LONDON (AP): Liverpool slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Watford in the Premier League yesterday, while managerless Swansea drew 0-0 at home to West Ham at the Liberty Stadium. Liverpool now trail the Champions League places by five points after their latest loss, while Swansea stayed in the relegation zone after taking a point. Watford took the lead at Vicarage Road after only three minutes. Nathan Ake poking in after stand-in Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, replacing the injured Simon Mignolet, dropped a corner. Odion Ighalo then netted twice, with a composed finish in the 15th, before heading in unmarked in the 85th as Liverpool were punished for a stagnant and unimaginative performance. Manager Jurgen Klopp felt his side’s reaction to conceding early contributed to the rest of their display. “We lost our minds after the first goal; we lost our compact formation,” Klopp said. “The reaction has to be better. We came here to do something really different than what you saw. Hopefully, it is the most disappointing moment in my whole Liverpool FC life from now on.” NO WORRY FOR WATFORD Liverpool failed to offer anything in attack that worried Watford, which played at a higher tempo and with more attacking intent throughout the encounter. The victory is their fourth in a row in the Premier League and leaves them only a point behind Tottenham in fourth, on 28. “We are fighting a lot; we are very competitive,” Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores said. “I feel completely happy with the performance and the players. We are playing against amazing teams, but we control the matches.” In Wales, Swansea missed some good chances in the first half against West Ham as theyfailed to claim the victory that would have lifted them out of the relegation zone. Andre Ayew, Ki Sung-yueng and Jack Cork failed to convert opportunities as Swansea stayed in the bottom three, two points adrift of safety. West Ham substitute Enner Valencia almost won it for the visitors late on, but his strike was tipped over the bar by Lukasz Fabianski as Slaven Bilic’s side settled for their third straight goalless draw. Swansea caretaker manager Alan Curtis challenged his team to be more ruthless in attack. “We can all see that we are lacking a cutting edge,” Curtis said. “At least we looked like a Swansea City team again, but we need to find something in the final third.”
With the CTL chairman Chris Brown off the island, it is understood that Azar has been asked by the finance minister to intervene with a view of finding a solution in short order. A CTL source said it will cost the company $28 million to sign off on the deal. Efforts to contact CEO Stewart proved futile as calls to his mobile phone went to voicemail. Meanwhile, the workers were adamant that they would stay off the job until the issue is resolved. This was the position coming out of a meeting yesterday afternoon between Ennis and more than 50 members of staff in the grandstand at Caymanas Park. They shouted ‘No racing! No racing!’ in the presence of Azar on the conclusion of the meeting at 4 p.m. The 10-race programme scheduled for Caymanas Park yesterday had to be abandoned following strike action by unionised workers of Caymanas Track Limited (CTL). The workers claimed that the action was taken because of the failure of the promoting company to sign off on phase two of a reclassification exercise. More than 150 workers represented by the Union of Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Personnel (UTASP) took industrial action minutes after 5 p.m. on Thursday. Normality returned on Friday, but following a lengthy meeting between UTASP general secretary St Patrice Ennis and the management of CTL, the workers resumed their protest. A second meeting with the CTL management late into Friday night failed to resolve the issue. This not only resulted in yesterday’s shutdown, but the February 10 holiday meet, featuring the Ash Wednesday Trophy, also hangs in the balance unless there is a breakthrough by Monday, noted CTL’s racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr. According to Ennis, the workers representing all categories were asked to hold strain last November to ensure that the two major races on the calendar, the November 14 Superstakes and the inaugural staging of the rich Diamond Mile on December 5, were run. “But we waited more than six weeks after for a response from CTL and had to force their hand by taking industrial action on Thursday. “Following the back-to-back meetings on the nights of Thursday and Friday, it came down to CTL signing off on the agreement on benefits to the workers, but were told that neither Cedric Stewart, chief executive officer (CEO) of CTL, nor the company’s human resource manager, Tanya Wilson, both of whom were present (along with CTL’s deputy chairman Andrew Azar) had the authority to sign the document on behalf of the board,” explained Ennis. FIND A SOLUTION
Much has been discussed here and elsewhere about pending action at the XV IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) World Championships in Athletics. Track and field is, by far, Jamaica’s most successful sport. Its biennial showpiece happens in the Chinese city of Beijing, competition lasting from August 22 to 30. It marks a highly anticipated revisit to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, where Jamaica’s sprinters staged a major coup at the Olympics in 2008. In six events, including the sprint relays, five gold medals went to the land of Bob Marley and the Reggae Boyz. That a season-long, high-riding, twice-convicted drug cheat, Justin Gatlin, is part of the USA’s spoil-the-island party only enhances the hype. One expects, following a telling London Diamond League experience, the big man himself, Usain Bolt, will make it a spectacle that only dreams can envisage. That excitement aside, there will be boardroom decisions to ponder. From them will surface a separate brand of doubts, drama, and disappointments. Come August 18-20, the hosts, the IAAF, will be holding their 50th congress. Being an even-numbered staging, elections for official positions in the hierarchy will be held. It is a contradiction of sorts that Jamaica does not have a single post in the structure of the existing world governing body. Such a distinction could be considered almost automatic, given the nation’s international high profile in the sport. In a determined attempt to correct that, four individuals have been sent forward to ‘face the music’. Dr Warren Blake, not without negative murmurs behind the curtains, holds the top spot in the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). A seasoned politician, he will contest for a place on the IAAF council. The association’s general secretary, Garth Gayle, rumoured to be looking at Blake’s chair in next year’s local polls, will vie for technical committee membership. The quartet of hopefuls is completed by JAAA’s third vice-president, 1996 Atlanta Olympics 400 metres hurdles gold medallist, Deon Hemmings-McCatty, and road racing organiser, Alan Beckford. Respectively, they will be hunting women’s and cross-country committee status. Beckford, who is not on the executive of the association, was co-opted for the exercise. Foster’s Fairplay quizzed the straight talker, who co-founded and is currently chief organiser for the Jamaica College-hosted Hugo Chambers 10K. There was anxiety as to his thoughts about being sent to the polls, while not an elected member of the JAAA executive. “Having been involved in road racing for more than 30 years, and cross country as well, I think the executive of the JAAA would have seen my qualities and, knowing that I was integrally involved in many a way, with the growth of distance running in Jamaica … hence, this is the reason they selected me,” he said. The die is cast, for better or for worse. The country awaits the outcome.
SOUTHAMPTON (3-4-1-2)STEKELENBURG, SOARES, FONTE, VAN DIJK, TARGETT,WANYAMA, S DAVIS,WARD-PROWSE, TADIC, RODRIGUEZ, PELLEMAN UNITED (4-2-3-1)ROONEY, MATA, HERRERA, MEMPHIS,CARRICK, SCHNEIDERLIN,ROJO, SMALLING, DARMIAN, DE GEAManchester United suffered on two counts on Tuesday night. Not only did they lose 2-1 against Dutch club PSV Eindhoven in their first Champions League group game, but England left back Luke Shaw suffered a double fracture of his leg and may miss the rest of the Barclays Premier League campaign.Wayne Rooney, still without a Premier League goal since April – and 14 hours and 34 minutes – missed the game in Holland with a hamstring injury and undergoes a test ahead of the trip to the south coast.The defeat against PSV came after an impressive 3-1 win over Liverpool in which Anthony Martial, the PS36 million teenager signed from French club Monaco, came on to score a hugely impressive goal on his debut.Martial got his first United start against PSV and, if Rooney’s is unavailable, he could continue in attack for United.Southampton arrive with an improved defensive record. After conceding five goals in their first two games, they have kept three straight clean sheets and gone a total of 276 minutes since they last conceded.The arrival of Celtic central defender Virgil van Dijk, for PS11.5 million, has helped the Saints’ rear-guard, but they are still without left-back Ryan Bertrand and centre half Florin Gardos.
OCHO RIOS:More than 100 golfers will participate in the annual Latin American Travel Agents Golf Tournament which tees off this morning at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Ocho Rios.Travel agents from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Panama are being hosted at Beaches Ocho Rios, as the resort chain reaches out to the Latin American market for holiday, and hopefully, professional golfers.The two-day event will comprise teams playing in a four-man scramble format, putting their skills to the test competing in various competitions throughout the tournament.Categories to be contested include: Overall Champions and Runners-Up; Closest to Pin Female; Closest to Pin Male; Longest Drive Female; Longest Drive Male.Miguel Arthurs, general manager of the Sandals Golf and Country Club, said the event promises to be an interesting affair and the course was in great condition for excellent scores.”We anticipate a good tournament and all systems are go for two days of splendid golf, ” Arthurs noted.Garth Laird, Sandals Resorts’ director of travel industry programmes, was upbeat about the event, noting that this year promises to be the most exciting yet.”All is in place for what promises to be a great event,” Laird said. “The Travel Agents Golf Tournament is of great benefit to both Jamaica as a golfing destination and Sandals Resorts, as the Latin American market is a growing one and gives the travel partners a chance to experience the products first-hand, hence being better able to market the destination and facilities to their respective clients.”
News coming from the MVP camp is scanty, and not unsurprisingly, non-committal. All that was revealed equalled “I’ll tell you at month end – October”. Over at Racers, sources, who asked to remain anonymous, say that the problem is efforts to upgrade their female portfolio were falling short. The all-encompassing picture first is that national champion and World Champs 400m fourth-place finisher Christine Day and Beijing 100m finalist Natasha Morrison, both with gold medals in the mile and sprint relays, respectively, have headed out the MVP exit door. Of lesser quality and impact, back-to-back 200m silver medallist at the World Juniors (2002/2004) Anneisha McLaughlin, later Whilby, has also waved her hand in retreat from her MVP teammates. Almost simultaneously coming to this columnist, Beijing 2008 Olympics joint 100m silver medallist Kerron Stewart has also packed her bags and said goodbye to Racers. Accompanying her on the move were the too-long-promising duo of sprinter Schillonie Calvert and 400m hurdler Ristananna Tracey. The grapevine, and understandably so, reveals that the club’s bosses were spared the trauma of letters of dismissal – their threatening reaction to below-par performances. There is no difficulty in saying to the Dr Glen Mills-conditioned trio “that is the end of that” and “wish you well elsewhere”. Stewart, it must be concluded, has had her time, her most productive days seemingly behind her, although thoughts of that pair of silver medals, being at the time transformed to gold, must be a bothersome factor. Calvert, despite global sprint relay gold medals in 2013 (Moscow, WC) and 2015 (Nassau, World Relays Championships), has not realised early promise shown at the individual level. And Tracey, who it is claimed has taken on major distractions, qualifies for what the horsemen call “in and out running”. They seem all to have been in the Racers departure lounge. The University of Technology-based athletes, if they considered their less than impressive high school past, should have been happy, even under the coaching whip of an uncompromising, no-nonsense Stephen Francis. Day’s WC personal best of 50.14 and Morrison’s similarly described 10.96 in her semi-final show remarkable improvement from the ranks of ‘Miss Nobodys’. Whispers are that their enthusiasm and willingness to compete in Beijing took a nosedive when they resumed the circuit several thousand dollars richer. Given safe landing and embraces in another camp, they could soar to even greater heights. Foster’s Fairplay is reluctant to take an unnecessary swipe at athletes who brought satisfaction from Beijing. However, the label attendant to the charge of post-World Champ attitude suggests ingratitude for the goodwill extended to escort them there. Be careful now! This exit has revealed a few things previously kept ‘beneath the sheets’. So the heat can ‘tun up’ anytime. News scanty Foster’s Fairplay is still basking in the afterglow of the XV IAAF Beijing World Championships. Starting with the new paradigm that branded the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jamaica’s lovers of sports were spellbound by the superlative performances in five world-standard showcases of track and field up to and including the Moscow World Championships two years ago. At every call, the supporters swelled to proportions that were once again to lose valuable sleep, and possibly jobs, as the viewing vigil at times meant early to mid-morning shifts. Many of the thrilling moments of the second stint in the Chinese city were predictable – the Usain Bolt recurring phenomenon; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s now-cemented upper hand on the world’s best female sprinters; and Elaine Thompson’s emergence, with thoughts of a ‘three the tough way’ clash in Rio – and brought added moisture to the palate. What did not appear in the crystal ball was what coach Lennox Graham would pull from his magician’s bag in Danielle Williams. Having warmed to all those thrills, now safely tucked away, the cooling-down opportunity was to be embraced just to reflect. As mentioned last week, putting the 2016 Olympics in proper perspective and willing our amazing athletes to greater effort and glory would be the sole focus. Perish that thought at the womb stage! Here comes a mass exodus from the two top clubs whose athletes had sweetened the pot a mere few weeks ago in Beijing.
“These (young) players played other leagues. I watched them and the quality they possess. They can manage and match up with the Premier League boys. It’s just getting them in the right shape [and] mindset and to go in the league and perform well,” said Johnson. “Sometimes, when you have too much experienced players, they break down the team, so we want a quality team that is going to work together, but we have to take it a game at a time and not focus on the long season ahead,” he added. Jamalco will debut against last season’s beaten finalists, Portmore United, at Juici-Patties playing field, and Johnson is comfortable with his team’s progress going into the season. “We are just fine-tuning to hit the Premier League. We have played a few practice games and I am comfortable. There is room for improvement, but I am comfortable. Jamalco is a good defensive team and we have a strong attack, so we will be good enough in attack and protect what we have,” he said. “The first game against Portmore, we will try to start on a high and maintain it. It will get tougher as the season goes on and teams will get tougher, but we have to gain all the points we can in the early rounds and see how much we can accumulate. But we will be taking it one step at a time,” he added. No player has left the club. Jamalco Football Club will make their first appearance in the nation’s top flight, the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), this season. However, unlike most Premier League debutants, the Clarendon club is not making a desperate bid to contract players with Premiership experience. On the contrary, coach Rayon Johnson is banking on the parish’s young talent, and he’s confident that they’ll come good during the season. “We have added a couple new players, but we haven’t added any with any Premier League experience,” he told The Gleaner. “We try to get young players who are talented from the parish. We have one player (Sean Coleman) with Premier League experience. He came on loan from Humble Lion and we’ve still retained that player. We haven’t gone in search on any other player from any Premier League club,” he revealed. Johnson believes that experience is overrated, noting that experienced players usually cause distractions in the teams. GETTING PLAYERS READY
Kevin Nedrick of Petersfield High School did a throwing double at the Manchester High School/Charlie Fuller Memorial on Saturday but his Class One shot put victory had patrons buzzing. With reigning ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships gold medallist Kyle Mitchell of Calabar High School showing fine form, Nedrick topped the early season showdown courtesy of a big last throw of 18.85m. He and Mitchell were the class of the field.Nedrick had won the discus easily with a mark of 54.05m but watched Mitchell take early control of the shot with throws of 17.16m and 17.38m. The tall lad spun into the lead at the end of the second round with an effort landing 18.02m away and stretched away to 18.14 in Round Four. The burly Calabar champion was, however, also improving and boomed forward to 17.97m in the fifth round and to the lead in the final round with a high arcing heave of 18.33m.On the last throw of the competition, Nedrick launched his shot to a winning distance of 18.85m.”It was kind of hard at the beginning because of the temperature I didn’t get my body that warmed up but going into more and more throws, I felt better,” Nedrick said afterwards.Queried about his prospects for the season, the 2015 Commonwealth Youth shot put champion replied: “(There is) A lot more to come. This is just a piece of the cake.”Without making excuses, Mitchell revealed that he was competing with a gimpy wrist.”I’m battling with some minor issues with my wrist, so I’m just trying to get as fit as possible as it relates to throwing competitively, so today was a good start for me,” said Mitchell.Nedrick’s team manager Junior Clarke has high hopes for him.”I’m just looking for Champs because he’s leaving Champs will all the records this year,” predicted Clarke.REDEMPTIONPan-Am discus champion Fedrick Dacres placed all his four legal throws over 61m with his fourth-round spin taping out at 64.79m. Dismayed with his first-round elimination at last year’s Olympics, he has his eyes on London and the 2017 World Championships.”It’s more of a redemption so you’re going back to show that you’re not finished as yet,” Dacres determined.His University of the West Indies teammate Traves Smikle was second with a best mark of 61.74m. Smikle barely missed the qualifying standard last year and with it, a chance to compete in his second Olympics but he is looking ahead to London too.”You know 61 today is a good sign that with more work anything is possible,” said Smikle.O’Dayne Richards, the MVP Track Club star, who made it to the Olympic shot put final, began his 2017 endeavours with a victory throw of 20.11m. In other action, there were one-two finishes in the Class Two and Three long jump for girls by Edwin Allen and Holmwood Technical respectively.Double jump 2016 Champs gold medallist Annia Ashley flew to the longest jump of the day at 5.98m to outdistance her teammate Latavia Brown in Class Two, while Suzette Palmer of Holmwood survived a tight Class Three affair. Palmer bounded 5.37m to edge her teammate Samantha Jibbinson by just 2 centimetres with Nia Robinson of Rusea’s close on 5.32m.
Reflection of society The massive and intense media attention schoolboy football has garnered recently has highlighted many aspiring young, talented players and has turned many into overnight stars. However, these regularly televised schoolboy football matches have highlighted another fact: that the phenomenon of bleaching has engulfed our secondary institutions and their sports figures. Its popularity with young people, especially those involved in sports, is a growing sensation, and The Gleaner sought the insight of a few high school principals on how widespread the phenomenon is in their schools among student athletes. Holy Trinity and Cornwall College’s principals, Margaret Brissett-Bolt and Dr Lennox Rowe, respectively, as well as Wolmer’s vice-principal, Osagdoro Asayimwese, all declared a no-tolerance stance on bleaching and that student-athletes found bleaching were not allowed to represent these schools. All three principals admitted that the phenomenon had infested their schools and they had to find ways to discourage it. “My sportsmen and women wouldn’t even think of it. They wouldn’t be selected for rugby, football, netball – none. That is definitely a no-no, ” Brissett-Bolt insisted. Cornwall College’s Rowe held a similar position. “My view is zero tolerance. We do not support it. We do not condone any type of chemical to alter the skin,” he said. “We had students (bleaching) on various teams, and I outlined my stance that if they do it, they are not going to represent the school.” Wolmer’s Asayimwese said they, too, have implemented rules to discourage the behaviour. “At the start of the school year, the principal dictated to and informed the school community that there would be no tolerance for bleaching and where boys were found bleaching, steps were taken to have them have it corrected,” he said. The consensus is that it’s a reflection of the society and students are influenced into the bad habits by their immediate surrounding. But it is said to be generally practised by weaker academic students. Brissett-Bolt believes that the schools can only do so much. “First we had the girls doing it, then the boys. I have seen improvement, but during the holidays, they will bleach again and try to fix it before they come to school,” she said. Brissett-Bolt insists that the phenomenon is not irreversible but that it is now fully engraved on the minds of our young people. And although the authorities are doing everything to keep it out of the schools, it’s not an easy challenge because of its acceptance in the general society.
Coach of Tivoli Gardens men senior team Omar Edwards says that a change in attitude has led to the team moving on top in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) title race. Tivoli are currently on top in the nation’s elite league on 42 points, the same as reigning champions Montego Bay United (MBU). However, Tivoli enjoy a superior goal difference. The West Kingston-based outfit took control following a 1-0 win against MBU in a top clash at Wes Pow Park last Sunday. “Basically, on going to Tivoli last summer, I let the players know what we want to achieve as a team working together,” Edwards told The Gleaner. “Maybe the attitude wasn’t the best, so that had to change. My coaching staff sold the players a vision on how to win the league. We want to be the best organised team on the defensive and offensive end of the pitch,” he shared. “I came here to give of my best for the team. I have displayed reasonable system of play which are paying off,” the 32 year-old, who is also Jamaica Under-17 assistant coach, added. “We had some quality players at Tivoli, and also added others such as Tevin Shaw and Marvin Stewart at the start of the season. We also brought in Peter Keyes, Jermaine Parris and Denham Town High schoolboy Arthur Walters. “We have a competent team that stands a chance of winning the league. The players have been highly motivated since the win against MBU,” Edwards further said. With regards to support from management, Edwards says that despite financial constraint, they are fully behind the team. “The club is unable to attract sponsors, so the players are not getting the salary they want, but we had to find a way to keep the players motivated. We promised the players incentives from the winnings at the end of the season, and they are going for it,” he concluded.