GREAT POTENTIAL GOOD PERFORMANCE “My performance was really good throughout. I scored a few goals and had a few assists, and in the final, I had a good performance. It was a great feeling helping them to their first championship,” he said. “Football-wise, I really like the city. I really enjoy the football, the style of play. They are more technical, more touches, and as such, and it really suits my game. I feel at home there. Even before you go on the field you are ready to play because you are playing in a country where the people love football, so your game goes up without you doing anything different just because of the energy. So those things motivate me … if nobody is in the stands, you won’t have any motivation. “Apart from Arnett or Waterhouse, you don’t really get that vibe when you are playing here,” he pointed out. “Any player who used to play overseas and comes back here can tell you it’s a different feeling when you are lacing up your boots,” he insisted. Although the player is currently a free agent, he is constantly in contact with his agent and expects to join a team soon, as he is looking for an even better 2016. “I want the best for myself, so, God’s willing, He will provide something. I will just continue to play hard and play my football. If you are playing good football, you are going to stand out no matter where you are, and that is all I want to do: try and improve in any way possible. That is the aim, to get better for 2016,” he added. “At one point (Winfried) Sch‰fer saw one of my videos and showed some interest, but in terms of a follow-up, I didn’t hear anything. “I have been performing internationally from I was little and in the games that I played, I showed I have the potential to be in the national team. “Now the older me has learned a whole heap more, is smarter and more experienced. It’s just to get the opportunity as I am always looking to play for my country,” the player who turns 31 in April told The Gleaner. Priestly has spent the last five years abroad, plying his trade in Azerbaijan, the United States, Finland and Bangladesh and thinks playing for the national team would also give his family a chance to see him perform in person. “Playing for the country would give me an opportunity to let my family come to my games. That is something I look forward to, but it’s up to them (selectors),” he added. The flamboyant and tricky playmaker, who is commonly called ‘Boogie’ locally, was a crowd favourite since joining Antigua GFC at mid-season in October, and he found the experience of playing in a football-mad country like Guatemala very inspiring and encourages local players to try and break into the international market to gain experience in like environments. Almost a decade after playing the last of his six games for the Reggae Boyz, creative midfielder Akeem Priestly still has the hope, desire and will to represent his country. The former Harbour View player just completed the Guatemala top-flight season with Antigua GFC, playing a starring role in their first-ever championship. The well-travelled player, who made his senior international debut at age 19 against Guatemala, believes he still has something to offer at the international level and thinks he is playing well enough to earn a recall. “I did multiple interviews in Guatemala and they (reporters) asked me why I am not playing for the national team. They watch the team (Jamaica) and say what I show I could definitely make the team. But I tell them it’s beyond my control,” admitted Priestly.
KINGSTON:Head coach of Excelsior High School’s track and field programme, David Riley, says the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championships helps schools with smaller athletics programmes to shine.Pointing to his own team which finished third among the girls teams and in the top five among the boys’ teams in the 2016 Grand Prix series, Riley said higher-quality athletes were able to earn valuable points from fewer events, compared to the annual Boys and Girls’ Championships, in which larger teams win by harnessing more points.Excelsior athletes who performed well at Saturday’s Grand Prix final at G.C. Foster College were Shanice Love, who won the girls’ Under-20 discus with a record throw of 50.39 metres; Andre Garvey, who was third in the boys’ Under-20 discus; Joel Morgan, who won the boys’ Under-16 long jump; Jonathan Smith, who was third in the Under-20 long jump; and Kaliah Jones, who was second in the girls’ Under-17 high jump.”It’s a great opportunity for the schools to go out there and not use 10,000 people to win a championship. It works for teams like ours that have quality athletes, but can’t score 200 and 300 points to win Champs, but because we have six good athletes [we] can go there and compete against the six athletes that are good for the other schools.”It’s a great opportunity for schools that are small and have good-quality athletes and not have to pad their performance. It great for small teams and great for teams with quality,” he said.Edwin Allen girls and St Jago boys were named Grand Prix champion schools.Riley added that the more sponsors that track and field is able to attract, the better.”The Grand Prix is a positive thing for the sport. The sport is part of an entertainment package that we have not really been exploring a lot, and anything that makes it big is going to help the sport,” he said.
With no trophies at stake at Caymanas Park today, the 3-y-o and up overnight allowance races over the straight-five course move into the spotlight with eight horses declared.Indications are that it will come down to a straight fight between old rivals DWAYNE STAR and ACTION MAN, second and third, respectively, to SHINING LIGHT in the recent Easter Sprint Cup over 1100 metres.The Lorenzo Robinson-trained ACTION MAN showed good speed in the Easter Monday feature, only to be relegated to third by SHINING LIGHT and DWAYNE STAR, both of whom went down to the wire in a photofinish, with SHINING LIGHT prevailing by a head.ACTION MAN, who is well drawn at post position seven, is almost sure to set off in front under the in-form jockey Aaron Chatrie. But DWAYNE STAR will be a lot closer leaving the quarter pole, especially with three-time champion Dane Nelson now taking the ride.IN GOOD NICKAlso going for DWAYNE STAR is the fact that he had won his three previous races before the Easter Sprint, including one over the straight, and with trainer Patrick ‘Wacky’ Lynch presenting him in good nick, I expect DWAYNE STAR to make amends and win ahead of ACTION MAN and SUPERIOR QUALITY.Significantly, Nelson, the leading jockey so far this season, will leave the island next Thursday, April 21, to ride in Canada for several months. The 31-year-old jockey did a stint in Canada for the first time last year, riding 48 winners.Other firm fancies on the nine-race programme are down in class UNBREAK-ABLE under top apprentice Linton Steadman in the second race; WARTINE in the fourth; DYSFUNCT-IONAL in the sixth race for maiden three-year-olds; GENUINE ARTICLE in the seventh; and MANDEYA in the closing $180,000 claiming race over the straight five course to be contested by the maximum 16 starters.
The Wray and Nephew Contender boxing series’ preliminary round was scheduled to end tonight with a fight that had all the ingredients for a classic battle between two experienced welterweights, Daniel Powell (11-0) and Miguel Antoine (17-4-1).However, a last-minute pullout by Antoine has changed the equation, as his replacement, Charwin Estwick, has a record of no wins and two losses.Powell and Estwick will fight for the final place in the quarter-finals tonight at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium, starting at 9:30.Powell, whose father is Jamaican and flaunts his Jamaican roots, is 31 years old and has been a professional boxer since February 4, 2012. He has won eight fights by technical knockout, one by knockout and two on decision, but has not really met a quality opponent.Tonight is not going to be much different. Estwick, who is 38, was on the Contender roster last year and clashed with Richard Holmes on April 22. That fight went the distance, with one judge giving all six rounds to Holmes and the other two giving Estwick two rounds.Guyanese Estwick, who lives in Barbados, has not had a fight since then, while Powell had his last fight in June last year, so both men have been inactive recently.DEFENSIVE SKILLSEstwick showed in his fight here last year that he has good defensive skills. Against Holmes, who was trying for a knockout from the first round, he managed to tie up his opponent, shortened his range and made it difficult for him to land a knockout punch.It could turn out to be an interesting fight, with Powell trying for a knockout and Estwick using his defensive skills to frustrate his opponent.The winner tonight will join previous winners Holmes, Demarcus Coley, Tsetsi Davis, Revlon Lake, Michael Gardener, Ramel Lewis and Rashid Stevens in the quarter-finals. Four boxers will be seeded and they will draw their opponents for the next round.The winner of the series will, in addition to the title and belt, take home $2 million, the runner-up $500,000, third $250,000 and fourth $200,000.The fight will be broadcast live on TVJ.
Aussie players want to limit day-night Tests SYDNEY (AP): Cricket Australia’s plan to stage two day-night Tests next season hit another hitch yesterday when the players’ association sought a limit of one. The initial schedule proposed that the third Test between Australia and South Africa in November at Adelaide – the venue for the only previous pink-ball Test – and the series-opener against Pakistan in Brisbane in December be day-night matches. South African players and officials have so far resisted the idea, although Pakistan have committed to playing a day-night match. “The feedback we are receiving from our playing group is that there still remain concerns over day-night Tests,” Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Alistair Nicholson said. “While there is acknowledgement that this format may grow the game, at this stage, the players would prefer to only play one day-night Test in 2016-17.” Williamson confirmed as NZ Test captain WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP): Leading batsman Kane Williamson has been confirmed as New Zealand’s 29th Test cricket captain. The 25-year-old Williamson has already captained New Zealand in 34 one-day or Twenty20 Internationals and will now succeed Brendon McCullum as captain in all three formats. New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said Williamson “has been a leader within the team for a long time and has already shown himself to be an extremely capable captain. He is respected by his peers and the wider cricket community for his professional approach both on and off the field and has a superb cricket brain.” Williamson said he had learnt a lot from McCullum and “the culture that he and Mike (Hesson) have cultivated has been a huge part of this team’s success in recent times”. Ronaldo, Benzema to miss match MADRID (AP): Real Madrid forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will miss today’s league match as they try to recover from injuries in time to face Manchester City in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final. Coach Zinedine Zidane said that neither of his top two scorers was fit for the trip to Real Sociedad, where Madrid need a win to realistically remain in the Spanish league title race. Madrid trail leaders Barcelona and second-place AtlÈtico Madrid by one point, with three matches to go. Madrid host City on Wednesday after the two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg, where Madrid clearly missed Ronaldo’s spark in attack and where Benzema played only the first half. “I am worried because each time you have a player injured it is difficult,” Zidane said yesterday. “Now, the most important thing is that they completely recover because we cannot take risks with Cristiano and Karim.”
DOHA, Qatar:Reigning Olympic 110 metres hurdles champion Aries Merritt believes new kid on the bloc Omar McLeod could go on to become one of the greatest sprint hurdlers ever.McLeod burst on to the international scene last year with a series of impressive performances, ending with a sixth-place finish at the World Championships – his first senior finals.He started out 2016 by winning the 60m World Indoor title, a feat the American Merritt also achieved back in 2012. McLeod also got the better of a very strong field, which included Merritt, David Oliver, and Hansle Parchment to win at his first Diamond League outing in Doha with a world-leading 13.05 seconds.”There are a lot of new age athletes appearing as the old people start to transition out of the sport,” Merritt said. “There is always a new wave of athletes who come around and take their place, and so I think he has the potential to definitely be one of the greatest hurdlers of all time. He is very young, he is very talented, and he just needs to stay healthy and the sky is the limit for him.”At 22 years old, McLeod has a personal best in the 110m hurdles of 12.97 seconds – a time Merritt is impressed with given his age.”I wasn’t running his times when I was his age. I was running like 13.0, so he is already ahead of me at this point of his life,” the 30-year-old Merritt said.HISTORY MADEMcLeod has also impressed in the 100m this year after creating history last month when he dipped below 10 seconds to become the first athlete to run under 10 seconds for the 100m and sub-13 seconds for the 110m hurdles.But while even McLeod admitted to having been stunned by his 9.99 seconds 100m run, Merritt was not.”No, it didn’t catch me by surprise. He has always been quick, and at Arkansas (University), he ran well,” Merritt said. “I feel like sprinting is something that Jamaica does really well. Like, if you are a Jamaican, you are going to be a fast sprinter; it is just in your blood.”Merritt believes the men’s sprint hurdles is as competitive as it has ever been with as many as eight men technically able to run 12.9 seconds. But it is the development of McLeod and 24-year-old Hansle Parchment he will be watching with keen interest.”The sky is definitely the limit for Omar and Hansle. They are both very young; they have both run under 13 seconds way sooner than I did,” Merritt reiterated. “He (McLeod) is not the ideal size for a hurdler, so to speak. Parchment is definitely the ideal size, and so it will be really interesting to see which one of them develops the best in the long run.”As long as Omar is fast, he will always be a good hurdler because the shorter you are, the faster you have to be, and the taller you are, the more technical you have to be.”[email protected]