Sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were on Friday night presented with the 2015 RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards at the Jamaica Pegasus. Bolt was winning his sixth Sportsman of the Year award, after copping titles in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, while Fraser-Pryce, who also won in 2012 and 2013, was winning her third Sportswoman of the year award. “I want to thank my fans, who supported me this season, I really needed it. I want to thank my coach, I put him through a lot of stress, he has stood by me this season … I want to thank God and I promise I will try to do my best this season,” said a grateful Bolt. Fraser-Pryce, who won gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, China, as well as the Diamond League 100m title, was also presented with the Sagicor Iconic award. The sprinter has won two Olympic gold medals and seven at the World Championships level since her ‘arrival’ at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. “Everything I have done is attributed to how much God has blessed me,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I am honoured to be here collecting this award a third time. I want to thank my coach for believing in me and putting up with me; and for me putting up with him sometimes.” Bolt’s award, which now puts him second in the all – time list behind boxer Michael McCallum (7) came after another dominant season by the powerful sprinter, who won three gold medals at the World Championships (100m, 200m and 4x100m). World Championships 100m hurdles gold medal winner Danielle Williams was the runner-up to the Sportswoman of the year, with shot put bronze medal winner O’Dayne Richards took home the male equivalent. The first award of the evening went to veteran quarter-miler and cancer survivor Novlene Williams-Mills, who was presented with the Chairman’s award. The People’s Choice Award for ‘Performance of the Year’ went to Jamaica’s senior women’s 4x400m relay team, which won gold at the World Championships, while former Netball Jamaica president Marva Bernard received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (CMC): Only three players so far have signed contracts with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to represent the region in the T20 World Cup, just days before a Valentine’s Day deadline runs out. WICB Chief Executive Michael Muirhead made the disclosure late yesterday without revealing the names of those who have put pen to paper before Sunday’s deadline. His revelation came as a fresh contract crisis erupted this week over wages, between the WICB and players selected for the T20 World Cup starting next month in India. “Three have signed and one has indicated that he would not be able to participate because of injury so he will be replaced,” disclosed Muirhead, in an interview with Caribupdate News. “I will not name names at this point until the player is replaced and until Sunday when at that point I will then decide the appropriate time to release such”. Captain Darren Sammy and the players are contending that the remuneration on offer from the board for the T20 World Cup is unacceptable, and have called for a return to the amounts offered under the previous contract. The players concerns were contained in a letter from Sammy to Muirhead rejecting the notion that WIPA was their legitimate representative. However, Muirhead has expressed confidence that the rest of the players would also sign the contract and disclosed that he has received a second letter from Sammy with a conciliatory tone. “I am confident I think they will sign. I think just the tone of Sammy’s letter. I think he almost sound like he is speaking for himself but I assume he is speaking on behalf of most of the players if not all,” said Muirhead. “I assume that most if not all will sign not withstanding they may be some outstanding issues that he may want to take up after but certainly nothing could happen before. So I am confident that they will sign”. Muirhead has also confirmed that the Clive Lloyd led selection committee has already begun selecting a cadre of available players to represent the region in the World Cup, if they are needed. “That’s in the hands of the selectors right now. I am not sure at what stage they are but they have convened,” he said. “They were looking at the cadre of players who are out there and are available and will be putting that list together”. In his letter to the WICB Chief Executive, Sammy had pointed out that the T20 World Cup four years ago, the lowest paid player was guaranteed almost US$60 000 while the highest player stood to make almost US$138 000. He argued that with only US$27 600 on offer for the upcoming tournament, it represented between a 50 and 80 per cent pay cut for players. According to Muirhead, while Sammy’s second letter expressed his intention to represent West Indies at the World Cup he remains resolute that the WICB reconsiders the pay package. “We are not opposed to reconsidering but it would have to be done through the single and recognised representative body being WIPA,” Muirhead said.. “The book is never closed but it cannot be for a single group.”
THIS WEEK’S MATCHESSPORTSMAX 2SATURDAY7:45 a.m. WEST HAM VS SUNDERLAND12:30 p.m. WEST BROM VS CRYSTAL PALACE5 p.m. SOUTHAMPTON VS CHELSEA7 p.m. WATFORD VS BOURNEMOUTH10:45 p.m. STOKE VS ASTON VILLASUNDAYSPORTSMAX 29 a.m. MAN U VS ARSENALSPORTSMAX9 a.m. TOTTENHAM VS SWANSEA
Three-time champion jockey Dane Nelson was on Tuesday cleared by the stewards of the Jamaica Racing Commission for his riding of highly-fancied COMMANDING CHIEF in the seventh race for overnight allowance horses at Caymanas Park on Saturday, March 19. Nelson rode the veteran campaigner to finish fifth to HOVER CRAFT over 1500 metres, but the stewards were not satisfied with his riding and summoned him to an inquiry. After hearing submissions from Nelson as well as his representative Ed Barnes, the stewards accepted the jockey’s submission that he had suffered an injury on the track on Friday, March 18 and had received medication from the doctor. They also accepted the argument that COMMANDING CHIEF displayed symptoms of breathing problems during the race, which affected his performance. Additionally, Nelson apologised to the stewards for his disrespectful behaviour in the scales area and in the vicinity of the Stewards’ Room. He was also cautioned regarding his conduct and what is expected of him as a professional jockey. Nelson, the leading rider with 22 wins so far this season, was second time lucky yesterday, when he successfully appealed the decision by the stewards to disqualify his mount, PAPER N LACE after winning division one of the McKay Security Trophy over 1820m on New Year’s Day. The horse was disqualified for causing interference to OH MY GRANDPA in the early stages of the event and the race was awarded to GRAN CORAZON. PAPER N LACE was reinstated to first by the full Commission.
KINGSTON: A record 10,600 participants lined up on the waterfront, downtown Kingston, to participate in the Digicel Imagine 5K Run on Saturday night. David Butler, CEO, Digicel Jamaica, said he was encouraged by the record numbers and thanked everyone who contributed to the overwhelming success of the event – being staged for the fourth time – in support of special-needs institutions. “We want to thank everyone; the participants, our sponsors and partners from corporate Jamaica and the public sector, the media and, importantly, our hundreds of volunteers, for joining us in the support of this great cause,” said Butler. Last year, a total of 8,052 persons turned out to support the cause. ‘grateful’ many firsts Also expressing thanks was Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairman, Digicel Foundation. “We are grateful to the thousands of persons who registered in this year’s race, they have boosted the Foundation’s islandwide programme for our special-needs family,” she said. “Our patron, Denis O’Brien, has inspired us with his passion to uplift these beloved Jamaicans. Our special-needs students, athletes, teachers, coaches and volunteers have brought us and our country pride and joy, and it is a privilege to partner with them,” added Lowrie-Chin. In line with the record turnout, the company is also celebrating several firsts for the race, with this year showing the highest number of participants coming from the special-needs community. Mustard Seeds registered 229 participants, while Early Stimulation Plus registered a team of 221 participants. The race also received massive support from the school population across Jamaica, with a total of 427 students from secondary schools and 555 from tertiary institutions. A new addition to this year’s race and a first for 5K races in Jamaica was the fun route. Participants in this section of the race were splashed with paint as they started the route that was laced with fun, interactive obstacles. These included more paint, a maze, a giant-sized pendulum swing, tyre run, balance beam, and ending with a slip and slide.
Captain of West Indies Women Stafanie Taylor says emulating the feat of four years ago of their male counterparts remains the focus ahead of next month’s ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament in India.Describing the triumph by the men in 2012 as a signature accomplishment, Taylor said the victory by the team brought pride and joy to the Caribbean, and they would like to do likewise.”For us women, it would be great, as the men actually won a Twenty20 World Cup, and we have been so close (semi-finals) to winning it,” remarked Taylor.”For the Caribbean, it would be fantastic, as a lot of people are behind us and know that we have the potential to go out there and do the job.”The Jamaican all-rounder, who will be captain of the side for the first time at a global event, has, however, cautioned that the job should be difficult.She explained that other teams like defending champions Australia and perennial title challengers England are expected to be strong, while developing teams are getting better.This, she further noted, is evidenced by hosts India, who, in light of being a traditional lightweight in the female version of the sport, defeated the Australians recently.TOUGH TEAMS AHEAD”I think all the team’s are going to be tough. As such, we will not take any team for granted,” highlighted Taylor.”We are (therefore) going to have to be on our P’s and Q’s to be right up there.”Meanwhile, as it relates to preparation, Taylor said it has been good so far, with the team looking to do well on their tour of South Africa.”In the few games that we have been in at the camp, the team really looks good,” she said.”It’s just for us to now prepare ourselves for South Africa and then take it from there.”The West Indians are scheduled to play three Twenty20 and three one-day internationals in South Africa.The Women’s World Twenty20 World Cup, which will be held between March 15 and April 9, will see the West Indies at the preliminary stage contesting Group B alongside England, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
MUMBAI, India (CMC): Chris Gayle says it was a remark from close teammate, Sulieman Benn, before the start of the West Indies innings, that inspired his scintillating hundred against England on Wednesday. “I was focused and I was a little bit pumped as well. Just before I went out to bat, Sulieman Benn said to me ‘Chris you’ve got to entertain me’,” Gayle said. “Sometimes when someone says such things like that, it kind of actually gives you a bit of buzz as well so Sulieman gave me that spark. I said ‘I’m going to entertain my teammate’. He’s my drinking partner as well so we’re going to have few beers … it’s good to get off on a winning note.” The left-handed Gayle was superb, smashing five fours and 11 massive sixes as he stormed to exactly 100 not out, in the Windies opening game of the Twenty20 World Cup. He needed just 47 balls to reach his landmark, to record the third fastest hundred in T20 Internationals. He put on 55 for the second wicket with Marlon Samuels, who hit a cameo 37, added a further 46 for the third wicket with Denesh Ramdin (12), before combining in a match-winning unbroken fifth wicket stand of 70 off 35 balls with Andre Russell, who finished with a run-a-ball 16 not out. “The preparation has been really, really good. There (were) a lot of throw downs with (coach) Stuart Williams and it has helped a lot,” the 36-year-old said. “It’s all about practicing your skills and then you can exploit them out there in the middle. It worked for me today, it’s a good wicket to bat on and we were chasing a decent total on that sort of wicket, but the dew played a part as well so it was good to get set and take it from there.” On 15 from 12 balls when Samuels fell, Gayle then opened up, racing to his half-century off another 15 balls and then using another 20 deliveries to get to three figures. Gayle said Samuels’s cameo had paved the way for him to play freely. “After facing (my first) over, it actually took a while to get back on strike, but I didn’t lose my composure,” Gayle recalled. “He (Samuels) was getting the boundaries as well so that was actually pretty good because then that kind of eased the pressure a bit and actually gave me a chance to pace my innings and then work out which bowler I was going to take down … and keep ahead of the run rate or keep within the run rate. “It was a fantastic innings and I am really happy to finish the game and not leave it for anyone.” Preparation
Prominent business executive, Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven, has been re-elected as president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).The CHASE Fund chief executive officer will head the association for a second two-year term, after turning back the challenge of incumbent secretary, Fritz Harris, 52 to 47, during the association’s annual general meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesterday.”It feels good to be returned as president, as over the past two years, the JCA has made several strides,” said Heaven.”It is a good victory for cricket, I believe, as the association is moving in the right direction generally, and the hope is that over the next term things will get even better.”Harris, who prior to the election had served as secretary for the past two years, expressed disappointment at the result, but, in the meantime, congratulated Heaven.HARRIS DISAPPOINTED”I am naturally disappointed with the result, but it’s a membership association with the right to elect the president, and I have to respect that,” Harris said. “I must also commend the president on retaining his position.”Heaven, who prior to his ascension to the post two years ago, had promised to serve for two terms, will also have at least six of his seven executive committee nominees to work with.This is after the they won their respective contests.These include: Dr Donovan Bennett (first vice-president), Mark Neita (second vice-president), Diann Campbell (honorary secretary, Clinton Clarke (assistant secretary) and Hopeton Morrison (treasurer).At press time, the seventh executive position, that of assistant treasurer, was undecided.Kerry Scott, representing Team Heaven, and Errol Moodie, representing Team Harris, were the assistant treasurer nominees.Heaven, during his campaign, noted that several measures had been instituted during his tenure.These, he said, included: the enhancement of commitment to transparency and good governance by the filing of the first annual income tax returns in 16 years, the appointment of a chief executive officer, the implementation of lights at Sabina Park, and improvement practice facilities as well as provision of a new gymnasium and wellness centre. He also pointed to the restoration of local women’s cricket competition to the cricket calendar.Harris, in the meanwhile, a director of the JCA for over 15 years, had campaigned on a promise of change for a betterment of the game.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):Hero MotoCorp Ltd, headquartered in India, announced yesterday that it is extending its title sponsorship of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) by another three years.The tournament, to be played between June 29August 7, will continue to be called the ‘Hero Caribbean Premier League’ until the 2018 season, a statement from the organisers said.Hero MotoCorp is considered the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer in terms of unit volumes sold by a single company in a calendar year.”The extension of our title sponsorship of the Hero CPL is also in keeping with the increasing global presence of Brand Hero, which is now present in 30 countries across Asia, Africa and South and Central America,” said Pawan Munjal, chairman, managing director and CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd.”The Hero CPL is now set to become one of the important events in Hero’s annual global sporting calendar.”Last year’s tournament attracted a global audience in excess of 90 million, officials have said.This year the CPL T20 is set to break new ground with the first set of matches to be played in the USA.”Following the successes of the West Indies men’s, women’s and under-19 teams on the international circuit over the last few months, we are excited about this year’s competition which will once again see the best Caribbean and internationaltalent project their skills to a growing local and international audience,” said Richard Bevan, chairman of the Hero CPL.”This year the CPL will be breaking new ground with the first foray for professional cricket into the USA and we are delighted that Hero MotoCorp will be joining us on this journey.”The Hero CPL 2016 will be played at venues across seven territories – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis,St Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago and Fort Lauderdale in the USA.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP):Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is unhappy with the Bills decision to bench him to close the season and questioned whether he’s played his final game for Buffalo.Unless he hears otherwise, Taylor said he can only assume the benching reflects the Bills having lost confidence in him to continue on as their starter.”That’s fair to say. That’s what it showed,” Taylor said yesterday, when Bills players gathered to clear out their lockers a day after a season-ending 30-10 loss at the New York Jets.”Did I believe that was fair? No, I didn’t,” Taylor said, adding he’s hoping to get a lengthier explanation from the team during exit meetings. “Once we have the conversation and it’s actually explained to me why it was done the way it was, we’ll move forward from there. But we’ll see when that happens.”REPLACEMENTSThe decision to start backup EJ Manuel was made at the same time the Bills fired coach Rex Ryan last week and promoted Anthony Lynn as the interim head coach.Without going into detail, Lynn called it a “business decision,” and said he didn’t take part in the meeting in determining to start Manuel.The Bills went 7-9 and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 seasons.Taylor said it’s premature to say whether he’d consider restructuring his contract to remain in Buffalo.TAYLOR’S FORMIn two seasons, Taylor went 15-14, including a 7-8 record this year.The benching came after Taylor played his best game, going 26 of 39 for a career-best 329 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 overtime loss to Miami.He finished 269 or 436 for 3,023 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He also had six rushing touchdowns.Taylor has had difficulty rallying the Bills from deficits, going 2-14 in games Buffalo trailed by 4 or more points at any time of the game. A rash of injuries to Buffalo’s top receivers, including starter Sammy Watkins, hampered Taylor’s production.He did provide a dynamic running element to team that led the league in rushing for a second consecutive season. Taylor finished with 580 yards rushing to break the single-season franchise record for quarterbacks he set last season with 568.”Can we be better? Yes. Can I be better? Yes,” Taylor said. “If the decision is to keep me here, I’m definitely going to continue to keep playing my heart out.”