Blatter faces judgement by FIFA ethics court ZURICH (AP): In the waning days of his presidency, Sepp Blatter attempted to save his job yesterday at the FIFA ethics committee that he helped create and whose authority he does not recognise in his case. The suspended FIFA president had been expected to tell four judges that he is innocent of wrongdoing during the hearing at the headquarters of soccer’s governing body, the first time Blatter has entered the building since he was banned for 90 days in October. “Blatter looks forward to a decision in his favour because the evidence requires it,” Blatter’s lawyer, Richard Cullen, said in a statement after the hearing. “The evidence demonstrates that president Blatter behaved properly and certainly did not violate FIFA’s Code of Ethics. This investigation should be closed and the suspension lifted.” With a large bandage on his face, Blatter arrived at FIFA headquarters shortly after 8 a.m. local time in a chauffeur-driven car for a hearing that was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. A spokesman for Blatter, Thomas Renggli, said the Swiss official has had a minor procedure to treat a skin problem on his right cheek. At 5 p.m., Blatter and lead lawyer Lorenz Erni drove away from the building without making any comment. Suarez hat-trick sends Barcelona into final YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP): Luis Suarez made up for the absence of a sick Lionel Messi and injured Neymar, scoring a hat-trick on Thursday as Barcelona beat Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 to advance to the final of the Club World Cup. Suarez put Barcelona ahead just before half-time, hammering in a rebound off Ivan Rakitic’s long-range effort that was parried by Guangzhou goalkeeper Li Shuai. The striker made it 2-0 five minutes after the break when he controlled a pass from Andres Iniesta off his chest and beat Li with a right-footed volley. He put the result beyond doubt with a penalty kick after Huang Bowen took down Munir El Haddadi in the area. Barcelona will face South American champions River Plate in the final on Sunday. Ukrainian club Dnipro faces European ban NYON, Switzerland (AP): UEFA says Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, last season’s Europa League runner-up, faces being banned from playing in Europe unless $1.9 million in overdue payments are settled by next month. The Ukrainian club owes $910,000 to other clubs and $980,000 to staff. Dnipro have until January 31 to make the payments or UEFA will ban the club from the next European competition that they qualify for in the next three seasons. The club has been affected by the political and economic turbulence that has rocked Ukraine.
Veteran jockey Vassell ‘Jollyman’ Najair, at age 62, became one of the oldest jockeys to win at Caymans Park, this aboard the Oneil Markland-trained STIR IT UP in the ninth race over 1100 metres for the Titania Trophy yesterday. STIR IT UP stormed though approaching the distance, disposing of the leaders FIRE ALARM and SWEET DIMENSION for an 11-1 upset, winning by four lengths. It was the second time in eight days that Markland, who is popularly called ‘Sweety Man’, was providing Najair with a winner, following the 35-1 outsider FIX IT UP over the round five course on December 15, Najair’s first winner in over three years. Najair, who started riding as an apprentice to the legendary female trainer, Eileen Cliggott, at Caymanas Park in 1967, joins David ‘Scorcher’ McKenzie as the oldest jockeys to win at the park. McKenzie, who is still active in the saddle at 66, recalled that he rode his last winner four years ago at age 62 as well. And McKenzie was on hand in the vicinity of the Jockeys’ Room to congratulate Najair on his return. Trainer Markland, who also ran FIX IT UP in the race with an apprentice rider replacing Najair, said he was always confident that ‘jolly’ would get the job done. “Despite his age, he’s one of the fittest jockeys at the track. It’s all about self-belief and Najair is convinced that he has some good years left in the saddle,” said Markland. Smiling from ear to ear en route to the Jockeys’ Room – accompanied by the trainer – Najair, a father of three, said despite a rocky career, which included a number of suspensions mainly for anger management related issues, he still enjoys the thrill of victory. “They will have to carry me off the track … in another 10 years,” he jokingly remarked. Meanwhile, in the two other trophy races on the card, the Gary Subratie-trained BLUE DIXIE turned the tables on recent conqueror BUBBLING KITTEN by a head in the Sweet Ruckus Trophy. First past the post LORD EQUUS, in the Stewards’ Cup, was disqualified and placed second following a stewards’ inquiry and the race awarded to first-time runner SIR RAJA BABA, with whom he had interfered a furlong out.
After five games in charge of Waterhouse FC, head coach Paul Young is yet to win a game for the struggling club in the 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League campaign.Young replaced Anthony Patrick as coach last month, but the team has only picked up three points from three drawn results to go with their two losses.With last year’s semi-finalists currently at the cellar in the 12 – team league, Young is certainly under pressure to turn the team’s fortunes around.However, with just 12 games remaining in the preliminary stage, the Drewsland club is quickly running out of time to make things right after sitting on 17 points from 21 games – unfamiliar territory.They are below Tivoli Gardens and Rivoli United – both on 19 points in the relegation group.Young admitted that the task is getting harder but remains optimistic that the team will improve under his guidance.”We played some tough games and did not get the desired results. It is now getting tougher. However, no team has outplayed us, so when we start scoring consistently, we will be okay,” Young told Saturday Sports.Young has added veteran Kevin Lamey to the team as well as schoolboys such as Kimarley Campbell, Dominic James, Dale Reid, Nicholas Nelson, Akeem Chambers, and George Brown in an effort to start turning draws and losses into wins.”The schoolboys are doing excellent and Kevin Lamey is there to guide them on the field. In that regard, I am very optimistic that we will improve our position and climb up the points table,” the former Reggae Boyz player, stated confidently.”I have to be worried because it is just taking a bit longer for us to start a winning run. In the last game on Wednesday against MoBay (Montego Bay United), we deserved to win although Mobay hit the post in the closing moments and the game ended 0-0,” Young explained.Looking ahead to the next game against Humble Lion at Effortville Community Centre in May Pen, tomorrow, starting at 3 p.m., the coach is hopeful that his team will start winning.”We have Humble Lion next, so the focus in training is to win that game,” he concluded.
Jamaica’s men’s team will contest the quarter-final of the Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Malawati stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after topping Group P by default, following the withdrawal of African nations Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo because of ineligible players and financial reasons.The three Jamaicans who defeated Morroco and Laos by identical 3-0 margins – Michael Hyatt, Mark Phillip and Kane Watson – were given similar results in walkover wins against both African countries after their withdrawal.At press time, the Jamaicans, who topped Group P with maximum eight points ahead of Laos (seven) and Morroco (six), were yet to know their quarter-final opponents for today.Table Tennis Jamaica’s president, Godfrey Lothian, was expects the team to medal.”Jamaica is waiting to play the quarter-finals, and as president of Table Tennis Jamaica, I am really elated. At the World Championships in 2014, we won the Fifth Division, so when the country goes to a global tournament, there is expectation. Now, two years later at a global tournament, we are on a roll to the quarter-final, so I am extremely happy,” he told The Gleaner.CHAMPION IN SWEDENHe added: “One of the problems we have is that the national champion, Simon Tomlinson, is playing club table tennis in Sweden, therefore, he is not in Malaysia with the team, so we have a drawback. But I am thinking that Michael Hyatt, a three-time Olympian, young Mark Phillips and Kane Watson are a fairly good team and they will do well and we are expecting to medal,” he commented.In their first game on Sunday, Jamaica defeated Morrocco. Hyatt dismissed his opponent 11-6, 11-4, 11-5, Watson won 13-11, 11-5, 11-7 and Phillips won 11-4, 1-10, 11-4 win in the final match.In the second game against Laos, Hyatt scored a narrow and nail-biting 3-2 win 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 4-11 over Phathaphone Thavisack. Watson then brushed aside Mosangsinh Sonpasith 3-0, winning 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 and Phillips beat Oliyavong Phonepaseud 3-2 in five sets 6-11, 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7.
National shot put record holder O’Dayne Richards believes he is as world class as any competitor he will line up against and remains confident ahead of this year’s Rio Olympic Games in Brazil, stating that Jamaica’s throwing charge will be strong among medal contenders.Though the 27-year-old fell short of his 22-metre goal last year, Richards registered Jamaica’s first shot put medal – bronze – at last year’s IAAF World Champs, with a national record and personal best of 21.69m.The same distance previously handed him gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada, earlier in 2015.”I’ve always had that killer instinct to say that a name doesn’t necessarily scare me. I am not easily shaken by a name, but what is happening is that they (competitors) now know that I can throw well and I can produce big throws, so I believe a little bit more respect is now shown so I am prepared for it,” Richards outlined.The big thrower says he remains buoyed of his medal prospects.”My first track meet was actually Brazil, Sao Paolo, where I made the junior Pan Am team and I am excited to go back to Brazil. Part of being an athlete is being able to travel the world, and to see Brazil again is a wonderful experience. I hope to do well there,” he assured.Despite Jamaica being a sprint-loving country, Richards believes big times are ahead for the throws discipline.”The talent is extremely high now. If you look at the junior levels, you will see a number of throwers and some young guys who are breaking out at the senior levels.”Even this year, Jamaica will have maybe three or four Jamaicans going up in the men’s shot put. I expect great things coming in the next five years coming for Jamaica throwers, and that’s excluding myself,” he stressed.
First-time Jamaica Scorpions captain, Paul Palmer Jr has been relieved of his duties and dropped from the squad for their seventh round WICB First-Class League encounter fixture against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, starting today at Sabina Park.Opener Palmer, who has been experiencing a wretched run of the form with the bat, has been replaced by fellow opener and vice-captain, John Campbell.The new vice-captain is Barbados-born batsman, Kirk Edwards.The 24-year-old Palmer, a former Jamaica youth captain, has passed 50 just once in 12 innings, and has been one of several Scorpions batsmen who has failed to produce since the start of the season.Campbell led the Jamaica team in the recent WICB Super50 one-day tournament in January. Edwards is a former West Indies vice-captain.Palmer’s removal is one of three changes made by the Wavell Hinds-led national selection panel to a squad which lost to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 82 runs in Antigua last weekend.The other players omitted are experienced campaigners, wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr, and all-rounder David Bernard Jr.They have been replaced by wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, who makes a return from studies, batsman Brandon King, and fast bowler Nicholson Gordon.The selection panel is completed by Wayne Lewis, Robert Haynes, Delroy Morgan, and Cleveland Davidson.Fourth and fifth place finishers over the past two seasons, the Scorpions, with just three wins and as many losses, are all but out of the championship race with four rounds of matches to go.They are third on 52 points, 30 behind second-place Barbados Pride, with runaway leaders and title-holders Guyana Jaguars on 101 points.UNCHANGED SQUADTrinidad, in the meantime, who are fourth in the standings with 40 points and are out of the running for the top prize, have named an unchanged squad for the game.The Jason Mohammed-captained unit, without their most established players, will look to batsman Narsingh Deonarine, all-rounder Rayad Emrit, and young off-spinning standout Jon-Ross Jagessar to lead their charge.They have recorded a win, three defeats, and two draws record to date.Jamaica Scorpions (from): John Campbell (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Sheldon Cottrell, Kirk Edwards, Nicholson Gordon, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Andre McCarthy, Nikita Miller, Marquino Mindley, Devon Thomas, Shacaya Thomas, Chadwick Walton.Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (from): Jason Mohammed (captain), Yannic Cariah, Narsingh Deonarine, Rayad Emrit, Kyle Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jon-Russ Jagessar, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis, Yannick Ottley, Marlon Richards, Jeremy Solozano.
His most memorable display did not come on local soil, but at the El Commandante racetrack in Puerto Rico, where he won the US$100,000 Confraternity Classic over nine furlongs four-year-olds and upwards in impressive fashion on December 9, with Panamanian jockey Cecelio Penalba aboard. That was his 10th win from as many starts in 2006, making him a unanimous choice for a second straight ‘Horse of the Year’ title. When he retired to stud in 2008, MIRACLE MAN had won 17 races and just over $20 million in stakes. He enjoyed further success as a stallion, siring the winners of 31 races, including LADY ABHIJITA in the 2013 Jamaica Oaks. Among his other offsprings were MIRACLE STAR, a disqualified winner last Saturday in overnight allowance company and SURE MAN, who romped the eighth race. – O.C. IMPRESSIVE MIRACLE MAN, the only Jamaican horse to win an international race, died from colic last Thursday at New Blue/ Bombay Stud Farm where he had been performing stud duties. He was 14. The big chestnut horse, by Law Of The Sea out of Hya, stamped himself as one of the greatest native-bred horses in the annals of local racing, winning the coveted ‘Horse of The Year’ award in 2005 and 2006 for legendary trainer Allan ‘Billy’ Williams and owner/breeder Joseph ‘Fudgie’ Duany. In 2005, MIRACLE MAN, after finishing a strong second to the Richard Azan-trained COLTRANE in the 2000 Guineas over a mile, returned to win the Derby, St Leger and Lotto Classic (Governor’s Cup), closing out the season with a decisive victory in the prestigious Superstakes at 2000 metres with customary rider Allen ‘Bungo John’ Maragh aboard. The following year, 2006, saw MIRACLE MAN dominating the grade one trophy races with big weights – winning his second consecutive Superstakes – unbeaten in nine races locally that year.
Still in its infancy with only two stagings, the MoBay City Run 5K and 10K walk/run is being viewed as a major sports tourism calendar event in the resort city of Montego Bay.With its growing popularity, the event has been attracting good corporate support and an increasing number of participants.MoBay City Run Three – which is set for May 1, on the 36th anniversary of Montego Bay being declared a city – was launched at the Holiday Inn Resort on March 8 with an impressive line-up of sponsors.Courts and two of its subsidiaries have committed $1 million in support, while Solo Jamaica has pledged $500,000 and the Montego Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association gave its endorsement with a donation of $50,000. Also giving strong support to the event are Sandals, ATL, Holiday Inn and Jet Blue, among other sponsors.The Courts million-dollar sponsorship will include gifts of TV sets, exercise equipment and a Sony music system. And with some 3,000 participants expected for the MoBay City Run, JetBlue will be giving four airline tickets to the first male and female winners for both the 10k and 5K runs.Additionally, MoBay City Run will give $10,000 each to the male and female winners of the 10K race, while the respective winners of the 5K run will each collect $7,000 cash.The event targets corporate involvement and there is a trophy for the largest corporate team, plus prizes of JetBlue airline tickets, appliances, vacation at participating hotels and others.Delivering opening remarks at the launch, logistics coordinator, Nicole Allen, said: “The synergy that MoBay City Run engenders must continue the process of integrating all social classes in this powerful and strong growth corridor.”ASSISTING HUNDREDSShe described the two-year-old event as not just good and necessary because the proceeds assist hundreds of tertiary students with their education, “but it unifies us as Montegonians, breaking down the barriers of social class, station or political affiliation”.Noting that Montego Bay has been rated as the ninth most popular destination for American tourists over the last three years, Allen added: “MoBay City Run has become the calendar sporting event in the tourist landscape.”The 2015 staging saw the participation of many overseas runners, which is being encouraged with backing from the Jamaica Tourist Board.Allen said by 2020, the MoBay City Run aims to include on its calendar of events, a half marathon on par with Jamaica’s Reggae Marathon and those of Miami, Chicago or New York.”It is for that reason that MoBay City Run saw it fit and necessary to engage the professionalism of Mr Alfred ‘Frano’ Francis of Running Events Jamaica Ltd to help us achieve our mission,” she disclosed.
SHARJAH, UAE, CMC – Fast-bowling legend Waqar Younis and legendary former captain Sir Vivian Richards, believe struggling West Indies should turn to teenaged fast bowler Alzarri Joseph for today’s second One-Day International against Pakistan here. Waqar, in particular, argued that the Windies seam attack was sorely lacking in pace, and the inclusion of the 19-year-old Joseph for his ODI debut would add a much needed spark and also provide support for the only other genuine fast bowler, Shannon Gabriel. “You need to put pressure in a bowler rather than an all-rounder,” said Waqar, who took 373 wickets in 87 Tests. “Gabriel bowled a beautiful spell to begin with [in the opening ODI on Friday] but then after that things didn’t really go well because at the other was leaking runs so it’s very easy pickings from the other end, and it becomes very difficult for even one fast bowler who’s quick to really carry on doing it.” Gabriel dismissed captain Azhar Ali with the first delivery of the game but Pakistan dominated proceedings thereafter, to motor to 284 for nine off their allotted 49 overs. In reply, West Indies slumped to 175 all out in the 39th over, to go down by 111 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method. Joseph was a stand-out at the Youth World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year, and was subsequently handed his Test debut against India in the third Test in St Lucia. Waqar said having seen the Antiguan bowl in the that game, he was convinced he would bring much needed quality to the Windies attack. “You probably need Alzarri Joseph. He’s a youngster who swings the ball,” said Waqar. “I saw him in one of the Test matches against India. He bowled with some rapid pace and swung the ball so why not throw him in. You saw it [on Friday] when you played with eight, nine batters and you still lost the game and lost it with ease so I feel you should bring the youngster in and ask him to bowl with the new ball and try to pick you early wickets.” He added: “At the moment, what I saw with [medium pacers] (Jason) Holder and (Carlos) Brathwaite, there is really nothing additional on offer.” Sir Viv, the most dominant batsman of his era and who like Waqar now serves as a television analyst for the series, said Joseph could only improve the West Indies attack. “There’s nothing to lose in playing Alzarri Joseph. He really can’t be worst than what we’ve seen, let’s be fair.”
MONTE CARLO, Monaco: A wide range of proposals aimed at changing the way track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, operates was overwhelmingly passed yesterday at a special congress with 95 per cent of the member federations voting in favour of a constitutional reform. The move, which the sport’s most recognisable name – Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt, described as ‘bold’ but necessary, were presented by IAAF president Sebastian Coe in a Time for Change document crafted to move the scandal-hit organisation away from its badly tainted reputation and recover trust and credibility. Coe’s plan included operational changes such as a limit on the presidential tenure, greater gender balance and influence to athletes, an independent anti-doping management system, increased commercial value and a wider distribution of power. The constitutional changes will be delivered in two stages, January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2019. One hundred and eighty-two members voted in favour of the proposals, with 10 voting in the other direction, in a development that Coe described as an important moment in the history of the sport. Bolt, who was one day earlier announced for the sixth time as the Male Athlete of the Year after his triple gold-medal performance at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, gave the thumbs up to the package, which he believes will help to regain credibility in a sport that was last year rocked by doping and corruption scandals. “I think this will also help the sport and people will feel more comfortable and also trust the sport. So I definitely feel the moves he is making are bold but strong,” Bolt said ahead of the Congress. “I notice that Seb Coe is trying to make track and field more transparent and ensure that no one person is fully in control, so for me, that’s a big move, that’s a bold move for him as the IAAF president,” said Bolt. The IAAF was last year embroiled in a massive corruption scandal which led to former president Lamine Diack and his son, Pappa Massata Diack, being investigated for money-laundering and other charges by French investigators. Widespread doping and cover-up conspiracies were also uncovered, with an independent World Anti-Doping Agency pointing to an organisation that ignored widespread doping for financial gain. “We must protect out sport. We must put in place the structures that will keep our sport and athletes safe on and off the field of play, in and out of the stadium. It is bad enough that any of this happened once, but it cannot happen a second time; not on our watch and not on anyone else’s watch. We have to step up and ensure that the walls are never too high again and that checks and balances are in place and working,” Coe said. The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), which has supported Coe from the onset, surprisingly did not register a vote. The JAAA is represented here by newly returned president Dr Warren Blake and General Secretary Garth Gayle. Senegal officials did not vote, as a mark of solidarity with Senegalese Diack. The IAAF yesterday also announced a new partnership with Japanese sports-good manufacturers Asics, which has replaced Adidas as kit sponsors. Adidas, which was in the latter stages of an 11-year contract with the IAAF, announced on Friday that it was cutting its deal short, noting that it would remain committed to the sport but pay more attention to individual athletes. The IAAF deal will represent Asics’ most prominent sponsorship in its history. MASSIVE CORRUPTION