Jamaica's treble Tokyo Olympic Games gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named the AIPS Best Female Athlete of 2021.

This follows a poll by the International Sports Press Association, where a panel of 529 journalists from 114 countries voted for the champions of 2021. Joining Thompson-Herah in receiving the top honour is Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski, who has been named the AIPS Best Male Athlete of 2021.

The former Manchester High School student, who was named the World Female Athlete of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021 earlier this month, retained her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and added a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. She also ran world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists for each discipline.

She topped the AIPS poll with 605 points, ahead of Spanish footballer Alexia Putellas (490 points) and Venezuela's world triple jump record-holder and Olympic champion Yulimar Rojas (346 points).

Other athletics stars joining Thompson-Herah and Rojas in the top 10 are Kenya's Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, who claimed 5000m and 10,000m titles in Tokyo as well as 1500m bronze.

Joining Lewandowski in the top 10 for the men's award are Norway's Karsten Warholm, who was named the World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year, plus his fellow world record-holders and Olympic champions Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

Thompson-Herah has also been named Athletics Weekly’s Female Athlete of the Year, NACAC Female Athlete of the Year and Diamond League Athletics’ Most Consistent Athlete in women’s sprints for 2021.

 

Cyclist Nicholas Paul and track and field athlete Michelle Lee Ahye walked away with the top male and female honours at the Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee 27th Annual Awards Ceremony held on Wednesday evening.

In the event, which was broadcast over video-conferencing platform Zoom, Paul and Ahye were named TTOC’s senior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively for 2021.

TTOC President Brian Lewis addressed the virtual audience before the distribution of awards.

“In 2021, our athletes showed that they faced their fears. They went to Tokyo and gave their best. They did not make excuses and of course, they showed emotional, physical, and mental stamina by facing their disappointments, their failures, their mistakes, and the criticism of those who weren’t in the arena; who didn’t have to overcome economic issues, lack of training issues, doubt issues, death in their families and close circles,” said Lewis.

“As we look forward to 2022, we are encouraged by the example and the discipline and resolve shown by team TTO at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Junior Pan Am Games,” he added.

It was Ahye’s fourth time holding the title after winning from 2016-2018 while Paul received the award for the second time, his first coming back in 2019.

Paul, the current world-record holder in the Men’s flying 200m, earned the top male award based on his silver medal performance in the Men’s one-kilometre time-trial at the UCI Tissot World Track Cycling Championship in Roubaix, France, back in October.

He was also sixth in the Men’s Sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ahye was deemed the top female based on her ninth-place finish in the Women’s 100m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she narrowly missed out on the final.

Swimmer Nikoli Blackman, a member of T&T’s teams at both the Pan Am Junior Games and Swimming World Championships (SC) this year, was named Junior Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year, and track and field athlete Rae-Anne Serville, now representing USC, was Junior Sportswoman of the Year.

Olympic long jump finalist and 2021 NCAA Heptathlon Champion at Texas A&M, Tyra Gittens, was named the Sports Personality of the Year and reacted to it on her Instagram page on Wednesday.

“Blessed to receive the Sports Personality award during the TTOC 27th Annual Award Ceremony this evening. I can’t wait to represent TTO again next year,” she said.

West Indies senior women’s vice-captain Anissa Mohammed won the Future is Female award.

 

Jamaican double-double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was named by Diamond League Most Consistent Athlete in the women’s sprints for the 2021 season on Monday.

Thompson-Herah won four races on the Diamond League circuit for the year, in addition to her three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

She ran times of 10.54 and 10.72 to win the 100m at the Eugene and Paris Diamond League meets on August 21st and August 28th, respectively, before winning the event at the Diamond League Final in Zurich in 10.65 on September 9th.

The former Manchester High School student also finished second in the 100m, at the Lausanne Diamond League, in 10.64 on August 26th.

Her only 200m win on the Diamond League circuit this year came in Gateshead where she ran 22.43 on July 13th.

The honour follows the trend of a trophy-filled festive period for the sprinter as she has already been named World Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics, Athletics Weekly’s Female Athlete of the Year, and the NACAC Female Athlete of the Year in the month of December.

She is also widely favored to be named the RJR Sportswoman of the Year for 2021.

 

The local Track & Field community is in collective mourning after the passing of John Messam.

Messam passed away at 61 on Sunday after a long battle with illness.

The Calabar High School Old Boy was an IT professional, working as an Oracle Database Administrator at the Porth Authority for 22 years.

At the same time, Messam was a respected Track & Field coach, specializing in hurdles events.

A former Florida International University and Seton Hall University student, Messam was also the founder of Hurdles Crew Jamaica, an organization, which was created to enhance the lives of at-risk youth by allowing them to engage in voluntary work at Track & Field meets each year.

Messam was often the man to who Track & Field coaches would send their hurdlers when they needed someone to fix their technique.

Funeral arrangements will be made at a later date.

Saturday and Sunday were good days for residents of the communities of both Waterhouse and Ewarton as they were the sites of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s Pocket Rocket Foundation 14th annual Christmas Treat.

Residents of Fraser-Pryce’s hometown of Waterhouse were the beneficiaries on Saturday and Ewarton, the hometown of her husband, Jason Pryce, enjoyed the festivities on Sunday.

The treat, which wasn’t held on Boxing Day for the first time in 14 years, was aided by a team of sponsors and volunteers who provided the residents with a variety of goodies ranging from food bags to toys and treats.

"We’re going to be giving our adults food bags courtesy of Grace Kennedy and then for the kids, they’ll be receiving toys and other goodies from Excelsior, Digicel, Nike and others,” said Fraser-Pryce, who also thanked Toyota Jamaica for providing transportation for the event.

The nine-time World Championships gold medallist said the aim was to bring some joy to the communities in the midst of a difficult year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also thanked her sponsors for helping to make it happen.

“It has been a crazy year for all of us because of the pandemic and I’m hoping that as a foundation we can bring some cheer to the community of Waterhouse and also Ewarton so I want to thank all my sponsors for what they do for me and my community year after year. We could not have done it without you guys, so thank you so much,” Fraser-Pryce said.

 

 

Olympic bronze medalist, Megan Tapper, credits her background in gymnastics for instilling her with her trademark fighting spirit.

Speaking on the latest episode of On Point published on Friday on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel, Tapper says her time in gymnastics helped her develop the mindset she now has when competing on the track.

“Determination and grit are things that were ingrained in me from my days in gymnastics."

During her time as a student at St. Andrew High School, Tapper spent several years as a gymnast before she transitioned to athletics.

She said the main thing she gained from the experience was to push through any adversity, a characteristic she has often displayed in competition.

“If I learned anything, it was to push through when the road is extremely rocky; when you can’t see the end when you have no energy left. It is to just continue pushing and never ever giving up,” said Tapper, who created history when she won the bronze medal in Tokyo in the 100m hurdles. She is the first female Caribbean sprint hurdler to win an Olympic medal in the event.

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

Tokyo Olympics 100m bronze medalist, Megan Tapper, says her support team helped her find motivation after she fell in the final at the 2019 Doha World Championships.

The diminutive sprint hurdler, who won national titles in 2016 and again in 2021, had improved significantly during the season when she ran what was then a new lifetime best of 12.63. However, after getting to the final in Doha, she hit the first hurdle and fell.

Speaking on the latest episode of On Point on the SportsMax TV YouTube channel, Tapper elaborated on the emotions she experienced during that moment on the track.

“Just complete and utter devastation. It was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe that the opportunity that I trained so long and hard for ended in such devastation. There’s no other word that can basically describe that moment,” Tapper said.

Tapper says those emotions also stemmed from the fact that she was in great shape and ready for the race.

“I’ve never been ready, up to that moment, for a race, the way I was ready for that final and unfortunately I wasn’t able to finish the race,” she said.

In that moment, according to Tapper, she was unable to contain her emotions.

“The feeling was overwhelming. I wasn’t able to be the composed Megan that most of us know because the emotions were so raw and overwhelming,” said Tapper.

Afterwards, she said, she sought support from those close to her for support. 

“I reached out to the various people who were in my circle at the time and they would say to me 'don’t worry about it, this is just another roadblock. You are still Megan, you are still capable, anything is still possible for you, shake it off and let’s go again. Talking to my support team was how the motivation came back for me,” said Tapper.

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

 

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.

 

Retired Jamaica sprinter Nesta Carter has been banned for four years after testing positive for a prohibited substance earlier this year.

The 36-year-old Carter announced his retirement from track and field in August, at that time stating that medical condition had not allowed him to train since March, and insisting he was putting his health over his career.

According to reports, Carter returned an adverse analytical finding for the substance, clomiphene, which can alter male testosterone levels.  The former athlete has insisted that the substance was in a medication prescribed by his physician while he was out of competition.

The ban was the second for the sprinter, who retrospectively tested positive from a sample, taken at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, in 2016.  The substance was methylhexanamine.

 The positive test led to Jamaica being stripped of their Beijing 2008 gold in the men's 4x100 metres.  The decision was handed down by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel.

Retired track and field star Usain Bolt has encouraged up-and-coming athletes to embrace hard work and dedication to achieve their goals and not be tempted by the shortcut of performance-enhancing drugs.

The big Jamaican was easily the standard by which all other sprinters were measured, after putting together a dominant spell that lasted over a decade.  During that time Bolt claimed 8 Olympic and 11 World Championship gold medals, and in addition, set two records in the men’s 100m and 200m sprints that have stood untouched since 2009.

Perhaps more importantly, in a sport often riddled with doping controversy, the sprinter never failed a drug test.

"I tried to live a respectful life. I understood what it meant to show the world that it could be done so that younger kids can look up to me and say ‘Usain did all these good things without taking drugs’. It's all about hard work and dedication and a lot of people want to take short routes. I always wanted to be the best version of myself,” Bolt said in at a recent Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

“So young athletes listen, it's all about dedication and hard work, it won't happen overnight,” the Jamaican added.   

As part of the solution, the sprinter believes stricter regulations could be considered to deter cheating.  

“We have tried everything in sports to eliminate doping. But I think we have to continue putting in more strict regulations to deter people from wanting to cheat."

 

 

 

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 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.

 

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

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