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

Iniesta runs the show while rock stars falter at Euro 2016

first_img What wouldn’t Ibrahimovic or Ronaldo give for an Iniesta behind them? 1 The column appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Follow them on Twitter, check out their Facebook page or download the FREE iPad app here.In football, as in tennis, we are lucky enough to be sitting down to watch a golden era of players. Perhaps not the era to end all eras, but a pretty good one nonetheless. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta and company – there are some bona fide legends on our televisions every week.However, this European Championship has reminded us that one or two of these superhumans are nothing of the sort. Ronaldo so rarely has a poor game that consecutive below-par shifts have caused the media to roar, and for some frankly genial memes to be created on social media. It’s the same with Ibrahimovic – a self-labelled boss who seems not to have clocked on quite yet.What surprises me, though, isn’t that these big names aren’t dominating – but the surprise with which this has been received. For me, it makes perfect sense that players like this would find themselves more likely to struggle in national teams, and it all comes down to teammates.So often the strikers – or at least the top goalscorers – are the rock stars, and understandably so. But most of these guys are expert at taking opportunities. Now, this is a hell of a skill, so I am not watering down the influence of a Zlatan or a Ronaldo, but it is slightly less conducive to success in national teams when compared to the likes of an Iniesta or, say, a Luka Modric.These guys are creators. Their job is effectively to get the most out of a team through picking out and executing creative passes, maintaining a shape for their side and, ultimately, serving strikers.Put simply, though Ronaldo can clearly pass a ball, he is far more about leaving defensive work to others, getting into good positions and profiting from the creative work of his providers. Now, he can also score from anywhere, and this is important, but lots of his success comes from the graft of others. This is fine; we’ve all played with players like this, and they’re often real assets, but it tends not to work out for them when the players behind or around them aren’t top-notch.The Portuguese players aren’t as good as the Real Madrid players, and the Swedish players probably aren’t as good as the PSG players. So when your best player by far is your chief scorer, he is bound to find success harder to come by at national level. Just look at Messi with Argentina.A top midfielder, though, can dominate any game. Again, though Iniesta may have lost a yard of gas and may not receive the level of exposure of others, I’d argue that his formula renders him far more likely to play well repeatedly at national level.Iniesta relies very little on others, and he doesn’t need a collection of variables to come together in order to deliver. He just quietly and repeatedly gets on the ball and feeds the beasts. What wouldn’t Zlatan or Ronaldo give for an Iniesta behind them?last_img read more