Jamaica athletics will not die with Usain Bolt’s retirement

first_img… Sports to continue as one of the major players in Jamaica’s tourismTHE world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, who is one of Jamaica’s pride and joy and main contribution to world athletics, will be pacing into a very young retirement at the age of 30, on the June 10 after running his last race as a professional athlete on Jamaica’s soil.Bolt will be competing at the JN- Racers Grand Prix Meet at the Jamaica National Stadium, at a meet organised to salute the ‘legend’ before he retires from the track. Bolt broke through to international fame by becoming World Junior Champion in the 200 metres at age 15 in 2002 at the very same stadium.While some Jamaicans are expressing mixed emotions about Bolt’s retirement, the sporting arena is generally in a sober atmosphere, as faces will no longer be glued to televisions with fingers crossed, almost a guarantee that those fingers will be opened with celebratory screams and gesticulations after Bolt crosses the finish line first, with ease, at every Olympic race.“I am having mixed emotions about it because it is like I’m sad he is retiring but I didn’t want him to compete again because I don’t want him to be beaten. I don’t want him to go into retirement with a defeat,” one Jamaican sports enthusiast said.Usain BoltDr. Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has expressed some pessimism that Jamaica’s sports and athletics Industry might be affected as Bolt was the main attraction, but is confident that the myriad of young and upcoming athletes will close the gap of Bolt’s retirement comfortably.“It might affect the sport industry a bit but we have quite a number of young talents coming up, we have quite a good crop of youngsters coming up who would be ready to replace Mr Bolt when he retires,” JAAA boss told Chronicle Sport in an invited comment.Boasting on names such as Akeem Bloomfield and Nathan Allen, who are upcoming young athletes currently turning heads in Jamaica, Blake said that JAAA, in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica as well as other supporting entities, is continuing to hold hands in not only keeping the standard of athletics in the island, but sifting out loopholes in areas which need improvement.Only last Saturday the organisation hosted its 14th International Jamaica Invitational Meet at the National Stadium which saw over 150 top track and field athletes, including over 50 Olympic medal athletes, compete in front of a capacity crowd of diehard Jamaican athletics supporters who did not only show love to their own, but also to the invited athletes as well.Allison Felix, Andre De Grasse, Yohan Blake and Elaine Thompson were just some of the big names who competed at the Meet. Meets such as these, Blake said, are the real driving force of sports tourism in Jamaica, a section of the sector which is the main contributor to Jamaica’s economy.DEALING WITH BOLT’S ABSENCEWith the absence of Bolt, the sports and athletic organisations have to work harder to boost sports tourism in Jamaica since sports fanatics around the world will be enthused to come to Jamaica to watch events of such magnitude live.“It is increasingly important because sports has really been a drive of tourism because if you take some of the athletic events, quite a number of people in the diaspora make it the point of time to come home; so you come home, enjoy your holidays and take in a sport event or two,” JAAA president Blake said.TRAIN THEM YOUNGOne of the factors to Jamaica’s plethora of successes in sports, more so athletics, and recognition on the worldwide sporting arena is the effort with resources placed in training young students from the preparatory stage in order to sift out their athletic potential. In this way, according to Blake, another Bolt is born every day.“Every week there are about 4 or 5 meets spread across the Island at all levels and we have about 10 000 athletes on the track each week and you just have to come and look at these meets to see the passion in which these athletes compete to understand why Jamaica is great is sports the way it is,” he said. He also revealed that Government gives tremendous support to these events.Jamaican Olympic sprinter and 100m relay gold medallist, 28-year-old Schillonie Calvert Powell, credited the school’s athletic programme for her emergence into the super athlete she is today.Olivia Grange – Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and SportsOriginally from Montego Bay, Powell moved to Manchester in the south eastern end of the Island to pursue her ambitions in athletics and revealed that the rigid and well supported coaching school programmes and competitions such as the Boys and Girls Championships are very competitive and impacting.“The Boys and Girls Champs brought out my talent, in the 100m and 200m,” she said, bragging about her several medals while still in school at many international events such as the CARIFTA games.She later transitioned from a junior to senior athlete where she made it on to the Olympics team and achieved relay gold medals.Donald O’Riley Quarrie, Jamaica’s gold and silver 200m medallist in the 1976 Olympics, in comparing sports in Jamaica from his time to now told this publication that he has lived to see great improvement.“It has improved a lot, I think the support and the expertise from coaches have improved. There is a standard to athletics in Jamaica primarily in the sprint and the Government has played a role in helping athletes in different ways but most of all the coaching programme is expanding, not just for sprinting, but for other events and eventually I think Jamaica will have an overall balanced super team that will send a message to the world that we are here not just in one or two events but most of the events,” Quarrie said.GOVERNMENT SUPPORTMinister of Culture Gender Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Grange, said the Government of Jamaica is proud to be the main sponsor of the International Invitational Meets and other sporting events and is extremely proud of sports in Jamaica for the country to be able to host sporting events of such magnitude.“When we host international events, it is an opportunity for us to share in our experiences and share our talent and our hospitality,” she said.Speaking on Bolt’s retirement, Minister Grange said that Bolt’s contribution is indeed iconic and Jamaica has given the world the fastest man on the planet.“Sports is the centre of grand Jamaica, we have the 10 fastest men in the world and the ten fastest women, and in that 10, we have the fastest man so the world is in awe about Jamaica that has impacted others.”She revealed that a statue of Usain Bolt will be unveiled in August. The statue was not only erected in honour of the legend athlete but for recognition of the country’s 55th Independence Anniversary where sports plays a major role in the celebration.In recognition of what the country has achieved in sports over the last 55 years, the projects to be embarked on will have lasting impressions. In addition to Bolt’s statue, statues of Shelly-Ann Fraser and Asafa Powell will also be unveiled by 2018.There will also be expansive renovations to the National Stadium which was built in 1964 and the expanding of the sports museum which is in proximity to the stadium.last_img read more

The Latest: Arizona AD and five coaches taking 20% pay cuts

first_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke and the school’s five highest-paid coaches will take voluntary 20% pay cuts as the athletic department deals with a projected $7.5 million revenue shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Croatian federation is led by former player and UEFA executive committee member Davor Suker. It says final approval must come from public authorities. Lower-level leagues will not be completed.Dinamo Zagreb leads the league by 18 points over Rijeka with 10 matches remaining.Four clubs are in contention for the runner-up spot and a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 He said coaches will be required to wear masks and gloves. Bickerstaff said the workouts are voluntary and “no one is being pressured to do anything.”___Torino has announced that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 after the first run of medical tests were carried out on the team as it begins the return to training.The club has not named the player but says he is asymptomatic and has been placed in quarantine.Most Serie A clubs are resuming training this week on an individual basis before full team training restarts on May 18. Merkel announced a loosening of a range of containment measures after meeting with the country’s 16 state governors. Pressure to relax the rules had been growing as the rate of daily infections in the country has dropped.Soccer in the country’s top two divisions will be able to resume without spectators and with a range of other conditions designed to prevent another outbreak. Players will be tested and teams will also have to spend time in quarantine before games can restart.The earliest the league can resume is May 16. The German soccer league is to hold a general meeting with the country’s 36 professional clubs in the top two divisions via video link on Thursday.The Bundesliga was suspended with nine rounds remaining on March 13. The clubs had committed to finishing the season by the end of June.___ Inter’s team doctor was one of three Serie A physicians who were hospitalized with the virus.Most of the other Italian league clubs are resuming training on an individual basis this week before full team training restarts on May 18.___The Croatian soccer federation says it wants to restart the season on May 30 with the cup semifinals.The country’s 10-team league is set to resume with all games in empty stadiums on June 6 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. is eager to get back on the baseball diamond, though not until he can be sure it’s in a safe environment.Speaking Wednesday on a teleconference call from his home in Peachtree City, Georgia, Smith said he doesn’t want to return until there’s no threat of contracting the new coronavirus.“There’s a definitely a concern about that,” Smith said. “We want to make sure it’s 100 percent safe. When they give us the go — if they do — to start back up again, we don’t want to contract that virus and then pass it around to others amongst ourselves and get other people sick and just continue that pandemic.“Whenever they give us the go, when it’s like a really safe time to go back, I think that would be the best opportunity.”Smith has been passing the time during the quarantine with his family, but he made time to participate in a video game challenge with other big leaguers. Playing MLB The Show 19, Smith went 19-10, finished fifth and was named Players League Best Manager. The school announced the creation of the Helping Heels Fund on Wednesday. It is designed to receive gifts to directly aid athletes and their families with expenses as permitted by NCAA rules. Those expenses could include groceries, medical bills and technology needs for online classes or remote learning.The fund is designed to supplement the school’s existing Student-Athlete Assistance Fund for the same issues. UNC has more than 800 student-athletes in 28 varsity sports.Athletics director Bubba Cunningham says many people have reached out seeking to help school athletes amid the pandemic that has shut down college sports while displacing athletes from campuses and team facilities. He says the new fund “is an opportunity to offer resources beyond what our department is currently able to provide.”The school’s compliance office will vet any funds provided and no money will go directly from a donor to an athlete.___ The teams have been allowed to do so under a strict set of guidelines, including testing players and staff.___The Green Bay Packers are teaming with American Family Insurance to provide $20,000 worth of ready-made meals to northeast Wisconsin’s front-line workers in the fight against the new coronavirus. Packers officials said the meals will be delivered to hospitals May 6-12 for Nurse Appreciation Week and will go to police and fire stations May 10-16 as part of Police Appreciation Week.The Packers also have provided $1.5 million in grants through the Packers Give Back COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. ___The New Jersey Devils are donating 10,000 tickets for next season to health care workers with RWJBarnabas.The Devils also promised to donate two extra tickets for every season ticket member and plan holder who use credits they earned this year for next year.The NHL team plans to use social media to honor front-line workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New Jersey and across the country. The tribute is called “Stick Taps at 7” and will be broadcast at 7 p.m. It will include videos of players, alumni, coaches, management, front office staff and others saluting doctors, nurses and health care workers.RJWBarnabas Health is a sponsor of the Devils. The Latest: Arizona AD and five coaches taking 20% pay cuts No teams will be relegated but the top two from the second division will be promoted.There will be no relegation in the third and fourth divisions but the promoted clubs will come from the winners of playoff matches played without fans.___The head of the Australian Open says various contingency plans are being considered for the Grand Slam tournament scheduled for January 2021. They include scrapping it altogether because of the coronavirus pandemic or allowing just spectators from the host country.Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley tells the Australian Associated Press that the “worst-case scenario” is no tournament at all next year. Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes says all sporting competitions in the country will remain suspended until July 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Belgian soccer league says it will respect the national security council’s decision. The league recommended last month ending its season with the current standings declared final.The league says “the working group’s proposals will be presented to the Pro League clubs at the general assembly on May 15.”Club Brugge stands to be awarded the title and qualify for next season’s Champions League if the advice is confirmed. Brugge is currently 15 points ahead of second-place Gent with one game to go before the season-ending playoffs.___ May 6, 2020center_img The meeting of around 100 members, known as the IOC Session, had originally been scheduled to be held in Tokyo before the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.The one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games because of the new coronavirus, and global restrictions on travel and large gatherings of people, have left video conferencing as the best option.The IOC says its executive board will discuss the Session agenda and a secure voting protocol. The board is due to meet remotely next week, on May 14.___North Carolina says it’s launching a crowdfunding campaign to allow fans to help provide financial assistance to school athletes facing “extreme hardships” amid the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the R&A says it has postponed until next year the inaugural Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship. It was scheduled for Sept. 3-6 in Buenos Aires. It now is scheduled for Sept. 2-5 in 2021.___The Spanish soccer federation is proposing an end to this season’s women’s league because of the coronavirus pandemic.The proposal is expected to be approved by the federation’s board on Thursday.Barcelona was leading the competition at the time it was suspended in March and will be declared champion. The owners of the team previously donated money and medical supplies to the RWJBarnabas Health Emergency Response Fund. Josh Harris and David Blitzer are the managing partners of the Devils.___Two more international golf tournaments for amateurs have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The International Golf Federation says the World Amateur Team Championships for men and women — scheduled over two weeks in October in Singapore — have been scratched. The tournament dates to 1958. It was moved in February from Hong Kong because of social unrest.The World Amateur Team is held every other year. The IGF decided not to postpone it until 2021 because of the effect it would create with scheduling problems. It next will be played in France in 2022. Tiley is the Australian Open’s tournament director. He says organizers have “modeled everything” and tells AAP “our best-case scenario at this point is having an AO with players that we can get in here with quarantining techniques and Australian-only fans.”More than 30 sanctioned tennis tournaments have been postponed or canceled so far because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The French Open was moved from May to September and Wimbledon was called off entirely for the first time in 75 years.A decision on this year’s U.S. Open is expected in June.___German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Bundesliga can resume this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. — Reporting by David Ginsburg in Baltimore___Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the NBA team is going ahead with plans to open its training facility on Friday so players can individually work out.Bickerstaff said the team has been in contact with local and Ohio health officials to make sure it is following safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team’s year-round facility in Independence, Ohio has been closed since mid-March.Bickerstaff, who took over the Cavs when John Beilein stepped down in February midway through his first season, said the league has advised that any player and coach remain 12 feet apart while on the floor together. Ozdemir says the games will be played without spectators and the Turkish health ministry and its scientific advisory council will determine the conditions and guidelines under which the games will go ahead.___Inter Milan has postponed the return of its players to the training field because not everyone on the team has been tested for the coronavirus.Serie A players are set to resume practice this week under a strict set of guidelines amid the pandemic and Inter was slated to restart on Wednesday.But Inter’s Suning Center remains closed and is now expected to reopen at the end of the week. The Russian anti-doping agency plans to resume testing this month.CEO Yuri Ganus says testing will start again in the last 10 days of May with a “balanced, selective and focused” approach as the agency tries to make up for a lengthy stoppage.Testing was suspended at the end of March when Russian President Vladimir Putin asked people to stay home unless they were working in designated essential sectors.Ganus says that during the stoppage “we have been carrying out all the work of a national anti-doping agency except for the testing.” That covers areas such as education, investigations and planning for future tests.Anti-doping work worldwide has come to a near-standstill during the coronavirus pandemic. That has raised fears that some athletes could take advantage and cheat. The Russian agency issued staff with disinfectant wipes and face masks before the stoppage and also offered athletes masks to wear while being tested.___The Turkish soccer league plans to resume on June 12, finish its season by the end of July and host the Champions League final in Istanbul in August.Turkey suspended its soccer, basketball and volleyball leagues because of the coronavirus outbreak on March 20.Turkish soccer federation president Nihat Ozdemir says “we are aiming to end the season on July 26 by playing seven weekends and one weekday game.” ___Juventus has announced that forward Paulo Dybala has recovered from the new coronavirus.Juventus issued a brief statement Wednesday saying that Dybala’s two latest tests came back negative for COVID-19. The club says Dybala has “therefore recovered and will no longer be subjected to the home isolation regime.”It was reported last week that Dybala was still positive for the disease after several weeks of tests.Juventus and most of the other Serie A clubs are resuming training this week on an individual basis before full team training restarts on May 18. Associated Press Football coach Kevin Sumlin, men’s basketball coach Sean Miller, and baseball coach Jay Johnson will all take cuts for the 2020-21 school year. Women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes and softball coach Mike Candrea also agreed to salary reductions.Other Arizona coaches will take smaller salary cuts as part of a university plan to reduce projected losses of $250 million through the 2020-21 fiscal year.Heeke last month said the athletic department faces a roughly $7.5 million revenue shortfall in 2019-20 after the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and all spring sports were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.___The International Olympic Committee will hold an annual meeting through video conferencing on July 17.last_img read more

UFC 251: Kamaru Usman mentions Floyd Mayweather Jr. to reject ‘boring’ tag

first_img“I need to showcase a lot more of what I have in the toolbox. I would love to do that with a lot more time.”In this division, there’s no shortage of contenders: Leon Edwards is there, Gilbert had an amazing year, he’s there, Cody [Garbrandt] thinks he’s there . . . there’s no shortage of challengers.”There’s always going to be a challenger and they’re always going to throw somebody in there with me.” UFC 251: Dana White slams ‘bad judging’ after Volkanovski decisionAsked about the fight being described as dull by fans and former fighters on social media, Usman told a postfight media conference: “There was a time when people started hating Floyd Mayweather because he was so dominant, because his defense was so good, he was just so good at what he did to where everyone is like, ‘Oh, that’s boring,’ because people want to see a bar fight.”We’re risking our lives in there. What’s the point of training each and every day and going in there and just slugging around and taking punches?”You train to be able to make to someone miss, to be able to control them in a certain way. That’s what training is for, so you’re not just taking punishment at will, and I do that better than anybody.”They can say whatever they want, but come share the Octagon with Jorge Masvidal for 25 minutes and let’s see what you want to say.”He’s a problem! @Usman84kg closes the show on top!#UFC251 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/pPjV2mN4bL— UFC (@ufc) July 12, 2020Masvidal stepped in as a late replacement for Gilbert Burns, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, giving Usman less than a week to prepare for a new opponent.MORE: UFC 251 results, highlightsDespite the one-sided nature of his victory, Usman is keen to take on Masvidal again.”We both feel that we’ll do [it] again,” Usman said. “I would like a lot more time to prepare for a guy like that and be able to dominate in the way that I want to, picking my spots and trying to get that finish.”I would love to do that fight again. You’ve seen my last couple of fights: I like to pick my spots, I like to really pick a guy apart, I’ve evolved so much but I’ve still got tools in the tool shed. Kamaru Usman dismissed suggestions his UFC 251 win over Jorge Masvidal was boring, comparing such criticism to that received by Floyd Mayweather Jr. during his unbeaten boxing career.Usman retained the welterweight title with a methodical victory over Masvidal on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, winning via unanimous decision.last_img read more