Marquee 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer recalls last season as bittersweet but remains confident that should she medal at this year’s Olympics in Rio, Brazil, it would put the icing on the cake as her greatest year ever.Spencer is one of the most successful track athletes in the history of the Diamond League circuit with a total of 21 wins.In an interview with The Gleaner, Spencer said that 2015 was a bittersweet season for her. “It began great. Unfortunately, I got an injury and I wasn’t able to complete my season as I would have wanted to but just using that as a stepping stone for this season.”Jamaica and the world have definitely not seen Kaliese Spencer’s best. I think this season is going to be a great season, so just watch out.”Despite her recent IAAF World Championships medal failures in the finals, Spencer maintains that she is over those disappointments, settled in her new training club, and looking at improving.”I have a great set of coaches working with – great people, great athletes – and it’s like a family,” she outlined at Cameron Blazers, adding that it would help her medal this year.”Definitely, I will be on the medal podium (Rio Olympic Games). I just want to stay healthy, and once God is in it, I will be a winner and I will be there,” Spencer continued.”I am over that (disappointments) long time ago. I don’t stay long on one thing. I just get going. OK, that was it. I am strong in faith, and I believe that God is by my side, and I believe that one day I will be victorious, and I am just working towards that,” she said.Though Spencer admits that she has a lot left in the tank, she did not want to predict how fast she could run this year.”I am not thinking about (times) that. I am just thinking about focusing and getting my technique better and getting stronger and staying healthy, and once I stay healthy, the times will come,” stressed Spencer.
Opener Tyrone Theophile fell cheaply to Beaton for one, with the score on 16, but Smith and Robinson then posted 120 for the second wicket to put Volcanoes in the driver’s seat. Smith stroked 11 fours off 190 deliveries in nearly 33/4 hours while Robinson faced 82 balls in 143 minutes and struck nine fours and a six. Their enterprise allowed Volcanoes to head to lunch at 68 for one, with Smith on exactly 50 and Robinson on 13. They added a further 68 after the break before being separated when Robinson was caught at slip by captain Leon Johnson off left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer. Smith added another 28 for the third wicket with Dalton Polius (9), but once Polius was bowled by leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo at 164 for three, the last seven wickets went down for just 48 runs. GROS ISLET, St Lucia, (CMC): Fast bowler Ronsford Beaton snared his first-ever five-wicket haul in first-class cricket to engineer a Windward Islands Volcanoes collapse on the opening day of their eighth-round contest yesterday. The 23-year-old, in his 32nd first-class game, finished with five for 43 as Volcanoes, sent in at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium, were dismissed for 216 in the final session. Leaders and title-holders Guyana Jaguars then cruised to 34 without loss, but lost two quick wickets near the close to end on 44 for two. Opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 20. Veteran opener Devon Smith had earlier gathered his 51st first-class half-century when he top-scored with 87, while rookie Jerlani Robinson chipped in with 57. The pair were the only batsmen to get into the 20s, however, and it told the latter half of the Volcanoes innings. 120-run partnership
Despite ending Day Two tied on points with main challengers John Mills, defending champions Windward Road Junior High turned up the heat on yesterday’s third and final day at Stadium East to win the 2016 INSPORTS Junior High School Track and Field Championship by more than 100 points.The Oral Whilby-coached team accumulated 562.50 points to finish ahead of John Mills on 457.50 points. New Dayfinished third with 190; Melrose claimed fourth spot with 183.50; and Louise Bennett Coverley came in fifth with 169.Windward Road also topped the male and female categories with 289.50 and 264 points, respectively, in front of John Mills, which was second in both sections.Surprised by large marginWhilby, however, admitted that he never expected his team to win by such a large margin and was more than elated with the outcome.”We won by over a hundred points. I was confident of the victory, but I had no idea the team would perform this well,” he said. He also warned that his team has the foundation to continue this winning streak.”We should retain this championship. A lot of our points came from the lower grades, and they will be stepping up in class. John Mills did their thing in the past, but this new era has Windward Road written all over it, so we are looking forward to next year,” he added.Meanwhile, seven athletes shared the overall champion boy prize and six shared the female honours.In the male section, the award was shared by Jaheim Gilmore, Nemoy Cockett, and Kevin Wilson of John Mills, Amontae Wray of Windward Road; Shelton Britton of Louise Bennett; Mickel Wilson of Braeton; and Lennox Barrett of Melrose, who all contributed 18 points each to their schools.For the females, Gregory Park’s Leanna Lewis and Shantonique McCalla shared the award with Kamesha Graham of New Day; Shaniece Benjamin of John Mills, Ashley Johnson of Melrose; and Janealia Brown of Windward Road, who all scored 18 points.John Mills coach Ransford Spalding says the lower classes was their downfall but says they intend to improve on this area for next year.”Where we went wrong is in the primary division. We only scored 12 points and Windward Road score 140 points, but we have to congratulate them (Windward Road) because they have a team and John Mills don’t have a structured team,” he said.
After a quiet season, Dyke finally showed his hand in the 4×400 metres. They came to the Relays as underdogs despite retaining three members of last year’s winning team as St Elizabeth Technical, with the hot Junelle Bloomfield on their team, were howling favourites to bring home their first title in the event. However, Dyke silenced the very overconfident St Elizabeth Technical. It was a plucky Holmwood Technical who gave them much to worry about. Holmwood, the record holders in the event, looked like pulling off a win, but their outstanding Ashley Williams fell on the anchor leg and Edwin Allen went on to win in 3:40.88. St Elizabeth Technical was second in 3:41.17, with Union Catholic out of New Jersey third in 3:42.59. Unlucky, Holmwood ended at the back of the field in 4:03.74. Shannon Kalawan, who ran the third leg for her team, was delighted with the win. “We came to Penn Relays as underdogs, but we were very confident that we would have won. I am extremely happy that I played my part by giving the team the lead, and it was good to be on the podium for the second time on the day, and I want to give God thanks for this,” said Kalawan, who finished second in the 400 metres hurdles on Thursday’s opening day. The other members of the team were Joneil Moore and Davia Smith. PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania: Edwin Allen High’s girls were brilliant on yesterday’s penultimate day of competition at the 122nd renewal of the Penn Relays in Philadelphia yesterday. The Clarendon-based school had two three-peats as they captured the 4x100m and 4x400m for the third consecutive year at the prestigious relay carnival. Unlike Thursday’s opening day when it was very cold, things warmed up yesterday and this lifted the performances. Despite coming into the finals of the 4×100 metres as the second-fastest qualifiers behind Holmwood Technical, Edwin Allen had few problems in achieving victory. They shrugged off early pressure from first-time finalists St Catherine High on the first two legs. Then the classy Shellece Clarke on the third leg put her team into the lead. Khamoy Farquharson on anchor then coasted home as Edwin Allen clocked to win in 45.73 seconds. St Catherine finished second in 46.11, with Nansemond River out of Virginia third in 46.26. Holmwood were fifth in 46.66 and Green Island seventh in 47.85. The other members of the winning Edwin Allen team were Kasheika Cameron and Patrice Moodie. Coach Dyke hailed his girls as before the race, he had told them that winning was the main focus. “Based on the preliminary round, we were very confident of victory, and with the type of weather, I told the girls that our main focus was just to win. The time was not important as the objective was for them to get on top of the podium,” said Dyke, who added that his young team could win the event for another three years. UNDERDOGS IN RELAYS
Majesty Gardens New Creation and Conscious United captured the last two spots in the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) All-Island Community Football League in the Corporate Area. The Majesty Gardens team edged Conscious 1-0 in a preliminary-round decider at Excelsior Primary School last Sunday. The winners came out on top in the group ahead of Conscious, but both teams qualified for the play-offs, which is scheduled to begin on January 10, 2016. The Kingston qualifiers are: Selassie Gardens, Cookhorn Lane, Harbour View, Woodford Strikers, Majesty New Creation, Conscious United, Caribbean Strikers, and Progressive Strikers. In the St Andrew zone, the last eight include: Sandy Park, Ayshire, Crook Street, Likkle Africa, Pembroke Hall Upsetters, Whitehall, Stadium Gardens, and Nannyville Youths. For the matchups, the games are: Stadium Gardens vs Ayshire at 1 p.m., Pembroke Hall Upsetters vs Likkle Africa at 3 p.m. (both games to be played at Excelsior Primary), Crook Street vs Whitehall at 1 p.m., Sandy Park vs Nannyville Youths at 3 p.m. at Stadium East Complex. Caribbean Strikers vs Cookhorn Lane at 1 p.m., Majesty New Creation vs Woodford Park at Tinson Pen playing field, Harbour View vs Conscious United at 1 p.m., and Selassie Gardens vs Progressive Youths at 3 p.m. at Payne Land playing field. The winners of each game will advance to the next stage of the competition.
Linking the flavours of the Caribbean through the region’s music and sport and arguably its most recognisable face – Usain Bolt – telecommunications giant Digicel yesterday launched the Bring the Beat campaign, which will be a key part of the company’s promotion leading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The event, with Bolt himself as the special guest, was launched at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston. Bring the Beat aims to celebrate the Caribbean’s culture and features its own theme song, performed by Trinidadian Machel Montano featuring Jamaica’s Tessanne Chin. The song will have variations which will be used in other Caribbean territories, featuring artistes from those particular islands, according to Digicel Group’s director of marketing, Peter Lloyd. “Music and sport have the power to bring people and nations together, and that is exactly what we are about. We will use beats, music, rhythm and talent to connect the world to our athletes no matter what flag they compete under,” Lloyd said. CARIBBEAN VISITORS Journalists and children from several Caribbean islands, including Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago were brought in specially for the function, with the children acting as young reporters and invited to pose questions to Bolt, who responded with his usual aplomb. The reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion was put in the hot seat and interviewed by Jamaican primary schoolgirl Naleighna-Kae McLean who asked the athlete a variety of questions ranging from his taste in food, to his relationship with his coach, Glen Mills. Meanwhile, sports fans, through Digicel, will have the opportunity to win tickets to various sporting events this summer, including NBA games, Caribbean Premier League cricket and the Olympic Games track and field programme. The event was broadcast live throughout the region on Digicel’s cable television arm, SportsMax.
LONDON (AP):World Cup qualifying in North America is set to be overhauled to avoid shutting out the majority of countries in the CONCACAF region so early.CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani has instigated a review of an “archaic” format that leaves only six out of the region’s 35 teams still in with a shot at qualifying for Russia in 2018.Alongside a potential new name to replace the corruption-tainted CONCACAF brand, revamping the qualifying format to be more inclusive has emerged as a key objective for Montagliani after five months in charge of the confederation covering North and Central America and the Caribbean.”Something needs to change because you can’t have 85 percent of your members who are on the outside looking in two years before the World Cup,” Montagliani told The Associated Press. “It doesn’t make sense.”Since qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, CONCACAF has used a system where teams play home and away in early rounds. Once 12 nations are remaining, there are three groups of four, which produces six teams for a final round.The United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago are the last teams standing, chasing three of CONCACAF’s automatic qualification places. Starting next month, they play each other twice in a league.”It’s great for those six teams over the next year and a bit, but how about the other ones?” Montagliani said. “It’s hard.”Hard for players to raise their standard and hard for teams to generate revenue to fund soccer development.CLIMBING THE RANKINGS”Caribbean countries have problems climbing the FIFA rankings, just because we are not able to play as many international games as you want to,” John Krishnadath, president of the Suriname soccer federation, told the AP earlier this year, while also highlighting the high cost of travelling to matches.Suriname’s World Cup journey ended in June 2015 immediately after entering in the second round of CONCACAF qualifying. The first seven CONCACAF teams were eliminated back in March 2015. It’s so long ago that Montagliani is the third president CONCACAF has had during qualifying for the 2018 tournament.Former CONCACAF head Jeffrey Webb was first arrested as part of the sprawling American investigation into corruption in May 2015 and his temporary replacement, Alfredo Hawit, was indicted seven months later. Montagliani said CONCACAF competitions and the interests of teams were neglected in an era when the leadership was motivated by corruptly extorting money from the confederation and its commercial backers.Discussing a new configuration, Montagliani said: “Maybe it’s like the Europeans or maybe it’s like the South Americans with a league – or it’s a hybrid of the two.”In Europe, countries are split into nine groups, balanced according to their rankings, and play games from September 2016 to October 2017. The group winners qualify automatically and the eight best runners-up will contest play-offs for the remaining four UEFA spots in Russia.In South America, the 10 CONMEBOL members are in a two-year league that started in October 2015. The top four have guaranteed World Cup places and the fifth-place team has to go through a play-off against a country from Oceania.
Deschamps selects Rabiot, drops Martial, Gignac PARIS, France (AP): Adrien Rabiot could make his debut for France after coach Didier Deschamps picked the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder in his 23-man squad for a World Cup qualifier against Sweden and a friendly against the Cote d’Ivoire. Anthony Martial and Andre-Pierre Gignac were notably missing from the squad announced yesterday. The forwards for Manchester United and Tigres in Mexico entered as substitutes in France’s 1-0 World Cup-qualifying win against the Netherlands on October 10. Ousmane Dembele figured to be among Deschamps’ options in attack. The Borussia Dortmund forward made his debut for France against Italy in September. With Rabiot offering defensive cover in midfield, Deschamps left out Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye. Rabiot was on a list of standby players for the European Championship last summer, but did not make the cut. He has been very consistent in PSG’s midfield. American Lloyd heads FIFA women’s award list ZURICH, Switzerland (AP): Carli Lloyd will defend her FIFA women’s Player of the Year award against a number of rivals, including three Olympic champions from Germany and five-time winner Marta. Lloyd is the United States’ only nominee on a 10-player list announced by FIFA yesterday after the 2015 World Cup winners lost in the Olympic quarterfinals in Rio de Janeiro. Germany have forward Dzsenifer Marozsan, who scored in a 2-1 win over Sweden in the gold medal match, as well as midfielders Melanie Behringer and Sara Daebritz on the list. Behringer retired after the Olympics, having played more than 100 times for her country. Each of the trio aims to be the third different German winner in the past four years.
New senior champions will be crowned in both the rural and urban ISSA schoolgirls netball competition when the finals are played tomorrow at G.C. Foster College. In the rural area semi-finals many-time champions Holmwood Technical were beaten by Manchester High while defending urban champions Camperdown High, were stopped by Excelsior High. Manchester beat Holmwood 39-37 in a close contest and will meet Denbigh High who easily got past Knox College 43-21 in the other semi-final. In urban action, Excelsior were 28-23 winners over Camperdown and they will meet Gaynstead High who defeated The Queen’s School 36-33 in the other senior semi-final. Denbigh will be gunning for two titles in the finals. Their junior team reached the championship match after whipping first-time semi-finalists St Thomas Technical 24-9. Holmwood, 25-19 winners over Manchester High, will be their opponents in the final. Gaynstead will also be hunting a double as their junior team is also in the final where they will meet Queen’s. Queen’s juniors defeated Camperdown 26-17 while Gaynstead cruised by Norman Manley 33-15 in the second semi-final. All eight semi-final matches were played at G.C. Foster College.
LONDON (AP):Eden Hazard came off the bench to help Chelsea into the FA Cup final with a 4-2 victory over Tottenham yesterday as the English Premier League leaders overwhelmed their title rivals to stay on course for a double.Chelsea shut down Tottenham’s fightback in a potent five-minute spell in the second half inspired by Hazard, who had been unexpectedly relegated to the bench.Hazard shot the ball through a crowded penalty area into the net in the 75th minute and teed up Nemanja Matic for a powerful strike off the inside of the crossbar to secure a final against Arsenal or Manchester City.Chelsea condemned Tottenham to a seventh successive FA Cup semi-final loss, and also have a four-point lead over their London rivals in the league title race.Twice Willian put Chelsea in front – from a free kick in the fifth minute and from a penalty two minutes before half-time – but Tottenham came back each time through Harry Kane’s flicked header and Dele Alli’s strike.Despite Tottenham posing the greater threat after Alli latched on to Christian Eriksen’s exquisite long pass in the 52nd minute, the north London club had nothing to show for its dominance. And a double substitution by Antonio Conte after an hour swung the semi-final back in Chelsea’s favour with Hazard arriving on the pitch with top-scorer Diego Costa.SPECTACULAR FASHIONA third Chelsea substitute, Cesc Fabregas, set up Hazard’s goal within a minute of being brought on. The midfielder’s corner was inadvertently flicked on by Tottenham defender Kyle Walker. Then Chelsea’s return trip to Wembley for the final next month was secured by Matic in spectacular fashion, with Conte’s side asserting its strength over Tottenham.Arsenal faces Manchester City in the second semi-final today. There were four Premier League games.English Premier League results: Bournemouth 4 Middlesbrough 0; Hull 2 Watford 0; Swansea 2 Stoke 0; West Ham 0 Everton 0.