FOOTBALL:KINGSTON:Local scrimmage players are gearing up to showcase their skill on a global stage, when the Guinness Street Football Competition (GSFC) kicks off on March 1.Now in its sixth year, the GSFC will give Jamaican street footballers a chance to prove they are made of more, while increasing their exposure to international game play.The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF)-endorsed event will kick-off with parish playoffs for Hanover and Westmoreland on March 12. Teams can sign up for the four-a-side scrimmage online at www.gsfcjamaica.com, via social media or by calling the GSFC Hotline at 618-9291.Sixteen randomly selected teams will then play for the parish title. Parish winners all go on to play for the national title and an all-expenses paid trip to St Lucia to compete against other Caribbean teams in the GSFC finals.?For Guinness, community development and the game of football are at the heart of who we are as a brand. We are excited to give Jamaicans an opportunity to shine in the premier street football tournament of the Caribbean,? said Imru James, brand manager for Guinness and Stouts at Red Stripe. ?We want to see our teams do well at home as well as in the international arena.?Last year, Jamaica had the honour of hosting the finals, but this year?s ultimate contest will be staged in St Lucia, the home of the reigning champions. This means the winning Jamaican team will get a chance to travel in addition to cash prizes at each level of the competition.?There is no lack of opportunity with this competition,? said James. ?Our players are competing just as competitively as in any national league to prove they are made of more and the opportunities that come with the competition are second to none.?The national champion will claim their portion of the $1.3m up for grabs and gain a shot at US$6,000 if they take home the big prize in St Lucia. Guinness will fund the cost of travel, including accommodation, along with spending money for the team.
MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC):Australia’s injury woes for the upcoming Tri-Nation series in the Caribbean continued yesterday when captain Steve Smith’s participation was put in doubt due to a wrist injury.Though not considered a serious injury, Cricket Australia confirmed that Smith would return from the Indian Premier League (IPL) for treatment and monitoring ahead of the squad’s departure for the June 6-26 tournament involving West Indies and South Africa.”Steve has been struggling with pain in his right wrist for the last week during his stint in the IPL,” said CA’s sports medicine manager, Alex Kountouris.”We have been working with his IPL franchise, Pune, to monitor this, and unfortunately, it has not resolved. As such, he will return home from India for further assessment and treatment ahead of the Qantas Tour of the West Indies.”From the information we have so far, this doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, but we are keen to give him the time to recover and rehabilitate before heading to the West Indies at the end of May.”Smith’s injury follows those to fast bowler John Hastings, who has been ruled out of the tour, and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, who was also forced to return prematurely from the IPL with a side strain.The right-handed Smith has been in great form in the IPL for Rising Pune Supergiants, stroking his maiden T20 hundred last Friday against Gujarat Lions.His prolific form has been key to Australia’s success in recent times, and he currently averages 40 from 72 ODIs.The Tri-Nation series will be played in Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis and Barbados.
PROTEST NOT NEW WESTERN BUREAU: Orville Powell, president of newly crowned Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) champions, Montego Bay United (MBU) , said he has been stung by the callous way in which ‘The Establishment’ treated his club in the build-up to Sunday’s final against Portmore United, which precipitated what is now regarded as the ‘Respect Protest’. Powell told The Gleaner that the decision taken by MBU was to bring attention and awareness to the careless attitude of some people involved in administering football locally and that of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA). “Our protest was justified and justifiable,” stated Powell. “We thought at the time the best way to bring to the people’s attention what was really going on was to use the biggest stage for local football – the Premier League final – as a staging ground of this protest,” he said. “Now that it was a success based on what people are now saying, I would think we achieved our goal, which was simply to highlight how badly run certain aspects of our football product is,” Powell noted. In protest, MBU turned up for Sunday’s final at the Montego Bay Sports Complex five minutes before the scheduled 4 p.m. kick-off clad in black with white letters on the back of shirts worn by the players spelling ‘RESPECT’, the word spelt with one letter each on the back of the shirts of seven players – when they turned their back to the crowd – who stood in the front line. Then there was another part to the message: ‘IF YOU WANT TO GET IT, YOU MUST GIVE IT.’ For Powell, there could be no bigger stage than the live televised final of the nation’s top league, beamed to some 24 countries. “All my players agreed that that was the way to go. We are all a family at MBU, and we felt more than disrespected by the PLCA among others about how they went about business leading up the final,” stated Powell. He said not being invited to a meeting with the PLCA, at which the date and time of the game was changed necessitated the club taking a stand. “Lest the public forgets, we at MBU started this very same protest two years ago, when we stated the PLCA – and football in general – needed to be managed with transparency. That was only the beginning. “Now, on top of the lack of transparency, among other issues, this club has clearly been to some degree insulted. Matters leading up the final against Portmore only made it worse, so we took the stand we did, and as I said, we are willing to face the consequences of our actions because in all fairness, our actions are about doing the right thing,” Powell said. MBU went on to defeat Portmore 2-1 to claim a second Premier League title in three years, and while delighted with the game’s eventual outcome, Powell declared that the protests will continue until change is made to how football is governed locally.
Nadal sets up Hamburg Open final against Fognini HAMBURG, Germany (AP): Top-seeded Rafael Nadal dismissed Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 to set up a Hamburg Open final against Fabio Fognini today. The fourth-seeded Fogini beat qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (3) after saving a set point in the second set. Nadal is looking to extend his streak of having won at least one European clay court title every year since 2004. The former No. 1 has dropped to 10th in the rankings and is playing his first tournament since losing in the second round of Wimbledon. He won in Hamburg in 2008, the last time he played in the clay-court event. Nadal served a double-fault at match point in the seventh game before breaking serve in the next to win. He holds a 4-2 career edge over Fognini, the 2013 Hamburg champion. British swimmer in fight for world record ratification KAZAN, Russia (AP): Nearly a year later, British swimmer Adam Peaty’s world record in the 50-metre breaststroke isn’t ratified. Records usually take weeks to be made official, but Peaty’s mark of 26.62 seconds at the European Championships in Berlin last August hasn’t been approved by FINA because he was not tested at the time for the blood-booster EPO. It was a simple administrative error because a box was not checked on the drug-testing form, FINA honorary secretary Paolo Barelli, who is in charge of the issue, told The Associated Press. “The form for world records includes a test for EPO,” Barelli said. “The lab analysis performed in Germany didn’t do it because there wasn’t an ‘X’ on the tiny box for EPO.” Barelli suggested that British Swimming should appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “They have every reason to,” Barelli said. “It’s not the British federation’s or the kid’s fault. It was an administrative error.” Akram: Politics should not stop Pakistan-India series ISLAMABAD (AP): Pakistan great Wasim Akram insisted yesterday that politics should not affect his country’s cricketing ties with India. “Sports should not be mixed with politics,” said Akram, who took 414 Test wickets with his hostile left-arm swing and also scored three test centuries. Pakistan plan to host a three-Test series against its Asian neighbours and rivals in the United Arab Emirates in December. If it takes place, that will be the two countries’ first Test matches against each other since 2007, when India won a three-match series 1-0. Anurag Thakur, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has cast doubt on the series. Akram said the Pakistan team was treated well on a tour of India in 1999 despite restrictions. “We stayed in hotels and we were not allowed to go outside,” Akram said in Karachi. “At that time there was politics too, but it should not be mixed with sport.” Tig, Gasparyan reach first WTA final in Baku BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP): Patricia Maria Tig of Romania and Margarita Gasparyan of Russia both reached their first career WTA final yesterday after upsetting the two top-seeded players at the Baku Cup. Tig ousted No. 1-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-3, 6-2 to extend her surprising run at the tournament, while Gasparyan beat No. 2 Karin Knapp of Italy 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The 154th-ranked Tig had never been past the second round of a WTA tournament before this week. Gasparyan had not won a WTA match this year before coming to Baku, but had not dropped a set here before the semi-finals.
retire undefeated KINGSTON: Digicel SportsMax yesterday secured broadcast rights for the Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr vs Andre Berto fight this Saturday, with coverage of the undercard bouts beginning at 7 p.m. and the main fight at 10 p.m. The Digicel SportsMax Fight Night, presented by Fight Sports TV, is being dubbed ‘The Final Showdown’, with the pound-for-pound king Mayweather declaring that the fight will be his last. Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will face Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) to defend his undefeated record and World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council welterweight titles. It comes on the heels of his last bout in May against Manny Pacquiao – which racked up record viewership around the world – that further added to his massive net worth by more than US$400 million. Mayweather is set to leave the ring for good, either with a bang or suffer his first defeat of his career, at a capacity MGM Grand in Las Vegas. If he wins, the 38-year-old’s record will equal that of Rocky Marciano, who retired from the sport undefeated. Berto who was born in the United States but has deep roots in Haiti, started his career with 27 straight wins and was once regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in the world. Although he has previously held the Championship title, Berto is still considered the underdog, after suffering from numerous career setbacks. With nothing to lose and having professed to being in the best shape of his life, Berto declared he will be coming after Mayweather with everything he’s got. A win for Berto would be the biggest upset in boxing history. “This could be the last fight of the biggest name in boxing in the last decade and fans are all waiting to see how ‘Money’ Mayweather will bring his legacy to a close. We’re really excited to be able to show the bout exclusively and are looking forward to an exciting ‘Final Showdown’ with the pound-for-pound king,” said Tanya Lee, Digicel SportsMax Caribbean marketing manager. Along with the Mayweather vs Berto bout, Digicel SportsMax is also regional rights holder of premium sporting content such as the Barclays Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, the NBA, IAAF Diamond League, IAAF World Challenge meets, the Women’s Tennis Association premier events, the Ashes, Australia and England cricket, the Indian Premier League and more. For Digicel SportsMax Fight Night updates, visit digicelsportsmax.com or follow Digicel SportsMax TV on Facebook and @digicelsportsmax on Instagram.
A five-wicket haul from national fast bowler, Jason Dawes, guided Kensington Cricket Club to an impressive seven-wicket win over Melbourne in their feature Jamaica Cricket Association 50-over Zone D clash at Kensington Park at the weekend.Dawes, a former West Indies Under-19 standout, claimed five for 18 to help bowl out the fancied Melbourne for a paltry 96 inside 23.5 overs. He was supported by stand-in captain Ryan Francis, who took two for 20 off five overs with his part-time left-arm spin.Dawes’ wickets included three Jamaica representatives, batsman Andre McCarthy, captain Nikita Miller and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs, who made 18, 10 and one, respectively.Kensington, in their reply, raced to their target at 97 for the loss of three wickets in the 24th over, with national batsman Cassius Burton top-scoring with an unbeaten 37.It was Kensington’s win first from two matches, after going down to neighbours Lucas by eight wickets in their first encounter.”It’s a great feeling to know that we were able to bounce back against one of the top clubs in the country,” said Francis.important toss”The toss was important to us and ideally we won it and worked with the game plan we had in our team meeting, and it worked.”We are now looking forward to our next game and looking to repeat a similar performance,” he said.Elsewhere in the zone, Kingston defeated Lucas by 179 runs at Sabina Park to lead the standings.Kingston, who were recording their second win in as many matches, posted 256 for nine in 47 overs. In-form captain Brandon King, who scored 80 in Jamaica Scorpions’ first four-day trial match last week, top-scored for the Tigers with 83.Wicketkeeper Allan Roper, with an unbeaten 53, rcorded the second highest score against pacer Rushane Bird, four for 46 and teenager Raewin Senior, three for 42.Former national youth all-rounder, Garth Garvey, then bagged an immaculate eight for 12 off six overs in helping to bundle out Kensingston for 77 inside 23 overs.
OUTSIDE SUPPORT However, with St James and Hanover not backing him, and Westmoreland and Trelawny also leaning in the same direction, it would appear Powell will need to look outside his own confederation for support. “We see and feel we are heading in the right direction. The JFF with Captain Burrell at the helm has done more than any other leader in the history of the federation, so why change horse midstream,” said Hanover’s Sheridan Samuels. “There are lots of grassroots programmes ongoing. The overall development of football, at least in my association, is as a result of the work of this administration. We, therefore, see no need to change at this time,” he noted. In addition, Samuels said that Jamaica’s recent performance at the Gold Cup, and past accomplishments of qualifying for the 1998 World Cup Finals in France, plus qualification to the Under-17 (twice), and Under-20 World Cups give Burrell a big advantage in staving off any challenges that may emerge. The JFF nominations for elections will close on Thursday. WESTERN BUREAU: Early indications are suggesting that Montego Bay businessman Orville Powell may fail to secure the four required nominations to formulate his challenge against current Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President, Captain Horace Burrell, as the St James Football Association voted not to back him in a meeting on Monday night. It is also mooted that Hanover, led by Sheridan Samuels, who is seen as a key Burrell backer, will not support Powell in his move to win the nomination to contest the election against the former army man. The St James FA, headed by Gregory Daley, carried out a vote at their offices, with seven delegates voting against a move to support Powell. It comes as no surprise, as immediately after announcing his intentions to challenge Burrell at a press conference last week, information gleaned indicated that the Montego Bay United Football Club owner would have had a difficult time getting support. St James, Westmoreland, Hanover and St James make up the Western Confederation and it is these parishes that Powell was hoping to convince of a need for change in the island’s football regime.
Jamaica’s swimming flag-bearer Alia Atkinson admitted that her Olympic embarrassment was a major motivator in her three-medal performance at the just-concluded World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada.Atkinson, got a medal of every colour, striking gold in the 100m breaststroke, silver in the 50m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m individual medley to bring a positive end to a year that saw the height of a short course 50m breaststroke, world record in Tokyo preceded by a shocking eight-placed finish in the 100m breaststroke final art the Rio Olympics.The Jamaican explained that she struggled to speak about her Olympic swim because she was too embarrassed to do so and had not yet figured out what went wrong. She did, however, underscore that she was driven to put that behind her and prove her quality.”I had all eyes on me (at the Olympics), track and field and all the other sports were interested, Jamaica was finally interested in swimming, the world was finally looking to see what Alia Atkinson could do, and I think it was more of an embarrassment why I didn’t want to come out and speak about it because I did’nt know why yet,” said Atkinson.”I wasn’t happy with the Olympic final, and I think everybody could see that, but I wanted to show the world that I am better than that and to prove to myself that I am better than that as well,” added Atkinson. “I wanted to show Jamaica that what I do on the world scene is not a one-time thing or a luck thing, so I wanted to get as much chance as I could to prove that I could keep on doing it.”
To fans of local football, attacking player Tremaine Stewart should be a fixture in the national team. Fans, however, should not hold their breath, as, according to Stewart himself, that will not happen.The player, who first shone as a schoolboy for Eltham before graduating to August Town FC and Portmore United locally, recently replied with a blunt “no” to questions about playing with the Reggae Boyz band.”No,” Stewart told The Gleaner after starring for Portmore United in a recent Red Stripe Premier League game against Boys’ Town FC.”I am not interested in playing for the national team. This is because of the history I have with the national team. I don’t think I should go into it, but I will cut it short and say that my biggest fan in the world, my big brother, passed away when I was in the national team and I never got the kind of response that I wanted from them at the time, so I decided that I don’t want to be a part of it,” he said.That incident happened in 2013 when current interim coach Theodore Whitmore was in charge and Stewart said he needed a little time off to attend to matters relating to his brother’s funeral, but was not pleased with how the situation was handled. That, he said, has hurt him so deeply that he wants nothing to do with the national team.”It does not matter what I do now as a part of my Premier League team. I don’t wish to be a part of the national team. If they called me, I would not take it,” the skillful player said.Stewart even indicated that he has even turned down an offer from former national coach Winfried Sch‰efer to be a part of the unit.”Yes, there was a time when Sch‰efer invited me and I did not take it. I did not take it because of the response I got from them when my brother passed. My brother passed a few years ago and they never understood me or helped me in the way that I wanted. I wanted time off,” he reiterated.FIRM DECISIONSo firm is Stewart in his decision to shun the national team that only his parents can influence a change of heart.”For a change of mind and heart to happen, I will have to talk to my parents. Only my parents can say yes I should play, and I haven’t asked them and they haven’t said that to me,” the 12-time capped player explained.The national team aside, Stewart still enjoys his football and is focused on getting one last professional opportunity outside the country. This opportunity would follow stints with Aalesund (Norway) from 2012-2014 and RoPS in Finland in 2015.”I am working really hard because I want to get another contract (overseas). I was last overseas in Finland and did a surgery on my ankle. Some people may not know, but I did that last year and that has been affecting me on and off, but I decided that I was not going to let it hold me down. I am fighting through it and getting back to my best”
Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta has all the keys to tomorrow’s opening race in the Sunrise-6 at Caymanas Park. DaCosta will saddle three of the seven runners, including the well-handicapped MR UNIVERSE. The three-year-old colt competed well against the best of his age group in the latter part of last year and comes in very light at 49kg to make his seasonal debut. He was fourth in the 1600 metres Jamaica Two-year-old Stakes on December 27, toting 57kg. Now training very well and with just a feather on his back, he should score an easy win over SIMPLY THE BEST, the only four-year-old in the field. Race Two is an 1100 metres event for five-year-old-and-up maidens. The one best equipped to pull off a victory is the Patrick Fong-trained BREEZY. The six-year-old mare led for most of the way in a 1300-metre race on March 18 before he was passed by winner Askaboutme, who went up to non-winners of two and performed creditably on April 15. KNOTTY AFFAIR The third race is a very knotty affair for four-year-olds and up. NUCLEAR WARNING and VISION OF GOLD won well in their last outings, but both could fall victim to BUBBLING KITTEN, who is long overdue for a win. The Anthony Nunes-trained filly finished just over five lengths behind the vastly improved Lottery Ticket on March 11, clocking 1:13.3 for 1200 metres. LIKE A LADY is also in the seven-horse field and did finish ahead of BUBBLING KITTEN in that race, but 1400 metres could prove just a bit too long for the Hamark Farms-owned filly. Down-in-class PRINCESS BRIANNA and OCEAN SEEKER will decide race four over 1100 metres. Both have dropped to the lowest level after running well against better horses. PRINCESS BRIANNA was seven by 13 lengths to Fort Knox last weekend in an event over 1000 metres round. OCEAN SEEKER has been training well since finishing seventh by 11 lengths to Seeking The Dawn over 1000 metres straight. The four-year-old filly trained well on April 16, galloping 1:09.3 for 11 metres, and should now be fit enough to take care of this field. Trainer Anthony Nunes’, PIANO MAN looked fit and ready for a big run when finishing fifth by four lengths to Flying Machine over 1300 metres last Saturday. BOUNCE was also in that race and was just ahead of PIANO MAN at the finish after leading for a long way. The two will decide the fifth event, with the latter getting the nod. UNCLE FRANK missed out on making his debut on April 15 when he was injured after entering the track. The DaCosta-trained three-year-old gelding is a full brother to open allowance campaigner Polly B and is tipped to win race six over 1000 metres straight. SUNRISE-6 SELECTIONS 1. MR UNIVERSE 2. BREEZY 3. BUBBLING KITTEN 4, OCEAN SEEKER 5. PIANO MAN 6. UNCLE FRANK