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.

Kemba Nelson took the 100/200m sprint double at the PAC 12 Conference Championships held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday.

Julien Alfred, Demisha Roswell and Johnathan Jones pulled off impressive victories as the Big 12 Conference Championships concluded in Lubbock, Texas on Sunday.

President of the St Lucia Athletics Association Cornelius Breen said the residents of the island are proud of young sprinter Julien Alfred, who set yet another national record at the Big 12 Conference Outdoor Championships in Lubbock, Texas on Saturday, May 14.

The 20-year-old Alfred, a sophomore at the University of Texas, won her preliminary round heat in 10.81, the fastest time in the NCAA this season and the second fastest time this year. Only Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce with the 10.67 she clocked in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 7 has run faster.

The time also puts Alfred in an elite group of the top-10 fastest women from the Caribbean over 100m. Only Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.60), Merlene Ottey (10.74)., Kerron Stewart (10.75), Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.76) and Shericka Jackson (10.76) have, as Caribbean women, run faster than Alfred.

“Today (Sunday) was a wonderful day for us in St Lucia, having received news that Julien’s performance has made her the second fastest in the world. This was no easy feat. Julien has shown that she has the potential to develop, has the potential to do great things. It is on this premise, that she was scouted by her club, Survivors and Mr Cuthbert Modest, who saw the potential and assisted in that development and today we are witnessing what she has accomplished,” Breen told Sportsmax. TV.

“It is indeed a proud moment for us. We, as a nation, are happy about such a performance. We look forward to her continued development and her continued progress in the sport of track and field.”

He remained hopeful that Alfred would be able to deliver similar performances at the major championships.

“The World Championship is on the horizon, the Commonwealth Games and even the Olympics, and we continue to be proud of her,” he said.

Alfred will be favoured to win the final set for later Sunday despite being lined up in a stacked field that includes University of Texas teammates Kevona Davis, who ran a lifetime best 10.95 in the preliminary round, Kynnedy Flannel, as well as the speedy Rosemary Chukwuma from Texas Tech.

 

 

After running a personal best of 1:45.89 to claim the South Eastern Conference (SEC) title at the conference championships at the University of Missouri on Saturday, Mississippi State’s Navaskey Anderson said he is just getting started on his way to becoming the best ever 800m runner from Jamaica.

The time, the 14th fastest in the world this year is the fastest by a Jamaican and is just over half a second shy of Seymour Newman’s national record of 1:45.21 set back in 1977.

The former St Jago athlete held off Sam Whitmarsh of Texas A&M and Georgia’s Claymore Pender, who each ran personal best times of 1:46.09 and 1:46.71 for second and third, respectively in the race where the top-six all produced lifetime best performances.

However, for Anderson, a junior at Mississippi State, this is where his quest to go beyond Newman’s 45-year-old record begins.

“My job here is just now getting started,” he told Sportsmax.TV on Sunday.

“My goal is not only to be the best 800m that passes through Jamaica but also to bring the awareness and the spotlight to the younger generation letting them know that we can be dominant in the 800m as well.

“I will stay humble and work, my times will speak for themselves in due time.”

The 21-year-old Anderson has had to put in the work over the past few years to get to this point where he is within touching distance of the long-standing national record that only a few other Jamaicans like Clive Terrelonge (1:45.44), Mario Watson (1:45.58) and Alex Morgan (1:45.58) have got close to.

“To be great in the 800m there has to be a constant shift in mechanism, being able to run a fast 400m or 200m repeats today and being to hit a steady 10 miles the next morning,” said Anderson who stands at a wiry 1.93m (6’ 4”).

“Not everyone has the same body type or is built the way I am. I stay fit with morning runs and coordinate with my strength coach to get workouts that are going to help me move forward at least two to three times weekly.”

The journey to this point has been difficult but he has never given up hope nor lost sight of his goals as an athlete even when things were not going according to plan while he was at St Jago.

“I started high school running the 400m and the 1500m, taking on the 1500m at champs for my first two years. I made the finals both years but it was constant downhill after that,” he said, explaining that he believes “It was just not my time. I was training to the best of my ability but I wasn’t able to compete at a high level at Champs.”

Notwithstanding those early disappointments, Anderson never gave up and his fortunes began to change when he moved on to Essex County College in the United States.

“I stayed motivated and worked with Coach Andrew Kidd, who helped me develop a strong endurance background. I then went to Coach Lionel Leech at Essex County College. From 1:57-mid, coach got me down to 1:52-low is less than two years,” he said.

“I then made a great decision to attend Mississippi State, the right 800m university where Coach Chris Woods worked tirelessly to get my time down from 1:52 to 1:45 and still in progress in less than two years. That is spectacular.”

He said he has no plans to rest on his ‘spectacular’ progress with his goal now clearly in sight.

“I’ll keep working and I’ll keep working,” he concluded.

 

 

 

 

Retired Jamaican Olympian Veronica Campbell-Brown has announced that she and her husband, Omar, are expecting a second child. This, as she celebrated her 40th birthday on Sunday.

Her first child, Avianna, was born on February 23, 2019.

“Four decades! I am grateful to celebrate another milestone with hubby and Avianna as we excitedly anticipate the arrival of baby number two,” she said on Instagram.

“Today is the beginning of another year if abundant blessings.”

After a glittering career during which she won 49 medals in international competition including Olympic titles in the 200m in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008as well as a 100m world title in 2007, Campbell-Brown announced her retirement in June 2021, just prior to the start of the Jamaican National Athletics Championships at select a team to the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Grenada’s Anderson Peters set a new area record in the javelin with the second of his two first-ever throws over 90m, Shanieka Ricketts won the triple jump but there was a shock defeat for Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the 400m as the 2022 Diamond League season began in Doha on Friday.

Peters, the reigning world champion, broke his own national record on his opening throw of 88.96m but lost the lead when Jakub Vadlejch hurled the javelin out to a new world lead of 89.87m in the fourth round.

Spurred by the challenge, Peters uncorked his first ever 90m throw in the penultimate round, hitting a new personal best of 90.19m only to see Vadlejch surpass him once more with a personal best of 90.88m.

Undaunted the Grenadian, who once wanted to be a sprinter, flung his best-ever throw, 93.07m to put victory beyond Vadlejch’s reach. It was a new national record and personal best for Peters, and the fifth-best throw in history.

Meanwhile, Ricketts, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist produced a winning mark of 14.82m in challenging conditions caused by blustery winds as high as 6.5m/s that aided her winning jump.

Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuck took second place with her best effort of 14.73, her fourth jump of the competition that was helped by a gale force wind of 6.3m/s.

Dominica’s Theo LaFond took the final podium spot with her fourth-round jump of 14.43m assisted by a 3.6m/s wind.

Miller-Uibo last lost a 400m on this track back in 2019 when Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Nasser stunned the world with a 48.14 run at the World Championships. This time it was the Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist who stormed home in a season-best 51.20.

Stephenie-Ann McPherson trailed the imperious but clearly winded Bahamian up until the last few metres before overtaking her to clock a season-best 51.69. Miller-Uibo trudged across the line in 51.84 for third.

Barbados’ record holder Sada Williams (52.09) and Tokyo Olympic finalist Candice McLeod (52.37) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Shericka Jackson, who won the 100m at the National Stadium in Kingston last weekend, lost her first race of the outdoor season clocking 22.07 in the 200m after getting caught late by the USA’s Gabby Thomas, who ran a season-best 21.98 that equalled the meet record set by Allyson Felix back in 2015.

Dina Asher-Smith, the reigning world champion, clocked a smart 22.37 in her 200m opener, which was good enough for third place.

There was a blanket finish in the 100m hurdles that Kendra Harrison won in 12.43 but can count herself lucky to win. Brittany Anderson led off the last hurdle but appeared to stumble and faded to third in 12.44, the same time awarded to Nigeria Tobi Amusan who was awarded second place.

Bahamas’ Devyne Charlton was some distance back running 12.61 for fourth place while Megan Tapper hit the first hurdle and finished eighth in 12.92.

The 400m hurdles offered a glimpse of what to expect in the event this year as Alison Dos Santos, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist out-paced silver medallist Rai Benjamin down the home stretch to win in a world-leading 47.24, which was also a new meet record.

Benjamin was timed in 47.49.

The rest of the field was far behind but Thomas Barr of Ireland was the next best running 49.67 for third while Kyron McMaster finished fourth in 49.93.

Jaheel Hyde was fifth in 50.23.

 

 

 

 

 

After running a massive personal best 60m time indoors and starting her outdoor season with a couple of 400m races, Tokyo Olympics 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson has confirmed that she is leaning towards the 100/200m double again this season.

Jackson, 27, a World Championships and Olympics 400m bronze medallist experienced a successful step down to the blue ribbon sprint last season, running personal bests of 10.76 and 21.81 in the 100m and 200m, respectively. The times, along with her 49.47 personal best in the 400m, have made her the second best active combination sprinter and fifth all-time.

Only Marita Koch, Marion Jones, Florence Griffith-Joyner, who no longer compete and Bahamian wonder girl Shaunae Miller-Uibo rank ahead of her.

Jackson missed out on a possible Olympic medal in the 200m in Tokyo last year when she mistimed her run during the preliminary round and failed to advance. However, she will have a second crack at a global 200m medal at the World Championships in Oregon this summer, should all go well at the National Championships in Kingston next month.

“I am definitely doubling this year,” Jackson said after running 11-flat in her first 100m final this season at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee meet last weekend. The time was run into a headwind of -1.8m/s, which makes her time about 10.87 without the influence of the wind.

“I think coach and I will lean more to the 1-2 than the 400 but we will see come trials.”

Jackson, who will be competing against a stacked 200m field that includes Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Gabby Thomas and British star Dina Asher-Smith at the Doha Diamond League meeting on Friday, believes running a personal best indoors has helped her become a better sprinter.

“It has helped me good. I am coming from a 7.31 to a 7004, it was a really good accomplishment and I am healthy and I’m ready,” she said.

Kristen McGregor, 2020 Miss Olympia Amateur, hampered by the lack of consistent financial support in her home country of Jamaica, has launched a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising just over USD$12,000 that would help her achieve her goal of participating in the Ms Olympia Competition in December.

Easily Jamaica’s most successful female fitness athlete of the modern era, McGregor a former track and field athlete, has won national fitness titles and in 2018 was crowned CAC Champion in the category of Body Fitness Tall Class.

A 2021 Prime Minister Youth Awardee, McGregor has placed in the top five in most of her international competitions and harbours the ambition of one day winning the coveted Ms Olympia title for herself and her country.

In late April, she competed and placed fifth in the Figure competition at the Fit Muscle Championships in Mexico. It is essential that she competes in similar events leading up to December in order to accumulate the necessary qualification points to make it to the Ms Olympia contest.

Alas, this is proving to be more easily said than done as it has proven difficult to find the financial resources needed to compete regularly. Her next competition is in June and she is pondering whether she will be able to get there.

 “The major challenge I face as a national athlete is corporate sponsorship. I am a bit disappointed with the responses I received for sponsorship requests seeking help to represent my country and hoping that I would have gotten good responses, even given the fact that I am a recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Award,” McGregor told Sportsmax.TV after her return from Mexico.

 However, she remains hopeful.

 “I do hope that going forward I might receive better responses from other corporations and our sporting body,” she said.

 “The lack of support and sponsorship can impact my goals to represent Jamaica at the Olympia, as I am unable to cover the expenses related to travel and accommodation to participate in the various competitions, where I can only compete as a professional athlete in my discipline. It is my dream to represent Jamaica at the highest level of bodybuilding.”

 Contributions to McGregor’s GoFundMe page can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kristen-make-it-to-the-olympia-competition?member=19126721&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer

Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL), operators of Caymanas Park, is in mourning at the passing of industry stalwart Christopher Armond. The iconic former commentator turned administrator died on Wednesday after a short illness at the age of 67.

SVREL Chairman Solomon Sharpe was naturally saddened by the passing of the man whom he considered a dear friend.

 “I have many fond memories of working with Chris from the early days and was always impressed by his vast knowledge,” Sharpe said.

“He has done so much for Caymanas Park and the horseracing industry in general. I offer my condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”  

Armond, who was the Director of Racing at Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) enjoyed an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years and was held as the standard for horse race commentary throughout the region.

In 1984, he was awarded the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) Golden Microphone Award for his commentary. Armond also commentated in Detroit, Michigan and served as an administrator in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.

“For many Jamaicans, Armond is the voice of horseracing,” SVREL said in a statement Wednesday.

“From 1975 to 1985, Chris Armond established a new level of excitement and accuracy in race commentary with his distinguished vocal delivery. He provided colourful commentary in his distinctive voice, bringing horseracing into homes across the island.

“Even today, he remains the gold standard of commentating in the industry, not just locally but also for fans overseas.”

In addition to Armond’s iconic commentary, he also served as an administrator in the industry for many years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Thoroughbred Racing in June 2017 under the category of “Other Racing Personalities”.

It was seemingly natural for Christopher Joseph Armond to have a professional life as part of the racing industry. His father, Joseph, a Hall of Fame inductee, was co-managing director of Caymanas Park Limited, and his grandfather Altamont was the founder of the promoting company, Jamaica Turf Club. Armond carried on this family legacy and served as Director of Racing until his retirement on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

“Armond has left an indelible legacy in the sport of horseracing. His accomplishments are insurmountable and his contribution to the sport will never be diminished,” SVREL’s statement said.

“Our thoughts are with his family and dear friends during this difficult time.”

Jimmy Adams, Director of Cricket at Cricket West Indies does not believe regional players are taking advantage of the governing body to secure T20 contracts in the more lucrative T20 leagues around the world.

During a press conference on Monday with Lead Selector Desmond Haynes, Adams, who was also present, was asked whether this was the case in the wake of the recent development wherein Shimron Hetmyer took time off from the IPL to attend the birth of his child in Guyana, promising to return to complete the season, but using the same reason, has declared himself unavailable for the West Indies white-ball tours of The Netherlands and Pakistan that start later this month.

There have also been instances in the past where players have declined invitations to represent the West Indies choosing instead to play franchise cricket.

“You will have players who will opt not to take contracts because they want the freedom to go and play whenever and wherever. While I respect that, by the same token I think we kind of understand where those players’ priorities lie. There could be a few others like that around. We live with them and we move on if we have to,” Adams said.

“I don’t think that is a majority, I don’t think it impacts us in a negative sense, per se. We have had many players in the last few years who have played, who are not contracted players - your Chris Gayles, your Andre Russells.

“Yes, it needs managing for sure at both the international and the levels within the regions around the world. I think given where we are now in world cricket, and I believe where we are now in West Indies cricket, that we are doing a pretty good job of it.”

That said, Adams does concede that in regions like the West Indies where player contracts pale in comparison to those offered by the wealthy owners of IPL franchises, there is little that can be done.

“T20 cricket and the leagues are here to stay. I don’t necessarily think that they are a bad thing. At the end of the day what players have nowadays that they did not have in my time and Sir Desmond’s time was choice and I don’t think choice is a bad thing.

“We try to ensure we don’t have any overlaps with either IPL or CPL, so all our contracted players know that there is a minimum of two windows where they will not have any competing international cricket. As it stands now it is not something that sees us losing control.”

 

Jamaican Olympian Christania Williams is making a comeback from some tough times with the hopes of getting back to her best in the near future.

The 27-year-old former Edwin Allen High School star last showed up last weekend, May 7, 2022, at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston where she produced times of 11.62 to finish third in her preliminary round heat and then ran a season-best 11.55 in the final for a sixth-place finish behind winner Shericka Jackson (11.00).

She revealed afterwards that after enduring a rough period, she is hoping to improve with each race she runs this season.

“I have been through a lot. I am happy to be here. The main focus right now is just me against me and improving in each race,” said Williams afterwards while also revealing that she is no longer a member of the Tumbleweed training group in Jacksonville, but was training elsewhere in Florida.

She declined to reveal where or with whom.

“I am not training on my own but for now I am not sharing that information,” she said.

The talented sprinter won silver medals for Jamaica in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast and also won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay squad.

She ran a lifetime best of 10.96 in the 100m semi-finals in Brazil and finished eighth in the final won by Elaine Thompson-Herah. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was third.

At the time she was a member of the MVP Track Club in Kingston but she eventually left for the Rana-Reider led Tumbleweed Training Group in Jacksonville, Florida in early 2020, just before the world shut down in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like most of the world’s athletes, Williams did not compete in 2020. In 2021, she ventured into a few indoor meets and had a season-best 7.14 in Fayetteville in February. Another four races followed outdoors, the last of them occurring on May 31 when she ran 11.38 at the Duvall County Challenge in Jacksonville.

April 23, 2022, almost a year later was the next time she raced; at the Tru Fit Athletic Sprint Series in Miami, Florida where she ran 11.54 for a fourth-place finish in her heat and then 11.79 for seventh in the final.

 

Toyko Olympics triple gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah said her 22.75 200m run at the JAAA/SDF Jubilee meet on Saturday was about shaking the rust off as she continues on her quest to win her first gold medal at the World Championships in Oregon this summer.

Now that he has finally been able to train consistently after two years of disruption caused by the global pandemic, Traves Smikle produced his best throw in three years to achieve the qualifying mark for this summer’s World Athletics Championships at the second JAAA/SDF Jubilee Series meet at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

Smikle, the 2018 NACAC silver medallist, threw a season-best 66.60m for the victory, his best throw since he threw 67.57m in January 2019. It was the perfect birthday present for Smikle, who revealed afterwards that it was a welcome reprieve from a tough past couple of years.

“The last two years have been crazy with the pandemic and everything. It was very difficult to get into a training flow and now that things are better, not perfect but better, my coach and I got some consistent work in,” said Smikle, who won JMD$90,000 for the win.

“For the season I have been averaging 64/65m. We have been knocking at the door and we finally got it (the qualifying mark) today on my birthday and I am happy about that.”

Noticeably bigger than he has been in previous years, Smikle revealed that his increase in size is also part of his coach Julian Robinson’s plan for him to throw farther this year.

“One of the things my coach wanted me to do is put on a little more weight and we are doing some explosive work, trying to keep consistent with training and today we saw the fruits of our labour,” he said.

Smikle’s throw makes him Jamaica’s best thrower this year ahead of his training partner and friend, Fedrick Dacres, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion and 2019 World Championships silver medallist and, at least for now, gives him bragging rights in the Reckless Control training group.

Dacres, he said, is sure to use it as motivation to throw beyond the 65.98m he threw at the same venue just over a week ago, the next time he competes.

“Fedrick is a phenomenal athlete and we have been training hard, he has been working hard and we are on track. It is only a matter of time before he hits a big throw,” Smikle said of Dacres.

“Both of us have been averaging over 65m and we just want to work hard and respect each other. I am pretty sure he has seen this mark and it is going fire him up to get something big so the next time we compete, it’s going to be a good one.”

Michelle Lee Ahye ran a season-best 10.94 to win the 100m at the American Track League Orange County Classic in California on Saturday.

Jamaica’s beach volleyball teams are set to participate in the 2022 North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA) Beach Volleyball Tour this year thanks to the timely intervention of the Jamaica Olympic Association that has provided the necessary funding to the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA).

The 2024 Olympic cycle began in 2020, and without being able to compete for the last two years, Jamaica’s teams are forced to play catch up as other countries in the region were able to continue to train, compete and improve their rankings.

The lack of funding has also presented challenges as the JaVA was only able to send their Men’s team to the tour that is currently being held in Varadero, Cuba, and only the Women will be able to compete in the tour to be held in La Paz, Mexico from May 13-16, 2022.

However, thanks to the JOA, the JaVA will now be able to compete in the 2022 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tours, which is used to earn points and improve rankings in order to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the Olympics.

With the support of the JOA, Jamaica will be sending both Men and Women's Beach Volleyball Teams on the following tours:

July 28 – July 31 – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

August 4- August 8 - Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

August 25 – August 29 – Canada

September 29 – October 3 – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

November 3 – November 7 – Hato Mayer, Dominican Republic

Audley Weir, General Secretary of JaVA, in thanking the JOA said “due to the financial support from the JOA, Jamaica is poised to qualify for major tournaments, as the lack of funding and not being able to participate in competitions in the past, has seen our teams narrowly missing out on qualifying for both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games,” he said.

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