Jamaica will be represented in several sports at the first-ever Junior Pan-American Games which is scheduled to take place in the city of Cali in Colombia between November 25 and December 5, 2021.

Responding to the call made by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) earlier this year, several juniors from the so-called "smaller sports" dedicated their efforts in qualifying and have now earned a coveted place at the historic games.

Among those sports, whose athletes will don the black green and gold national colours in Cali, are Taekwondo, Weightlifting, Artistic Gymnastics, Fencing, Badminton Triathlon, Tennis, Cycling (Track), Skateboarding and Squash.

In commending the commitment of member associations and the nation's juniors, President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, said: "Our associations and federations and their juniors have responded positively and with national pride to the JOA's Cali call to action for it will be for us, 'business unusual' in Cali and for them, it will be 'signed, sealed and delivered."

The JOA boss, in expressing a well-known policy of the national governing body, further stated "the JOA is giving our young sportsmen and women every opportunity to transition and be more than gold medalists - to be standard-bearers. The JOA subscribes to this ideal and Cali is certainly embracing it."

The number of local sports that will feature at the multi-sport junior games is indeed a record for the JOA and is being interpreted by its Secretary-General and CEO, Ryan Foster, as "a clear signal that the JOA's strategy of diversification is working well and that our members are inspiring their junior athletes to be history-makers and to strive for excellence."

With the Santiago 2023 Senior Pan-American Games and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games only two and three years away respectively, the JOA views the Cali games as a critical milestone. Secretary-General Foster, in giving the context, was unequivocal. "Cali is a dress rehearsal for our juniors. If you want to be at the senior shows, you have to, from now, dress for the shows, study the scripts and be able to deliver yourself on the big stages."

The stage lights in Cali will soon be turned on to spotlight over 3,800 athletes from the Caribbean and Americas - north, central and south -who will compete across 315 events in 28 sports and "Jamaica will be their centre stage and the objective is to have a leading role in this historic event," President Samuda said.

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse ended his long wait for an Olympic gold medal in the 200 metres final, while Italy smashed the world record in the men's team pursuit final on Wednesday.

De Grasse took silver behind the great Usain Bolt in this event five years ago, while he claimed a bronze in the 100m and 4x100m relay.

But there was no stopping the 26-year-old, who was also a bronze medallist in the 100m earlier this week. 

De Grasse registered a national record of 19.62 seconds; finishing 0.06s ahead of America's Kenny Bednarek, whose compatriot Noah Lyles completed the podium.

He also became the third Canadian champion of the men's 200m at the Olympic Games – and first since Percy Williams in 1928.

"I finally did it. I always felt like I came up short, winning bronze and silver, so it is good to have this gold medal," he said.

"No one can take that away from me. I lived for this moment. This is what dreams are made of. I did this for my kids.

"I am proud of this moment and I want everybody to know. I shocked the world and that is what I came to do. 

"Everyone was saying that the Americans were going to win, but this was my moment and I knew I had it in me.”


FORZA AZZURRI

Italy smashed the world record as they beat Denmark to glory in the men's team pursuit final.

Filippo Ganna – the reigning world time trial champion – produced the goods in the final 1,000m as the Italians edged their noses in front before crossing the line in 3:42.032 – almost eight seconds faster than Great Britain's winning time in Rio five years ago.

"We knew that we were fighting against a really good team, so we were off to a very good start and we were able to overtake," Ganna said.

"We knew that after 2.5 kilometres, we had people who were much stronger, so we wanted to attack them in the last kilometre. We thought that was where we would make the difference.

"I think we can really enjoy the moment now. It's really wonderful to have this medal around our necks and I want to thank all those who have encouraged us day after day to do better."


SWEET SIX FOR SVETLANA

Svetlana Romashina became the most decorated artistic swimmer in Olympic history after claiming her sixth gold medal in the women’s duet.

Alongside Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Romashina scored 98.800 after a wonderful routine in the final to land gold in this event for a third successive Olympic Games.

"I don't think about the sixth medal, I just think about our work which we have done," she said.

"We are very happy. I think we are happy of our work, of our team.

"I don't count the medals, I just want to feel this moment."


LASHA’S RELENTLESS STREAK CONTINUES

Georgia's Lasha Talakhadze resumed his domination of the super heavyweight division, lifting a total of 488kg on the way to glory in the men's +109kg event.

Talakhadze established three world records along the way in snatch, clean and jerk, and total, while finishing 47kg ahead of Iran's Ali Davoudi.

He has now won all 26 available gold medals in major international competitions since the 2016 Olympic Games.

"I feel quite well. I have just gained for a second time an Olympic gold medal and, of course, I have also set a new world record," Talakhadze said.

"When I was standing on the podium, hearing my country's national anthem, it was most exciting because we were for a long time looking forward to this Olympic Games and winning this gold."

China have a commanding lead at the top of the Tokyo 2020 medal table following another hugely successful day at the Olympics.

Five gold medals on day 10 took China's tally for the Games to 29.

Two of those came in weightlifting as Wang Zhouyu prevailed in the women's 87kg category and Li Wenwen set an Olympic record in the +87kg division.

Zhang Changhong won the men's 50m air rifle three positions, China's women took team sprint gold in the velodrome and Liu Yang beat compatriot You Hao in the men's rings final.

It means China are seven golds ahead of the United States, with two more Americans becoming Olympic champions on Monday.

Jade Carey was triumphant in the women's floor exercise final and Valarie Allman took gold in the discus throw.

Japan are third in the table after a day in which they failed to add any golds to their tally of 17.

Australia (14 golds) and the Russian Olympic Committee (12 golds) are fourth and fifth having also been kept off the top step of the podium.

Breathing down the neck of the Russian Olympic Committee are Great Britain, their tally of golds increased to 11 with victory in team eventing.

 

Lyu Xiaojun became the oldest Olympic champion in weightlifting at the age of 37 to help tighten China's grip on top spot in the Tokyo 2020 medal table at the end of Saturday's action.

That victory for Lu in the 81 kilograms category led to China's fifth weightlifting gold of this year's Games and broke the record previously held by Rudolf Plyukfelder, who was 36 when winning gold at Tokyo 1964. 

China also came out on top in the women's windsurfer – RS:X event after a tense three-way battle which saw Yunxiu Lu edge out Charline Picon and Emma Wilson of France and Great Britain respectively.

Japan remain second in the overall medal standings, despite failing to add to their 17 golds, which allowed the USA to close the gap after a successful day in the pool.

Caeleb Dressel won the 100m butterfly to become only the second man to win that and the 100m freestyle at the same Olympic Games after compatriot Mark Spitz in Munich in 1972.

And Katie Ledecky won the women's 800m freestyle to become the first woman to win six individual Olympic gold medals in swimming.

The Russian Olympic Committee won their solitary gold for the day in fencing, triumphing in the women's sabre team final with a narrow victory over France to remain fourth, while Australia stay fifth thanks to Kaylee McKeown, who won the women's 200m backstroke to add to her 100m backstroke triumph.

Further down the list, Jamaica earned a clean sweep of medals in the women's 100m as Elaine Thompson-Herah pipped compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson to retain her crown as the world's fastest female.

Other notable gold medals were awarded to Team GB in the triathlon mixed relay and Poland in the 4 x 400m mixed relay, with both of those events being added to the Olympic schedule for the first time in Tokyo.

It was also a day to remember for Sweden as Daniel Stahl took gold in the men's discus, finishing just ahead of training partner Simon Pettersson to complete their nation's first one-two finish in an event at the summer Games since the men's 10,000m race walk at London 1948.

 

New Zealand's transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has demonstrated "courage and tenacity" on her Tokyo 2020 mission, Olympics medical chief Richard Budgett said.

Hubbard's case has triggered controversy as critics believe she has an unfair advantage over her rivals, having been assigned male at birth and competed in men's weightlifting during her teens and early twenties.

Now 43, Hubbard is set for her Games bow on Monday in the +87kg category, having previously won two silver medals at the World Championships.

"Laurel Hubbard is a woman and is competing under the rules of her federation. We have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games," said Richard Budgett.

Budgett, who is the medical and scientific director of Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee, was an Olympic rowing gold medallist for Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Looking at Hubbard's case, Budgett said: "When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages, there's always more to learn, there's always more science, and there's quite a large amount of research being done at the moment to ascertain the residual advantage after going through male puberty.

"But you have to weigh that against all the other disadvantages of going through transition. It's not something any individual would ever take lightly.

"So there are lots of aspects of physiology and anatomy and the mental side that contribute to an elite performance and it's very difficult to say she's got an advantage because she went through male puberty when there's so many other factors to take into account.

"Each sport has to make its own assessment depending on the physiology of that sport, so that they can ensure there is fair competition but also inclusion of everyone whether they're male or female, able to take part in the sport that they so love."

Hubbard's case has drawn widespread attention, from within sport and beyond. The actor John Cleese last year said it was "an example of great unfairness to women who have never had a man's body".

Former American football quarterback Brett Favre described the scenario on his podcast as "a man competing as a woman" and added: "If I was a true female – I can't believe I'm saying that – and I was competing in weightlifting and lost to this person, I would be beside myself."

According to Budgett, sports are continuing to analyse cases such as Hubbard's.

"There is lots of disagreement across the whole world of sport," he said. "It really has to be sport specific and up to each sport, and even each discipline, as to what the rules are.

"It would have been inappropriate to come out with a new framework or guidelines just before the Olympics. There will be a new framework, with the help of international federations, but it is not published yet."

Canadian footballer Quinn became the first openly trans athlete to compete in the Olympic Games when they played for Canada against Japan in the women's tournament last week.

Japan remained top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympics as they collected another three golds on day five.

Daiki Hashimoto, 19, was the standout performer as he secured a last-minute win in the men's all-around gymnastic final, with China's Ruoteng Xiao and the Russian Olympic Committee's pre-event favourite Nikita Nagornyy settling for silver and bronze.

That win took the host nation to 13 golds, with Chizuru Arai in the women's 70kg judo – their eighth medal in the sport at the Games so far – and Yui Ohashi in the women's 200m individual medley the other victors.

China pulled one clear of the United States as they also collected three golds on Wednesday. Shi Zhiyong broke his own world record to win the men's weightlifting 73kg event, while Wang Zongyuan and Xie Siyi brought China's third diving gold at the Games with victory in the men's synchronised 3m springboard final.

The USA had to settle for silver in China's diving win, though they did pick up gold in the debut 3-on-3 women's basketball event by defeating the Russian Olympic Committee.

Katie Ledecky and Erica Sullivan captured an American one-two in the women's 1500m freestyle meaning only Michael Phelps (13) has more individual Olympic success than Ledecky.

The Russian Olympic Committee remain fourth despite not winning gold on a frustrating day that saw them finish runners-up in both 3x3 basketball events and the men's 4x200m freestyle relay.

Australia enjoyed a memorable day in rowing as they battled to back-to-back golds in both the male and female coxless four, with Ariane Titmus setting a Games record in the women's 200m freestyle to move the Australians up to six golds.

Due to Australia's success on the water, Great Britain's dominant five-gold run in the men's coxless four that stretched back to Sydney 2000 came to an end, though they did collect a first silver medal in men's quad sculls.

Tom Dean, who won gold on Tuesday, was part of the men's 4x200m freestyle team that picked up Team GB's only gold of the day as they moved down to sixth place.

 

Fiji continued their Olympic men's rugby sevens dominance with a 27-12 win over New Zealand to retain the title they won at Rio 2016.

Their shorter-form rugby success represents their second gold in Games history, with Fiji's sevens team yet to lose at the Olympics after extending their unbeaten run to 12 games.

In April, COVID-19 forced the Fiji squad into isolation in the capital Suva before travelling to Australia in June for a pre-Games warm-up tournament.

Head coach Gareth Baber revealed some players, who had never been on a plane before nor played at an elite level, had not seen their families in "nearly 20 weeks".

"We locked them down for five months, basically," Baber said. "They came into a training camp on Easter Monday thinking they were going back on the Friday, and on the Tuesday they were told they couldn't go back and haven’t seen their families since. That takes a special kind of person to make that commitment.

"We were effectively locked up in a Christian hostel. We built a gym, basically in the garage of the hostel, and we were there for about 12 weeks.

"In fact, when the players go back and do their quarantine, it will have been about 20 weeks since they were last with their families."

Gold medal winner Asaeli Tuivuaka, whose try sealed the all-important final win, also spoke of the sacrifices involved for the sevens success.

"This gold medal is special to me. Back at home, their sacrifice and prayer motivated me through everything," Tuivuaka said. "I did not see them, only spoke to them on the phone, and that’s why it is meaningful to me.

"I have not seen my family for months. They are praying for me, they give me a lot of encouragement to keep on moving forward so that I can be here today.

Runners-up New Zealand claimed their first medal in a men's rugby event at the Games, though Great Britain lost out to Argentina, who claimed their first medal of the Olympics, for bronze.

ZHIYONG BREAKS OWN WORLD RECORD

China's Shi Zhiyong broke his own world record to secure gold in the men's 73kg weightlifting event.

The three-time world champion becomes the second weightlifter, after Waldemar Baszanowski in 1964 and 1968, to win back-to-back titles at the Games in the lightweight category, given his previous gold in the 69kg at Rio 2016.

"I prepared five years for Olympics so I really want to perform at the best," Zhiyong explained in Mandarin. "So if I didn't make to break my own record, just a gold medal, I would feel regret.

"I want myself to break the record in the Olympics... Even though I didn't make the 192kg [on my first attempt], I am still confident that I'm pretty sure I’m going to break my record so I did the 198."

A 166kg lift in the snatch achieved an Olympic record before a 198kg clean and jerk took his total to 364kg – one kilo more than his previous world record.

HASHIMOTO CONTINUES JAPAN'S GYMNASTIC DOMINANCE

Daiki Hashimoto captured a third straight men's gymnastics all-around title for Japan as he followed up Kohei Uchimura's back-to-back victories at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Across all six events, the 19-year-old totalled 88.465 to win gold by a whisker, with China's Ruoteng Xiao and Russia's pre-event favourite Nikita Nagornyy, the reigning world and European champions, winning silver and bronze respectively.

Hashimoto, who could only manage third behind Nagornyy's Russians in the team event on Monday, was in third again before a near-flawless routine gained 14.993 points to put him top.

Japan also claimed more gold in judo as Chizuru Arai defeated Austria's Michaela Polleres to bring the host nation its eighth judo medal of the Games so far.

LATVIA AND USA CLAIM FIRST EVER 3X3 BASKETBALL TITLES

The United States dictated proceedings throughout the five-day women's tournament, winning nine games and losing only one as they etched their names in basketball history with the first ever 3x3 Olympic basketball triumph.

Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young did the hard yards early before securing an 18-5 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee in the debut of 3-on-3 basketball at the Games.

In the men's edition, Latvia were the first winners as Karlis Lasmanis' two-point shot with 28 seconds left clinched a 21-18 win over the Russian Olympic Committee.

Though, basketball fanatics feel the real winner of the three-aside debut event is the sport itself.

"I think it's going to keep growing," the USA coach Kara Lawson said. "I think it's got a great future around the world, it's a lot of fun to play. Being an Olympic sport now, there's more converts probably than we've ever seen before."

SOUTH KOREA'S KIM MAKES EMPHATIC RETURN

Fencer Kim Jung-Hwan won gold at London 2012 but quit the sport before making a comeback from retirement in 2019.

After taking bronze in the men's individual sabre on Saturday, the 37-year-old may have felt fate would not be on his side.

However, Kim was part of South Korea's team that won the men's sabre on Wednesday as they coasted past Italy 45-26 in a one-sided final to defend their London 2012 title - after the discipline did not feature at Rio 2016.

Kim also becomes the first Asian fencer to claim four Olympic medals in the field, while Italy's silver medal reflected a record-extending 21st Olympic medal in the men's team sabre event.

Another superb day for Japan saw the host nation surge to the top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Monday.

Japan now have eight golds after winning Olympic titles in three different sports, the most unexpected of which came in table tennis.

The mixed doubles team of Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito came from two games down to eventually prevail after seven games against China's Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen.

China won all four table tennis titles at Rio 2016 and had been expected to dominate again, only to come unstuck as Japan won the first gold in this new event.

Further joy for Japan came as 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya triumphed in the women's street skateboarding while Shohei Ono was victorious in the men's 73kg category in judo.

Second behind Japan are the United States, who took two shooting golds on day three as well as the men's 4x100m freestyle title in the pool.

China did not add to their tally of six gold medals, one fewer than the USA, having come up short in another event where they had a team of heavy favourites.

Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen were edged out in the men's 10m synchronised platform, with British divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee winning gold.

That was one of three golds for Great Britain, who moved up to fifth in the medal table thanks also to Adam Peaty retaining his 100m breaststroke title and Tom Pidcock dominating in the men's cross-country mountain bike race.

The Russian Olympic Committee sits fourth after adding three golds, the headliner being victory in the men's artistic gymnastics team all-around final. 

Meanwhile, Hidilyn Diaz made history for the Philippines, become the country's first Olympic gold medallist by prevailing in the women's 55kg weightlifting.

 

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won artistic gymnastics men's team gold and 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya spoke of her desire to become a global icon after making history in Tokyo.

Denis Abliazin, David Belyavskiy, Artur Dalaloyan and Nikiti Nagornyy became the first European winners of the Olympic men's team event since 1996 on a tense Monday evening at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.

Nagornyy went into the final routine on the floor knowing he had to make up for lower scores from Abliazin and Dalaloyan.

He stepped up under huge pressure, ensuring the ROC (262.500) edged out Japan (262.397) as China (261.894) had to settle for bronze.

Dalaloyan tore his Achilles in mid-April, yet he made an incredible recovery to take his place on the top step of the podium.

He said: "After an injury like this, I appreciate the work I did even more. And now I know all of the work I did wasn't for nothing. This medal is absolutely priceless.

"When I came to Tokyo, I still couldn't do the vault or the floor exercise. On the third or fourth day I was able to perform a little bit."

Asked about watching Nagornyy on the floor with gold on the line, he added: "The nervousness was unreal. We prepared for everything, especially the floor exercise.

"Before the floor exercise, we were deciding if Nikita would do the easy routine or hard one; we decided to go with the easy and stable routine because we knew what score we needed. We knew we had enough and he would be absolutely clean."

NISHIYA WANTS WORLDWIDE FAME

The first Olympic gold medal in the women's skateboarding went the way of Japanese teenager Nishiya in the street event.

Nishiya, at the age of 13 years and 330 days, became the second-youngest Olympic gold medallist after American diver Marjorie Gestring took the top prize in the 1936 Games (13y 268d).

Her triumph completes a clean sweep for the host nation in the street event of the skateboarding – a sport introduced for these Games – after Yuto Horigome's success in the men's competition at Ariake Urban Sports Park on Sunday.

Nishiya kept her nerve after Rayssa Leal of Brazil failed to land her final jump – she would have been the youngest ever individual Olympic champion.

Having missed the landing with her first two tricks, Nishiya registered a score of 15.26 after nailing her final three attempts, bettering Leal's 14.64. Nishiya had only just got a gold medal around her neck when she spoke of her plan to secure another.

"I want to be the famous one who everyone in the world knows. I want to win at Paris 2024, too," she said.

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF FOR DALEY AS GB THRIVE

British diver Tom Daley won his first Olympic gold medal in his fourth Games, teaming up Matty Lee to take the synchronised 10m platform title.

The tears flowed for Daley, 27, on the podium after he and Lee ended a China dominance of this event that stretched back to the Sydney 2000 Games.

Two-time bronze medallist Daley and Lee finished with a score of 471.81, just 1.23 points ahead of silver medallists Cao Yuan and Aisen Chen at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, where ROC's Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev took bronze.

Daley said: "To finally have this gold medal... I’ve been diving for 20 years, it’s my fourth Olympic Games. Lots of people would have counted me out, being the older person, but I'm in the best shape physically.

"I still can't honestly believe what is happening. That moment, being about to be announced as Olympic champions, I was gone. I was blubbering."

It was also a dream day for Tom Pidcock, who became the first Brit to win an Olympic medal of any kind in mountain biking and made it a gold.

There was no surprise when Adam Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic swimming title in the 100 metres breaststroke, while Lauren Williams (taekwondo) and Alex Yee (triathlon) won silver medals.

 

DIAZ LIFTS HERSELF INTO THE RECORD BOOKS

Hidilyn Diaz put her name in the record books by becoming the first athlete from the Philippines to win an Olympic gold medal.

Diaz took the 55-kilogram weightlifting title on a historic day at the Tokyo International Forum,

She did so in style, finishing with an Olympic record total lift of 224kg, overtaking world record holder Qiuyun Liao of China with her final lift in the clean and jerk.

Zulfiya Chinshanlo took bronze for Kazakhstan.

China remain top of the medal table at the Tokyo Olympics after an eventful round of action on Sunday that saw the United States and hosts Japan enjoy a golden day.

Having picked up four medals on the first full day of action, China added to their haul with three more golds, one silver and three bronze.

Two of China's golds came in weightlifting, with Li Fabin and Chen Lijun coming out on top in the men's 61kg and men's 67kg, followed by success in the women's synchronised 3m springboard final.

A lot is expected of hosts Japan at these Games and they picked up four golds on Sunday, two of those in judo through Hifumi Abe and Uta Abe.

Yuto Horigome made history by winning the first gold in the men's street skateboarding, while Yui Ohashi finished first in the women's 400m individual medley swimming event.

The United States failed to pick up a medal on the opening day of the Games for the first time since Munich 1972, but they stormed back into contention with 10 medals on Sunday.

That included a gold for Lee Kiefer, who became the first American fencer to win a gold medal in individual foil.

William Shaner and Chase Kalisz prevailed in the men's 10m air rifle and 400m individual medley swimming, meanwhile, and Anastasija Zolotic took taekwondo gold in the women -57kg.

Behind China, Japan and USA in the medal table is South Korea, who doubled their tally of golds thanks to victory in the women's team archery.

Austria, France, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Australia and the Russian Olympic Committee also got off the mark with their first golds of the delayed 2020 Games on Sunday.

 

China lead the way with four medals after the opening day of the Olympics, as Richard Carapaz doubled Ecuador's all-time tally of golds in Tokyo.

Yang Qian was the first athlete to strike gold in the Japanese capital, winning the women's 10-metre air rifle competition for China.

Sun Yiwen also claimed a gold medal for China in the women's epee individual fencing event, while compatriot Hou Zhihui came out on top with an Olympic record in the women's 49kg weightlifting.

Pang Wei claimed China's other medal on the opening day, taking bronze in the men's 10m air pistol event.

Carapaz produced a sensational ride to win the men's road race title, becoming the second athlete from Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

Host nation Japan and Italy are joint-second in the medal table with a gold and a silver apiece.

There were three medals for South Korea, including a triumph for Kim Je Deok and An San in the first mixed team archery event.

The United States remain notably absent from the primitive medal table, though, having ended the first day of the Games without a medal for the first time since Munich 1972.

 

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