British Virgin Islands athlete Chantal Malone has attributed her poor performance at the Tokyo Olympics, and general dip in form last season, to injuries she sustained in the lead-up to the Games.

The Pan Am Games champion in the Long Jump, began her season in phenomenal form with four straight 7 metres performances, but saw a dip in form as the season went on that culminated with her finishing a disappointing 12th in the Olympic final with a 6.50 metres jump.

Malone, speaking on an episode of SportsMax.Tv’s On Point, said she was having injury trouble up to two weeks before the Games in Tokyo.

“A week prior to Chula Vista in April, I had to get a PRP injection in my hamstring because I found out I had a strain in my hamstring. Two weeks before the games, I strained my hamstring again. Prior to that my knee flared up,” said Malone.

The fact that she never really took a break from training after the pandemic also took a toll on her physically.

“You’re training at this high intensity and your body is like; Ok you’ve got to oil me. You want a Ferrari to run like a Ferrari you’ve got to treat it like a Ferrari. That was just what my body was saying to me after training at such a high intensity for so long because, at that point, it had been 2 years since I’d been training at that intensity,” said Malone.

The 2014 CAC Games champion says she was also affected mentally by her ailments.

“Mentally, that’s what took me out a little bit because I didn’t know if I could trust my body. I wanted to jump, and I knew the kind of shape I was in, but subconsciously you’re being a little hesitant with putting the foot down a certain way or just executing the way you need to. As I reflect on the Games that was one of the blocks that I had,” she said.

The full interview can be seen on the Sportsmax TV YouTube channel.

 

Eight-time Olympic medallist and founder of the Pocket Rocket Foundation, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has partnered with Visa to create specially branded shirts that will be available to donors who use their Visa cards to contribute US$100 to her foundation.

The shirts will feature Fraser-Pryce’s signature as well as the Olympic rings on the sleeve. Donors will also receive a mask signed by Fraser-Pryce and a Pocket Rocket pin.

Fraser-Pryce, who lowered her 100m personal best to 10.60 this season, says all proceeds will go towards the Pocket Rocket Foundation.

The nine-time World Championships gold medallist reminded potential Visa donors that their contributions are for a good cause.

“I know you guys are eager to grab the shirts but please be reminded that this will go towards the Pocket Rocket Foundation and your support means the world to us and all our student-athletes, the ones who are still here and the ones who are coming for the future,” she said.

This branded shirts venture is the latest in a number of initiatives Fraser-Pryce has undertaken to raise funds for the foundation. Last month, she was the guest of honour at an auction held at the Miramar Cultural Centre in Florida. 

Former Kingston College standout, Akeem Bloomfield, says he is 100 percent healthy going into the new track and field season.

The 2019 World Championships 400 metres finalist, speaking on Sportsmax TV’s On Point, says that after sustaining an injury in April, he is ready to go.

“It was a really bad injury to my right hamstring. I did an intensive rehab process after I got injured. Even though I shut down my season I was still doing rehab. So, I can say for the most part, right now I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said.

Bloomfield, who holds the Class 1 400m record at the ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships in Jamaica at 44.98, which made him the first Jamaican schoolboy at break 45 second at the championships,  will also be going into this season with a new camp after leaving MVP international and joining the Tumbleweed Track Club based in Florida.

Other members of that club include Olympic 200 metres champion, Andre DeGrasse, and former Calabar rival and Olympic 400 metres finalist, Christopher Taylor.

Bloomfield expanded on training alongside Taylor at the club.

“I can say it’s a very good experience, so far. I mean, we had that high school rivalry so now to put that aside and focus now as professional athletes and train in the same group, I’d say it’s good so far. He’s a very good training partner and I can see us building a very good relationship as the season progresses,” he said.

In a trip down memory lane for many fans of the Jamaican High School Track and Field Championships, or “Champs” as it is affectionately called, Bloomfield was asked about his famous showdown with Taylor on the anchor leg in the Boys open 4x400 metres relay in 2016.

When asked if he would have done anything differently looking back, Bloomfield said he wouldn’t change anything.

“I wouldn’t have used a different strategy because I don’t think people really paid attention to how close our personal bests were. At the time his personal best was 45.2 and mine was 44.9. That’s a very close margin so for me to get the baton 15 metres behind, I can’t be the one to go catch him and then sit behind him. I had to try to zoom ahead and try to hold form and unfortunately it did not work out,” he said.

The full interview can be seen on the Sportsmax TV YouTube channel.

 

 

Jamaica's 2020 Olympic heavyweight boxer Ricardo 'Big 12' Brown has turned professional after recently finalizing a contract with United Boxing Promotions in Canada where he now resides.

Tyler Buxton of United Boxing Promotions, in announcing the signing, believes Brown possesses significant potential.

“Everyone loves heavyweights and at 6’7”, Ricardo is a massive heavyweight,” he said. “They call him ‘Big 12’ for a reason. He has knockout power in both hands. I’m excited to launch Ricardo’s professional career and build a platform for professional boxing in Jamaica with Big12 leading the way.”

When Brown qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics he became the first Jamaican to do so since 1996. The Pan Am Games bronze medalist said he is keen to begin his professional career.

“I’m very happy to be a part of the United Boxing Promotions. I’m humbled and I am looking forward to seeing what United Boxing Promotions have to offer me as I start my boxing career,” he said.

Brown said he hopes to inspire youngsters in both Jamaica and Canada, encouraging them, “Stay determined, disciplined, honest, and focused. You too can be in the Olympic ring one day or even have a professional boxing career.”

Born and raised in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Brown was introduced to boxing at an early age but now trains in Canada with Dewith Frazer.

Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Boxing Board Stephen Bomber Jones fully endorsed Brown’s transition to the professional ranks.

"Having witnessed first-hand the trajectory of 'Big12' Brown's career from a novice to elite national representative and medalist, I am more than excited about the possibilities this his professional future entails,” the boxing board president said.

“I am not only certain that it will be a bright one but I truly believe he has all that it takes to be a future world heavyweight champion and we look forward to him fighting as a pro here on home soil."

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah has been unveiled as one of the five finalists for female athlete of the year.

Thompson-Herah has been nominated on the back of a phenomenal season on the track which saw her achieve new heights in the sport.

She ran 10.61 to win the 100 metres in Tokyo and followed that up with 21.53 to win the 200 metres, becoming the only woman to win the Olympic sprint double on two occasions after also doing so in Rio five years ago.

She was also a part of Jamaica’s victorious Women’s 4x100 metres relay team.

After the Olympics, Thompson-Herah went on to achieve even more success.

At the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on August 21st, Thompson sped to a personal best and national record time of 10.54 seconds, the second-fastest time ever in the women’s 100 metres.

She broke 10.7 seconds four times this season, including in the Diamond League final in Zurich where she ran 10.65 to win.

Thompson-Herah has been nominated for the award alongside Dutch distance runner, Sifan Hassan, American hurdler, Sydney McLaughlin, Venezuelan Triple Jumper, Yulimar Rojas and Kenyan middle-distance specialist, Faith Kipyegon.

Hassan won the 5000, 10,000 metres double in Tokyo and also broke the 10,000 metres world record this season.

McLaughlin set two new world records in the women’s 400 metres hurdles on her way to winning gold in Tokyo.

Rojas set a new triple jump world record to win gold in Tokyo, and Kipyegon set a new Kenyan record in the women’s 1500 metres while also winning gold in Tokyo.

The winner will be announced at the World Athletics Awards to be held virtually on December 1st.

 

 

Bahamian two-time Olympic 400m champion, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, has expressed pride that Bahamian athletes won gold medals in both the men’s and women’s 400 metres at the Olympics in Tokyo this past summer.

Two-time Olympic 400m gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo has revealed that injuries significantly impacted her Olympic preparation throughout the 2021 season when she had planned to focus on the 200m.

Speaking on Sportsmax TV’s On Point, Millier-Uibo said an injury she sustained while running 49.08 to win the 400 metres at the USATF Grand Prix in Eugene on April 24th prevented her from doing any speed training in preparation for Tokyo.

“We were supposed to start our speed training after Eugene at the end of April and that’s when I got hurt so we never really got a chance to jump into speed work. It’s unfortunate sometimes in track,” she said.

As it turns out, the injury was more serious than she initially thought.

“At the end, we found out that it was a tear in my gluteus medius. I actually stalled for a bit with trying to fix it because I didn’t quite know what it was at first. It just felt as though something was jammed so I figured maybe I could go to the chiropractor and get it sorted out. We tried that and it didn’t help,” she said.

The gluteus medius is a muscle located on the outer surface of the pelvis.

The three-time World Championship medalist says the pain started to ease going into the rest of the season until she went to compete at the Adidas Boost Boston Games in May.

“It started to get a little softer going into the rest of the season and then I went to Boston to compete and realized this is something really bad and the minute we get back home I’m going to check and see what it is. Took an MRI and found out there was a slight tear in my gluteus medius so we decided to rest it off and go slowly from there to try and build it up in time for Tokyo,” she said.

Injuries also affected her in Tokyo as was evident in the final of the Women’s 200 metres where Miller-Uibo finished eighth in a time of 24.00.

“I went into Tokyo nursing an injury and right before the heats, I felt really good. Everything was going really well and it was after the heats that I got a little banged up where I started to feel my right hip. I went and raced on it because it was still light at the time, raced into the semis and really hurt it then.”

In addition the trouble with her hip, Miller-Uibo also felt pain in her hamstring in her 200 metres semi-final.

“In the race itself I actually didn’t feel the hip. It was my hamstring that ended up grabbing on me and it was just a wrap from there.”

The Bahamian champion overcame her struggles and returned days later to storm to a new personal best 48.36 and win her second consecutive Olympic women’s 400 metres title.

The full interview with Shaunae Miller-Uibo can be seen on Sportsmax TV’s YouTube channel.

 

As she continues to prepare to compete at next summer’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Olympic bronze medalist Megan Tapper has signed a sponsorship agreement with plant-based nutrition brand ATAQ.

Tapper has been using ATAQ products since 2019 when they first entered the Jamaican market, to support her training and recovery but has now formalized her relationship with the start-up company.

“Competing at the highest possible levels getting nutrition right can make all the difference. I’ve been using ATAQ’s products for several years now and I feel a huge difference in my performance and recovery,” said Tapper.

With the agreement, Tapper joins a diverse group of athletes who are onboard with ATAQ. They include Julie Ertel, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist in water polo, USA Triathlete and two-time Pan Am Gold medalist in Individual Triathlon, who is a member and athletic advisor to ATAQ.

 Tammo Walter, Co-Founder and CEO of ATAQ, said the company was thrilled to have the affable Jamaican hurdler on board.

“We are super excited to have Megan be part of the ATAQ family. When you organically find someone that uses and believes so much in your products then that’s the best position to be in and working together,” Walter said.

 “We are excited to not only help fuel her efforts and journey with our products but to get her insights, thoughts and feedback.”

As a road cycling enthusiast Walter himself is no stranger to the challenge of fueling training and competition the right way.

ATAQ was born out of his own need for clean, plant-based sports nutrition, providing healthy products specifically developed for athletes with high-performance goals.

“Understanding the athlete’s needs, demands and challenges make engaging with athletes like Megan crucial to provide effective products that athletes want to use. And that’s what is most important to us,” Nikki Halbur, Co-Founder and COO explained.

Tapper started out as a gymnast, representing Jamaica when she was only eight years old. As a teenager, she switched to track and field and finished her junior/under 23 list of accomplishments as National Collegiate Champion and record holder before making it all the way to the semi-finals in the 2016 Olympics in London. She was also a finalist at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Being 5’ 1” tall, she acknowledges that her size can be a disadvantage in clearing hurdles. However, she isn’t fazed by it and focuses on advantages like being faster between each hurdle and she has proven that she can defy the odds over and over again.

 

Bahamian superstar sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo has her sights set on establishing a new world record in the women’s 400 metres.

Olympic bronze medallist, Candice McLeod, says her success on the track this season was due mainly to getting more rest and a proper diet during the pre-season.

Jamaican 400-metre sprinter, Candice McLeod, says her dip in form on the athletics circuit after the Olympics was due to fatigue and cold weather.

“The weather wasn’t me at all. I’m not used to competing in the cold because I’m always in Jamaica and Japan was just perfect. I did not know how to get my legs to feel normal again. They felt really tight I was not recovering the way I should be,” said McLeod while speaking on Sportsmax.TV’s On Point.

The Olympic Bronze medallist competed in 15 400-metre races this season, including eight before the Tokyo Olympics, three in Tokyo, and four on the circuit after the Games ended.

At the Tokyo Olympics, McLeod ran a personal best 49.51 in her semi-final and followed that up with a 49.87 clocking in the final.

In her four races after the Olympics, McLeod ran times of 51.26 to finish 5th at the Lausanne Diamond League, 51.41 to finish 7th at the Paris Diamond League, 51.88 to finish 3rd at the World Athletics meet in Chorzow and 50.96 to finish 5th at the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

McLeod explained that the short time between meets on the Diamond League circuit was also difficult to manage.

“It is definitely challenging. When I finished the first Diamond League and had to travel within the next day to compete the other day, I’m not used to it. I tried my best to stay within the reigns but at some point, I decided, well, I think this year is definitely for the experience.”

The former Vere Technical and Papine High student said her fatigue in the first Diamond League meet after the Olympics took the biggest toll on her.

“My first meet I literally cried tears from my eyes because I was so cold. I saw people walking and asked myself; Am I in the same place as them? I was so cold. I was definitely not prepared for that.”

McLeod praised athletes who are able to still perform near their best on the circuit despite the quick turnaround between meets and the difficult conditions.

“I don’t know how they do it but if this is what I want to be doing every year I need to get a grip of this because I was fatigued to the point that I was frustrated. I didn’t feel like I was giving my best.”

She also said she expects the experience to make her better in the future.

“Next year, now that I know that I have a lot of things to do while traveling, then I think it will be better.”

The full interview with Candice McLeod can be seen on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

Olympic bronze medalist, Candice McLeod, has opened up on her friendship with fellow Olympian Shericka Jackson, whom she describes as the driving force behind her athletic success.

McLeod, who returned from the Tokyo Olympics with her first Olympic medal as a member of Jamaica's 4x400m relay team revealed that her friendship with Jackson started 12 years ago while they were both students at Vere Technical High School where Jackson, who was one of the older students at the time, took her under her wing.

Speaking on Sportsmax.TV's On Point published on YouTube last Friday, McLeod said Jackson saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself.

“Shericka has been a very supportive friend. I was at Vere Technical, on the dorms for my first half of high school and the older students would choose one of the new ones to mentor. She chose me and stuck by me ever since,” she said.

McLeod opened up about Jackson always finding time to motivate her despite the gap in performance throughout high school.

"In high school, she was running 52 and I was running 63. I've been running 63 for three years and she'd get up every day and motivate me the same way she did every single day knowing she's running 52 and I'm running 63. That's a very special friendship," she said. 

The now 25-year-old McLeod, (November 15 is her birthday) who ran a personal best 49.51 in her Olympic semi-final said that in addition to her goal to win an Olympic medal in mile way, was to ensure that Jackson got a third medal after her mentor and friend failed to advance in the Olympic 200m after badly mistiming her run in the preliminary round and was eliminated on time.

“I was her roommate (in Tokyo) and missing out in the 200 definitely took a toll on her. I did not go out there with the aim of getting myself a medal because it was a team event,” she said.

The former Papine High student said the key to their friendship is being able to hold each other accountable.

 “She has someone who’s going to tell her she’s wrong when she’s wrong or right when she’s right and that she needs to work harder. We both want the same thing for each other, regardless of if we’re in the same race.”

 You can watch the full interview with Candice McLeod on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

 

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah and the USA’s Ryan Crouser have been named 2021 Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

After an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades, St Lucian high jumper Levern Spencer has called time on her athletic career.

A four-time Olympian, Spencer is a multiple CAC and Pan Am Games champion, who created history in 2018 when she became the first St Lucian to win the high jump gold medal at the Commonwealth Games held on Australia’s Gold Coast.

However, after failing to make the finals of the high jump at the Tokyo Olympics in August, the 37-year-old St Lucian star, has decided it was time to hang up her spikes.

“After 23 consecutive years of representing St. Lucia in the sport of track and field, I have, after careful consideration and analysis, made the tough decision to retire, effective 31st October 2021,” she said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“It was a challenging journey laced with lots of literal blood, sweat, and tears, but a very rewarding journey as well, which led me to four consecutive Olympics, eight consecutive World Championships, five consecutive Commonwealth Games, and gave me 16 Sportswoman of The Year titles.

“So as I hang up my spikes as Commonwealth Champion, Central America & The Caribbean Champion, Pan American Champion and North & Central America and the Caribbean Champion, I say a big thank you to the Government and People of St. Lucia for the privilege of flying our flag regionally and internationally for all these years, and for your support on this journey.”

She thanked corporate St. Lucia for its support and the media “for consistently reporting on all that I did for my country.”

“As I say farewell to a sport that I love so much, I do so with a great sense of pride and joy knowing that I did my best to, against all odds, give our tiny nation the best representation possible, on and off the field.”

Spencer, whose personal best was 1.98m, a national record, had her best performance at an Olympic Games in Rio 2016 when she cleared 1.93m to finish sixth in the final.

When Joel Ricketts places his foot on his board in Cali, Colombia at the Junior Pan American Games later this year, he will have created history as the first Jamaican to compete in skateboarding in international competition but it will be only his first steps to representing the black, green and gold at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Since its entry into the Olympic Games in London in 1948, Jamaica has been represented at the Games in athletics, cycling, swimming, diving, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo and boxing. If Jamaica gets there, skateboarding would be the latest addition to the growing list of skills that the land of wood and water have paraded on the largest of sports’ global stages.

The gravity of such an accomplishment is not lost on the 16-year-old Ricketts.

"I'm glad that I could be given this opportunity to represent my country doing what I love. I would also like to thank the JOA and the SJL for giving me the said opportunity," he said.

Joel is an honour-roll student at Wolmer’s Boys School. The first of two children for project manager Joel Ricketts and his wife Loretta, a school teacher, Joel ran track, played football and basketball growing up but it was skateboarding that lit the cauldron of passion within him.

“Standing out vividly in my mind was the day I got a skateboard,” he said. “It was the most joyous day of my life. My passion for this particular sport led to my connection with Jamaica Skateboarding Federation and the Olympic body, Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd.

“This yearning of passion and exposure through the association has helped me to be a better team player and a more confident and disciplined individual. I am motivated and driven to excel in this sport and in other areas of my life. With the new-found self-determination and discipline gained as a result of skateboarding, this has allowed me to improve and own the skill and enjoyment of skateboarding.”

His declaration sounds like music to the ears of the Skateboarding Jamaica Limited (SJL) President Ryan Foster, who is also the Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

“The Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia will be historic for Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd as it will represent the first time that Jamaica will be represented in skateboarding in an international tournament,” Foster said.

“As the president, I am extremely elated that our athlete will be allowed to showcase his talent and this will be used as a stepping stone to many great things to come. Tournaments such as these are seen by the Skateboarding Jamaica Board as the beginning to the pathway to qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Joel is currently in California for a training camp courtesy of the JOA and SJL to get much-needed practice with some of the best young skateboarders in the world that Foster believes will help lay the foundation for a successful campaign towards Paris in 2024.

 “We have a core of skateboarders currently, which will form part of our Olympic squad and the board of SJL will be working with our strategic stakeholders to ensure that Jamaica will have representation in 2024 Olympics," the president said.

Meanwhile, Joel revealed that he is learning a lot in California.

“I am learning a lot, really, but what I am really working on is breaking the lines together and getting over the fear factor of skateboarding, which is falling but the basics are down so what we are working on is putting the basics together and formatting them into my trick system,” he said.

Creating history for Jamaica in the sport, he said, is both terrifying and satisfying.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but I am also excited. I got this opportunity to do what I love, there is nothing better than that so I am just going to do the best I can,” he said.”

“To make the Olympics in skateboarding would be amazing. It is one of my goals.”

To get there, Joel has to successfully navigate a pathway filled with challenges that come in the form of qualifying tournaments across the globe. The equation is simple; do well and Paris awaits.

“You have the Street League, which is a skateboarding contest, which has aligned with World Skate and they organize contests in different parts of the world – France, Japan, Brazil and Italy sometimes. That’s where most of the points are earned and then there are other meets like the OISTU Open in Brazil,” Joel said.

His focus after the Junior Pan Am Games is getting better.

“More contests, more practice, getting better and getting over that fear and it would mean a lot to me,” he said.

“I go by the rule, ‘If it has been done it is achievable and there is always room for growth. The best is yet to come.”

The journey has begun.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.