Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

A strong all-around performance from Andre Russell helped Minister Group Dhaka to their first win in the Bangladesh Premier League on Monday when they defeated Fortune Barishul by four wickets at Mirpur.

Reggae Boyz head coach Paul Hall has named an experienced squad for his squad for the next three FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica, respectively.

Hall, who replaced Theodore Whitmore on an interim basis, after the latter was relieved of his duties late last year, did not see it fit to select any outfield players currently participating in the Jamaica Premier League. Leon Bailey misses out once again as he is not fully recovered from a thigh injury that has seen him miss 11 of Aston Villa's Premier League matches this season. Shamar Nicholson declined his invitation claiming he wants to spend the time settling into his new club Spartak Moscow.

However, Hall is not short of striking options as he has called up West Ham’s Michail Antonio, Queens Park Rangers’ Andre Gray, Philadelphia Union’s Cory Burke, FC Toulouse’s Junior Flemmings, Fulham’s Bobby Reid, and Santos de Guapiles’ Javon East.

In midfield, Miami FC’s Devon Williams and Lamar Walker, Blackpool FC’s Kevin Stewart, Derby County’s Ravel Morrison, Hartford Athletic’s Peter-Lee Vassell and Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson got the nod for the crucial matches.

In defence, Hall will choose from the likes of Reading FC’s Liam Moore, Macarthur FC’s Adian Mariappa, recent Inter Miami signee Damion Lowe, Toronto FC’s Kemar Lawrence, Morecambe FC’s Gregory Leigh, Vancouver Whitecap’s Javain Brown and FC Cincinnati’s Alvas Powell.

Andre Blake of Philadelphia Union, Dwayne Miller of Eskilstuna City and Amal Knight of Harbour View FC make up the goalkeeper pool.

Jamaica will open the coming window against Mexico at the National Stadium in Kingston on January 27 before travelling to Panama for their next match on January 30. The penultimate round of qualifiers concludes with Jamaica hosting Costa Rica at the National Stadium on February 2.

World U20 sprint hurdles champion, Ackera Nugent, was in record-breaking form on Saturday’s second day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the Recreation Building in Iowa City, Iowa.

Nugent, 19, set a new meet record of 8.11 for the 60m hurdles in the preliminary round and smashed it in the final, running a personal best of 7.90. The winning time was also a new track record, facility record and meet record.

The time moves Nugent to the 11th spot all-time in collegiate indoor track competition and the best-ever U20 time. Her teammate, Kennedy Bailey finished in second place with a time of 8.3 seconds.

For her efforts, Nugent was one of four MVPs at the meet alongside teammates Johnny Brackins who won the triple jump and Tuesdi Tidwell, who triumphed in the pole vault.

Meanwhile, Nugent’s compatriot Kavia Francis and teammates Mariah Ayers, Aaliyah Miller and Gontse Morake finished with a silver medal and a time of 3:40.87 in the 4x400m relay.

When 13-year-old American prodigy D’Asia Duncan steps onto the track at the Gamecock Indoor Challenge in South Carolina on Saturday, her Jamaican coach Xavier Brown is expecting to see further signs of improvement from the youngster, who hopes one day to be like her heroine Allyson Felix.

Brown, 38, has been coaching the teen since the summer of 2020 after the Geneva Christian School eighth-grader moved from Connecticut to Orlando, Florida, to maximize athletic and academic opportunities.

It was at a meet in Orlando where she first met Brown, who appeared ‘out of the blue’ but who would subsequently relieve her mother, Marilyn, of the responsibilities of coaching the young multi-sport athlete.  A straight-A student-athlete, D’Asia is also a three-time national record holder, having established age-group records in the 60m hurdles, 100m hurdles and the pentathlon. She is also a 14-time national champion and 28-time All American.

When Brown took over coaching duties in 2020, D’Asia had personal bests of 14.72 in the 100m hurdles, 17’ eight and a quarter inches in the long jump and five feet in the high jump. She has since run 14.42, jumped 18 feet, three and a quarter inches and five feet one inch in the high jump.

She has also shaved fractions off her 800m time which she has lowered from 2:24 to 2:22 and she opened her season with a 9.18 clocking over 60m hurdles after not competing indoors for several years.

Brown expects to see improvements across the board on Saturday.

“Indoors is something she hasn’t done in years so coming back, so I am looking for bigger performances this time. The 400m that we are doing is trying to get her stronger to do a 200 and a better 100. So we are trying to get her stronger, faster,” he said.

“So we are looking for good things from her tomorrow running the hurdles, the 400m and also jumping a longer distance.”

In Jamaica, Brown was not as heralded a coach as Glen Mills, who coached him to CAC 200m gold in 2006, Stephen Francis or Maurice Wilson, but before he migrated to the United States a few years ago, he had steadily built a reputation as a respected track and field coach, commanding the respect of his peers and athletes along the way.

He got his breakthrough working with sprint hurdler Shermaine Williams, who was then being coached by Lennox Graham. Graham, now an Assistant Coach at Clemson University, coached at Kingston College in the early 2000s before migrating to the United States to transform the track and field programme at Johnson C. Smith University where he guided Williams’ sister, Danielle, to multiple NCAA Division II titles and eventually to the 100m hurdles gold medal at the 2015 World Championships in Helsinki.

Back in 2011, while working as an assistant to Coach Maurice Wilson at the GC Foster College, Brown got the opportunity to coach a couple of Australian sprinters to personal best performances during a successful exchange programme. Since then he has coached at Camperdown High School, Calabar High School, Clarendon College and St Jago High School.

Given his experience and an eye for identifying emerging talent, shortly after migrating to the United States, Brown quickly saw in D’Asia, something special.

“The first time we met in person was at a track meet in Orlando, she was doing the high jump,” Brown recalled.

“D’Asia has a lot of potential. She is a natural talent and with the guidance of her mom and me she will have a lot to offer to the sport in the future.”

However, it was a chance interaction over social media that Brown got in touch with Marilyn, who was then coaching her daughter to one day realise her dreams of becoming a professional and ultimately an Olympian.

“Xavier had been keeping up with D’Asia on social media and would give some feedback via inbox which I would read, respond to and take into consideration because he was truly on point with his observations,” Marilyn recalled.

“He came from Jamaica to Orlando around the time she was preparing for Regionals and advised us that he would like to come to see her compete. Ironically, that weekend we were competing next to him, so we invited him over. He was on time, attentive and I quickly noticed he had an eye for all the areas that needed improvement.

“He helped her become a four-time regional Orlando champion with 100m hurdles, 200m hurdles, high jump and long jump.

“It was at that point we considered having him join our team to alleviate me from coaching and so I can focus on the parenting aspect of it. We extended the offer, he accepted and had immediately has been present, dedicated, patient, cautious and offered lots of knowledge in a variety of areas.”

For D’Asia, Brown becoming her coach was also a bit of a surprise.

“My mom said I had a supporter from a different country coming to my meet in Orlando for regionals and when I met him, he helped me a lot and I did good. Then another day my mom told me that she wanted to have him work with me longer because he knew a lot and could help us, plus it would help her and let her focus on things at home and just being a mom,” D’Asia recalled.

Notwithstanding the circumstances, the pair hit it off immediately.

“My mom was coaching me because we were new to Florida and it worked better to be an unattached athlete, but she really wanted to find me a good coach that was smart and had the experience to help me with different stages of life and track,” she said.

“I remember us talking about how he just showed up and helped us and was so nice. We went on the internet and social media and was like ‘oh wow, he was here and did this and that, so yeah, we prayed, and she picked him for long term coaching and he’s been a good fit ever since.

“He’s a good coach and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. He works me hard but not too hard.”

According to Marilyn, Brown has also exhibited the kind of exemplary qualities that makes him so much more than she could have ever imagined. More than just his coaching acumen, she found Brown to be of sound character as well.

“I knew Xavier was an adequate fit because despite having his own stripes of being an outstanding sprinter, a credible coach with an impressive resume, travelling and coaching around the world as well as training alongside some other outstanding Jamaican athletes, he was humble,” she said.

“Xavier came to us simply wanting to help. Generally, I would be reluctant because he came out of nowhere, but I remember praying for someone with good intentions, no ulterior motives and knowledge to come our way and then he popped up. It was one of those things where you just know. He wasn’t boastful, or egotistical trying to convince us of his importance. In fact, I only found out who he was after doing extensive research on him before asking him to join D’Asia’s team.

“He didn’t speak much, but when he did it was lots of knowledge and powerful.  I truly liked how careful he was with making sure we properly nurture D’Asia - not rushing the process in any way - amongst sharing reasonable and good goals and how to go about them in the future.”

Marilyn believes Brown is just what she and D’Asia needed at this stage of the latter’s budding career.

“So far, I mean he really puts good workouts together that cover many areas, which is hard to do as she is multi-eventer, hurdler, jumper,” she said.

“He makes sure the rest and recovery are there, he puts great stretches and drills together that are not only beneficial now, but for the future, keeps her mind strong and attention on her.

“Xavier truly thinks long term when it comes to her mental, spiritual, emotional and physical well-being which I know will prove to work out. In the time we’ve worked with him, he helped bring her to be a two-time National Junior Olympic winner and so far, she is right where we trained her to be for the early season.”

Meantime, D’Asia, who plans on one day becoming an Orthopedic surgeon and businesswoman, is focused on what is immediately before her, dominating her environment.

“D’Asia’s short term goals are to keep properly balancing and excelling with academics, athletics as well as her personal life. Within track and field, she hopes to keep dominating on a youth/high school level, defending national titles and hoping to break more school, meet, national or even world records all while having fun, staying mentally strong and injury-free,” said Marilyn.

“(Her) medium-term goals are to keep properly balancing while excelling in all areas of her life. She hopes to attend a prestigious college that will help her get closer to her long-term athletic goals and overall career.”

For Brown, the task, for now, is simple.

“My short-term goal for D’Asia is to get her stronger and faster and also mentally prepared for what is to come, day by day.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tsenaye Lewis is a proud teen table tennis player after she picked up a couple of titles and two other podium finishes at the recent Carmel Barrau Open Tournament at the Broward Table Tennis Club (BTTC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lewis was entered in seven categories in which she played 29 matches, winning 22 against 20 males and two female players ranked from 679-2477 by USA Table Tennis (USATT).

“This was a good opportunity to practice my skills and test my abilities against a variety of players – ranging from females my age to grown men. I think I represented myself well and learnt a lot,” she said afterwards.

That, she did.

She placed first in Under-1150 beating 954-rated Damian Casanova in three straight sets, 11-8,11-8,11-8 and first in Under-1350 silencing 1325-rated Jose Renator Goncalves 11-8,11-8,8-11,11-8.

She snagged third place in the Under-1800, losing to 1569-rated Angel Luis Nunez then another third place in the Under-1550, going down to the unusual navigations of 1495-rated Efrain Perez in the semi-finals.

 “I am very proud of her performance at the Broward Open as this was her first individual international victory,” said her coach Dale Parham of Skills Unlimited Table Tennis Academy (SUTTA).

“With more international exposure, the right support and training facilities, she has tremendous potential to go far.”

Coach Parham noted that her ability to make quick mental adjustments allowed her to compete against the male players was especially impressive.

Jamaica’s Men’s Champion Simon Tomlinson attended the tournament and was pleased with what he saw from the talented teen.

“Tsenaye played really high-quality matches against players equal to or above her level,” he said.

“I have had a chance to do some work with her along with Coach Dale Parham over the past few weeks and she has continued to show tremendous potential. I am excited to see what the future holds for her.”

Prior to her entry into the tournament, Lewis did not have a USATT rating, but this performance will get her on the USATT scale.

At the Jamaica Table Tennis Association’s (JTTA) National Table Tennis Tournament held in August 2021, Lewis was the U15 champion and the runner-up in the Women’s Open competition as well as the Under 21 category.

Barbados and West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich has retained an attorney as he seeks redress over the process used by Cricket West Indies to deny him a renewal of his contract.

The matter came to light earlier this week when Barbados Cricket Association President Conde Riley revealed that he had received a letter from the player’s attorney on the Mason and Guest sports talk show.

In May 2021, Cricket West Indies announced the players who had been retained for the next cycle and Dowrich was not among them. Dowrich, 30, last played in a Test for the West Indies from December 2-5, 2020, against New Zealand.

In the early stages of that tour, Dowrich suffered a finger injury but later asked to be released from the tour citing personal reasons. However, according to his lawyer Philip Nichols, after being given leave from the West Indies, CWI then claims that he was not offered a new retainer contract because he had not played the requisite number of games to qualify for the said contract.

This is the bone of contention for the player, who at the time when he left New Zealand, was the first-choice wicketkeeper/batsman for the West Indies.

Dowrich was subsequently replaced by Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua da Silva, who has, for the most part, acquitted himself well representing the West Indies as its wicketkeeper/batsman.

Following the New Zealand tour, CWI failed to follow up with the player to determine whether he had managed to put his ‘personal issues' behind him and was now ready to return to representing the regional side.

Nichols tells Sportsmax.TV that his client hopes to have the matter resolved amicably as it is not his intention for the matter to end up in court.

Dowrich has played 35 Tests for the West Indies scoring 1507 runs at an average of 29.07. He has scored three hundreds and nine fifties in that time.

 

Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad has brought West Indies batting legend, Brian Lara, onboard ahead of the coming season.

Businessman Chris Dehring believes the lack of professionalism among West Indies cricketers is hurting the region’s chances of becoming a force in world cricket once more.

Reggae Boyz striker Shamar Nicholson has signed a four-and-a-half deal to play with Russian Premier League Club Spartak Moscow. The deal that completes his transfer from Belgium to Russia was signed on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Nicholson, who spent the last two seasons with Belgian club Charleroi where he scored 30 goals in 76 appearances including 13 in 18 games this season, put his signature to his new contract on Tuesday that will see him play alongside teammates Quincy Promes of the Netherlands, Argentina’s Ezequiel Ponce and Nigeria’s Victor Moses.

Nicholson has enjoyed a steady climb to the top of club football globally.

Starting out at Boys Town FC in Jamaica’s Premier League in 2014, Nicholson left for Slovenian club Domazale in 2017. In two seasons there he scored 18 goals in 47 appearances before signing with Charleroi in 2019.

Since he made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in 2017, Nicholson has scored 10 goals in 29 appearances.

 

Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian has all but officially qualified in the two-woman bobsleigh for next year’s Winter Olympics in China based on the latest International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) rankings.

Elaine Thompson-Herah is now being represented by Andisportsmanagement after parting ways with Adrian Laidlaw late last year. The management agency revealed their new client on Instagram on Monday.

With about 400 care packages distributed and the resulting engagement from the community, the FastElaine Foundation’s treat in Banana Ground, Manchester on Saturday has been deemed a success; so much so that Elaine Thompson-Herah and her husband and partner, Derron, have been motivated to do even more.

Many members of the community turned out to receive packages containing household items and with the help of Mario Mitchell the councillor for the Bellefield Division that includes Banana Ground in the Manchester Northwestern constituency, packages were also distributed to other members of the community who were unable to show up.

Councillor Mitchell explained that Elaine decided to deliver packages to the elderly members of the community after having a conversation with her grandmother, ‘Miss Hyacinth’ who brought to her attention the fact that there were a number of people who were bedridden and were particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus.

Otherwise, the event was well needed and was successful, Mitchell said.

“It was well-received. The children came out. The mothers came out. Banana Ground is a farming community so the farmers were in the fields but they came out later. There was music, there was food. All who came out got a token as well as a care package,” Mitchell said.

Notwithstanding her international fame, Elaine has always remained rooted in the community. Her family, including her father, uncles and grandmother, still live in Banana Ground and hence the residents were glad to have been beneficiaries of her initiative.

 “They were happy to see Elaine. They were happy they had something, the care packages and educational toys for the kids as well as supermarket vouchers that were won by people who participated in a quiz about Elaine,” Derron told Sportsmax. TV.

The quiz, he said, was particularly enjoyable because so many from the community were able to correctly answer the questions about Elaine. In some instances, they were awarding prizes to as many as three people for each question.

In short, the people of Banana Ground loved it.

“I think it was a good idea and she did a very good thing, giving back to the community,” said a female resident of Banana Ground. “I know the community appreciated what she has done and I hope she keeps up the good work and I wish her all the best. I wish her long life and prosperity.”

Packages were also distributed to members of the nearby Bellefield community, who were grateful for the largesse.

Mitchell said he delivered care packages earlier but didn’t have enough “so her effort helped out a lot,” he said.

Derron said they were planning another similar event for Lakes Pen in Spanish Town, St Catherine but was unable to say when and where that would take place.

 

 

 

 

 

For the past seven years, Yona Knight-Wisdom was the sole face of Jamaican diving, representing the country at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

That could be about to change as another talented young diver has emerged, eager to represent the land of wood and water.

Those watching would have got the first glimpse of Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson diving synchro with Knight-Wisdom at the Scottish National and Open Diving Championships from December 2-5 at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

The newly forged pair finished second in the 3m synchro with a decent score of 375.60 and already the senior partner has begun to have a positive influence on the newcomer.

“Diving with Yona was an unparalleled learning experience,” Yohan tells Sportsmax. TV.

“Yona's experience with diving is immense, and exposure to an Olympic athlete's lifestyle and training was a chance for me to learn what it takes to perform at such a high level. Yona is an exemplary mentor and leader.”

Yohan was born in Calgary, Canada, in 2000 to Canadian Melissa Escrick and Jamaican Desmond Parkinson and began diving when he was just eight years old.

Growing up in Calgary, he attended high school at the National Sport School (NSS) while he trained for diving. Deciding that he wanted to explore possibilities for diving at the NCAA level, Yohan got accepted to Northwestern University where he is in his fourth year studying Neuroscience with plans to attend medical school.

Diving for Northwestern, Yohan was a two-time finalist (1m, 3m) at the 2020 Big 10 Conference Championships. He was also a finalist in the 1m   springboard at the conference championships in March.

It was while in high school that Yona first came to Yohan’s attention and he has followed his career ever since.

“I had been urged on by several coaches to look into the possibility of diving for Jamaica and began pursuing this in my second year of college,” he said. “Yona really paved the way for me and inspired me to dive for Jamaica.”

In early 2019, he decided to reach out to Knight-Wisdom to find out how he began diving for Jamaica and they developed a relationship.

“He got in touch with me on Instagram just sending me a few videos of him diving,” Knight-Wisdom explained.

“We spoke a little without making any plans, then after Tokyo was out of the way I decided to see if we could make something happen.”

That they did at the Scottish Championships earlier this month after training together for about a week.

“Training synchro with Yona was a success. Of course, it can be challenging to truly know how well we would sync up just by watching each other’s diving, so travelling to Scotland to train together was an important step in the process of seeing if synchro might be a possibility,” Yohan said.

“Thankfully, the synchro went well from the start, and we only had to make some minor adjustments to achieve rudimentary synchronization. This is a small but very important step towards taking our synchro team internationally. I believe we have a lot of potential moving forward.”

Already a Jamaican citizen, Yohan is awaiting his Jamaican passport with the intention of representing Jamaica at future events in the coming years starting in 2022.

“As diving is still a new sport for Jamaica, my goal is to compete and see how far I can go both individually and in synchro. It is an amazing opportunity to be among the first divers to have represented Jamaica in diving. I hope my performance inspires more Jamaicans to pursue diving in the future,” he said.

In the meantime, Yohan is focused on the next phase of his studies, already recognizing the significant challenge of studying medicine while training and competing as a diver. Nonetheless, he hopes to overcome the challenges with the hope of representing the country of his father’s birth at the very highest level.

“Currently, I am at a transition stage both academically and athletically where I am finishing college in the spring and planning to move on to graduate school. I have applied to several medical schools and am also applying to several masters as a backup plan in case I have to take a couple of gap years before reapplying for medical school,” he explained.

“Although diving through medical school would be a big challenge due to the intensity of studying, I will continue training through the summer and see what opportunities arise to continue my pursuit of the sport.

“I will first take the necessary steps to perform at some international events in 2022 and evaluate if the Olympics is a possibility.  The opportunity to try to qualify for the Olympics for team Jamaica is very exciting for me, and I will continue to work hard over next year and see how I place on an international scale.”

 

 

Preparations for a community treat in Elaine Thompson-Herah’s hometown of Banana Ground in Manchester on Saturday, have been progressing nicely with a number of sponsors coming on board to support the initiative.

The triple Tokyo Olympic champion, who was conferred with an Honorary Degree Doctor of Laws by the University of Technology on Sunday, and her husband Derron, had planned to host a treat for children in the community. However, on the advice from health experts amidst concern about the spread of the Covid-19 virus, those plans changed.

The couple, via the FastElaine Foundation, will now distribute care packages containing household items from tents set up in a ‘town-square’ type setting, Derron explained on Thursday.

The tents were donated by Elaine’s sponsors NCB and Flow and there will be sanitization stations, temperature checks. Masks will also be distributed should any of the residents show up not wearing.

The distribution of care packages is being scheduled to begin at about 1 pm and will last two-three hours as the organizers want to complete the process before it gets dark.

Herah revealed that in addition to NCB and Flow, a number of other sponsors have come on board. They include Honey Bun, Tradewinds Citrus Limited via their Tru Juice brand, Eve Foods and Red Bull. “I am really glad for their support, especially considering that they came on at short notice,” said Herah, who also revealed that other potential sponsors have been reaching out offering their support for the initiative that will be the first for FastElaine Foundation that will have its official launch in January 2022.

The ODI series between Pakistan and the West Indies have been postponed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the visiting delegation. Five additional members of the touring party tested positive for the virus after PCR tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Page 1 of 39
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.