Experts in the fight against doping in sports have long discussed and recognised that governments and anti-doping organisations worldwide have very little incentive to discover and prove if any of its marquee names (in any sport) has used or is using drugs to impact their performance. The change in personnel at the top of anti-doping organisations have revealed (sometimes) that there were athletes whose performances brought fame and glory to an organisation or a country, but who had suspicious or positive tests that were stifled or ignored. A change in personnel at the United States Anti-Doping Association (USADA) revealed that there were positive/suspicious tests on eventual gold medal winners at World Games that were ignored or forgiven. The USADA is not by any means alone. Secrets revealed Disgraced multiple Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, has given evidence of complicity of workers in drug testing labs, doping control officers and cycling administrative officers who aided and abetted his effort in not ever testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The public is now aware of leaks that suggest ‘unusual’ behaviour in anti-doping organisations of Russia and Kenya. Wholesale removal of personnel from those organisations, including whistleblowers, was thought to be the key to robust anti-doping in those countries. However, the independent review of blood tests of athletes who performed at the Olympics and World Championships over at least the last 10 years have revealed results that have cast a cloud on the effectiveness of anti-doping efforts at a higher level. The introduction of blood tests and the initiation of an athletic passport wherein blood tests taken during an athlete’s career would be recorded and analysed along with blood tests done during competition, to detect the use of performance-enhancing substances that are known to escape detection, due to the narrow window of opportunity available to anti-doping agencies who suspect drug use by a particular athlete was supposed to deter doping. Test refusal We now know that one of the above named anti-doping agencies refused point blank to do blood tests on their athletes. The allegations published in the Sunday Times of England on August 2 this year seem to suggest that the mantra of ‘protect the sport at all costs’ is not only practised by local anti-doping organisations, but now at the highest level of athletic administration, the IAAF! The oversight body of doping in sports, the World Anti-Doping Authority, has promised an immediate investigation, reminding all that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As the investigation unfolds, what we need to recall is the strange verbal support from a very high official of the IAAF, when a global star recently tested positive for a substance known to the athletic fraternity as a masker of drug use. This recent revelation by the Sunday Times will be the subject of intensive investigation to determine its veracity. However, coming just before the World Championships in athletics, due to begin in less than three weeks, this information will remove some of the lustre associated with this event. Jamaicans can rest easy, as the same report in the Sunday Times, although not naming athletes whose blood tests were suspicious, stated categorically that British athletes Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, as well as the world’s fastest human, Usain Bolt, had NO SUSPICIOUS TEST RESULTS in the samples analysed. It must be now obvious to everyone that Bolt IS the most important icon in a sport that is fast catching up with cycling as the most suspicious sport in the world, as far as drug use is concerned. Leaks and confessions are now the number-one weapon in this fight against doping that we must win. Let us continue to identify, not only the athletes who cheat, but let us also name and shame administrative officials of any stripe who facilitate cheating.
more acute It is 1947. Running for the University of Illinois, young Herb McKenley is in hot pursuit of a fast rival in the 4×440 yards at the Penn Relays. He accelerates early and makes up ground, but the surge is premature. Herb fades and the chase is lost. As related by Errol Townsend and the late Jimmy Carnegie in their classic book, Herb McKenley: Olympic Star, his coach, Leo Johnson, advises, “When you are behind, Herb, eat it up a little at a time.” Fast-forward to 1952 and the Olympic Games in Helsinki. In his last opportunity to get an Olympic gold medal, Herb is faced with a 15-metre gap on the third leg of the 4x400m final and Johnson’s words come back to him as an assurance. He spreads his speed across the entire journey this time and catches Olympic 400-metre hurdles champion, Charlie Moore, just before the exchange to 400 winner George Rhoden. The result is a sublime 44.6-second carry, history’s first sub-45, gold for Jamaica and a world record. It’s 2013. Schoolboy Javon Francis bravely scoots past four other anchormen and holds off a resurgent Russian team in front of a boisterous Moscow crowd to hang on to the silver medal for Jamaica. Remarkably, Francis has run his leg in 44 seconds flat. Last Sunday, in the last race of the 2015 World Championships, Francis was faced with a similar problem. The situation was even more acute. A win for Jamaica would secure the gold needed to top the medal table. With his teammates – as a group – running more slowly than the first three legs did in the heats, he chose the 2013 strategy and took off. The result was a circuit timed in 43.5 seconds, equal to the fastest 4x400m leg ever by a Jamaican. The brilliant effort left the team thousandths of a second short of the bronze. Recriminations began immediately, but Francis had given more than his all. He was a full half a second faster than in 2013. Should he have taken the advice Herb used to good effect in 1952? Or were things somehow different? So it seemed. Herb was chasing one man. On the other hand, Francis had World and Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt, World Junior champion Machel Cedenio, European champion Martyn Rooney, and Belgium’s unheralded Arnaud Ghislan between him and victory. With three really fast runners to overcome, traffic might have been a problem in the closing stages. Had he run 44.5, the recriminations might have more substance. A better-paced anchor leg might have collected the vital split-second difference between bronze and fourth, but the same can be said for each of the preceding legs. After all, the relay is a team event. In the heats, the Jamaica team covered the first three legs in two minutes, 14.1 seconds. The corresponding figure for the final is two minutes, 15.0 seconds. In the end, Peter Matthews, Ricardo Chambers, Rusheen McDonald, and Francis had run two minutes, 58.51 seconds. No team has ever run that fast to finish fourth. It’s 2015, and if Herb were here, he’d probably hug the team. After that, with a wipe of a motivational tear from his eye, he’s probably calling Francis over for a little chat. It’s a fair bet that that talk would be filled with stories of a glorious history and a little advice. Hubert Lawrence has just read Herb McKenley: Olympic Star for the umpteenth time.
St George’s College’s ace goal-getter Alex Marshall expects a tough match against defending champions Jamaica College in today’s Manning Cup final.Marshall, who had a hand in all four goals in St George’s dominant display in the recent FLOW Super Cup final, said JC will be tougher rivals today.”I know it’s not going to be the same. They are going to come bigger and stronger, so we just have to go out there and play our type of football. The team (St George’s) will put on a show, not Alex,” the forward who has scored 26 goals in all competitions said.Marshall believes his team is good enough to take the Manning Cup back to North Street for the first time since 2012.”All we have to do is just go out there and play our game, and hope for the best.”It’s a team effort, I can’t say I am the main man to get the goals,” he told The Gleaner.Marshall has had his way with schoolboy defence line-ups this season with his clever dribbling and comes into today’s match on the back of a hat-trick against Jonathan Grant in last weekend’s newspaper.”I just pick a spot and go for it,” he said of his relatively free scoring form.”I am happily looking forward to continue scoring in the final; 30 goals is my mark,” he stressed.- S.F.
Despite making his debut in one of the most challenging North American rally events, 17-year-old Fraser McConnell had an electrifying start to Canadian motorsport which saw him place a sensational 11th place in the national standings, at the North America Tall Pines recently.It was the teen’s second rally as a young driver.Co-driving for the Jamaican was the very experienced Nathalie Richard who helped the teen to third overall, first in class production in two-wheel drive, first in novice and 11th place in the national standings.Co-driver Richard remarked of McConnell’s exploits: “For his first rally he chose the most challenging event in North America (Canada), Tall Pines. He did a great job and impressed me right from shakedown, which was his first time sitting in a car.”I was almost as proud of him as his supportive (but freezing) family members! Good stuff, Fraser!” she added, describing Rally of the Tall Pines as one of the most challenging annual events of the Canadian Rally Championship series.A total of four classes of cars in the order of speed/power: four-wheel drive open, four- wheel drive production, two-wheel drive open, and two-wheel drive production.The registered competitors faced off for National and/or Regional points and drivers were classified as ‘Expert’ or ‘Novice’.McConnell, who is currently a high school student in Canada, remains upbeat as he eyes a great future in the sport.”It’s a new experience for me. Good learning experience with a new car and new navigator.”Throughout the day I got faster and faster. It was quite a challenge, but what was exciting for me is that I was beating turbo four-wheel drive and open class,” the teen recalled.He added: “It was like the biggest event in the world for me and I just wanted to make my name. I will be trying to compete more abroad next year and get more power in the car,” said the 17-year-old.”Meanwhile, father Peter McConnell said: “We were torn about this decision because it coincided with Rally Jamaica, but we felt that he had much more to gain by competing in one of North America’s premier rally events.”With Fraser now introduced to the North American Rally World in a big way, he will no doubt be able make an even positive impact next time and chart a way forward.
Mellisa Ward, who on November 28 became the first of the three female apprentices to ride a winner, FIFTYONESTORM, enjoyed her best day in the saddle at Caymanas Park yesterday, notching the first double of her short career.The 21-year-old Camperdown High graduate looked improved in booting hot 4-5 favourite CLASSIK MAKIT in the third race and 2-1 favourite POWEROFTHECAT in the seventh, just lasting home by a head from the fast-finishing TIMEFORACAT, with fellow apprentice Linton Steadman aboard.She just missed a triple when 3-1 chance CHANGE HIM NAME was beaten in a photo finish by INFANTRY OFFICER under Aaron Chatrie in the first race, but she could be deemed unlucky, having lost her whip when challenging on the rails midway the last furlong.Ward, who has now won four races, said: “I am happy with my progress, but I still have a lot to learn, and I’m taking it one day at a time.”Saturday-Sunday meetsFellow apprentice Dane Dawkins rode three winners at the back-to-back Saturday-Sunday meets, including 22-1 outsider LITTLEMISSEMMY (made all) for trainer Anthony Nunes and owner-breeder Karl Samuda in the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers’ Association Trophy race over 1200m on Saturday. Nunes, who was away in Trinidad, won three races on the card.
SEMIS Leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, in the meantime, are two from two on 10 points and will play the Americas at Shaw Park. The group winners and runners-up will progress to the semi-finals. “They (Barbados) are a good team and always difficult to beat,” stated McCarthy. “However, we have a good team as well and just have to turn up with our ‘A’ game and work hard.” Jamaica Scorpions: John Campbell (captain), Sheldon Cottrell, Trevon Griffith, Nicholson Gordon, Jermaine Harrison, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Tamar Lambert, Andre McCarthy, Nikita Miller, Marquino Mindley, Aldaine Thomas, Devon Thomas, Shacaya Thomas. Barbados Pride: Kevin Stoute (captain), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chasem Kyle Corbin, Miguel Cummins, Dane Currency, Justin Greaves, Ashley Nurse, Mario Rampersaud, Dwayne Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kenroy Williams. Jamaica Scorpions’ top-order batsman, Andre McCarthy, has listed application as one of the primary reasons behind his maiden one-day century in the WICB/NAGICO Super50 Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago. Entering the fray with Jamaica in a delicate position of 61 for three against ICC Americas – after electing to bat – the 28-year-old McCarthy went on hit 118. His knock, which was the cornerstone of Jamaica’s 260 for eight, included four sixes and 11 fours. ICC Americas, a guest team in the three-week tournament, were then bowled out for 76. “I’ve always said I wanted a hundred and, thankfully, it came in the second game of the tournament,” said McCarthy. “It was a matter of application, adjusting to the team situation and playing within the team plan. “Jamaica was in a tight position as the Americas seamers were bowling well. I had to therefore try and fight out the seamers and, hopefully, when they came back capitalise, and that’s what I did,” he explained. The innings, which propelled McCarthy to the Player-of-the-Match award, was his second career hundred, after scoring 121 away to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the WICB First-Class Tournament late last year. That game was also played in Trinidad, and although describing the pitches in the twin-island republic as difficult to play on, he says he hopes to continue scoring runs. “The wickets in Trinidad are very difficult to score fast and bat on,” he quipped. “But I like to consider myself as a fighting batsman, and the hope is that I will continue to do well.” Jamaica Scorpions, second in Group C on five points after also scoring a bonus point against the Americas, will today play third-place Barbados Pride (four points) at Queen’s Park Oval in their third of six first-round fixtures.
MANCHESTER, England (AP): In one of the most entertaining matches of the English Premier League, Manchester United squandered a two-goal lead, went back in front through an exquisite 79th-minute shot from Wayne Rooney and then conceded a 90th-minute goal to draw at Newcastle 3-3 yesterday. “It feels like a defeat,” said Louis Van Gaal, whose side slipped to sixth. “We have given it away.” A positive for United was the performance of Rooney, who scored twice, set up the other goal by Jesse Lingard, and put in an impressive all-round performance. Goals by Georginio Wijnal-dum and Aleksandar Mitrovic, also from a penalty, brought Newcastle level from 0-2 down. With seconds left of regulation time, United failed to clear, and Paul Dummett advanced from left back to fire in a fierce shot from the edge of the area that deflected into the top corner. “It is the best feeling in the world,” the Newcastle-born Dummett said. Last-place Aston Villa collected their first win since the opening day, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 courtesy of a goalkeeping error by Wayne Hennessey. Also, West Ham came from behind to beat Bournemouth 3-1, with Enner Valencia scoring twice, and fit-again playmaker Dimitri Payet scoring the other goal for the visitors. West Ham moved into fifth place, above Man United.
Former champions Arnett Gardens will be counting on home comforts to return them to winning ways when they host the impressive debutants, Jamalco, in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL).On Sunday last, the ‘Junglists’ came from behind twice to pull level with UWI FC, but conceded late to suffer their second defeat of the season, both away from home. Home has always been kind to them, and, according to Coach Jerome Waite, they are gunning for their record of two seasons ago when they did not lose a single match at home and went on to claim the title.”It is always good to play at your home venue. It is a positive in that you are looking forward to the 13th man – your fans – and the support they give. Our objective is to stay unbeaten at home for a whole year as we did two years ago,” said Waite.Despite being a new team, Jamalco have acquitted themselves well since the first day, winning three of their six matches, drawing once, and losing the other two for a total of 10 points. This place has seen them occupy third position on goal difference over defending champions Montego Bay United and Arnett Gardens. They have also scored the most goals, 10, and Waite is very aware of the threat they pose.”We expect a tough game based on how they have been performing all season. I know what they have to offer, so I am expecting a competitive game,” explained Waite as he highlighted the importance of home-crowd support.Jamalco’s coach, the young and talented Rayon Johnson, was respectful of his opponents, yet confident.”Well, going up against a team such as Arnett Gardens is going to be a tough game and, yes, we have had some setbacks because we were not scoring freely in our last two games, but we are confident that we will do well,” Johnson told the Sunday Gleaner.TRUST A PLUSOne of the things that defines his team, Johnson said, is the trust that they have in what they do.”I think the thing that defines us and makes us tick is the trust. They trust what we are doing and they are willing to go out there and do it,” he explained.Today, he expects the big three of the competition’s joint leading scorer Rohan Richards, Roshane Sharp, and the former Boys’ Town man, Andre Dawson, to be his key players, but he warned that others could surprise.Arnett Gardens, on the other hand, will be looking to national defender Dicoy Williams, team captain Oneil Thompson, Jabeur Johnson, Fabian Reid, as well as Marvin Morgan and Kemal Malcolm, who were introduced from the bench last week.Another big clash will be that of Boys’ Town and Tivoli Gardens where the teams appear to be going in different directions. Boys’ Town are climbing, while Tivoli Gardens are slipping and will be missing the influential Jermaine Johnson, while Boys’ Town will welcome the fit-again Shamar Nicholson.The Donovan Duckie-coached Humble Lion should be fancied to edge UWI FC in the top-of-the-table battle at Effortville, while Maverley-Hughenden could find it tough playing away to Reno FC, especially in this the rainy season.Football lovers should be entertained when Montego Bay United host the resuscitated Waterhouse at Wespow Park. Montego Bay United must be cursing themselves for failing to deliver a win last week against bottom-of-the-table Harbour View and the likes of Dino Williams, Allan Ottey and the veteran who recently earned his first national cap, Dwayne Ambusley, must be keen to make amends.Waterhouse coach Marvin Tate, a man who has a history with Montego Bay United, would want to get one over them, as would Jermain ‘Tuffy’ Anderson, a man who hails from Montego Bay. The exciting skills of the young Rodave Murray could also please the fans.Today’s Games:o 3 p.m: Boys’ Town vs Tivoli Gardens – Barbican Complexo 3:30 p.m: Reno vs Maverley-Hughenden – Frome Complexo 3:30 p.m: Arnett Gardens vs Jamalco – Anthony Spaulding Complexo 3:30 p.m: Montego Bay United vs Waterhouse – Wespow Parko 3:30 p.m: Humble Lion vs UWI FC – Effortville Community Centreo 7 p.m: Harbour View vs Portmore United – Harbour View Stadium
When he won in Poland, it was no surprise, as for the past two years, he has been unbeaten among his peers in the event. The outstanding Hyde, who finished second at the National Senior Championships, added more glory as he went on to represent the country at the Olympic Games, where he advanced to the second round of the event. While James and Hyde were head and shoulders above their peers, there were several others who made their marks – especially in Poland. This includes Shannon Kalawan, Rushelle Burton and Junelle Bromfield, among the females, and Nigel Ellis among the males. Burton and Kalawan won silver in the 100 and 400 metres hurdles, while Bromfield won bronze in the 400 metres with Ellis taking the bronze in the 200 metres. UNBEATEN It was another good year for the country’s junior athletes, who once again made their marks on the international scene. The IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland provided the stage for the country’s juniors, who picked up eight medals – two gold, three silver and three bronze; to finish fifth overall. It was also fifth for them on the placing table with 71 points. Tiffany James and Jaheel Hyde, who both captured gold medals in their respective events, were the island’s standout performers of the championships. James, who now attends The Mico University College, showed tremendous improvement over the past year to create history by becoming the first Jamaican female to capture a global gold medal in the one-lap event. This is a great achievement for her, considering the quality quarter-milers that Jamaica has produced over the years. After winning the bronze medal at the Carifta Games in Grenada in 52.70 seconds a few months earlier, James continued her improvement and surprised Junelle Bromfield at the National Junior Championships, to win the event in a then personal best of 52.06 seconds. In Poland, she was on fire as she made her intentions clear from the first time she graced the track, winning her heat in 52.98 seconds to be the fastest qualifier. In the semi-finals, she remained unbeaten after winning in a new personal best of 51.77 seconds, before improving with a lifetime best of 51.32 seconds in the final. She did this with a gritty performance to hold off the United States’ Lynna Irby, who also went sub-52 seconds, finishing second, also in a personal best 51.39 seconds. Hyde was a cut above his peers and after his success two years ago in the 400 metres hurdles at the World Juniors in Eugene, Oregon, he had little difficulty in creating history by becoming the first male athlete to win back-to-back titles, when he easily won the event in Poland in 49.03 seconds. Now in his second year at the University of the West Indies, Hyde is not new to success on the international stage. In 2013 in Donetsk, Ukraine, he won the World Youth 110 metres hurdles title and also won the event at the World Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China the following year.
THE ‘BROWN BOMBER’ Made for black people Williams sisters in tennis Once upon a time, when the masters of the world were lily white, and when, if you were black, you were told to get in the back, or something like that, the men who played sports and who were crowned champions in sports and celebrated as the greatest were also all white. Those who were not white men – like Jack Johnson, the black man who was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world in the early 1900s, and Jim Thorpe, the American Indian who was hailed as the greatest athlete the world had ever seen and who won the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games before he was stripped of the medals – were few and quite far between and were treated with scant respect bordering on ridicule. It was such that during my time as a little boy, when men like Wally Hammond and Don Bradman in cricket, Stan Matthews and Ferenc Puskas in football, Jack Nicholas and Arnold Palmer in golf, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano in boxing, Rod Laver and John Newcombe in tennis, Lindy Remigino, Bobby Morrow, and company in track and field, ruled the roost. I almost believed not only that sport was the white man’s playground, but that black men could not play sport. The problem was that when I was a child, I thought as a child. When I became a teenager, however, I thought as a teenager, and when I heard about black men like George Headley and Learie Constantine challenging white men like Bradman and Hammond, when I read where Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, George Rhoden, and Les Laing beat the world, I began to think differently. And when I became a man and saw people like Sonny Ramadhin and Alfred Valentine, Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, and Clyde Walcott, Vijay Manjrekar, Polly Umrigar, and Subhash Gupte on the cricket field, I realised that black men could play sport, and given the opportunity, or taking the opportunity, they could play as well or better than white men, as is the case today. Joe Louis, the ‘Brown Bomber’ who destroyed Max Schmeling and flattened Billy Conn, Ezzard Charles, and Jersey Joe Walcott of boxing fame, started the charge, and so did men like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron of baseball fame; Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe of tennis; Jesse Owens, Willye White, and Wilma Rudolph of Olympic fame; the West Indies cricketers, who surprised England and the world in 1950; and the Indian cricketers. In contrast to when I was a child and all the stars were white, and all the records, or world records, were held by whites, today, almost all the stars are black men and women and the records, or almost all of them, in most sports, are held by blacks. In fact, today, from around 1950 or so, blacks are now seated in the front row of sports achievements. Starting with Ramadhin and Valentine, Worrell, Weekes, and Walcott, and others such as Allan Rae and Gerry Gomez of cricket, black men have been going from strength to strength. The champions and top performers in almost every sport, in the four corners of the Earth, are black men. In football, there are men like PelÈ and Garrincha; Maradona and Eusebio; John Barnes; and others like Roger Milla, Samuel Eto’o, Jay-Jay Okocha – The African Maradona; Asamoah Gyan, Didier Drogba; and a host of others from Africa. In tennis, there are the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena; in golf, there are Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods; in basketball, there are Michael Johnson, Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James, Cheryll Miller and Lisa Leslie and a whole lot of others; in baseball, there are men like Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and David ‘Big Papa’ Ortiz and many others; and in boxing, there are such greats as Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraser, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns. Marvin Hagler, and Jamaica’s Michael McCallum. In cricket, there are men like Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Virat Kohli, Kapil Dev, Hanif Mohammad, Imran Khan; and in track and field you have men and women like Jim Hines, John Carlos, Don Quarrie, Hasely Crawford, Asafa Powell, Mo Farah, and Usain Bolt; Jackie Jonyer-Kersee, Cathy Freeman, Gail Devers, Merlene Ottey, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and now, Elaine Thompson. Blacks are now visible in sports like motor-racing, with Lewis Hamilton, showjumping, ice-skating and bobsleigh, and gymnastics, but it is in sports like basketball, football, and track and field that they are most dominant. In many ways, it is like these sports were made for black people. An Olympics 100 metre race, men or women, or a 10,000 metre race, men or women, would leave one to wonder what has happened to men like Remigino and Morrow, or men like Emile Zatopek, LasseViren, or Vladimir Kuts, and also to women like Fanny Blankers-Koen. Times have changed. Time was when Robinson and his kind were barred from participating in baseball because of the colour of their skin, and when one like Tidye Pickett was barred from the 1930 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, also because of her colour. Today, as we remember those times with the celebration of Black History Month, it can be said, boldly and without fear, that black sportsmen and sportswomen now rule the world in many sports and that in Jamaica, there are quite a few of them, including Elaine Thompson, the fastest woman in the world, and Usain Bolt, the fastest man on the planet and of all time.