Noted racing administrator and commentator Chris Armond has died after an extended battle with illness.

Armond, who was 67, was one of regional horse racing’s premier executives and served the sport in various capacities for some 40 years before retiring in 2020.

Armond, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a racing administrator, first shot to prominence as a commentator in the late 1970s.  Rated as one of the best in the business he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone award in 1984.

Armond went on to have a commentary stint in Detroit, Michigan before heading into administration.  During his time as an administrator, Armond served as Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), in his home country Jamaica, Executive Officer of the Arima Race Club in Trinidad, and a chief executive at the Barbados Turf club for eight years.  Armond was celebrated for longstanding service at a ceremony, at Jamaica’s Caymanas Park in December 2020.

Former India cricketer turned analyst, Aakash Chopra, does not believe India Premier League (IPL) club Mumbai Indians will play West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard again for the rest of the season.

The 34-year-old big-hitter has had a difficult campaign to date for the many-time IPL champions, who have themselves struggled to make an impact.  With only two wins and eight losses in 10 games, the five-time title winners are rooted at the bottom of the IPL table.

 In ten matches so far in IPL 2022, Pollard has struggled to score just 129 runs at an abysmal average of 14.33 and a strike rate of just 109.32.  Pollard has been a loyal servant to the Mumbai franchise and despite it being the only IPL club that he has ever represented, since making his debut in 2010, Chopra believes the club is likely to take a chance with young South African Dewald Brevis.  Brevis has scored 124 runs in six games but has an incredible strike rate of 155.

“I feel Kieron Pollard will not play any further this year, that's it, they won't play him anymore because Dewald Brevis is sitting outside and Tim David is doing well," Chopra said via his YouTube channel.

"Don't know why they didn't play a punt on Tim David earlier. They had kept this six-hitting machine sitting outside for a long time. Now they have remembered that they should play him and he has not disappointed them even once since they have played him.”

 

Reigning double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, executed a comfortable early-season performance with a dominant showing in the women’s half-lap event at the inaugural JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series on Saturday.

Thompson-Herah left the blocks quickly to effortlessly cover the rest of the field by the top of the curve and shut things down to record a 22.75 winning time.  MVP Track Club's Stephanie McPherson chased her to the line late on and was second in 23.16.  Natasha Morrison was third in 23.52.

In the men’s equivalent, Racer’s Track Club’s Zharnel Hughes finished with the fastest time of the day, after recording 20.56 to win heat 4. 

Olympic 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson proved a cut above the rest of the field and powered away midway through the race to claim the women’s 100m in 11 seconds flat.  Her MVP Track Club teammate Anthonique Strachan was second in 11.40 and Sprint Tech’s Remona Burchell third in 11.43.

In the men’s equivalent, Oblique Seville took top spot with a time of 10.00.  The Racer’s Track Club athlete finished comfortably ahead of MVP’s Kishane Thompson, who was second in 10.21, and Kadrian Goldson who was third in 10.24.

 

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce registered the fastest women’s 100m season opener in history with a blistering performance at the World Athletics Continental Tour, in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday.

In her first appearance on Kenyan soil, Fraser-Pryce looked at home as she took apart the rest of the field with a blistering 10.67 seconds run.  In typical fashion, the decorated sprinter left the blocks in blistering fashion before coasting clear to set the season lead, running into a slight headwind (-0.4ms).

Egypt’s Hemdia Bassant was second with a national record of 11.02, while the USA’s Shannon Ray was third with 11.33.  Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma did not complete the race as she looked to have pulled a muscle.

“It was very good, the atmosphere was fantastic,” said Fraser-Pryce,” following the event.

“I’m not sure if it was perfect – I’d have to see the replay. But the time tells me that my training has been going great.” she

The run was the third fastest of the athlete’s career and her third sub-10.7 run in the last year.

  

 

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle has revealed that he skipped this season’s India Premier League (IPL) draft because he did feel like he was getting the respect he deserved.

The 42-year-old has been one of the tournament’s most successful and recognisable players since first appearing at the tournament in 2009.  The batsman, however, struggled to find his way last season while representing the Punjab Kings, managing just 193 runs from 10 games.

In addition, the batsman also made the headline after being surprisingly dropped on his birthday and eventually left the tournament early.  In the previous season, Gayle eventually scored an impressive 288 in 7 games but was left out of the team for the first 6 matches.

“For the last couple of years, the way the IPL went about, I felt like I wasn’t treated properly.  So I thought ‘okay, you (Gayle) didn’t get the respect you deserved after you did so much for the sport and IPL,” Gayle told The Mirror UK.

“So, I said ‘okay, that’s it, I’m not going to bother to enter the draft,’ so I left it as it is. There is always going to be life after cricket so I’m just trying to adapt to normality,” he added.

Much like his international career, however, Gayle does not believe his tenure in the IPL is over and claims he could return next season.

“Next year I’m coming back, they need me! I’ve represented three teams in the IPL, Kolkata, RCB, and Punjab. Between RCB and Punjab, I would love to get a title, with one of those two teams. I had a great stint with RCB where I was more successful within the IPL and Punjab, they’ve been good. I love to explore and I love challenges so let’s see what happens,” the 42-year-old said.

The India tour of the West Indies is expected to bowl off on July 22, with matches scheduled to take place in Trinidad, St Kitts, and the United States.

According to reports, the tour is expected to consist of three ODIs and five T20Is and should be the first major test for new West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran.  Pooran took charge of the team last week, following the retirement of all-rounder Kieron Pollard.

The first of the five-match T20I matches will be played at the Brian Charles Lara Stadium on July 29, and that should be followed by two encounters at Warner Park in St Kitts and Nevis between August 1 and 2.

The last two matches will also be held on back-to-back days, but that venue will be in Florida on August 6 and 7.

Things will get underway with the 50-over matches, which will be conducted at Trinidad’s Queen Park Oval on July 22, 24, and 27.

 Jamaica international Leon Bailey has vowed to not give up in the face of a difficult season at English Premier League (EPL) club Aston Villa.

The 24-year-old winger is back on the sideline for a third spell this term after leaving the field just before half-time last weekend.  It appears the player picked up what looked to be an ankle injury.  Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard confirmed that the prognosis is not as bad as first feared but the player will still miss the team’s fixture against Burnley this weekend.

"Leon Bailey won't make the game," the manager told a news conference on Friday. "He left the pitch last week and unfortunately this game will come too soon. I don't think we're dealing with a serious issue... but he won't be at Burnley.”

The injury is the third for Bailey, who has had a stop-start season to life at the club, with a thigh injury previously putting him on the sidelines for weeks, on two separate occasions.  For his part, the forward is determined to recover from his early setbacks and looks determined to return before the end of the season.

“This season has been very tough, but God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. The most important thing is to overcome all those obstacles in your way & never give up, that’s what makes you a solid/stronger individual,” Bailey posted via social media platform Instagram.

“I just wanna say I really appreciate all the love and support from everyone & I’ll be back VERY soon.”

Jamaica track and field superstar Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce insists she will not focus on the absence of American Sha’Carri Richardson ahead of the World Athletics Continental Tour, at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday.

Instead, the nine-time World Champion is more intent on keeping her attention on the rest of the field that she is set to face, which will include 200m Olympic silver medallist Christine Mboma of Namibia.

Ahead of the meet, a lot of attention had been placed on the possibility of another 100m match-up between the Fraser-Pryce and Richardson, no doubt a spillover from last season which feature a highly-anticipated showdown at the Eugene Diamond League meet.  Just two days ahead of the Continental Tour, however, and for the third time this season, it was discovered that Richardson had withdrawn from the meet without a public explanation being provided.

Last year, the Eugene match-up between Richardson and Fraser-Pryce had been billed as a great redemption story of sorts for the American.  The athlete had missed out on facing the Jamaica medal-winning trio of Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson at the Olympics, after being suspended for a month for marijuana usage. 

Despite the American’s presence, however, the Jamaicans finished in the same order as the Tokyo Games, where Thompson-Herah finished ahead of Fraser-Pryce and Jackson third. Richardson finished in last place.

“As far as I’m concerned there are seven other competitors in the race that I think deserve the same amount of attention and respect as me because when we each line up to compete I don’t think we are fearful of who is beside us or in the next lane.  We are just here to compete and give our best,” Fraser-Pryce told members of the media.

“So, if someone is missing from the competition it doesn’t stop me from focusing on what I’m here to do and getting the job done.”

In addition to Mboma, the 100m field will consist of the USA’s Shannon Ray, Maximilla Imali (Ken), Bassant Hemida (Egy), Rani Rosius (BEL), Patrizia Vanderweken (Lux), and Javianne Oliver (USA).

 

Top Windies batsman Chris Gayle believes the position of team captain is good for a player’s individual growth and insists he thoroughly enjoyed his time in the position.

The hard-hitting left-hander served as captain of the West Indies team from 2007 to 2010, with what can be described as mixed fortunes.  In One Day International’s Gayle led the team for 53 games, winning 17 and losing 30 for a 56 percent win ratio.  In Tests, he was in charge for 20 matches, winning 3 losing 9, and drawing 8.

Despite the record and a few controversies, Gayle believes his time in charge was well worth it.

“It made me a better person.  It grows you and you relate to people more.  You know who is for you.  It gives you a challenge and when the pressure is on that when you know who will fight for you and who is there for you.  It’s always a good thing to be a captain and a good thing to lead your country as well,” Gayle told Talksport Radio.

Gayle, in the meantime, has commended England for their choosing Ben Stokes as their new captain and tipped the all-rounder to excel in the role.

“I think it’s the best choice to have a guy like Ben Stokes, he’s been around world-class players and a proper all-rounder.  I think he’s the best choice to lead the England side.  It was tough for Joe Root to step down, but I’m sure he will get support from Root and the rest of the players.”

The West Indies recently made a new captaincy appointment of their own after Nicholas Pooran was appointed ODI captain following the recent retirement of Kieron Pollard.

Bahamian quarter milers Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steve Gardner have reportedly been confirmed for next month’s Paris Diamond League meeting.

The meet will be the seventh in the series, which runs off with the Doha Diamond League meet on May 13.  An appearance at the Paris meeting, scheduled for June 18, could mark a long-awaited return to the city for the reigning 400m Olympic Champions.

Miller-Uibo, who has won the 200m event at the 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions and the 400m, at the 2017 event, has not appeared at the Paris meet since 2011.  Gardiner has yet to win the title and last made an appearance in Monaco in 2019. 

The duo has been in splendid form early this season with Miller-Uibo claiming the 400m title at the World Indoor Championship and Gardiner registering a number of impressive times indoors before opening the outdoor season with world-leading 44.22 seconds at the LSU Alumni Gold meet.

 

Jamaica international and Inter Miami CF defender, Damion Lowe, has been fined an undisclosed fee for failing to leave the field in a timely manner.

The charge, which was announced among the number of sanctions issued by Major League Soccer (MLS) this week, relates to the centre half’s conduct during an encounter against New England Revolution on April 30.

Lowe, who signed with the David Beckham-owned franchise earlier this season, was given his marching orders in the 61st minute after receiving a second yellow card for what looked like fairly innocuous contact on Revolution forward Adam Buksa.  Clearly surprised by the decision, the defender stayed on the pitch for an extra minute to plead his case with the referee and a few other players.  New England won the encounter 2-0.

Jamaica high jumper Lamara Distin has been named the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Week and Southeastern Conference Field Athlete of the Week.

The former Hydel standout has been recognized on the back of an exceptional performance last week where she set a world-leading high jump clearance of 1.97m to win the Texas A&M Alumni Muster.

The performance saw the jumper set yet another national record for her country and moved her up to No. 4 on the all-time collegiate list.  It also bettered the previous Texas record, which she also held.

Diston, who was born in Hanover, has been on fire this season, clearing 1.93m in four of the five meets entered so far.  Two of those meets have seen the athlete jumping over 1.96m.

For her country, Distin’s assault on the national record this season began with an opener of 1.96m, set during the Texas Relays, which bettered the previous national best of 1.93 held by Sheree Ruff since May 2010.

Peterborough striker Jonson Clarke-Harris could be in line for a debut call-up to the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad as interim coach Paul Hall looks to bolster the squad ahead of the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League.

Having failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup, the national team is set to return to action with a fixture against the Spanish region Catalonia on May 25.  The friendly will be followed by matches against Suriname in the Nations League and another friendly against Uruguay in June.

The 27-year-old Clarke-Harris has been one of the most dependable scorers outside the Premier League in recent years and is a player the Jamaica Football Federation has kept close tabs on.  Since joining Peterborough in 2020, the player has scored a healthy 44 goals in 87 appearances for the club.

In 31 appearances in the English Championship, this season, the forward has scored 11 times, coupled with 3 assists.  The club will, however, be relegated from the division this season after finishing second from the bottom of the league table.

Former national player Karen Anderson has been elected as president of the Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday.

Anderson a 13-time national champion and former coach has prioritized strengthening the JSA’s governance structure, ensuring financial stability, and accelerating the growth of squash island-wide.

“My involvement in squash is multifaceted from playing to coaching to refereeing, managing teams, and marketing the game and I have the depth of experience and passion to expand the reach of squash within Jamaica while making our players more competitive in regional and international arenas,” Anderson said.

Other areas of focus will include developing a grassroots program that will encompass educational institutions and community-based outreach.  Development programs for coaches and referees will also be an area of emphasis.

The new administration also includes veteran player and IT specialist, Joey Levy as Vice President while financial expert, Deanne Pryce and seasoned administrator, Gill Binnie retained their positions as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.

 The supporting Executive Committee includes an infusion of current national team players such as Bruce Burrowes, Julian Morrison, and Tahjia Lumley as well as Nathlee Boreland, Stephen Dear, businessman, and squash aficionado, Douglas Beckford.

The full extent of the latest injury to Aston Villa and Jamaica forward Leon Bailey is yet to be determined but the team’s head coach Steve Gerrard sympathizes with the player’s situation.

On Saturday, the 24-year-old hobbled from the field five minutes before half-time, having suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury.  The setback was the latest in an up and down season for the winger.

Previously, Bailey spent lengthy spells on the sideline having injured his thigh on two separate occasions.  Since moving to the club from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, the attacker has shown flashes of tremendous potential but struggled to stay fit.  Gerrard admits the situation has been frustrating for everyone.

"It’s an ankle issue. In terms of the extent and the damage, I’m sure he’ll be MRI scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours. I’m really disappointed and frustrated for him because he’s worked really hard to get back, he’s been training ever so well,” Gerrard said.

Bailey started only his second match, since returning from injury, against Leicester last weekend, the coach had promised to give the player an opportunity to play his way back into form.

"We wanted to give him another opportunity off the back of Leicester to really try and keep him in the rhythm. You see how he started the game he nearly scores with a fantastic effort and a top save from Tim Krul,” Gerrard said.

"Not too far after that he’s got to come off the pitch. He’s frustrated, we’re frustrated and I’m sure the supporters are as well.”

  

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