Plaudits have come in from Jamaica's sports minister and the Jamaica Olympic Association for Olympic champion Elaine Thompson who was named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year earlier today in Monaco.

Olivia Grange,  Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, said it did not come as a surprise that Elaine Thompson-Herah would have won the prestigious award.

 

The 29-year-old Jamaican, who successfully defended both 100m and 200m titles she first won at Rio 2016 came out on top of a quality field of candidates that included the USA’s Sydney McLaughlin, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan and Venezuala’s Yulimar Rojas, to win her first AOY award.

“We expected it,” Minister Grange said in a statement.

“This nation is so happy for Elaine and proud of her for winning the top award for women in track and field for 2021. But she put her hands up with her performances in the Olympics and World Games. In fact, she has enjoyed one of the finest sprint seasons in history, retaining her 100m and 200m titles in 10.61 seconds and 21.53 seconds in Tokyo as well as adding another gold medal to her collection in the 4x100m relay, which she and her colleagues won in a national record time of 41.02 seconds.

“Elaine did not just stop there; in her first race after the Olympics, she won the 100m in a world-leading time of 10.54 seconds which makes her second on the all-time list for the 100m and 200m.”

The minister said Thompson-Herah joins two other Jamaican greats to have won the prestigious award from the sports’ world-governing body.

“ It is so great, Elaine now makes it a trio of Female Athletes of the Year for Jamaica; following in the footsteps of Merlene Ottey and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce,” Minister Grange said.

“We salute Elaine Thompson-Herah. She is just awesome!” 

 JOA President Christopher Samuda described the accomplishment as a reward for her outstanding year.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) congratulates our Olympian, Elaine Thompson-Herah, for being selected Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics," Samuda said in a statement.
"It is indeed an admirable accomplishment, the reward for exemplary performances and a testimony to her valour in transforming the challenges of a year bedevilled with the
pandemic into inspiring feats.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association salutes her and exhorts her to continue to be driven in her athletic pilgrimage of excellence." 

Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah said winning the coveted award was the best way to end her historic season. Posting on her social media pages, the fastest woman alive said, “Way to cap off a magnificent historic season with my first world Athletics athlete of the year award.

“I am just amazed with how the Lord piloted me throughout this year.”

She expressed gratitude to her supporters and sponsors who were behind her on the historic journey.”

“Thanks to all my sponsors @ncbjamaica @flowjamaica and @nike for your continued support. Thanks to all my longstanding supporters family, friends and fans always with me through the ups and downs love you all.”

 

Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange has expressed her regrets of the news of the passing of former Reggae Boyz team doctor Carlton Fraser, who died in a Florida hospital on Sunday, November 21, at the age of 74.

Fraser, who was affectionately known as “Pee Wee” was also the former physician of Reggae icon Bob Marley.

“It came as a shock to me to hear that “Pee Wee” died. His service was outstanding as a doctor to the Reggae Boyz and to Bob Marley, who for many years was not only his patient but was his close friend,” Minister Grange said.

“In this way, one might say that ‘Pee Wee’, for life, was a major contributor to both sport and entertainment.

“He will also be remembered for being the only Rasta doctor of his time and a member of Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafari religious group.  I extend my deepest sympathy to his family, friends, former associates at the Jamaica Football Federation and to the members of Twelve Tribes.

“Rest well, “Pee Wee”.”

 

Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports says she supports the country’s intention to host the 2022 Carifta Games but warns that that will only happen once the necessary approvals and required funding are achieved.

President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) had announced that his association had been given the green light to host the Games next Easter during a Special Congress of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association on Saturday.

Jamaica’s move came after Guyana, which was supposed to host in 2022, indicated that it would be unable to fulfil its obligation.

On Wednesday, Minister Grange appeared to back Gayle saying it would be a timely venture considering that Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence in 2022.

“I am in full support of Jamaica hosting the 2022 Carifta Games as a part of the country’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with the National Stadium in Kingston being the venue,” she said about the competition that would take place between April 16 – 18.

“When news came that the selected host for 2022, Guyana, was unable to fulfil the obligation, it was felt that the only country which could step up to the plate at such short notice would be Jamaica. Not just because of the ongoing dominance of our athletes, but because of our experience in staging similar events with athletes in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Following the cancellation of the 110-year-old ISSA Boys and Girls Championships because of the pandemic in March 2020, Jamaica successfully staged the championships in May and then the National Athletic Championships in June. The island also hosted several track meets including the Jamaica Olympic Association-backed Olympic Destiny Series leading up to the national championships.

“We are very proud of the successful staging of the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships (CHAMPS) earlier this year. We have no doubt that we are equal to the task of staging the Carifta Games next year,” Minister Grange said.

“With the cancellation of this important event (Carifta) for 2020 and 2021, junior athletes have missed out on the opportunity to gauge where they are at this critical stage of their development. Therefore, I feel that no effort should be spared in us trying to host the 2022 event.

“I have indicated to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) that as Minister I would do my best to assist in making it possible. Carifta is of course the premier event for junior athletes across the CARICOM region with athletes competing in two age categories: under-17 and under-20.”

However, the minister was quick to indicate that all the necessary elements needed to be in place before the government would be able to give its full blessing.

“I must say, however, that although Jamaica is interested in hosting the event, it is subject to several approvals and sign-offs as well as the requisite funding. The Ministry is therefore working very closely with the JAAA and NCACAC to satisfy all the requirements in order for me to make an official announcement,” she said.

 “It is in our best interest to do everything to have the Games held here.  Among all the other good reasons, our tourism, hotels in Kingston in particular, will definitely benefit.”  

 

Following the cancellation of the Carifta Games in Bermuda earlier this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jamaica is in line to host the Games during the Easter Weekend in 2022.

The development comes as Garth Gayle, President of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) announced at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Special Congress on Saturday, that Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has given a green light to the Games.

According to Gayle, Minister Grange is of the view that hosting the Carifta Games would be an ideal fit with the government’s plans for a year-long celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee as an independent nation.

The Carifta Games were scheduled to be held in Bermuda earlier this year but was eventually cancelled because of spikes in the spread of the Covid-19 virus in that country. Usually held during the Easter weekend, the Games were first moved to July 2-4 and then to August 13-15 before it was eventually cancelled in May.

Jamaica last hosted the Carifta Games in 2011.

Members of Craig Butler’s Phoenix Football Academy, who play at the national and international level, are likely to be included under Jamaica’s Athletes Insurance Plan, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange announced on Saturday.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the three-time gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in August, is to be rewarded with a Jamaican diplomatic passport, Minister Olivia Grange announced on Wednesday.

The Jamaica Olympic Association and Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange praised Veronica Campbell-Brown for her outstanding career as Jamaica’s decorated athlete.

Condolence messages continue to pour in locally and from across the region in reaction to the sudden passing of the immediate past president of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) Godfrey Lothian on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old sports administrator reportedly suffered from a heart attack at his home Tuesday morning and was declared dead at the hospital sending the table tennis, cricket and football fraternities into shock. Lothian served three terms as JTTA President from 2013 to 2019. He was also a member of the board of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).

He also served the sport of football for decades.

As such, the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) said it extended its deepest condolences to the President of Greenwich Town FC and the family of Godfrey Lothian.

“For over 30 years he had a passion for youth and grassroots programmes within the Greenwich Town Football community.

President of KSAFA Wayne Shaw highlighted that "Lothian was a community man who wanted to see the best for the youth. His contribution to football will be remembered".

Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange also expressed her surprise at the sudden passing of the respected administrator.

“I am deeply shocked to learn that Mr Godfrey Lothian died unexpectedly at his home. Mr Lothian was a devoted servant of the sport of table tennis in Jamaica and his contribution will not be forgotten. My heartfelt sympathy to his family, JTTA and the table tennis fraternity,” the minister said.

The Jamaica Cricket Association also reacted to the news.

“Director Lothian served as the president of the Kingston and St Andrew Cricket Association. He also served as a director on the JCA’s board. On behalf of the JCA and the wider cricket, we once again extend condolences and offer continuous prayer,” the JCA said in a statement.

However, the local and regional table tennis was the hardest hit fraternity.

News of Lothian’s death sparked messages of sympathy from table tennis associations from across the Caribbean including the International Table Tennis Federation, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Martinique, Bonaire, Suriname, St Vincent and the Cayman Islands.

 Closer home,  Lothian helped bring the sport back from obscurity by focusing on youth development and engaged scores of children and their parents.

Andrew Lue, the current JTTA president said he was both shocked and saddened by the news of Lothian’s death. “I learnt a lot from him,” Lue said. “This is shocking. We had our differences but I would not wish this on anyone.”

 Natalie Johnson a former manager of the Juniors National team, under Lothian’s presidency, said she was in disbelief.

“His passing is a real shock and my heart goes out to his family,” she said.

“I got involved with the table-tennis community because of my son Azizi. I can categorically say that under Mr Lothian leadership the juniors excelled to the level where they competed internationally. He ensured that the juniors were exposed every chance he got. May his soul rest in peace."

National player Kane Watson said Lothian had a strong following and people who didn’t see things his way but he was committed to the cause and worked hard. “He wanted better for table tennis,” Watson said.

Klan Bell-Lewis, the mother of Gianna and Tsenaye Lewis, who represent Jamaica at the junior level, said Lothian made significant contributions to the sport.

"As a parent of girls, I am appreciative of Mr Lothian and his administration for creating a space where girls were welcomed and encouraged within the sport. His contribution to youth development through table tennis is significant," she said.

Lewis's daughter, Tsenaye, a member of the national squad from 2016-2019, described the late president as a man of vision.

“Rest in peace, Mr Lothian. He was a visionary organizer and he had a lot of hopes for the junior players. May his legacy live on."

 

 

 

After a 14-month hiatus, football resumes in the land of wood and water with the Jamaica Premier League is set to kick off spectator free on Saturday, June 26, with the final scheduled for Sunday, September 26, 2021.

Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association of Jamaica, Chris Williams, made the announcement earlier today during a Zoom press conference and which was attended by the main stakeholders including Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange as well representatives of team sponsors, presenting sponsors Digicel and broadcast partners Sportsmax Ltd.

Williams revealed that a total of 66 matches are expected to be played during the preliminary round of the competition where each of the 12 teams will play each other once. Matches will be played in double-headers on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. 

At the end of the round, the teams will be separated into two tiers. The bottom six teams will play each other in a round-robin format for points that will determine rank.

Meanwhile, the top two teams will automatically advance to the semi-finals while the remaining four will play for the remaining two spots.

The semi-finals will take over two legs with the team with the better aggregate advancing to the finals.

No team will face relegation this season.

Four venues have been approved for matches with the National Stadium and Sabina Park being the preferred venues. Should there be a scheduling conflict, Williams explained, Stadium East and the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus will be used to stage matches.

In relation to player and personnel safety, players and support staff will be tested for the Covid-19 virus in the days leading up to matches.

Minister Grange revealed that there is a plan is to have all players vaccinated.

Further announcements are planned to unveil team sponsors and uniforms as well as the fixture schedule.

 

The Jamaican government will provide more than JMD$45 million in direct financial support to athletes preparing for this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Jamaica’s Minister of Sports Olivia Grange and the State Minister Alando Terrelonge, have expressed sadness at the death of veteran racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta who died today after battling the Covid-19 virus for the past few weeks.

He was admitted to the hospital in intensive care in February.

A major player in Jamaica’s horseracing industry for more than four decades, DaCosta won 18 trainer’s titles at Caymanas Park, the most ever by any trainer in Jamaica.

His death cast a pall over the country’s sporting fraternity including Minister Grange.

"I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta. We had been praying for his full recovery and I had heard through his son, Jason, that Wayne was regaining his strength; so I was shocked to receive this very sad news today,” Jamaica’s Sports Minister said.

“Wayne DaCosta served horseracing with distinction. His contribution has been mammoth and his impact will continue to be felt for a long time.  Wayne DaCosta is simply one of the greatest trainers that Jamaica has produced and he quite rightly won the trainers’ title a record 18 times. If horseracing is indeed the sport of kings, then Wayne wore his crown with distinction.

“I offer deepest condolences to his widow, his children, and other members of the family.  I ask that we keep them in our prayers at this time.”

Terrelonge, the Member of Parliament for the constituency where Caymanas Park is located in St Catherine, was equally moved by the news.

“The King is dead. But long shall his legacy live,” he said.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of stalwart trainer and 18-time champion racehorse trainer, Wayne DaCosta. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the racing community.

“The sport of kings will never be the same without the majestic contribution of this giant of a man. He gifted us the likes of the unforgettable She’s A Man Eater and Stranger Danger who have decorated and electrified horse-racing in Jamaica.

“The track at Caymanas, located in my constituency of East Central St Catherine, is where I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Mr DaCosta. The constituency will be forever in his debt for helping to provide jobs and a livelihood to many residents.”

He continued: “We mourn this tremendous loss to the racing community but are encouraged that his legacy will endure for generations to come. I join with the family, the racehorse industry, and wider national sports family in mourning the passing of trainer, Wayne DaCosta.”

Jamaica’s female cricketer Rashada Williams got a major boost in pursuit of her degree in Physical Education on Monday when she received a cheque for JMD$500,000 from the country’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange.

The money will assist with Williams’ tuition.

“In this particular case, I’m extremely proud because I happen to be the Member of Parliament.  Rashada lives in my constituency.  She’s a product of Spanish Town,” said Minister Grange.

“Through the Sports Development Foundation, she’s getting assistance to continue her education.  And I really want to thank the Sports Development Foundation for the support that they’re giving her [and I want] to encourage her to continue to strive to be the best.”

Rashada Williams said the money would “fill a major gap” as she completes her undergraduate studies.

The young cricketer dreams of becoming “a cemented player in the West Indies team” and a source of “empowerment to the future generation”.

Minister Grange described Williams as an inspirational cricketer who “did not get a chance to play in school [as she was not allowed to play on the boys’ team]; there was not a female league that she could participate in, but in spite of that, she continued to work and she continues to do well”.

“I really want to encourage her.  Whatever support that can be given to her through the Sports Development Foundation I will advocate for her, and I know that she will make Jamaica proud,” the minister said.

Jamaica’s racing icon Peter Moodie is being remembered as being committed to excellence following his death after a brief illness on Saturday.

For decades, Moodie served Jamaica’s racing fraternity as perhaps it’s best ever driver, mechanic par excellence and a mentor who was revered by fellow race drivers and fans alike.

According to the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC), Moodie was renowned throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, North and South America for his commitment to excellence and meticulous approach to motor racing competition that were hallmarks throughout his racing career, first as a driver himself, then later as he coached numerous up and coming young drivers, including his children.

“Spanning several decades, his racing accolades too numerous to mention, he was always the “man to beat” in any competition he entered, whether circuit racing, rallying, sprints, dexterity tests or karting,” the JMMC said in a statement.

“His stern but always fair and by-the-rules approach provided an outstanding example to his fellow competitors to always be at their best when competing against him.”

The sentiments were shared by the Jamaica Race Driver’s Club JRDC), who said in a statement Saturday: “Mr Moodie’s contribution to the JRDC and to motorsports overall in Jamaica was tremendous and impacted many in the most positive way possible. His loss will be felt by all who knew him well and he will surely not be forgotten.”

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Minister of Sport Olivia Grange said Moodie has earned himself a place in the top drawer of motorsports in Jamaica.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of former race car champion driver and mechanic, Peter Moodie Snr,” Minister Grange said.

“His superb skills as a race car driver were matched only by his phenomenal knowledge of the workings of motor vehicles. In fact, he was one of the pioneers and for the last four decades, the leading figure in circuit and go-cart racing.

“In addition, Peter was a top-notch instructor, ensuring that the knowledge was passed on to the succeeding drivers in the sport. With the passing of Peter Moodie, Snr, Jamaica has lost one who was totally dedicated to the development of his sport and his country.”

Those closest to him in the industry shared some of their memories on social media, including veteran driver Peter Rae.

“I remember racing karts at Hill Run in the early '80s and along a stretch in front of the pits I somehow flipped kart landed on me and I was a bit dazed and I clearly remember Mr Moodie shouting at me get the (expletive) out the way as Pinky was fast approaching,” Rae recalled on Facebook.

“Also remember my very first race at Dover was an amazing feat beating Pete Snr, Mark Moodie & Pinky in Watdat....fond memories. Peter Moodie Snr a true stalwart, a fierce competitor, engine/chassis builder and coach. You have made an indelible mark on the sport of motor racing. Race on my friend.”

The ill-advised decision of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to stage an impromptu and unapproved national camp, and the resulting positive Covid-19 cases, has played a part in delaying the sport’s resumption.

Earlier this month, the JFF landed in hot water after convening a national camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence without the requisite government approval.  The camp was shut down but not before at least six players and one official tested positive for COVID-19.

In a meeting on Friday, between sports minister Olivia Grange, the JFF, and representatives of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), meant to chart the way forward, the minister expressed her disappointment with the incident.  She also pointed out that any approval for the sport’s restart must include strict adherence to health protocols.

“I was very disappointed with the breach which has led to the delay of the restart of football but I am hoping that with this meeting, in which I spoke frankly and we came to a clear understanding, going forward, there will be no misunderstanding. This is a very serious matter, in light of the community spread of COVID-19, and all our actions have consequences,” Grange said.

“Therefore, no one can take unilateral decisions to commence training or competition because the action of any person or organisation can directly impact the players and the country in general. I know these are difficult times, so let us work together to overcome the challenges,” she added.

In response, both President of the JFF Michael Ricketts and PFJL Chairman, Christopher Williams, committed to both organisations following protocol and expressed eagerness for the return of local football.

With the exception of the national camp, organised football has not been played on the island since last March when the leagues and national programs were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Jamaican government has ordered the immediate shutdown of the Reggae Boyz training camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

The demand has come in the wake of news that Jamaica recorded 263 new cases of infections, the highest numbers since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Jamaica has recorded more than 355 deaths in that time.

Recent reports also said a number of players in the camp have also been infected by the Covid-19 virus.

With those concerns in mind, Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in a letter to the President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, is demanding that the un-authorized camp must cease with immediate effect.

She is also demanding that all participants in the camp remain at the facility to reduce the risk of infection and that the necessary application to host the camp be made to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

“We are now in receipt of the application for hosting the training camp to commence tomorrow, February 6, 2021, which was dated February 4, 2021,” the minister wrote.

“Please note that training cannot commence without the approval of the Director-General, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), with the Ministry of Health and Wellness advising that there is no breach and it is safe to resume. Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.

“Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.”

 

 

 

 

 

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