And it’s certainly not unique to me. The 13-hour time difference between Jamaica and China and all the reasons listed above, and more, make this the situation for all the Jamaicans here. It’s something I’ve become used to over the years and it’s exactly what we signed up for, so, no complaints. Still, it’s probably a good thing there is a single-session day coming up soon. Anyway, when you’re staying up almost until the next morning’s session writing about Usain Bolt’s title defence after a tough season or O’Dayne Richards’ amazing and historic shot put bronze, or Rusheen McDonald’s 43-second national record in the 400m, things seem to flow a little better. You feel less tired; all is well with the world. The Bird’s Nest was rocking on Sunday night (Sunday morning Jamaica time), and I can only imagine the scenes in Half-Way-Tree as Bolt, in particular, sped to victory in the 100m. There was a camera crew at my station in the stands filming my reactions before, during and after the race. I hope my bosses don’t see that tape; I probably had as many interview requests as Bolt himself. Congrats again to the medallist and to Rusheen. Yesterday belonged to Jamaica. I think there will be a few more days like this to come. Which, of course, means … no sleep. jamaican experience You know what? I think the journalists here covering the World Championships should get some medals as well. Yeah, man! For solo journalists from a country like Jamaica with so may athletes participating, such a demanding and knowledgeable public, such high- profile athletes, it really is tough work covering major championships like the World Championships. Just yesterday, Yohan Blake’s manager, Cubie Seegobin, was making fun of me in the media tribune, telling a friend that I seem to be having trouble sleeping since I’m always sending messages at odd times and always ‘online’ since I have been in China. It certainly isn’t by choice. It feels like I haven’t really slept since arriving a week ago. For sure, since the meet itself started, I’ve been logging consistent days with nothing more than an odd hour or two.
NEW YORK (AP):Talk about going out on top: Flavia Pennetta won the US Open for her first Grand Slam title at age 33 and then announced during the trophy ceremony she has decided to retire.Pennetta did not have to beat Serena Williams in the final. Instead, Pennetta needed to get past the woman who ended Williams’ Grand Slam bid, Roberta Vinci. And Pennetta was able to do just that, pulling away in a matchup of Italians who were opponents and doubles partners as kids.In one of the unlikeliest major finals in women’s tennis history, the 26th-seeded Pennetta beat Vinci 7-6 (4), 6-2 at Flushing Meadows yesterday – then revealed she was ready to hang up her racket, a decision she kept private until that moment.”This is how I say goodbye to tennis,” Pennetta said as her fiancÈ, tennis player Fabio Fognini, captured the scene with his phone’s camera. “I couldn’t think to finish in a better way.”That announcement served as a perfectly out-of-nowhere conclusion to a surprise-filled tournament, the biggest shock being Vinci’s win against Williams in the semi-finals on Friday. That stopped Williams’ 33-match winning streak in majors and her attempt to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single season.”I passed 24 hours with a lot of things on mind,” Vinci said. “And I was a little bit tight, especially in the first set.”Pennetta is the oldest woman in the Open era, which began in 1968, to become a Grand Slam champion for the first time. Vinci, who is 32, would have earned that distinction had she been able to follow her stunning upset of Williams in Friday’s semi-finals with another victory.This was the first major final for either participant and the first time since WTA computer rankings were instituted in 1975 that both US Open women’s finalists were ranked outside the top 20 (Vinci is 43rd). Pennetta entered the tournament with only a 17-15 record this season. Vinci was 20-20 in 2015 and 40-43 in majors for her career.Clashing for two decadesThey grew up 40 miles (65 kilometres) apart in coastal towns in Puglia, a region on the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula, and have been facing each other on court for two decades – with the stakes much lower, of course. They shared laughs and tears in the locker room Friday while watching a video of a TV interview they did back in 1999, when they won the French Open junior doubles title as teenagers.”It’s tough,” Vinci acknowledged, “to play against one player that you know (for a) long time.”And when yesterday’s match ended, after Pennetta flung her racket overhead, she went up to the net to find Vinci, not for a handshake but for a lengthy hug. Vinci patted her pal on the back repeatedly, while Pennetta cried. Then they sat on adjacent sideline chairs and chatted, just a couple of foes and friends.Vinci pantomimed throwing a punch as a joke, and Pennetta wrapped an arm around her. Vinci charmed the crowd later, saying she wanted the champion’s trophy, not the one for the runner-up, then pretending to steal Pennetta’s $3.3 million check.”We know each other since forever,” Pennetta said. “We spend so much time together, we could write a book about our lives.”Quite a chapter yesterday would provide.
Western Bureau: Forward Michael Kerr sparkled for St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) yesterday scoring four goals in their 8-1 rout of The Manning’s School to breeze into the semi-finals of the ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup and a set date against Dinthill. The other semi-final will see Manchester take aim at Lennon. Kerr, who has been sizzling all season, took his goal-scoring feat for the season to 27 goals with his hat-trick plus one, while Demar James and Shawn Genus struck a brace each to condemn Manning’s to a most lopsided defeat. “This victory is a very pleasing one to me. It made a statement of intent that we want to return to the winners’ circle,” said Omar Wedderburn, the STETHS coach. “We continue to show class and work hard every day, which, as I always say, is how we approach every game,” he added. Wedderburn told The Gleaner that being in the semi-finals is reason to be happy but noted that the work is only half done. He said getting back to the final and erasing last year’s defeat to Clarendon College was firmly in their thoughts. “Not that we care too much about the past, but that was a lesson we learnt, and now we have a chance from here on to change that,” Wedderburn said, adding that his players continued to amaze him as they play to instructions and take nothing for granted. STETHS advance with maximum nine points from three quarter-final matches, while Vere Technical finished their season on a good note by edging Marcus Garvey High 1-0. They ended with six points and showed signs along the way that they could be in the running come next year, all things being equal.
LONDON (CMC): Usain Bolt’s impressive performance in track and field this year has landed him yet another international sports nomination. The Jamaican superstar is one of six athletes nominated for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC’s) Overseas Sports Personality of the Year 2015. The award recognises the overseas athlete who has made the most contribution to sport this year and will be presented at the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony on December 20. Bolt’s exploits this year include victory in the men’s 100m and 200m at the World Championships in Beijing after recovering from injuries. The public in the United Kingdom is being invited to cast their votes to decide on the overseas athlete of the year for the first time in the history of the annual awards. Athletes competing for the award are Usain Bolt (athletics), Jamaica; Dan Carter (rugby union), New Zealand; Novak Djokovic (tennis), Serbia; Katie Ledecky (swimming), USA; Jordan Spieth (golf), USA; and Serena Williams (tennis), USA. Just last week, Bolt missed out on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Male Athlete of the Year award for 2015, an event he has won five times.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHESSPORTSMAX 2SATURDAY7:45 a.m. WEST HAM VS SUNDERLAND12:30 p.m. WEST BROM VS CRYSTAL PALACE5 p.m. SOUTHAMPTON VS CHELSEA7 p.m. WATFORD VS BOURNEMOUTH10:45 p.m. STOKE VS ASTON VILLASUNDAYSPORTSMAX 29 a.m. MAN U VS ARSENALSPORTSMAX9 a.m. TOTTENHAM VS SWANSEA
– 8:40 p.m. Montego Bay United vs Arnett Gardens at Catherine Hall Complex Tomorrow’s Game Fans crying out for excitement in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) will have it all today when title aspirants Humble Lion hosts former champions Portmore United in a first-leg semi-final at the Effortville Community Centre in Clarendon. Game time is 3:30 p.m. This ‘Clarendon derby’ will feature a number of former teammates at the schoolboy and club levels going against each other and should have fireworks aplenty. Perhaps the only drawback could be the capacity of the venue. Despite the above and the fact that there is a place in the RSPL final on offer, what perhaps will be most on the minds of the fans is whether the ‘vexed’ Humble Lion will have the chance to right what they believe was a wrong. Portmore United, the team many love to hate, were beaten 3-1 in their third encounter of the season with Humble Lion, but had the win erased when they protested the use of an ineligible player. The competition’s committee ruled against Humble Lion and awarded Portmore United three points and a 3-0 win. That result almost derailed Humble Lion’s season as they fell from fourth spot a position which had been their preserve for most of the season and one which would have guaranteed them a spot in the semi-final and fell to sixth. Those three points also enabled Portmore United to top the table on points, as they finished one ahead of defending champions Arnett Gardens and collected the bounty of one million dollars. “Obviously, the issue will be on the minds of all concerned, but we intend not to make it a distraction,” Vassell Reynolds, coach of Humble Lion, said of the impact the ruling will have on his players. “I have asked my team not to focus on that issue, but to focus on the game itself and what winning these two games will mean to us,” added the man who led Wolmer’s Boys’ to a schoolboy football title this season. While stating that he asked his players to put the past in a certain ‘space’, Reynolds confessed that in their matches leading up to this one, that disappointment was a major motivator. “Getting to this stage, we used this incident to motivate us. For about a round and a half, we were in fourth spot, but wouldn’t get any further. Since we lost the points in the boardroom, our only blemish in terms of dropped points was a 0-1 loss to Arnett Gardens. We pledged to fight to get back in,” Reynolds explained. Portmore United’s Geoffrey Hewitt acknowledged that the results and points reversal could play a part in the temperature of the match. “It is something that we are totally cognisant of, but this is a semi-final. It is a big game and several things can motivate us to perform. We are confident in our ability to win and we are motivated to do so,” said Hewitt, a very successful coach at the schoolboy level, in particular at Garvey Maceo. Not one to say a lot, Hewitt would only add that they are driven by ambition. “Our ambition drives us. That is our driving force. We are determined to succeed and we believe that we have what it takes to be champions, and Humble Lion is our first hurdle to the championship,” Hewitt said. Talent is something Portmore United have in abundance. Besides the steady Ewan Grandison, there is the duo of Ricardo Morris and Tramaine Stewart, who can decide a game on their own. Javon East is another player who comes to mind and, if fully fit, could cause problems. Defensively, they are also sound with the vertically-challenged, but commanding Damano Salmon, Ryan Wellington and possibly Uptsan Edwards. Humble Lion are themselves not humble in the talent department and should have at their disposal the on-form Levaughn Williams, Ricardo Cousins, Jermaine Christian, Wolry and Kemeel Wolfe and the fit-again Francois Swaby, who could come off the bench. The other semi-final, between Arnett Gardens and Montego Bay United, who finished third, will be played tomorrow at Catherine Hall Complex in Montego Bay. Today’s Game: – 3:30 p.m. Humble Lion FC vs Portmore United FC at Effortville Community Centre
West Indies Women will have to come from behind if they are to top their five-match one-day international series against England Women after going down by 112 runs in game three at Sabina Park yesterday.Asked to get 221 for victory the West Indies, who won game two to level the series, imploded, and were dismissed for 108 with 13.2 overs remaining.Yesterday’s win handed England a 2-1 lead in the series with game four set for tomorrow at Sabina Park.”It was a tough match,” West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor said after the game and indeed it was, as England gradually took control after winning the toss and batting.England started cautiously and were 24 for two in the eighth over.BIGGEST TOTALHowever, led by opener Lauren Winfield, England posted what was their biggest total of the series.Winfield scored 79 and got good support from Natalie Sciver who made 58.The two shared a 94-run fourth wicket stand which took the total from 72 for three to 167 for four.Bowling for the West Indies Shaquana Quintyne took three for 36.When the West Indies batted they had a fair start and were 35 for one in the 13th over. However, as soon as captain Stafanie Taylor was bowled for nine by pacer Jenny Gunn to break a 20-run stand with opener Quintyne, it triggered a mini-collapse from which the home team never recovered.Quintyne hit a topscore of 21, and Shermaine Campbell got 20.Gunn, two for eight, left-arm spinner Alex Hartley, two for 24, and pacer Laura Marsh, two for 31, ended as England’s leading bowlers.”For us, it was just the kind of performance we were hoping for,” said England’s captain, Heather Knight.”Our batters did a good job to get us to a very competitive total, and when we bowled we kept the pressure up from the get-go.”SCOREBOARDENGLANDL. Winfield b Dottin 79T. Beaumont c King b Connell 4G. Elwiss b Dottin 3*H. Knight c Cooper b Fletcher 22N. Sciver c Dottin b Fletcher 58D. Wyatt b Quintyne 17+A. Jones c Campbelle b Matthews 12K. Brunt c Fletcher b Quintyne 2J. Gunn b Quintyne 7L. Marsh st Aguilleira b Matthews 0A. Hartley not out 1Extras (lb2, w12, nb1) 15Total (all out; 49.5 overs) 220Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-24, 3-72, 4-167, 5-185, 6-208, 7-210, 8-213, 9-214, 10-220.Bowling: Connell 8-0-42-1 (w1), Dottin 10-0-45-2 (w6, nb1), Fletcher 10-1-39-2 (w1), Mohammed 5-0-19-0, Quintyne 8.5-0-36-3, Matthews 4-0-20-2.WEST INDIES WOMENH. Matthews lbw b Brunt 5S. Quintyne c Knight b Gunn 21*S. Taylor b Gunn 9D. Dottin c Brunt b Knight 20+M. Aguilleira run out 0B. Cooper lbw b Marsh 4S. Campbelle b Hartley 18S. King lbw b Elwiss 8A. Fletcher c Knight b Hartley 0A. Mohammed c Elwiss b Marsh 9S. Connell not out 2Extras (lb3, w9) 12Total (all out; 35.4 overs) 108Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-35, 3-47, 4-48, 5-64, 6-69, 7-94, 8-94, 9-105, 10-108. (Mohammed, 35.4)Bowling: Brunt 5-1-11-1 (w1), Sciver 4-0-13-0, Marsh 9.4-1-31-2 (w1), Gunn 5-0-8-2 (w4), Hartley 7-0-24-2, Knight 4-0-16-1, Elwiss 1-0-2-1 (w1).Result: England Women won by 112 runs.Series: England Women lead five-match series 2-1.Toss: England Women.Umpires: G. Brathwaite, N. Duguid.
National Under-17 coach Andrew Edwards says the young Reggae Boyz face a daunting task if they intend to get something from their games against USA or Mexico and advance from what he calls the ‘group of death’ at the CONCACAF Under-17 championship to be staged in Panama in April and May. At the draw in Panama on Tuesday, the Jamaicans were placed in Group C alongside Mexico, USA and El Salvador. Group A contains the host, Panama, Honduras, Curacao and Haiti; while Group B will be contested by Costa Rica, Canada, Cuba and Suriname. On April 23, Jamaica open their campaign against USA, who defeated them 3-0 and 4-0 in friendlies in November. They then take on El Salvador in their second game on April 26, before closing off against Mexico on April 29. Edwards admits that his team faces a tough challenge, but thinks the Boyz can achieve their objectives with the right effort. “This is easily the group of death; a very difficult group and one in which we will have to perform above and beyond anything we have done to get something out of those two games. “Being drawn alongside CONCACAF powerhouses Mexico and USA is certainly a very daunting task, and it will make our passage to (qualifying for) the FIFA World Cup much more difficult if we can be successful,” Edwards said. Despite convincing losses to USA in their friendly games in November, Edwards believes the team will be competitive and says they will be targeting the Americans in their opening match. “This is football, and we have the capacity to develop our team sufficiently to create a few surprises, and definitely, we will be targeting the first game against the USA. We recently lost two practice matches to that team, but we will go in (to game against them) in a very determined and focused way to get a positive result and try to propel ourselves forward from there,” he said. Meanwhile, in an effort to give the team more competitive matches, a structure was designed for the tournament, which will see the top two teams from each group advancing to the Classification Stage. In this stage, the teams will be placed in two groups of three and will play on a round-robin basis. The top four teams from this round will qualify as CONCACAF’s representatives at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, while the top two teams from each classification group will play a final on May 7. FEW SURPRISES
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, (CMC):Captain Darren Sammy’s rearguard knock was not enough to save Peshawar Zalmi from their second straight defeat as they went down to Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard’s Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League here yesterday.Chasing 175 for victory at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Zalmi slumped to 69 for six in the 12th over before staging a stirring comeback to come up just short at 165 all out, with one ball remaining in the innings.Sammy helped lead the rally, stroking 34 from 26 deliveries with a four and three sixes, in a 70-run seven-wicket stand with all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who slammed 54 off 28 deliveries.Together, they had pulled Zalmi back into contention when Sammy perished in the 18th over, pulling an innocuous delivery from seamer Sohail Khan (3-28) to Gayle at short fine leg.Once he departed, Afridi was left to carry the burden, but his dismissal in the final over ensured Kings’ victory.FAILED TO SPARKEarlier, Kings rattled up 174 for four off their 20 overs, with Shoaib Malik top-scoring with 51 from 27 balls and opener Babar Azam hitting 46 from 38 deliveries.However, Gayle yet again failed to spark, making 11 from nine balls at number three before holing out to a superb catch at long on by England’s Eoin Morgan off off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed in the 13th over.Pollard faced just four balls at the end for his four not out.
– 400M Hurdles Class 1 Boys Timed finals PRELUDE TO CHAMPS – 1500M Timed finals – Class 3, 2,1 Boys – Long jump Class 3 Girls – Discus Class 1 Boys – Long jump Class 1 Boys – Discus Class 3 Boys The final meet before this Saturday’s finals of the Digicel Grand Prix will be held over two days, starting today at 9:30a.m., with the staging of the Central Athletics Championships at the G.C. Foster College. Following the staging, so far, of the Western Championships, Eastern Champions and Anthrick Corporate Development Meet, the next two days will close off the qualifiers for the Grand final in selected events. This is where the top three teams in both the male and female sections will receive $1 million, $500,000 and $250,000 respectively. For today’s championships, it will be $250,000, $100,000 and $50,000 for the top three male and female teams, while there will also be incentives of $25,000 to individuals who break records in the various championship events. Defending male champions St Jago High looks a cinch to take home the male title today, while it is a different story among the females, as the five most powerful female high-school teams in track and field in the country will do battle. For fans, this will be a mouth-watering affair, as defending champions, Edwin Allen High will be pushed all the way by Hydel, St Jago, Holmwood and Vere Technical, which finished in that order at the ISSA GraceKennedy Boy’s and Girl’s Championships a year ago. All five are expected to fight out the finish once again this year. – 400H Timed finals Class 2 Boys – Long jump Class 4 Girls – Discus Class 2 Boys – High Jump Class 2 Girls 9:30a.m. 11:30a.m. TODAY’S FINALS 2:00p.m. 11:00a.m. – Triple jump Open Girls – High jump Class 1 Boys – Shot Put Class 2 Girls 10:30a.m. – High jump Class 2 Boys 3:15p.m. 3:40p.m. – High Jump Class 4 Girls – Triple Jump Class 2 Boys – Discus Class 1 Girls 3:30p.m. 400H Timed finals Girl’s Open – Long jump Class 1 Boys – Shot Put Class 2 Boys – 1500M Timed finals Class 3, 2, 1 Girl’s 4:10p.m. 3:10p.m. It will definitely be a prelude to the big championships in a few weeks, but teams will be hoping for bragging rights and big cash incentives before that grand occasion. Following some outstanding results at last weekend’s Carifta Trials inside the National Stadium, the trend should continue today. On the female side, the likes of Kevona Davis, Annia Ashley, Cemore Donald, Fiona Richards and Saqukine Cameron from Edwin Allen, Nicole Foster are all expected to be on show. Chrisanna May, Shadae Hudson and Shaunette Allison from Holmwood Technical, Trishauna Hemmings, Monifa Green and Shian Salmon from Hydel, Britanie Dixon, Britany Anderson and Amoi Brown from Vere, and from St Jago are Sahjay Stevens, and Gabrielle Bailey are also expected to do very well. It should be another landslide victory for the St Jago boys, led by the likes of Keenon Lawrence, Roje Stona, Lerone Clarke, Anthony Cox and Timor Barrett. On today’s opening day, there will be 25 finals, 17 in the field and eight on the track. 4:30p.m.