SPORTSMAX 2 Saturday10 a.m: ARSENAL VS NEWCASTLE12:30 p.m: WATFORD VS MAN CITY4 p.m: WEST BROM VS STOKE6 p.m: MAN UNITED VS SWANSEASunday8:30 a.m: CRYSTAL PALACE VS CHELSEA11 a.m: EVERTON VS TOTTENHAM7 p.m: LEICESTER VS BOURNEMOUTH
(SUB DECK) Popular series gets under way on March 9 Welterweight boxers will be in the spotlight this year when the very popular Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender boxing series kicks off on Wednesday, March 9, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Hope Road in St Andrew. The series, which started in 2011 and alternates between middleweight and welterweight boxers each year, is a made-for-television production that is sanctioned by the Jamaica Boxing Board. It will be broadcast live each week on Television Jamaica (TVJ) at 9 p.m. and will see 16 boxers drawn from the Caribbean and the United States vying for top honours. The first prize is one million dollars. The team concept will again be used this year, with one team of eight boxers being designated Green and the other eight-man team Yellow. One boxer from each team will go up against a boxer from the opposing team every week in the preliminary rounds. At the quarter final stage, the eight boxers left in the competition will be seeded and a draw will take place to decide on the matchup each week. There will be eight preliminary bouts, four quarter-final fights, the two semi-finals and then the finals. There will also be two amateur bouts each night. There will be an official launch on Thursday this week, at which the promoters will give the details of the format that will be followed this year, the names of the boxers on the two teams and the total prize money that will be paid out to the boxers. The Caribbean team will have boxers from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Barbados and will be a mixture of new talent and tried and proven crowd favourites. Previous winners were in 2011, middleweight boxer Ricardo Smith; 2012, welterweight Donovan “Police” Campbell; 2013 middleweight Devon Moncriffe; 2014 welterweight Sakima Mullings; and 2015 middleweight Kemahl Russell. BOXING: Wray & Nephew
Andre: It’s the big one. Usain Bolt vs Justin Gatlin with Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay hoping to have a say as well. KC: This is like a heavyweight boxing match, and it’s a pity this event is coming so early in the championships as things may deflate a bit after this. Andre: Gatlin has set the pace this year. He is hungry and determined to make his point, but the signs are also positive for Bolt, whose only concern is his race rust. Still, I don’t expect this to be a factor after the heats and semi. Bolt is fit and ready and has a higher ceiling than Gatlin and I’m now convinced its going to be hard to beat him here. KC: We have heard about his performances in training but training and competition are two different things. Gatlin is also training well according to what I am hearing, but what matters most is the performance in competition and Gatlin has that. Andre: No one is arguing with that, but we know that a fit Bolt is going to run low 9.6 and so far all we have seen from Gatlin is mid 9.7s – buck. He is going to have to go faster if he is going to beat THIS Bolt, because Bolt is ready to run 9.6 right now. KC: The problem is that despite Gatlin running mid 9.7, no one has been close enough to him to push him so we don’t know how much faster he can go, but with Bolt’s class to test him we could see him going low 9.6. Remember that he’s the only one to run below 9.8 over the past two years and he has done that four times already this year! Andre: That’s impressive but what’s really important is Bolt’s start because if he is close enough to Gatlin out of the blocks, his four sub 9.8s will mean very little. If Bolt is, however, two or more steps behind Gatlin after the gun, then he will struggle to pull him back. KC: Bolt says his start has improved in training but this can be different when you line up against your rivals. Bolt cannot give away two metres at the start to Gatlin as his entire race has improved. Gatlin does his damage in the first 30m and his top-end speed has also got much better. Bolt will have to be with him at 80m if he is to beat him. Andre: We agree on some of that, and it seems that Bolt himself knows he needs a good start. That’s good. Both athletes are extremely motivated, but in the end Bolt’s class and power will see him winning in relative comfort in the 9.61 to 9.65 range. Gatlin will make it interesting for 80m but will have to take the silver. He has a tendency to tighten up under pressure at the end of his races. We haven’t seen that this year since he has not been put under pressure yet. I am giving Asafa the edge over Gay for the bronze medal. KC: As a Jamaican, I want Bolt to win and most track fans want this as well, but I am not going to let sentiments get the better of me … Andre: No sentiments here, sir … . KC: … Listen. Gatlin is in great form and although Bolt is a beast I think he is race rusty and it will show in the final, which I expect Gatlin to win in 9.68 seconds with Bolt second in 9.73. Third will be interesting between Powell and Gay, but I don’t like how Gay has been silent, and it could be he is ready to unleash here and even surprise the big two.
The title sponsor for the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) is hopeful that other corporate entities will hop on board its player development programme which enters into its second year this season.The RSPL Player Development Programme was initiated last season when the brewers signed a five-year deal with the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) to be title sponsors for the most prestigious league in the land.So far, more than 70 players have passed through the programme – developing their off-field skills – which are expected to help them become more rounded individuals. The plan is to have as many as 350 players exposed to the training before the deal expires.”Last year was a great start and the players and the PLCA were happy with our commitment and interest in them,” said Toni-Ann Reid, assistant brand manager, Red Stripe.This year, another set of players is to be selected over the course of the next month by Red Stripe and the PLCA’s coaches to participate in the programme that involves training in the social graces to financial management.”We are looking at a set of 72 players again, six from each club,” said Reid. “We are sticking to the core modules we had before – conflict resolution, social media management, grooming and etiquette, financial planning and public speaking.”Reid revealed that the company would welcome other companies willing to partner with them for the undertaking.”We want them to become just as involved as we are. We all have assets we can bring to the table to get the players what they need, we just need to commit,” she said, pointing out that last season Citizen Security and Justice joined the programme to assist players to hone their skills in conflict resolution.Training modules”They did a phenomenal job through owning the conflict resolution training module and we hope to see more of that.”As part of the continuous tweaking of the respective modules, the players participating in this season’s programme will be required to do more media interviews. This, Reid said, will come about through the fostering of more robust relationships and partnerships with the media.”We want the media to get involved with the programme. Without the media, they won’t get the exposure or the experience they need,” Reid reasoned. “What we’ll be doing is trying to put the players to practice; dong more interviews as well as mentoring at-risk young adults in their communities. We are committed to giving the players meaningful training that will help set them up for the world stage.”Reid insisted that this season, the programme should be even better as the company tries to add greater value to what the players are exposed to during training.”Red Stripe as usual will always try to improve through better partnerships, better training programmes and getting the entire clubs involved,” she said.The players too, seem to have bought into what the programme is about. Kevaughn Frater, who last season played for Harbour View FC, said he found the programme quite relevant.”It’s good for the players. It’s a learning process because it’s not all about football, it’s teaching us how to be more respected. How you are is what defines you,” he said.
Reigning champion jockey Dane Nelson, who has been riding successfully at Assiniboia Downs in Canada for the past four months, returns to the saddle at Caymanas Park today and should win the opening race over 1200 metres (claiming $350,000 – $300,000) aboard down-in-class SHADE OF BEAUTY.The Patrick Lynch-trained five-year-old mare showed little behind ITALIANO over this trip on a $450,000 tag last Sunday but has won three races so far this season, and on the strength of her good third to FORCE DE JOUR over 1100 metres on August 29, gets the nod over BELIEVE and AWESOME CODE in a field of seven.First-time runners ZUGULU, under leading jockey Shane Ellis, and the Wayne DaCosta-trained A THOUSAND STARS (Robert Halledeen up) have both looked well forward at exercise and should fight out the finish of the second race over 1100 metres for native-bred two-year-olds.It should be close based on their exercise reports, but preference is for A THOUSAND STARS, a bay filly by Storm Craft out of the Natural Selection mare Heart of Gold. The Richard Azan-trained ZUGULU is a bay colt by Hold Me Back out of Candy Girl, who was declared to run in the first race won by Blue Dixie on Sunday but was a late scratch.VALENTINE BOY, who showed good speed behind MEL AGAIN over 1200 metres some weeks ago, looks the best of a moderate lot of maiden five-year-olds and up in the third race over 1100 metres. Trained by Roy Matthews, VALENTINE BOY (Shamaree Muir up) is steadily improving and can put away WESTERN FAITH and TIZ A CAT in an eight-horse field.DEMOLITION BOY, with Ellis riding for trainer Welsh Soutar, is preferred to the lightly-raced but improving GOLD MEMBER and GANJA MAN in the fourth race over the straight for maiden three-year-olds. DEMOLITION BOY is well drawn at post position 11 and seems programmed to take this event.The last two races in the first Super-6 should be won by STAN ROY (Ellis up) and the well-prepared 3-y-o filly JESSE’S FAVORITE, with veteran jockey Ian Spence riding for 14-time champion trainer Philip Feanny. Their respective dangers are MISS ADDI and KING WITHIN.EARLY SUPER-6 FANCIES(1) SHADE OF BEAUTY/ BELIEVE(2) A THOUSAND STARS/ ZUGULU(3) VALENTINE BOY/ WESTERN FAITH(4) DEMOLITION BOY/ GOLD MEMBER(5) STAN ROY/MISS ADDI(6) JESSE’S FAVORITE- O.C.
Veteran sprinter Kim Collins is aiming to set records should he qualify to represent St Kitts at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.Should he make the team, it would be his sixth Olympic Games, but that is not the record he is aiming for.Collins says he would be going to Rio to do something no other man his age has ever done.The sprinter turns 40 years old in April, and has for the past few years defied time and convention by running faster as he has aged. In 2014 at age 38, Collins who is based in Jamaica, ran a personal best and age group record for men 35 and over, 9.96 seconds in London, almost a full tenth of a second faster than the 10.07 seconds he ran to win World Championship gold in Paris, France 13 years ago. In Rio, he wants to be faster.”I think it would be an amazing achievement to just have been to six Olympics,” said Collins. “First of all, I want to make the team, but for me personally I am looking to run under 10 at 40. That is my main goal and then whatever else happens, if I go out in the first round or whatever I would be happy with that because not everybody can hold up as a sprinter.”The 13-year-old age-group record for 40-year-old men is 10.29 seconds and is held by Troy Douglas of The Netherlands.CUTTING BACKTo ensure that his body holds up this year, Collins, who is coached by his Jamaican wife, Paula plans to cut back on his indoor season.”Last year, I had nine races. This year, we will have five including Dusseldorf, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Stockholm and Glasgow and then World Indoors,” he said.With the reduced schedule, Collins believes he will have enough left in the tank for that big push towards his goal for Rio.”I think I have it in me, based on where I am now I think I can go,” said Collins, who explained that he believed he could have achieved that goal in Beijing at the IAAF World Champions last August. “I got a little distracted after indoors last year and it threw everything off and I lost focus.”He concluded that at his age he is not trying to keep pace with the younger generation.”I am not trying to keep up with them. I am trying to run wey lef’ dem,” he said with a laugh.
With the first quarter having ended, popular owner O’Shaun Connection (O’Neil Hinds) has held off the chasing pack to maintain his lead in the owners’ championship, thanks to back-to-back winners at Caymanas Park on Easter Monday.His winners were 4-5 favourites FLYING MIRACLE and BRAVE PROSPECT in the seventh and eighth races, respectively. Both were ridden by top apprentice Linton Steadman for trainer Neive Graham.Once again, Hinds said he was happy to see his familiar light blue silks carried to victory by his two horses, as he duly ticked off his eighth and ninth wins of the season.”Winning races is the joy of every owner and speaking personally, I am thrilled to win not one race today, but two. This has enabled me to hold on to the lead ahead of closest rivals Elizabeth DaCosta and Carlton Watson, with over $3.1milion in stakes,” he explained.”The fact that I have neither a classic horse nor a grade one horse at my disposal will affect my numbers down the road, but the key is to win consistently with claiming horses and see where it takes us, as I would love to win the owners’ championship one day,” said the 40-year-old owner.WON 19 RACESHinds said his aim is to surpass his best ever season in 2013, when he won 19 races. His winners that year included the best horse he has owned to date, FANTABULOUS, who won races up to the open allowance level.Hinds said FANTABULOUS was successful at stud and is the dam of a filly sired by Adore The Gold at New Blue Stud Farm. Also doing stud duties is PRINCESS SHANEIL, who enjoyed a fairly successful racing career.A successful businessman, Hinds is the owner of the O & S Tack Room situated in the official car park at Caymanas Park. The Tack Room, operated by his wife Shauna-Kay Hinds, sells a wide range of horse accessories, medication and equipment to horsemen at the track.”The facility came on stream in the summer of 2013 and has gone a far way in making things available to horsemen in an effort to make their work easier. Given its success, we went that extra mile by sponsoring a race – the O & S Tack Room Trophy – run annually in August for the past two years. This is our way of giving back to the sport,” he emphasised.Meanwhile, on a day when the young claiming apprentice Linton Steadman rode three winners on the holiday card, the 2-1 favourite SHINING LIGHT, with Paul Francis riding for owner/trainer Gary Griffiths, outfinished 5-2 chance DWAYNE STAR by a neck to win the Easter Sprint Cup overnight allowance feature over 1100 metres.
The fourth running of the O&S Tack Room Trophy will be the feature event at Caymanas Park on Saturday. A restricted stakes event for three-year-olds and up, the 1300 metres race will carry a total purse of $868,000 (inclusive of $100,000 from the sponsor). Secondary feature on the race card will be the Ruel Rhoden Memorial Trophy for maiden two-year-olds. This race will carry a purse of $800,000. O&S Tack Room and Supplies’ sponsorship for the raceday is expected to top $1 million. The sum includes their contribution to purses, as well as gift presentations of products and equipment being awarded to the winning owner, trainer, jockey and groom of each race. Lucky fans could win a number of giveaways on Saturday. They include a 40′ television, smart tablets and phones. A special scholarship (valued at $30,000 for books and supplies) will also be awarded to the child of a groom who has received exemplary grades over the past school year. Shauna Kay Hinds of O&S Tack Room said the scholarship is primarily to assist the parents, as well as to encourage the children of Caymanas Park employees to excel.
19 teams for Portmore/ stay on top with win G.C. Foster student Daniel Glave and Megan Thompson of Holmwood Technical were the winners of the inaugural Mid-Island 5K Run/Walk held at Kirkvine last Sunday. Glave, a past student of Holmwood Technical and who had earlier won the Church Teachers College 5K in Mandeville, held off the challenges of Oshane Archibald and Shakile Onfroy to win the male category. Thompson, a student at Holmwood Technical, won the female category ahead of Samantha Pryce and Anniesha Lawerence. In the 5K walk event, Natasha McKenzie, a teacher at Holmwood, finished second overall and took the female title by a huge margin. The Mid-Island 5K is the latest addition to a string of road races now being organised in the Mandeville region. Sports administrator Pat Anderson was honoured by the organisers and a presentation was made to him by Olympian and Atlanta 1996 400m hurdles gold medalist Dion Hemmings-McCatty. Super League St Catherine Domino League All set for Cumberland Southborough showed resilience as they came from a goal down to earn a 2-1 win over Edgewater and stay atop the standings with 10 points from four games in the York Pharmacy-sponsored Portmore Division Two Football League last Sunday. Rudo Bright and Rushane Lawson (penalty) scored for Southborough. However, Edgewater bounced back in emphatic style, and stayed close in the race of the top spot in the league as last Thursday they whipped Daytona 4-1 to jump to nine points from four games. In other games last Sunday, Racing United defeated Three West 3-1, while Cumberland drew 0-0 with Westchester. Holmwood based Mid-Island 5K Ricam successfully defended their Brumalia House/Manchester Football Association KO title after outlasting Hillstars 2-1 in the final played at Brooks Park Complex on Thursday. Ricam had to secure their title the hard way after being forced to come from behind. Thorn Simpson netted in the 27th minute to give Hillstars a 1-0 lead, but the champions came back forcefully in the game through their prolific striker Romario Rochester, who scored the first of his two goals in the 37th minute. With the half ending 1-1, Rochester got his second three minutes after the resumption. The final marked a historic milestone for sponsors Brumalia House Hardware. It marked their 20th year of association with the Manchester Football Association. The Jamaica Domino Federation’s Portmore/St Catherine League will begin on January 15 with at least 19 teams confirmed. This was disclosed at the launch of the league last Sunday at the Garveymeade Sports Club. The City of Kingston Cooperative Credit Union have been confirmed as part sponsors of the upcoming League. Ken’s Wildflower Domino Club defeated an All-Stars team 200-198 during an exhibition match which was a feature of the launch. Sporting Central Ricam defend Braeton All Stars got the better of the number-one ranked Waterhouse United, 300-293, in quarter-final action of the Jamaica Domino Council Association’s Premier League recently. In other quarter-final games Caribbean Classic Classic defeated Giants 300-283; Spit Fyah burnt Right Stuff 300-283 and Bull Bay United eliminated Exceptional 300-265. Former National Premier League campaigners Sporting Central Academy have taken over the lead in the South Central Confed Super League following a 5-0 demolition of Clarendon parishmates Kemps Hill last weekend. Sporting Central’s (seven points) lead on goal difference after three rounds. The St Elizabeth duo of Black Star and St Bess FC as well as Tru-Juice of St Catherine are also on seven points. The leaders after two rounds, Hollands Police Youth Club (PYC) of St Elizabeth, were beaten at home by visiting Tru-Juice. In fact, it was a weekend of home teams being beaten as Dunbeholden of St Catherine went down 1-2 to St Bess, Hillstars lost 1-2 to Manchester parish mates Ricam, and Clarendon’s New Bowens were blown away 0-3 by Black Star. Kick Off Fun Day All is set for the Cumberland New Testament Church of God Kick Off Fun Day on Tuesday, Boxing Day. The tournament features an all-day six-a-side football tournament, where the winners are guaranteed $50,000 as prize money. The Fun Day is open to communities surrounding the Cumberland and the Ritches to Spaldings area in North Clarendon. It is back after being inactive for a number of years. The registration fee is $2,000, and teams have been asked to confirm their participation before Tuesday by contacting the church representatives at 871-7974 or 336-8633. lead South Central Waterhouse booted by Braeton All Stars Southborough Manchester KO title athletes dominate
URGE FORWARD Bert Cameron, the elder statesman of the 400 metres, is full of praise for the young Jamaicans who currently compete in his pet event. Cameron, the 1983 World 400 metres champion, is also encouraging the likes of 2016 Olympic 4×400 relay silver medal winners Javon Francis and Nathon Allen to excel in the individual event. Speaking before a Cameron Blazers training session earlier this week, the 1984 and 1988 Olympic finalist was looking forward to great days for Francis, Allen and other upcoming Jamaicans in the 400m. “I can’t wait to see the day when the quarter-milers are genuinely back because that’s the only race I really love,” he hoped. “I just want to see those individual runners get to finals,” he said. The last Jamaican male 400m runner to reach a World or Olympic final is Jermaine Gonzales, who raced to a close fourth in the 2011 World Championships. Gonzales, who is making progress after several injury setbacks, was among those hard at work during the ensuing Blazers workout. At the 2016 Olympics, Francis and Rusheen McDonald, national record holder at 43.93 seconds, both reached the semi-final stage, but no further. With Allen blazing a 43.5-second relay leg in the heats and Francis storming a 43.9 anchor in the final, Jamaica took silver in the relay. That earned praise from Cameron. It also led him to urge them all forward. “If you win a silver medal in an open event then you know you’re doing something,” he said. Cameron believes fast running in individual races should spill over into the relay. “And then, if you’re running that fast in the individual races,” he asserted, “then you know that you run faster relays, at least a second faster.” After naming Francis and Allen specifically, he predicted: “I see some good young quarter-milers, so hopefully, we can challenge the United States because remember we’ve won that before.” That comment was a reference to the Jamaican 4x400m victory over the Americans in the 1952 Olympics in London by Arthur Wint, Les Laing, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden. Jamaica also beat the USA to win World Indoor titles in 1991 and 2004. “You know, those days will come back,” said the coach who directed Gonzales to a number 2 world ranking in 2010, Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson to the 2012 Olympic women’s final, and Tiffany James to the World Under-20 gold medal this summer. “I want to live to see that,” he concluded.