that they receive no help from those who hold “positions” in the club.”Yet these are some of our fiercest critics when the team fails to win. The fact is, unless issues at the executive level are fixed, the club is doomed to failure,” Graham said.”This is a case in which it shows how a club should not be managed,” added Graham.FC Reno were the first club to win three Premier League titles, the last of which came in the 1995 season during a period of dominance. They also won titles in 1990 and again in 1991.The Westmoreland-based club are also winners of three national knockout titles, Winning the now named Flow Champions Cup in 2014. But since then, they have endured two seasons of utter chaos, resulting in near relegation.last_img read more

Wolmer’s, Mona on top

first_imgWolmer’s and Mona Preparatory schools captured the boys’ and girls’ titles, respectively, in the preparatory and primary section of the 18th annual Mayberry Investments Schools Swimming Championships held at the National Aquatic Centre last Saturday.Wolmer’s Boys amassed 232.50 points to finish ahead of Sts Peter and Paul Prep – 148. Third went to Mona, 138, while St Hugh’s Prep, 121, and Stella Maris, 118, rounded out the top five.In the girls’ section, Mona Prep scored 151 points and they were followed by Stella Maris, 133, Sts Peter and Paul, 130, Wolmer’s, 116 and St Hugh’s 109.A whopping 38 individual records were broken on Saturday, including what could be considered a standout performance from 10-year-old Zaneta Alvaranga of St Hugh’s Prep.She smashed a record per event, copping four individual records. She won the 50m backstroke girls 9-10 in 35:19 seconds; the 50m freestyle in 29:23; the girls 12 and under 100m freestyle in 1:07.08; and the 50m butterfly for girls 9-10 in 31.97.She also anchored her school to a new 200m freestyle relay record of 2 minutes 33:71 seconds for girls 9-10.Alvaranga picked up the high point trophy for the girls 9-10 age group with 36 points.Other high-point trophy winners were Stella Maris’ Jonathan Haynes and Nia-Kai Campbell of Mount Alvernia in the six and under age group; Kajaun Haughton of Wolmer’s Prep and Christanya Shirley, also of Wolmer’s Prep, in the 7-8 age group; Sts Peter and Paul’s Joshua Alleyne and Paig’e Lewis in the 11-12 age group.The three-day Tornadoes Swim meet will take place at the same venue, starting on Friday.last_img read more

‘I wanted the gold more’, says Alphanso Cunningham

first_img optimistic team “Come October, it will be tough, tough. But let’s see; the world may very well be at my feet,” he warned ominously of the World Athletics Championship scheduled for Doha in October. With Jamaica’s camp going into those Games hoping for a medal per member, Jones, who spoke to The Gleaner from Toronto yesterday, maintains that “a podium finish per day is on the cards”. “I am not going with a medal per member, I am expecting a podium finish a day from the team,” he said. “I am optimistic about the team we have here,” Jones said. Meanwhile, coach Neville Sinclair evaluated Team Jamaica’s performances on Monday as quite encouraging. “Alphanso (Cunningham), predictable in the way he focuses, handled the competition and delivered. He is a model athlete,” the coach assured. The Jamaicans were on the hunt for more medals yesterday, with Sylvia Grant in the women’s F56/57 shot put, while Tanto Campbell is on a medal charge in men’s F54/55/56. Jamaicans are being urged to support the Para Pan team on of the Jamaica Paralympic Association website for daily updates and videos at www.jamaicaparalympic.com. Like a true ambassador, Alphanso Cunningham answered his country’s call, led from the front for Jamaica’s six-member contingent and struck an early gold in the men’s discus F51/52/53/57 Class at the 2015 Toronto Para Pan American Games on Monday night. The country’s Paralympic star thrower opened the medal count, yet again, and set the tone for what is expected to be ‘a-podium-finish-a-day’ for Jamaica, according to chef de mission, Edmund Jones. Despite being already used to the big stage and competing under pressure at the highest level, the Jamaican delivered spectacularly as promised. “The guys showed grit and determination, but I suspect I wanted the gold more,” he outlined of his gold medal effort. Cunningham’s class is known, having achieved a world record 24.30 metres in the men’s F52-53 Javelin at the IPC Paralympic World Athletics Championships in Lyon, France, two years ago. The Jamaican, who clearly has no intention of slowing down, is already looking forward to more international dominance.last_img read more

Fire on Ice! … Mayhew looks forward to historic bobsled competition

first_imgMeet 17-year-old Daniel Mayhew.He cannot drive a car, but he is quite competent, and on evidence, very comfortable guiding a bobsleigh downhill at 110km/h.The Charlemont High school student will head off to a training camp next week before taking his place as Jamaica’s first representative at the Winter Youth Olympic Games where he will feature in the Monobob competition.Remember that movie Cool Runnings?Well this is yet another version of Jamaicans defying logic and excelling on ice.Mayhew’s case becomes even more outstanding when the fact that he only stepped in a bobsleigh for the first time a mere 11 months ago at a Swiss training camp is taken into consideration.”I can’t recall exactly what I was feeling, but I know I was very nervous at first. They started me at the middle of the track, so that I didn’t get as much speed as I would if I started at the top,” Mayhew recollected during a recent chat with The Gleaner.HEARD HORROR STORIESHe heard many horror stories before that maiden voyage, but his first few runs were incident free, and as his confidence grew, so did his popularity among the other young athletes at the camp.The Jamaican, who lives in the St Catherine community Orange Field, which was also home to former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell, went on to win two ‘B’ finals and book his place among the qualifiers for the February 12 – 21 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.”I am a little bit surprised. I was the underdog and coming out on top in the B finals shows that I am going somewhere and I can see that I am improving my driving skills and my overall performance,” Mayhew added.”Going to the Olympic Games is a really extraordinary feeling. When I finished my qualifying run and knew that I qualified, it was an overwhelming feeling. I am hoping to get a medal possibly even the gold. The potential is there for me to do it, all I have to do is listen to my coach and I know I can come out on top,” he said.It was that well-rounded coach Harry Nelson, his eighth grade physical education teacher, who took the academic enthusiast out of a class one day and greeted him with the words: “I am have mission for you. You are going to compete in the bobsled.”Hard words to process for a teenager, who had little interest in actually competing in sports. But Nelson, who was impressed with the form shown during eight grade PE, was convinced he had the potential.”At first I was not attracted to the sport, it all happened really suddenly … I really wasn’t that interested at first; who wants to do that (bobsled)?” he laughed. “It’s a very different experience, but it has been extraordinary.”Mayhew, who has passed eight subjects all with ones and twos has hopes to become a commercial pilot in the future but is, however, happy that he decided to take the leap in the bobsleigh and is looking to do his best in Norway.But has he seen the movie Cool Runnings?”I saw that movie before. It was really just like any other movie to me. It really wasn’t that interesting to me at first, but before I left I watched it again because I had a feeling people were going to ask me about it,” he laughed.Maybe his story will play a part in a sequel.last_img read more

#JaVotes2016: Brown Burke accuses JLP supporters of intimidation

first_imgPeople’s National Party (PNP) vice president Angela Brown Burke has claimed that PNP indoor agents at the Mountain View Primary School, in the constituency of St Andrew Eastern were chased away by gunmen. Brown Burke told The Gleaner that she had gone to the centre to oversee a change-over of indoor agents when they were accosted and intimidated by gunmen. She said she has reported the incident to the police and the Electoral Office of Jamaica. The superintendent of police in charge at the polling division said he had received no reports of intimidation.last_img

Super eight! – RJR names stars for top sports awards

first_imgJust eight names were announced yesterday as nominees for the RJR Sports Foundation’s National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards set for January 13, 2017. However, chairman of the selection committee Mike Fennell pointed to the committee’s “strict criteria” for the small number of nominees this year even as chairman of the Foundation Gary Allen, highlighted the event’s remarkable growth over the years. Triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt heads the list of three male nominees compared to last year’s five, while Rio sprint double champion Elaine Thompson topped the list of six female nominees. There were eight in 2015. “This is what the performances indicate, and based on that, we are not lowering the bar to go to other events because it starts at the world level,” said Fennell at yesterday’s launch at, he Jamaica Pegasus. “The year was dominated by the Olympic Games for individual performances. There are other performances where people were a part of relay teams, and so those people will get special awards.” Fennell added: “It will be good if we had more in many other sports. It would be ideal, of course, if we had half a dozen different sports on the nomination list, but we have ways to go with those other sports in getting to the world level.” The other male nominees are Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod and West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels. The remaining female nominees are track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, swimmer Alia Atkinson, and female cricketer Stafanie Taylor. The cut-off date for possible additions is December 31. Allen noted that the committee has to look at ways to increase the accommodation for the awards ceremony because of the huge demands. “We now have an event were the demand is outstripping our ability to accommodate people here at The Pegasus,” Allen said. Last year, he said more than 500 people were in attendance and some were even turned back. “We don’t want to do that, and so for the last couple of years, we have been looking around and saying, is there a way we can influence potential venues to step up to another level in terms of us being able to expand the numbers,” Allen said, noting that many of those with interest in the ceremony are key players in sports in Jamaica. The Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) Youth Award will be a new addition to this year’s award ceremony. This award will focus on athletes considered to be not only new talent, but also those who are not professional, meaning they do not earn a living from their sporting discipline. Each nominee must be under 21 years old. According to Vivienne Bayley-Hay, director of marketing and corporate affairs at VMBS, the award is going to recognise Jamaica’s “next Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce”. “We think the winner can come from any sport. One of the things that was tremendous in the Rio Olympics is the fact that we have expanded the sporting disciplines that Jamaica was represented in.” “I think that with the talent we have in this country, if we continue to support and to recognise them, I have no doubt that Jamaica will excel in all disciplines. No nominees for the award have been named as yet. Bayley-Hay said the nominees will be selected closer towards the end of the year. Bahamian Olympian Pauline Davis-Thompson would be the guest speaker at this year’s awards ceremony. Other awards include the Chairman’s award, the People’s Choice award, and the Lifetime Achievement award. The nominees for the People’s Choice awards are Atkinson’s 50m short-course breaststroke world record swim; Calabar’s 4x400m Open relay win at Boys and Girls Championships; Michael Binns’ 35-yard goal in the Premier League; Elaine Thompson’s 200m run in Rio, and Yona Knight-Wisdom’s series of dives at the Olympics. (Sportsman of the Year) Usain Bolt Omar McLeod Marlon Samuels (Sportswoman of the Year) Alia Atkinson Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Elaine Thompson Shericka Jackson Stafanie Taylor NOMINEES:last_img read more

Shot fired as players, fans clash in match brawl – St Catherine FA investigates incident

first_imgThe St Catherine Football Association (SCFA) has launched an investigation after a shot was reportedly fired during a fracas between players and fans of Newland and New Raiders FC during a Major League match on Monday. The contest, which took place at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, descended into chaos after players and fans traded blows, saw one off-duty policeman reportedly discharging his firearm in an effort to restore order. According to reports, the game was nearing its end when a Raiders player was shown the red card for a hard tackle on an opposing player. This led to players from both teams squaring off in a fist fight, triggering the involvement of rivalling supporters. According to information reaching The Gleaner, the off-duty lawman, who was watching the game, fired a single shot to calm the melee, before helping to restore order and the resumption of the game. The match was completed at full time, 3-1 in favour of Newland. However, SCFA boss Peter Reid said the association is conducting an investigation into the incident and that the appropriate sanctions will be applied after the facts are ascertained. “We take any incident like this very seriously as discipline is the hallmark of St Catherine FA and we will leave no stone unturned. Our competition’s committee is doing their investigation and will make their findings known and then make a decision based on the rules. “If it is something the rules address, we will apply it accordingly, but if it is more than that, we have to refer it to the disciplinary committee. So until those things have happened, we have nothing more to say,” he said. “We apologise to our sponsor FLOW and the football fraternity, because things like this should not happen … . It’s very unfortunate to have a situation like that,” added Reid. Efforts to contact officials from both teams proved futile. SANCTIONS COULD BE APPLIEDlast_img read more

Eastern athletes ready to shine

first_imgArch-rivals St Mary High and Buff Bay High are again expected to fight for the title at the second meet of the 2017 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Series, the Eastern Championships, at the UWI-Usain Bolt Track tomorrow.The head coach of Titchfield High, Julian Ivy, welcomes the Digicel Grand Prix initiative, calling it “a wonderful idea.”Most of the schools in the Eastern region are really strapped for cash,” he said.”The eastern region is looked upon as the least in track and field in Jamaica. However, we’ve produced a lot of top athletes who have gone on to excel at the highest international level; and we’ve to understand that before they got to that stage, these coaches aided their development,” Ivy added.Some of the most notable include Morant Bay High alumnus Juliet Cuthbert, who won sprint double silver at the Barcelona Olympics; and another Morant Bay High star – who later transferred to Kingston College – sprint hurdler Hansle Parchment. Parchment won bronze at the London 2012 Olympics and silver at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.Competition away from their training grounds this season has been sparse for most schools participating at the Eastern Championships, but St Mary High’s boys and girls have shown all-round strength at some of the development meets.These include The Queen’s Grace Jackson Invitational and Camperdown Classic, with Class Two girls Keresa Richardson, Janaeli Campbell and Kay-ann James looking dominant among the Eastern Championship entrants, along with Class Two boy Lenard Hall.PARTICULARLY STRONGThe latter is particularly strong in the 800m, where his female colleagues also appear quite strong in Classes One and Two, with Tameria Howell (Class Two) and Shanice Panton (Class One) headlining their charge.Among the boys’ sprinters, Morant Bay’s Jaheim Henry and Annotto Bay’s Kenoy Francis have done fairly well and should be among the Class Two front-runners, with St Mary High’s Travis Henry and Nicardo Vincent also expected to shine.Among Class One girls, Morant Bay’s Tishelle Fulcott and Nneka Francis, along with Oberlin High’s Latoya Graham, should feature.Though Buff Bay High have not shown their hand, they have gone toe to toe with St Mary High for the championship in recent years and are expected to feature big time again.”Right now, it’s between Buff Bay and St Mary High,” Ivy predicted. “Morant Bay will be coming strong as well.”We (Titchfield) are not expecting to be in the top three, as we’ve a fairly young team.”Nonetheless, Ivy said his Class One boys, Kai Chang and Moses Parkinson, will place high in the Class One Digicel Grand Prix Championship events, the high jump and discus.The Digicel Grand Prix Championship events are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and 4x400m relays for Classes One and Two boys’ and girls.The series consists of five meets and the top two athletes from each of the Digicel Grand Prix Championship events will advance to the final, the G.C. Foster Classics, which will be held at the National Stadium on March 11.Each athlete can only participate in one individual event at the final, which carries a grand prize of $1 million dollars in gym equipment for the top boys’ and girls’ schools, $500,000 for second, and $250,000 for third.last_img read more

Praise for Dodd, the record breaker

first_imgDanniel Thomas-Dodd upped her national shot put record for the second time in 2017 with a runner-up finish at the US NCAA Indoor Championships. Competing on the College Station campus of Texas A&M University, Dodd pushed the shot put to 18.40m. That added 8cm to a mark she set last month. Dodd broke the Jamaican record of 18.20m last month with a mark of 18.32. In College Station, she peppered the 18m line with a six throw series of 18.00, 17.90, 17.99, 18.26, 18.40 and a final-round foul. Willingness to work Marlon Gayle, who coached the Westmoreland native for two seasons at Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School, attributes her improvement to her willingness to work with a goal in mind. Speaking on March 12, he said, “If she wants something, she’s going to work towards it, and I told her regardless of which college you go to, university you go, you’re going to do well.” She left Edwin Allen with the 2012 Boys and Girls’ Championships shot put record – 14.47m – and set sail for Kent State University in Ohio. She has blossomed there. A member of Jamaica’s teams to the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she was a finalist in the discus, the 2015 Pan-American Games where she punched the shot 17.76m to place 5th, she has also competed against the best on the planet at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. According to Gayle, the 24- year-old Thomas-Dodd is a coach’s dream. “What makes coaching exciting and achieving objectives a good thing, is to have an athlete who really knows what he or she is about”, he said. “That motivates any coach to really do their very best and be their very best for those individuals,” Gayle smiled.last_img read more