Three-time Tokyo Olympics medallist Shericka Jackson impressed plenty of onlookers with her speed at the recently concluded Games, but many were left even more astonished by the superb conditioning that saw her take part in four events.

Jackson claimed a bronze medal in the 100m, competed in the first round of the 200m, and claimed gold in the 4x100m, before being part of a bronze medal-winning team in the grueling 4x400m relays.

A remarkable achievement, particularly considering that only a year ago a troublesome injury threatened to seriously curtail her participation in the Tokyo Games.  Jackson suffered from severe shin splints a condition that affects the tibia and produces sharp and razor-like pain along the bone.

With the heavy demand placed on the legs by track athletes, the condition can, at worst, be debilitating enough to require surgery or at the other end of the spectrum certainly prevent the runner from delivering their full potential on the track.

When the athlete showed up at the offices of physiotherapist and performance enhancement specialist Yael Jagbir, in September of last year, her condition was much closer to needing surgery.

“It was pretty severe because if I even touched the area it was painful and she was unable to continue her season because of the pain she was in.  She would have trouble warming up and things like that, so it was very severe initially,” Jagbir told SportsMax.TV.

“I’ve seen stress fractures that you definitely need surgery.  If hers wasn’t treated properly it could have led to her needing to do surgery on her shins.  It was right on the cusp of that point that she would have needed surgery,” she added.

After months of highly specialized treatment from Jagbir, however, the athlete slowly began to see improvement and the painstaking work really paid off in April, with the Olympic qualifiers just a few months away.

“Three months between September to November we were doing some very intense work, some pool therapy, land-based therapy.  I was also doing treatment modalities to promote healing for the stress fractures,” Jagbir explained.

“When November came, she went back to training, we continued working with some modifications.  In December, she did an x-ray and the x-ray showed that they were seeing signs of healing and that was the first time she was seeing healing in the shin from when it first started in 2019.”

“We just kept working, her work ethic is impeccable, so it was a good team effort.  In April, when she did another x-ray, by that time the pain in the shin had really started to subside, she was able to train and able to sprint.  When she went for the repeat x-ray, in April, it showed no signs of fractures.  That was amazing, that was a miracle, for those fractures to heal while she was actually training is really amazing.”

Typically, a 400m runner, Jackson dropped down to the sprints for Jamaica’s national championships, where she surprised many by placing second in both the 100m and 200m sprints.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Atapharoy Bygrave scored arguably the goal of the season that earned Dunbeholden FC a fortunate 1-1 draw with Tivoli Gardens in the feature match of the Jamaica Premier League at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Tuesday.

Romaine Bowers had given Tivoli Gardens a 9th-minute lead, slotting home from close range after William Benjamin parried Devroy Grey’s fierce shot into his path in the ninth minute.

But Bygrave picked up a ball just below halfline and unleashed a ferocious shot that sailed past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Davin Watkins on the stroke of halftime in the 45+2 minute.

It was a wonder strike by Bygrave and it was just as impressive as his celebration where he

would have been given a 10 out of 10 for his somersault and perfect landing.

Bygrave’s goal was worthy of a share of the points although, in truth, Tivoli Gardens should

have won comfortably as they wasted a number of chances.

Jamaica international and Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has reflected positively on his time at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and believes it was good background preparation for the upcoming English Championship season.

The 28-year-old was part of the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad that bowed out of the competition following a 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals.  Johnson, who made his debut last year in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, played all four games for the team at the tournament and was named Jamaica’s man-of-match against Costa Rica.

“It was my first experience of a tournament and was lovely to be part of.  It was a different experience playing against international players and the games had a different feel than league games over here,” Johnson told the Lancashire Post.

“The first two games in the group which we won against Suriname and Guadeloupe, we controlled.  In terms of building up my fitness ready for this season, the tournament was brilliant,” he added.

 “I played 90 minutes in the first two games, 85 in the third, and then 90 minutes in the quarter-finals. That was a big boost having missed the back end of last season.”

Preston will kick off its English Football League (EFL) against Reading on Saturday.

 

West Indies bowler Hayden Walsh Jr has paid tribute to the female athletes of the Caribbean, following a number of dominant performances in the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Games.

In total, women from the Caribbean region snapped up a total of 18 medals, with the region claiming 34 overall.

There were outstanding performances from Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah who successfully defended her Olympic titles after repeating the sprint double, and was, along with her two compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, part of a clean sweep of the 100m podium places.

Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo also put in a commanding performance after dismissing the field to defend her 400m Olympic crown in a new personal best.

“I’ve enjoyed all the successes of the Caribbean, especially the women,” Walsh Jr told SportsMax.Tv’s InCaseYouMissedIT.

“Seeing the women from Jamaica perform and bring home the medals, normally you would hear about the men from Jamaica but this  I’m proud the women pulled through for us,” he added.

The win by the Jamaica team in the 4x100m was the first for the country’s women’s team since 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has backed mercurial talent Shimron Hetmyer to eventually find his way back into the Test team after an extended absence.

Despite being considered one of the team’s brightest talents, and having appeared in all formats, Hetmyer has not suited up for the Test team since 2019, against Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old, who made his debut against India in 2016, has struggled for consistency, scoring five 50s in 15 matches with a high score of 93, but with several other innings where he has not delivered.  Despite obvious potential, his overall average of 28 falls on the mediocre side.

In addition, the athlete has also had his share fair of fitness issues over the past two years, twice failing fitness standards after being included in touring squads.  Simmons has, however, backed the batsman to eventually get things right.

“I think that Hetmyer can be a world-class Test player when that time comes,” Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure at some point he’s going to return to the Test squad.  I’m sure the experience he’s gotten from being there before will serve him well and that he will make use of it.  I think he is maturing as we go along.  He’s had a few incidents he’s not proud of, but he’s maturing and I’m sure he will get back into the Test squad at some point in time and show what he’s made of.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons insists the team is preparing for a tough Test series against Pakistan, not just based on the competitiveness of previous encounters, but because of the form of the teams heading into the matches.

On the back of a largely rained-out T20I series, Pakistan should head into the encounter high on confidence following 2-0 wins over Zimbabwe and South Africa.  After two impressive performances, the West Indies will head into the series on the back of underwhelming performances, at home, against South Africa, where they were themselves swept aside 2-0.

“Going through the years we’ve always had tough battles with any Pakistan team whether we go there, or they come to the Caribbean,” Simmons told members of the media at an online press conference on Monday.

“They have played very well in their last two-Test series, so they are coming here on a high, whereas we played well in a couple of Test series and the last one we didn’t play well.  So, even though we are home, we’ll be an underdog in this, but we are going to try to put everything into it,” he added.

The West Indies last played Pakistan in a Test series in 2017 when they lost 2-1 at home, they have in fact not managed a win over the South Asian team since 2000.

 Veteran jockey Shane Ellis spectacularly captured his sixth Jamaica Derby on Saturday, rallying the St Leger winner Calculus to a narrow come-from-behind win in the JA$7.5 Million (US$48,900) Classic at Caymanas Park.

The 3-5 favourite Calculus looked beaten as the front runners quickened away from him coming off the final turn, but Ellis strikingly drove Chevan Maharaj’s colt back into contention and scored by a neck for trainer Gary Subratie’s first Derby triumph.

“It was almost a miracle that he got back to the horses there to win this race,” Trinidad and Tobago’s Maharaj said in the winners’ enclosure.

Calculus clocked two minutes 37 and 4/5ths of a second in the 12-furlong trip for the win over the 6-1 bet Billy Whizz. The 2-1 second favourite Further and Beyond was another length and a half back in third.

The 41-1 outsider Iannai Links led the field for the first three furlongs, tracked by a cluster of horses including Calculus on the rail, 30-1 bet Regal and Royal, Billy Whizz and the stablemates Santorini (20-1), and Further and Beyond.

After opening splits of 24.2 and 48.4, a tightly bunched half of the field cruised past the midway point in the race at a six-furlong split of 1:16 and 4/5ths with Further and Beyond, the 2020 Champion two-year-old, edging into the lead ahead of Iannai Links, Calculus, Billy Whizz and a smooth moving 4-1 shot Big Jule in fifth within two lengths of the lead. Santorini and Regal and Royal were also within striking distance as the pace quickened.

Leaving the three-furlong marker, reigning co-champion jockey Dane Nelson whipped up Further and Beyond and shot into a clear lead while Big Jule went in chase. Billy Whizz also made a sharp move toward the lead and the three appeared to have the seemingly one-paced Calculus beaten.

Early in the homestretch, Big Jule failed to quicken and Panama-born jockey Dick Cardenas presented Billy Whizz with a surging outside challenge approaching the eighth pole that sliced into Further and Beyond’s lead. But Ellis – shifting from the inside rail -- suddenly flipped Calculus’s initial mild recovery into a jetting move between the new leader Billy Whizz and Nelson’s tiring colt. A quick change from left to right hand whipping by Ellis finished the job as Calculus swept through a tight space for the win.

“Dick was there on my outside, I had to shake my horse and let him know that the job is not done. I had to bustle my way through and show them that ‘big man a big man,” a smiling Ellis said after adding to previous Derby wins he had with Awesome Power (2011), Typewriter (2012), Relampago (2014), Orpheus (2016) and Supreme Soul two years ago.

Calculus only arrived in Subratie’s barn two months ago from champion trainer Anthony Nunes’s stables after Maharaj purchased the colt from another T&T owner Shivam Maharaj, and the season’s leading trainer in wins praised Ellis’s job in the saddle.

“The passage was getting tight but Shane did his job and that’s what we wanted,” said Subratie, whose 9-5 Derby favourite last year Wow Wow was beaten into sixth position while his other two entries Nipster and Another Affair narrowly lost in second and third to upset winner King Arthur.

Maharaj, who had a T&T Derby win in 2017 with the Jamaica-bred filly Leading Lady, also acclaimed Ellis’s ride that landed the 47-year-old jockey his 22nd Classic triumph.

“At the top of the lane, honestly I thought he was beaten I could not imagine that Shane was able to get some extra out of him to get back to the horses in front. All credit to him for a fantastic ride” said Maharaj, who was winning his second Jamaica Derby in three years, having scored with Triple Crown winner Supreme Soul in 2019.

In the co-feature, Jamaica Oaks, Fillies Guineas winner She’s a Wonder galloped to a predictable win in the JA$3.75 Million (US$24,460) event to give 21-year-old jockey Reyan Lewis and trainer Ian Parsard their first win in the 10-furlong Classic.

She’s a Wonder scored by three lengths as the 1-5 favourite ahead of Amy the Butcher (5-1) and clocked 2:13.3/5ths for her sixth win in 12 lifetime starts.

Grenadian 400m bronze medallist, Kirani James, has expressed gratitude to be back on the Olympic podium, after a difficult four years, which included being diagnosed with a debilitating disease and the passing of his mother.

As a 19-year-old James, was the toast of the Caribbean after claiming 400m gold at the 2012 London Games, four years later he battled to silver behind South African Wayde van Niekerk who won the event in a blistering world record time.

Shortly after, however, the athlete’s fortunes took a drastic turn for the worst, and, in an event as brutal and as grueling as the 400m, the odds were stacked against the athlete getting a third Olympic medal in Tokyo.  He defied them anyway.

In 2017, James had found himself struggling with fatigue and weight loss.  He dropped around 20 pounds before being diagnosed with the thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease.  Just two years later, he faced perhaps even more difficult circumstances after his mother Pamela James passed away following a lengthy battle with a terminal disease.

At the 2019 World Championship James had fought his way back to competition weight but finished fifth in the final leaving many to wonder if he would ever be back amongst the elite.  Just a year later the James had to deal with the cancelation of the Olympic Games and the disruption and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic.

After clocking a time of 43.88 in the semi-finals, his fastest since 2012, the athlete showed that he was doubtlessly back to his best, and, despite not crossing the line first in the final, after four years of tribulation, the bronze medal was a sweet reward for the Grenadian.

“It’s always great.  You have to give credit to all eight guys in the race, they are so, so good, so it's tough to race against them.  I’m just happy to compete against those guys and get a medal,” James said.

“I had an illness.  It’s still going on, I have to be on medication for the rest of my life.  2019 I lost my mother who was the matriarch of our family,” James added.

“I’ve had to deal with Covid, the quarantines and the lockdowns and not having a place to train and trying to figure things out.  So, it’s been a whirlwind, a roller coaster.”

James became the first man in Olympic history to win a medal in the event at three different Games.

Women’s 4x400 Metres Relay

 Jamaica secured a bronze medal in the women’s 4x400 metres relay as the track and field portion of the Tokyo Olympics ended today.

The team of Roniesha McGregor, Janieve Russell, Shericka Jackson and Candice McLeod combined to run 3:21.24 to finish 3rd behind the USA and Poland.

Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu came together to win gold for the US in 3:16.85 and Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek, Iga Baumgart-Wittan, Malgorzata Holub-Kowalik and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic won silver in a national record 3:20.53.

 

Men’s 4x400 Metres Relay

 Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago both failed to secure medals in the men’s 4x400 metres relay.

The Jamaican team of Demish Gaye, Christopher Taylor, Jaheel Hyde and Nathon Allen ran 2:58.76 to finish 6th while the Trinidadian team of Deon Lendore, Jereem Richards, Dwight St. Hillaire and Machel Cedenio finished 8th in 3:00.85.

 Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin combined to win gold for the USA in 2:55.70.

The silver medal went to the Dutch quartet of Liemarvin Bonevacia, Terrence Agard, Tony van Diepen and Ramsey Angela who ran 2:57.18, a national record.

The Botswana team of Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Zibane Ngozi and Bayapo Ndori combined to run 2:57.27 for bronze, breaking their own African record in the process.

Men’s 4x400 Metres Relay

Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago both advanced to the final.

The Trinidadian team consisting of Deon Lendore, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio and Dwight St. Hillaire ran a season’s best of 2:58.60 to finish 3rd in heat 1 and progress.

Jamaica fielded a team of Demish Gaye, Jaheel Hyde, Karayme Bartley and Nathon Allen to finish 2nd in heat 2 with a season’s best time of 2:59.29 to advance.

 

Women’s 400 Metres

The Caribbean secured two medals in the women’s 400 metres.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas successfully defended her title from the 2016 Games by winning gold in a personal best 48.36, the 6th fastest time ever in the event.

 

She was followed by Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic who took silver in a national record 49.20.

Allyson Felix of the USA became the most decorated female track athlete in Olympic history by finishing 3rd and securing her 10th Olympic medal, one more than Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey.

Jamaicans Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Candice McLeod finished 4th and 5th in 49.61 and 49.87 respectively.

Cuba’s Roxana Gomez started the final but unfortunately failed to finish, pulling up injured about 100 metres into the race.

 

Women’s 4x100 Metres

The Jamaican quartet of Briana Williams, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson celebrated Jamaica’s Independence Day by running a national record of 41.02 to secure the gold medal.

This marks Jamaica’s first time winning Olympic gold in women’s 4x100 metres relay since Athens 2004.

Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, Jenna Prandini and Gabby Thomas combined to run 41.45 to secure the silver medal for the USA, while Great Britain with Asha Phillip, Imani Lansiquot, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita ran 41.88 for bronze.

 

Men’s 4x100 Metres

Jamaica finished 5th in the final of the men’s 4x100 metres relay.

Jevaughn Minzie, Julian Forte, Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville combined to run 37.84 to finish behind Italy, Great Britain, Canada and China.

 

The Italian team of Lorenzo Patta, Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Fostine Desalu and Filippo Tortu ran a national record 37.50 to secure gold and continue the country’s impressive track & field showing in Tokyo.

The British team comprising of CJ Ujah, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake ran 37.51 to finish just behind the Italians in 2nd.

Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake, Brendon Rodney and Andre De Grasse combined to run 37.70 and secure the bronze for Canada.

 Decorated Jamaica female sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has called for an end to berating the country’s male sprinters in light of several disappointments at the Tokyo Games.

The post-Usain Bolt Olympic era begun in difficult fashion for the Jamaica men’s team, with the dizzying heights of world record times and podium topping finishes seemingly, for now, well and truly in the past.

In the 100m, an event dominated by Bolt for the past three Olympics, no Jamaican was able to advance to the final for the first time in over two decades.  Over double the distance, where Bolt also dominated for the last three editions, one Jamaican, Rasheed Dwyer, made it to the final but finished in 7th place.

In the 4x100m, where the country has won for the last two Olympics, after being stripped of a gold medal in 2008, the team finished fifth in the final.  Despite the rapid descent being too much for some fans, who have made their grouses know via various social media platforms in recent weeks, Fraser-Pryce has called for an end to the criticism.

Having been part of the teams that dominated along with Bolt, the athlete has called for patience and appreciation.

“All the Jamaicans that are beating the men and cursing and leaving all the negative comments, you need to stop it,” Fraser-Pryce said, in the aftermath of being part of a gold-medal-winning 4x100m relay team.

“It takes a lot of guts and hard work year to year to compete, to come out here and to represent.  A lot of persons are competing at these championships, some of them are going away without making the finals.  We were in the finals, so we need to start celebrating the men because their time is coming.”  

Jamaica Women’s 4x100m relay team admits it was a disappointment to miss out on breaking the event’s world record but were nonetheless happy to give their nation a gift on its Independence Day.

The quartet of Briana Williams, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson captured the gold medal with a new national record of 41.02.  The time narrowly eclipsed the previous mark of 41.07, set at the 2008 Beijing Games, but was some way short of the 40.82 set by the USA in 2012.  The time was, however, the third-fastest ever run over the distance.

Even with the threat of the US, the quartet used safe changes for most of the race, with the bigger target clearly being the gold medal.  Despite, dominating the 100m sprints for over a decade, the gold medal was the first for the Jamaica women’s team since Athens 2004.

“It wasn’t perfect, but we did manage to get the stick around.  We didn’t get the world record, but we got a national record on Independence Day, what more could you ask for,” Thompson-Herah, who added a third gold medal for the Games, said following the event.

Fraser-Pryce, the 100m silver medallist, backed up the notion.

“It was good, as an elite athlete or a senior athlete, I was just ready to make sure we took the opportunity and took the stick around and we got a national record.  We wanted a world record, but we also wanted Elaine to get the three gold medals because the last Olympics she missed it and now we have it,” Fraser-Pryce said.

The Jamaicans had taken silver behind the USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the last time Thompson had been in a position to claim three gold medals after winning the 100m and 200m.

The relay gold was, however, also the first for Fraser-Pryce, who saw the team she was part of at the 2008 Olympics fail to get the baton around the track and also being a part of quartets that finished second in both 2012 and 2016.

Williams was participating in her first Olympics, while Jackson who got a 4x400m silver in 2016 has only just started to take part in the sprints.

 

 

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