Reigning sprint double world record holder, Usain Bolt, insists he would not be perturbed if his world records were broken with the aid of advancing athletics shoe technology.

Recently, athletics sportswear giant Nike unveiled the controversial Nike Zoom Air Viperfly spikes.  The shoe's advance design has a carbon fibre mechanism under the ball of the foot that acts like a springboard, which will generate more power in the sprinter's stride and hence lead to faster times.  The technology is geared towards helping the athlete in the last 20 metres of the race.

This version of the shoe, which has been designed specifically with 100m sprinters in mind, as it stands, will not be produced for this summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  This is due to the fact that the design currently falls afoul of the World Athletics regulations.

At some point, however, the introduction of such technology is bound to give athletes chasing the Jamaican’s marks a big advantage.  Bolt insists, however, that he has always placed more emphasis on titles in any case and would not be fretting over the records.

“I’m not going to be worried.  The fact that everyone will know why then it doesn’t bother me.  As I’ve always said, I’m happy to be the fastest man in the world but it was always the gold medals that mattered to me because that is how you really prove yourself,” Bolt told CNN.

“There are so many people that can say I am a former World record holder, but they're not a lot that can say I won three Olympic gold medals (In one event), back-to-back,” he added.

“To me, that is why I pushed myself so hard to dominate because I know at any point in time anyone can break your world record.  If you put so much emphasis on that, then what would you have left?”

Bolt’s world-leading marks of 9.58, in the 100m, and 19.19, in the 200m, have stood since 2009.  The Jamaican retired from the sport in 2017.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, has admitted that the team’s preparation ahead of the upcoming friendly against the United States is less than ideal, as the team will be without some of its best players for the encounter.

With the JFF and some national representatives yet to agree to terms on player contracts, several players will not suit up for the friendly.  President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts, however, believes the situation is an opportunity.

“The show must go on,” he said. “We will be missing some of our best players, but this game provides a perfect opportunity for coach Whitmore to see other players who could possibly help to bolster his squad going forward. It is not a perfect situation, but it could be useful.”

At least one member of a 15-man local squad, called by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to prepare for the upcoming friendly against the United States, tested positive for the coronavirus and is now isolating at home.

The rest of the contingent, including head coach Theodore Whitmore, ancillary staff, and administrative staff, tested negative for the virus and are now in camp at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre.

The local unit will train at the venue for the next few days before leaving on the weekend of the 20th to join the overseas-based players, who will fly directly to Austria by March 22.  The match will take place on March 25th at the SC Wiener Neustadt.  The match will be Jamaica’s first international friendly since they faced Saudi Arabia over two legs, in November of last year.

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo, has sought to assure fans of the regional team that the unit is striving to achieve consistency and has backed them to eventually accomplish it.

Spirits have been high, both for the West Indies team and many of its supporters, as the team followed up a surprise win away to Bangladesh with home wins over Sri Lanka and in both the T20 and One Day International series.

The fans will, however, be wary of celebrating a return to headier times too soon as the team has on several occasions given signs of turning the proverbial corner, so to speak, which they hope will be a crucial step to once again becoming a dominant force in world cricket.  Bravo, who scored a century in the ODI series, has explained that while things have not always quite gone to plan, the team is working to make the fans happy.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to try to be perfect because you will never ever be perfect.  It’s more about striving to be consistent in all facets of the game, whether it be bowling batting, or fielding,” Bravo told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Monday.

“I think as long as we strive for consistency then that is where you are going to see improvement.  If you try to be perfect, you fall short here and there.  As a team we are striving for consistency, the guys are working hard and I’m sure we are going to get it right.”

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and national players have reportedly moved close to securing a deal after protracted and acrimonious negotiations.

According to reports, the latest counter-offer from the representatives of the players is a lot closer to what the JFF had initially offered and is now being considered by the body.  The parties are scheduled to meet to discuss the latest offer in short order. 

Initially, the parties had been miles apart on wage demands with the group of national players demanding US$7,000 ($1,039,068) per match, for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the JFF insisting that based on expenditure it was unable to go above US$2000 ($296,876).  However, according to JFF committee chairman Rudolph Speid the latest submission is much closer to what the JFF can afford.

“The players actually made a late submission to us yesterday.  They’re our players, we are not enemies, so we want to have a peaceful resolution," Speid told Television Jamaica.

“Of course, we are still determined that we have a plan that we have to stick to, but we are willing to listen to the players and we are going to be meeting with them again,” he added.

“They have come down substantially.  We are closer now than we have ever been before.”

Although Speid did not go into specifics, the new wage demand from the players is reported to be US$3000 ($445,315) and a US$2000 ($296,876) win bonus for the World Cup qualifiers.  However, a major sticking point is likely to be the team's demand for half of the US$8m ($1,187,507,200), prize money provided to the JFF by FIFA for qualifying for the tournament.  The amount the players would receive in that scenario would be US$4m ($593,753,600).

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, insists the team must do more than just occupy the crease if it is to be successful against Sri Lanka in the upcoming series and in One Day Internal cricket overall.

Conventional wisdom has at times suggested that a team’s best chance of doing well in the format is for batsmen to spend as much time out in the middle as possible.  With ball change rules, shorter boundaries, better bats, and more attacking-minded batsmen ODI scores in the last decade and a half have risen steadily.  Scores in the region of 350 have become more commonplace.  In fact, the top five highest scores in ODI cricket have all come in the last 14 years.

As such, Estwick points out that just occupying the crease will not be enough and the team must find a way to score runs.

“It’s hard to say you are going to bat time, you still need to make sure you get around 300 runs.  We can’t just say we will sit back and bat time,” Estwick told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Tuesday.

“We got to come up with better game plans, we have to execute better.  You know that you have a certain strike rate and certain runs per over to go at in ODI cricket,” he added.

“To be safe these days you have to make around 340, 350.  It might not be that much in this series but remember we are preparing for 2023 that is when the World Cup is.”

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite fell just short of a century as West Indies Brathwaite XI, in pursuit of West Indies Chase XI first day total of 328, were 242 for 5 at the close of play on the second day.

Brathwaite scored a stroke-filled 95 from 156 balls, before becoming the third wicket of Jomel Warrican.  The team’s pursuit of the target took an early wobble when opener Kieran Powell was dismissed for a duck in the second over.  Powell was caught by Sunil Ambris off the bowling of Chemar Holder, having faced just four balls.

Brathwaite, however, immediately partnered with Shamar Brooks to settle the innings and put on 76 for the second wicket before Brooks was caught, for 19, by Hamilton, off the bowling of Nial Smith.  Next to bat, Shimron Hetmyer only lasted 5 balls before has was bowled, by Warrican, for 12 runs.

The captain was then part of another significant partnership, putting on 67 with Kavem Hodge, before departing the scene with the team at 170 for 4.  Joshua Da Silva became Warrican’s third wicket, after he was caught by Nkrumah Bonner, after putting seven runs on the board.  Hodge, who has gone on to 59, has partnered with Paul Palmer Jr (31) as the team continues to pursue the target.

Warrican has so far claimed 3 for 52 with Holder and Smith taking one each.

Earlier resuming the second day at 280 for 7, overnight batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who resumed the day on 18, added another 16 runs before being bowled by Preston McSween.  Imran Khan, the other overnight batsman, added another 21 to his 3 before becoming McSween’s fourth wicket.  McSween ended with figures of 4 for 64.  Jayden Seales claimed 3 for 42.

 West Indies and Jamaica star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted to some amount of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and would not want to take the medication if given a choice.

With the disease having a devastating impact on normal life over the last year, countries around the globe have already launched various campaigns to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a bid to halt its devastating impact on those most vulnerable to its effects. 

According to research, the majority of the vaccines have efficacy rates between 80 and 100 percent when it comes to preventing serious illness and deaths for those who contract the virus.  Despite the evidence of clinical trials, however, some have questioned the safety of the vaccines.  Last week, Jamaican World Champion Yohan Blake stated that he would rather not compete at the Olympics than take the vaccine.

“If I don’t have to take it, I wouldn’t want to take it. I wouldn’t want to take any vaccine at all, to be honest, because I am naturally living fine. So, I don’t want anything being injected inside of me,” Gayle told the Antigua Radio program Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

So far, no sport has mandated that athletes looking to compete at any event be vaccinated.  Gayle, however, believes that in the future it could be a requirement for those wishing to compete.

“Down the road, there is a possibility they are going to slow you down from your earnings and say if you don’t take it you can’t do this or you can’t do that and you can’t earn. So, it’s a situation where they might hold you ransom at some stage, but for me, if I don’t have to take it, I don’t want to,” he added.

“I am sure that at some stage they are going to hold everybody ransom by saying you can’t travel, you can’t play in a particular tournament or you can’t fly on a particular airline, but I am not up for it. I’ve been tested maybe over 60 times, 70 times since I’ve been flying and playing and being in a bubble and knock wood because I haven’t caught the Covid.”

English Premier League club Manchester United has reportedly contacted agents of Jamaica international Leon Bailey with a view to potentially securing the services of the player this summer.

The 23-year-old winger is under contract with German club Bayern Leverkusen until 2023 but rumors have run rife that the player could be set for a move away from the Bundesliga this transfer window.

With United in the marketplace for more attacking options, the Jamaica winger, who is valued somewhere in the region of £50 million, could be a solid bet.  According to reports, the Reds Devils have sent scouts to keep an eye on his development in the past 18 months.  Initially, the club was thought to be interested in Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho but the clubs remain far apart on valuation numbers.

The Jamaican has had a strong season for the German club in both the Bundesliga and European League.  In the Europa League, the player scored five times and provide 4 assists in 6 appearances, while so far, he has scored 6 league goals and dished 6 assists in 20 appearances.

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes batsmen must avoid the temptation of being too tentative in looking to navigate the Sri Lanka spin attack, as the team looks to bounce back in the third and decisive T20 international, on Sunday.

The Windies took the opening match of the series with a comfortable four-wicket win, with 41 balls remaining.  On Friday, however, Sri Lanka came roaring back to claim the second match after a star performance from the team’s spinners.

Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga proved particularly hard to negotiate, each claiming three wickets, with Sandakan boasting a miserly economy rate of 2.73.  In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 160 for 6, the Windies were restricted before being bundled out of 116.  Things had not gone smoothly against the spin in the first match, despite the result, with Akila Danajaya claiming a four-for, including a third over hat-trick before being taken apart by Windies captain Kieron Pollard who smashed 6 sixes off his over.  The coach believes a similar approach could pay dividends in the decider.

“The key is playing them in the right way.  You can’t be too tentative when you are playing against good spinners,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“We have to still go out there and look to score against them and playing cricket how we know how to play cricket,” he added.

“All the guys who played IPL would have played against these spinners or even better spinners and done well, so that is what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he is not surprised by a fierce response from Sri Lanka as the tourist levelled the T20 series at 1-1 following a 43-run win on Friday night.

After setting a fair target of 160 for 6, the Sri Lanka spinners, led by Lakshan Sandakan and Wanindu Hasaranga, spun a restrictive web that eventually had the Windies all out for 117.

On Tuesday, chasing a smaller target, the Windies had been able to smash through thanks in large part to a fierce 38 from Pollard.  This time, however, it was the Sri Lanka spinners who took centre stage.  Particularly Hasaranga, who accounted for Gayle and Simmons, in his 3 for 17, Sandakan accounted for Pollard.

The captain, however, had special commendation for the bowling unit who restricted Sri Lanka late in the innings after a fast start.  Danushka Gunathilaka, who top-scored with 56, partnered with Pathum Nissanka to put on a blistering 94 off the first 10 overs.

“If you told us we were going to bowl them out for 160 today, we would have taken that.  I just know that we did not assess the situation quickly and we had a couple of soft dismissals," Pollard said following the match.

“They got off to a flyer and scored 90 odd in the first 10 overs, but these things happen.  You don’t expect them to come and lie down and just roll over.  I thought the guys came back in the last 10 overs and really executed with the yorkers and slower balls, using the dimensions of the pitch and the ground,” he added.

 

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga led a withering spin attack which left the West Indies scratching their heads as the host pulled level with a 43-run win in the second T20 international on Friday.

Batting first, anchored by a resilient half-century from Danushka Gunathilaka (56), the Sri Lankans posted a creditable 160 for 6 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.  Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka put on a blistering 94 off the first 10 overs.

In response, the Windies were also off to a strong start at 45-1 before losing five wickets for just 21 runs.

 Chris Gayle, who made a first-ball duck on Wednesday in his first appearance in two years, didn’t comfortable in making 16 before falling to a catch by Ashen Bandara off Hasaranga.

Opener Lendl Simmons (21) was next out, lbw failing to pick a Hasaranga googly.

 Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, and Dwayne Bravo all followed quickly for single-figure scores.

Hasaranga ended with 3-17, off-break bowler Akila Dananjaya, who was the victim of Kieron Pollard's midweek assault claimed 1-13.  Wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan took 3-10, including accounting for Pollard who made just 13.

Dananjaya earlier accounted for Evin Lewis who made six.  Hasaranga added Fabian Allan to his list of victims with the West Indies then struggling on 89-7 in the 16th over.

With more than 22 an over required, Sandakan then got the wicket of Pollard, who was caught in the deep for just 13 having surprisingly opted to bat at number seven.

The final match of the series is on Sunday.

 

Former West Indies opener turned pundit, Philo Wallace, believes the poor performance of the Barbados Pride in the recent regional Super50 tournament provides even more evidence that selectors should stick with Kraigg Brathwaite as captain for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, as Jason Holder has ‘lost the art of captaincy.’  

Brathwaite received plenty of plaudits for leading an understrength Windies squad to an unexpected 2-0 Test victory in Bangladesh earlier this year.  Brathwaite, who had been axed as vice-captain the series before, was put in charge of the squad after regular captain Holder was one of 12 players to opt-out of the tour after citing health and safety concerns.

Since then, the debate has raged fiercely on both sides regarding whether the panel of selectors should return Holder to his original position or stick with the momentum achieved by Brathwaite in the unexpected win.  Wallace falls firmly in the camp supporting the latter.

“I believe that there is a shift with what Brathwaite did in Bangladesh, something happened in Bangladesh that brought a 2-0 victory for the West Indies and 2-0 defeat for Bangladesh at home,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Kraigg Brathwaite and that management team did something right.  The head coach said he saw a difference in attitude.  He saw a different type of vibe with the guys.  Are we going to kill that vibe as we return to Antigua? Or are we going to rekindle that vibe and take it into the Sri Lanka series,” he added.

“Jason has lost the art of captaincy.  There are no tactical moves.  We just saw a Super50 competition he captained six games and we lost 5.  We had a team 87 for 8 and we could not crush them.  The captain who is 6ft 6’ could not take up the ball and bowl three devastating yorkers and bowl out the team for under 120.  That is what we call leadership, you take it up and you do it yourself.”

 

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists the team will resist the impulse to chop and change without giving players enough opportunity to showcase their ability.

The regional team ending up beating Sri Lanka in the first T20 by a fairly comfortable margin, in the end, but things did not always look so straightforward.  Overall, a few of the players did not have the expected impact straight out of the gate for the Windies.  This was particularly the case with the batting line-up where three players, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen were dismissed for ducks.

In pursuit of the modest target of 131 for 9, the Windies were rocked in the third over by an Akila Dananjaya spell, which saw the dismissal of Evin Lewis, Gayle, and Pooran.  Gayle was batting in the unfamiliar third spot, which worked well during this season’s IPL campaign.

Pollard is adamant he is, however, in no hurry to change things around, particularly after one game.  In fact, he believes the practice is one that has hurt the team in the past.

“If we are honest with ourselves, that’s one of the problems that has plagued us over the years, the constant chopping and changing when things don’t go right after one or two games,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Thursday.

“We don’t expect miracles from people.  Sometimes you have to give them a chance and opportunities to fulfil what they are trying to achieve and after a period of time you can make a judgment call,” he added.

“After one game I don’t think we are even thinking of doing any changes or anything like that.  We need to get away from the fact that if a guy doesn’t perform, not exclusively using Chris for example, but any individual that has played one or two games, thinking they are not good enough and just be looking to discard them."

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper, Andre Blake, believes a lot more can be done by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to secure the funding necessary to meet or at least go close to the wage demands of the national players.

With the time running out for the deadline to sign contractual obligations, the parties remain far apart in terms of wage demands put forward.  The Reggae Boyz have asked for US$7000 ($1,050,895) per player, per match for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.  The JFF has insisted that, due to financial constraints, US$ US$2000 ($300,256) is the highest that they are able to offer.

“I think that there can be a lot more marketing done to get sponsors on board and there are a lot more ways that funds can come in to compensate the players,” Blake told the SportsMax Zone.

“I think that there’s a lot more that can be done.  I don’t think there’s enough being done.  It’s almost like I am asking someone to come and work for me and that person must figure out how they are going to get paid or how I am going to pay them.  Our job is to come and play not to worry about how we are going to get paid.  The JFF has a job and they must do their job," he added.

With a 22-man squad, the players’ current demands could see the federation spend US$2,156,000 ($323,675,752) on wages for the 14-match World Cup qualification round.

 

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts has called on the country’s national players to be ‘reasonable’ and ‘balanced’ in their demands, given what the organisation has laid out as severe financial limitations.

With one day left before the deadline to sign contracts for the upcoming campaigns, the JFF and representatives of some national players remain far apart on wage demands.  The JFF has submitted a final offer of US$2,000 (300,255.80) per match, per player for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the players have, however, requested US$7,000 ($1,050,895.30).

According to Ricketts, however, the offer made by the JFF is grounded in the reality of what the federation can afford and as a result, is unlikely to be adjusted.

“We are still waiting and hoping for an amicable settlement.  I do hope that the players will be reasonable and balanced in whatever they decide to do.  I hope that they will agree to something that is manageable,” Ricketts told TVJ Sports.

“The committee has been having talks in recent times with the lawyer who represents some of the players.  How many of the players he legitimately and legally represents we are not sure but we want to ensure that we do have a relationship with our players,” he added.

The JFF president, however, warned that some players run the risk of being left out of the program if no agreement can be reached in time.

“I want to say that if a player insists that he is not signing for what we can afford to pay, then we are not going to hold anything against that player or particular players but the show has to go on, and if there are players willing to play and some who are not willing to play then we will have to go with those who are willing to play,” Ricketts said.

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