Olympic champion boxer Davis Jr diesMIAMI (AP):Olympic champion boxer Howard Davis Jr, who won the 1976 gold medal and was named over US teammate Sugar Ray Leonard as the most outstanding fighter in the Montreal Games, has died of cancer, his wife said on Friday.Davis, 59, died on Wednesday at his Plantation home, surrounded by family, Karla Guadamuz-Davis said.Amir back inPakistan squadISLAMABAD (AP):Fast-bowler Mohammad Amir is back in Pakistan’s Twenty20 and ODI squads – provided he can get a visa for New Zealand.Amir’s five-year ban from international cricket for spot-fixing ended in September, but the left-arm quick needs clearance from authorities in New Zealand because he also served three months in an English jail for taking bribes to bowl no-balls at agreed times.Pakistan is scheduled to play three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals, starting January 15, in New Zealand.AtlÈtico signs Argentine midfielderMADRID (AP):AtlÈtico Madrid have signed Argentine midfielder Augusto Fern·ndez from rival Spanish club Celta Vigo at the start of the winter transfer window.The 2014 league champions say Fern·ndez signed a contract through to 2019 after passing a medical examination.The 29-year-old Fern·ndez will help fill the void left by the injured Tiago Mendes.Fern·ndez scored 10 goals in more than three seasons for Celta. He previously played for AtlÈtico coach Diego Simeone at River Plate in 2007-08.
The top distance horses in training will face the starter at Caymanas Park today in the grade one feature for the Legal Light Trophy over 1820 metres on the Win Dem Wheelz Grooms’ Appreciation Day 11-race programme.Although the race has attracted a small field of six, it is embedded with quality. Present are the 2015 ‘Horse of the Year’, SEEKING MY DREAM, with four-time champion Omar Walker again in the saddle; last year’s Superstakes winner, FRANFIELD, under champion jockey Shane Ellis; as well as the island’s top stayer, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR; and the progressive American filly, LONG RUNNING TRAIN, who bids for a hat-trick of wins.The class of the principals is unquestionable, yet I believe victory will go to the Wayne DaCosta trained SEEKING MY DREAM, who shoulders topweight of 57.0kg and will be allowing weight all around.BEST HORSE IN THE COUNTRYBy virtue of his impressive win in the inaugural running of the $13.5 million Supreme Ventures Diamond Mile on December 5 last year, the 4-y-o chestnut colt by Seeking The Glory out of the 2008 ‘Horse of the Year’, Alsafra, has established himself as the best horse in the country and despite his narrow loss to FRANFIELD in the recent Chairman’s Trophy over 1500 metres, he can definitely rebound with a win.With little early pace in the race, SEEKING MY DREAM (working well) represents the controlling speed and coming from the number one post position on the rails, should have enough in the last furlong to stave off stable companion PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and FRANFIELD.Other firm fancies on the card are STAR OF DAVID in the Grooms’ Association of Jamaica Trophy over the straight five course; PERFECT FLYER to capture the closing Win Dem Wheels Trophy race ahead of MISS DOROTHY; as well as AGAKHAN IN the third and the front running PUDDY POOH in the overnight allowance race for the Roy Hamilton Trophy, this in recognition of one of the five veteran grooms to be honoured by the Azar Group on the day.
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania:WHEN THEY tackle Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup football final at Lincoln Financial Field this afternoon, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have one goal: to win.”We’re going into the final to win it,” Jamaican captain Rodolph Austin said on the eve of the championship game.”It’s our final game, we’ve to go out there and do our best. We want to go home with the trophy, that’s our aim and that’s what we’re looking forward to,” he added.The Jamaicans are in the final for the first time, having made it to the semis twice before; in 1993 when they finished joint third and 1998.Mexico have won the title at six of the 12 previous tournaments and Jamaica, the only group winners left in the competition, are hungry to close the deal.”As you can see in every game we play we’re very hungry, there’s no doubt about that,” said Austin. “I believe in my teammates and I believe in the team and each player believes in each player. We just have to go out there and play good football, work hard for each other and execute on our chances and defend as well as we’ve been doing.”- A.B.
PLEDGING MONEY There were times when the governments were asked to and pledged money to try and offset the players’ non-appearance in English first-class cricket, and money to try and stop our players from going to South Africa during the time of Apartheid, and they never delivered, most of them. With that aside, however, West Indies cricket is too important to the West Indies people, and it has been so for nearly 100 years for those who play, those who watch and those who govern it not to understand its importance and to accept it. CARICOM has a right to see that things are run properly in everything Caribbean. The people have given them that right. There is no doubt that cricket – probably more than any other thing, probably more than it is even in England – is Caribbean, and it is good to see that Cameron and the WICB finally realise that, or are willing to admit that that is indeed so. It is left to see who is bigger: Cameron and the WICB or CARICOM representing the people, and who will really bow to the other in this important battle for the survival of cricket in the region. It is easy to say, “I am sorry”, without really meaning to say so. It is as simple as that, and not even the International Cricket Council (ICC) can prevent it from doing so, certainly not after what is happening in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The board was not only being disrespectful to CARICOM, but also to the Caribbean people. Cricket, like every other sport, and politics should not mix, so say controlling bodies for sport like FIFA, the IOC, and the ICC, and all over the world, politicians have treated the dictate with tongue in cheek acceptance. The ICC, the ruling body for cricket, frowns on the close companionship of politics and sports. Sports and politics, however, have been like twins – or like peas in a pod – from time immemorial, including when the MCC objected to Basil D’Oliveira playing for England against South Africa, the land of his birth, during the days of Apartheid, and all for a peaceful life. There was also, to name a few, the USA-Russia quarrels which affected the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and the generosity of China and Taiwan, which saw the erection of nice, new stadia in the West Indies to facilitate the 2007 World Cup of Cricket. Sports, and cricket, could do nothing about that, and neither can cricket do anything about what transpires in places like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, where the governments select the presidents, the selection committees, and whenever they feel a need to, also the teams, or a player or two. The basic truth is that when these rules were written, some time back in the early 1800s, they were written when England, Australia, and South Africa were the sole members, when cricket was a small sport, when the three countries were rich, and when nobody really thought of political interference in sports. Today, however, more than 100 years on, things have changed. Cricket has got big; sports and cricket are big business. Many countries – poor countries from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean – are involved. Some of them – most of them – cannot afford to play cricket at certain levels, and the governments are asked to subsidise their participation in one way or the other. The governments, for example, are asked to underwrite certain things, to facilitate certain things, and to give waivers for certain things. In many respects, the governments pay the piper, and he who pays the piper, oftentimes calls the tune. This sad truth is that the WICB and West Indies cricket have survived because of the West Indies governments, even though some of them, because of necessities, have sometimes reneged on promises. Dave Cameron, the embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, has had second thoughts. Following an apology to CARICOM, he has decided to meet urgently with the representatives of the people. CARICOM is worried about West Indies cricket. It looked at it, and on November 4, it called the WICB to an urgent meeting to discuss a recommendation to dissolve the board and to put in an interim board. However, obviously knowing that CARICOM had no authority to do so, in a show of defiance, the board, through President Cameron, wrote back saying that it was too busy, and instead, invited them to attend its directors’ meeting on December 12. That caused a stir and left many people fuming, and as a result, three past presidents of the board – Pat Rousseau, Wes Hall, and Ken Gordon – as well as Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada and head of CARICOM’s committee on sports, came out swinging and claiming, among other things, that the WICB was disrespectful to the CARICOM leaders. CARICOM has no legal authority to interfere with the running of the WICB, or its existence. However, as the representative of the elected governments of the region and in the interest of the people, it has a moral responsibility to intervene and to help solve the problem, especially something as important as the region’s cricket. DISRESPECTFUL TO CARIBBEAN PEOPLE
The ICC said in a statement Samuels could ask for a re-assessment after the ban expired. “Samuels is entitled to appeal any procedural aspect of the independent assessment that has led to this automatic suspension,” the statement said. “However, only after the expiry of this one-year period will he be entitled to approach the ICC for a re-assessment of his bowling action.” The Jamaican, more known for his right-handed batting, was reported by umpires for a suspected illegal bowling action following the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle last month. He was allowed to continue bowling in the series until the assessment was carried out and the results known. The ban further compounds an already crisis-ridden tour of Australia for West Indies, who were crushed by an innings and 212 runs inside three days in the opening Test in Hobart. On Saturday, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was forced out of the series with injury, after pulling up lame after bowling 10 overs of the Australia first innings. ENTITLED TO APPEAL BRISBANE, Australia (CMC): Off-spinner Marlon Samuels has been slapped with a one-year ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) from bowling in international cricket. This follows independent testing of the 34-year-old’s action at the ICC’s accredited assessment centre here earlier this month, which revealed the player’s elbow extension was in contravention of the 15 degrees allowed under current regulations. Samuels was previously suspended from bowling his faster delivery back in 2013, and the second suspension coming within a two-year time frame has resulted in the immediate one-year ban.
Mandeville-based El Instituto de Mandevilla outclassed Kingston team Allman Town, 71-35, to win the 2016 Nestle Healthy Kids Primary/Prep Schools Badminton Championships on Sunday.The newly crowned primary/prep school champions achieved an impressive feat with four finals to go. They also had finalists in all the Under-11 events.El Instituto’s standout player, Matthew Robinson, took the gold medal in the Under-11 boys singles, defeating Toshiro Jones of St Hugh’s Prep 21-7.Robinson teamed up with Carlissia Wilkins to defeat Nathan Lindo and Carleeta Wilkins, 21-6, to take his second gold for his school.Meanwhile, Jones and Russell Bryan of St Hugh’s Preparatory clipped El Instituto’s Nathan Lindo and Jorie McBean, 22-20, in the Under-11 boys’ doubles.Also in the boys’ doubles, Robinson won his third gold medal, as he teamed up with Keyon’Dre McBean to defeat Belair’s Dossel Sinclair and Ande Stewart 21-12.It was excitement galore when AundrÈ Brown of Liguanea Prep faced off against Andre Stewart of Belair Prep, which saw Stewart fighting hard to take gold in a very close battle, winning 27-25.Sisters Carleeta and Carlissia Wilkins easily defeated Jade Ranger and Brittany Bell of Manchester-based Mandeville Primary and Junior High, 21-10, in the Under-11 girls doubles.Other outstanding performers included Rihanna Rust of St Richard’s Primary, who had a runaway victory over Shinelle Thomas of Mount Moriah, 21-4; and Carleeta Wilkins from El Instituto, 21-6, in the Under-13 and Under-11 girls singles, respectively.Belair Prep took the Under-13 girls doubles, courtesy of Aliyaa Dunkley and Anaiayah Fullerton, who defeated Hazard Primary’s Aliyah Bennett and Fabrese Woolery 23-21.In the Under-13 mixed doubles, Damion Wright and Aliyah Bennett of Hazard Primary totally outclassed Jamie Duhaney and Shinelle Thomas of Mount Moriah Primary 21-3.
“… I want to basically decapitate him!”Well then.Jamaican Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Randy ‘Rude Boy’ Brown hardly sounds like a man who will be featuring in only his second UFC bout tonight.Brown summed up his intentions when he steps into the cage against Michael Graves – eerie name – in a UFC on Fox 19 fight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.The welterweight clash, which starts at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Jamaica time), falls on the under card for the main event fight between light heavyweight stars Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans.Brown (7-0-0), who impressed in his UFC debut earlier this year after a unanimous decision win over Matt Dwyer, says he can hardly wait to face the undefeated Graves (5-0-0).”I’m super anxious right now, man. I’m ready. I’ve been feeling it in my workouts. Every system in my body is on, and I’m just looking forward to going out there to perform,” he told The Gleaner from Florida on Thursday. “I just can’t wait!”It’s a fight that will pit two warriors with conflicting styles against each other, with Brown’s stand-and-deliver, kick-and-punch arsenal going up against Graves’ canvas-loving, grappling preference.”He (Graves) is a tough guy, very durable,” Brown assessed. “He’s always looking to get you to the ground in a lock or a submission hold.”I am more of a fighter – I want to kick and punch. He wants to get me on the ground, hold me there, let time run out and win a decision, but I’m looking to decapitate him and take his head off, so it should be a good fight,” Brown added – not one to mince his words.And why should he?Finally on the UFC big stage, life was always a fight for the 25 year-old.Brown, who now lives in Jamaica, Queens, New York, grew up with his mother in Old Harbour, St Catherine. Things were hardly stable and he would soon move to live with his brothers in the gritty March Pen Road community in Spanish Town.He would eventually move to the United States at age 16, where he got involved with boxing.No turning back from MMABut that was just a fling. His real love was combat sports, and when he was introduced to MMA, he knew right away that there would be no turning back.Still, if anyone is expecting this UFC newbie, who – by the way, has only seven professional MMA fights in his legs – all without defeat – to feel any nerves in the cage, Brown says he is more than ready for the extra pressure and attention.”This has always been a goal for me ever since being back home in Jamaica. It’s been on my mind – combat sports and getting a chance to fight in the biggest organisation on offer, UFC. That is just huge for me,” Brown said.”Everyone expects me to perform and all the eyes are on me for Saturday (tonight), but there is no pressure, and I am looking forward to it,” he said.Brown is planning to travel to Jamaica spend a few days with his family in the coming days.But for now, the Rude Boy’s focus is clearly set on putting a foot – or fist – to Graves’ dome.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CMC):West Indies will be looking to draw confidence from their encouraging outing in last week’s first Test and avoid yet another series defeat, when they take on Pakistan in the second Test starting here today.Despite the loss in Dubai, West Indies gave a fighting display to take the historic day/night contest down to the final hour of the last day, before succumbing to the hosts by 56 runs and fall behind 1-0 in the three-Test series.And captain Jason Holder said yesterday his side would be taking the momentum gained from that game into the next five days at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.”We’re obviously confident. We played a very good Test match in Dubai and were very competitive,” an upbeat Holder told media here.GREATPOSITIVES”We had some great positives coming out of that game, so for me, it’s just to transfer it into this game. Abu Dhabi maybe a fortress for Pakistan, but we’ve shown we can compete in this series and we’re very, very confident heading into the second Test match.”He added: “Obviously, we did some good things in the last Test match. We didn’t get over the line and everybody was disappointed there. We showed hurt, we spoke about it, and refreshed our minds and we’re ready to go again.”Coming off embarrassing clean sweeps in the preceding Twenty20 and one-day international series, West Indies’ woes looked set to continue when Pakistan piled up a massive 579 for three declared in their first innings.But the Caribbean side responded with 357, then bundled out their opponents for 123, to open up the game with a gettable target of 346 to win.They were competitive thanks mainly to Darren Bravo’s eighth Test hundred, but once he departed in the final hour on the last day, the Windies challenge faded.Holder said his side were focussed on making the improvements necessary to come away with victory.”We need to sharpen up on the little mistakes we made in the field. I think we can be a bit better in the field and obviously cut down on those no-balls which we bowled,” he pointed out.As it did in Dubai, the spotlight will again fall on the spin attack of both sides. West Indies will depend heavily on leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo whose career-best eight-wicket haul in the second innings in Dubai, blew the game open.Pakistan, however, will be hoping for better from leg-spinner Yasir Shah and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz. Yasir picked up five in the Windies first innings, but was largely ineffective on a final-day wicket and claimed just two scalps in the second innings.UNDERSTANDING ROLESHolder said he expected the bulk of the work to be shouldered by the spinners and said it was important that their seamers understood their roles.”The wickets are very good. Both sides struggled to get wickets with their seamers [in the last Test],” the 24-year-old pointed out.”Both spinners dominated in the first Test match, so it’s a situation where the pacers have to be a little bit more patient, let the spinners get into their work, and be a bit more aggressive.”He continued: “Pakistan has a quality spinner in Yasir Shah and they’ve got an inexperienced one in Nawaz and the bulk of the work will be heavily dependent on Yasir Shah.”I thought we coped with him really well in the second innings. He was not as effective, though it was a day-five pitch and I think the more time we spend on each wicket we bat on, the better off for us.”Pakistan have been boosted by the return of veteran right-hander Younis Khan who missed the Dubai Test as he recovered from the effects of dengue. With nearly 10,000 Test runs, over 100 Tests and already 32 hundreds, Younis is a much feared campaigner but Holder said while they respected him, they would not be intimidated.”He’s a quality player [and] coming off a double in his last innings in England, there’s no doubt the calibre of player he is but cricket is played on the day and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Holder asserted.The game bowls off at 1 a.m. (Jamaica time).
The imminent return of Mr. Wycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron as President of West Indies Cricket for a third consecutive term must be seen as vindication for the performance of Mr. Cameron and his executive. The fact that Mr. Cameron is set to be returned unopposed is an index of how little credibility his detractors have as I relates the criticisms of the stewardship of the region’s cricket over the last four years. The obvious and expressed dislike and disdain for the Jamaican have come from some prominent voices in and around West Indies cricket, but remain in the significant minority. The majority of stakeholders evidently do not share this negative view of Mr. Cameron, or at least are not seeing a better alternative at the point in time. It continues to be a handful of active senior players, a few past players and past administrators, and some regional politicians who have been demonstrably vocal against Mr. Cameron and his stewardship of the board. The grouses are for the most part based on the president’s interpersonal skills and his style of leadership, all disguised in a thin coat of covert classism. The hard cold facts are that the West Indies are current world champions at the Men’s Twenty20 , Women’s T20, and men’s under 19 levels, all achieved under the watch of Dave Cameron. For several decades there was rampant and incessant talk about the need for first class cricket in the region to be professionalised, not until Dave Cameron took over did all that talk translate into reality with the region’s first class cricketers now getting relatively decent remuneration for their services as cricketers. The retainer contracts for the region’s international representatives, men and women are at levels never seen before in our history. The West Indies board is in the unusual place of financial profitability. These are real and tangible achievements and milestones that must be credited to the leadership of President Cameron. The main cricketing issue being held up against the Cameron administration is the embarrassing state of the region’s test team. In all fairness though, Mr. Cameron and his administration cannot be reasonably blamed for the demise of our test team which began its decline well before his tenure and will continue long after his departure. Global decline The decline in test cricket in the region is an index of the global decline of this format of the game. The more rapid and pronounced decline of the test game in the Caribbean is hardly policy and structure related. The fundamental game changer in this regard has been the emergence of the T20 format, a faster paced, more exciting fan friendly, more financially appealing version of the game. A prospect that has led to the region’s top players becoming less interested in playing test cricket, opting instead to be specialist merchants of the cash rich T20 game. When an entire generation of players are no longer interested in playing test cricket, it seems an unfortunate and crippling turn of events, but represents the natural evolution of the game, which is beyond the control of any governing body. In reconciling the negatives associated with Dave Cameron’s persona against the positive changes made and the on field achievements, comparing the tenures of Mr. Cameron to any West Indies cricket board President of the modern era, Dave Cameron could very well go down as one of, if not the best West Indies Cricket board president ever, if we are willing to be totally objective about it.
PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson says the Jamaica Football Federation is hoping to use the current crop of local national invitees to improve the general professionalism among players in their respective clubs. Simpson said when players are on national duty they are exposed to the professional way of doing things and the JFF wants these players to go back to their clubs and maintain that same standards. “We want each player to understand they are ambassadors even when they are here (Jamaica) not just when they travel. When they go back to their respective clubs they must bring back whatever they learn and make it contagious,” he said “We do not expect when a player goes back to his club, he does not attend training, he is late for training and does not meet his obligations. It can’t be a culture for the national team and a different one for the clubs. “The common thread must be your deportment, punctuality, your obligations and behaviour. It has to be a way of life. “Too often they come to us and go back to the clubs and when they get back they return to the old bad habits,” he commented.. He believes their behaviour can influence young aspiring national players in the clubs and make them more prepared for a professional environment “You want other players who have not been called to see how they operate and know what we want outside of football. Professionalism is not just how you play, it’s wider than that, so this is the culture we want national players to take back to the clubs,” Simpson added.. The JFF intends to host a meeting with the clubs very soon to inform them of the JFF’s expectations with regard to this new initiative. “The current players, we monitor them. We communicate and find out (whether there’s a problem) if we don’t see a player. “We want to know what the issues are with the players and clubs and let them know what we are looking for. We also want the communities to monitor them (players) too, because whatever they do off the field is what they will do on it,’ he said.