Jamaican squash starlet Alyssa Mullings had to settle for second place as her quest to defend her Under-17 title at the Caribbean Area Squash Association’s (CASA) Junior Championships was thwarted by Barbadian, Amanda Haywood.Mullings went into the tournament ranked number one in the age group but she went down 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 to Haywood in the finals on Monday night.In reflecting on the upset, Mullings said she will have to go back to the drawing board and step up her game.”It was a good match; my opponent played well, and unfortunately, I was outplayed. You win some you lose some, and I will need to reassess my game and fix some things,” she said.A number of the Jamaican players found the going rough at the competitive regional tournament. All Jamaica Under-17 boys’ champion, Tahjia Lumley, was beaten 11-5, 11-1, 6-11,11-6 in the semi-finals by Josiah Griffiths of Barbados but managed to rebound to take third place after beating his countryman, Jonathan Walker, 11-9,11-8, 13-11.Team captain, All Jamaica Under-19 champion, Jake Mahfood, finished fourth in his age group after losing 11-8, 12-10, 4-11, 13-11 to Caymanian Julian Jervis in the semi-finals and then 16-14, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8 to perennial rival Nyron Joseph of Guyana in the third place play-off.outlastedIt was a similar result for both All Jamaica Under-19 girls’ champion, Mary Mahfood and All Jamaica Under-15 champion, Mia Mahfood. Mary Mahfood fought hard but was outlasted by Guyana’s Larissa Wiltshire who beat her 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-7 to take third place; while Mia Mahfood was fourth after losing 8-11,11-2,11-6,11-7 to Jade Pitcairn of Cayman.Junior squash programme manager Gill Binnie said although the players were somewhat disappointed, the focus is now on the team competition which began yesterday.”While we didn’t necessarily get the results we were looking for in the individual categories, we are now focused on the team events where both the girls and the boys have a strong chance for a top three finish,” she said. “So the team is now looking to regroup and put in some solid performances.”The 2015 CASA is being hosted by Barbados and will run until July 25.
Akram escapesshooting attackKARACHI, Pakistan (AP):A gunman opened fire on Pakistan’s legendary former cricket captain, Wasim Akram, in an apparent incident of road rage in the southern city of Karachi on Wednesday, police said.Senior police officer Munir Sheikh said the incident took place when the left-arm fast bowler was on his way to coaching a training camp at the city’s National Stadium. “It is apparently an incident of road rage,” he told reporters, adding that police were searching for the shooter.Akram told a Pakistani news channel that the man rammed his vehicle into his car from behind and then opened fire before fleeing. He said he did not know who was behind the attack.Akram, 49, made his international debut in a one-day international against New Zealand in 1984 and was rated as one of the all-time great left-arm fast bowlers. He took 414 wickets in 104 Test matches and another 502 wickets in 356 one-day internationals before retiring soon after the 2003 World Cup.Court issues arrest warrant for ModiNEW DELHI (AP):An Indian court issued an arrest warrant against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi on Wednesday over allegations of money laundering in a television deal.Though charges have not been framed against Modi, the Mumbai court heeded a request from economic investigative body Enforcement Directorate, which said Modi was not cooperating in an investigation into whether money from the deal in 2008 benefited unauthorised persons.Modi, based in England since 2010, has been served summons previously. His passport was even revoked in 2011 before the Delhi High Court asked for the passport to be restored last year.
– 3:30 p.m: Boys’ Town vs Montego Bay United – Barbican Stadium – 4 p.m: Cavalier vs Rivoli United – Stadium East – 3:30 p.m: Humble Lion vs Arnett Gardens – Effortville Community Centre – 3:30 p.m: Reno vs Tivoli Gardens – Frome Complex – 3:30 p.m: UWI FC vs Portmore United – UWI Bowl Mona The matchup between the two promoted teams will take the spotlight in this weekend’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) on a day when four other matches will take place. While UWI FC and Portmore United are the two ‘new’ teams in the league this season, their fortunes could not have been more different. The UWI FC team, who are experiencing top-flight football for the first time in their history, have adjusted to the competition like a cow on ice. They have lost all their matches thus far, and are yet to score a goal. Portmore United, on the other hand, have settled like a duck to water. Their acclimatisation should not be so surprising as, historically, they have been among the best in the league but for the season they suffered relegation. The St Catherine-based team has wiped away all before them including last season’s runners-up Montego Bay United and the competitive Waterhouse. On the face of it, this match should be a walkover for Portmore United, but assistant coach Jeffrey Hewitt is not holding on to that view. “The vibes in our camp is really high. The team is really confident, but we are not going to get carried away by the results so far. I know that the UWI team is not getting the results they desire just now, but they have quality. I have seen them play, and I know that it will not be an easy game tomorrow,” Hewitt said. It is not just the quality of the teams that could determine the competitiveness of today’s game according to Hewitt. The law of averages could have a say, he reasoned. “Based on what I have seen of them, they have some qualities, and based on the law of averages something will go right for them at some point, and that could be soon,” said the man who has distinguished himself at the schoolboy level. Marcel Gayle of UWI expressed the view that his team have been unfortunate but held on to the hope that a positive change will come for them. “We are hopeful that we can get off the mark soon. We are playing well, but just not scoring, and we have been conceding some goals from some schoolboy errors. We have made some adjustments, and hopefully those will pay off for us against Portmore United,” Gayle said. While things have not been going their way, Gayle said the challenge has been to keep the players believing in the dream. “I have been preaching to them not to panic because there are 90 points out there to get. We just need to get the first one, and we will be well on our way. There is still a long way to go in the league, but we have to be patient and remain confident that we have what it takes,” added Gayle who previously worked with the Waterhouse Football Club. Gayle said that their task against Portmore United will not be made easier by the fact that they will be without five key players including Girvon Brown and Rafique Bryan, but as he put it, “we are short of five, but we are not short of fight”. That fight will be led by the likes of Akeim Thenstead, Kemar Cummings and Mitch Wright, the club’s leading scorer in the Super League. Portmore United will look to former national midfielder Omar Daley for leadership, and it is expected that others such as Ricardo Morris if fit, Paul Wilson, Ishemale Currie and Ewan Grandison will be ready for the fight. At Barbican, Boys’ Town will host Montego Bay United while Cavalier will be looking to get the better of Rivoli when they meet at Stadium East. Defending champions Arnett Gardens will be fighting the Humble Lions for a win when they meet at Effortville, while the rejuvenated Reno will be looking to add Tivoli Gardens to their list of conquests. On Monday night, Harbour view will host the struggling Waterhouse. BELIEVING IN THE DREAM Tomorrow’s game: Today’s Games: – 8:30 p.m: Harbour View vs Waterhouse – Harbour View Stadium Points Standing P W D L GF GA GD Pts Portmore 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9 Reno 3 2 1 0 4 1 3 7 Arnett 3 2 0 1 7 1 6 6 Cavalier 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4 Humble Lion FC 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4 Rivoli 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4 MoBay United 2 1 0 1 3 2 1 3 H.View 3 0 3 0 3 3 0 3 Tivoli 3 0 2 1 1 2 -1 2 Boys’ Town 3 0 2 1 2 6 -4 2 Waterhouse 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1 UWI FC 3 0 0 3 0 7 -7 0
ZURICH (AP): Already banished from soccer for eight years, former FIFA leaders Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are again facing the threat of life bans. FIFA ethics prosecutors said yesterday they will appeal to increase the bans, arguing they are too lenient. “The investigatory chamber intends to appeal against the decision against Mr. Blatter and Mr. Platini at the appeal committee of FIFA,” the prosecution unit said in a statement. The counter-challenge revives the prospect of life bans, which both men revealed had been recommended by investigators before their ethics hearings last month. Blatter and Platini have said they will also appeal the eight-year sanctions handed down by four ethics judges who rejected charges of bribery and corruption. Instead, Blatter and Platini were banned for a range of lesser violations of the FIFA ethics code, including accepting or receiving gifts and conflicts of interest. They deny wrongdoing over Blatter approving a $2 million payment from FIFA to Platini in 2011 as backdated salary without a contract. Platini worked as a presidential adviser to Blatter from 1999-2002, but did not claim the money owed to him for more than eight years, when FIFA was no longer obliged by Swiss law to pay him. The case has ended Platini’s bid to succeed his former mentor as FIFA president in an election on February 26. Clearing his name Blatter wants to clear his name and host the election meeting in Zurich as a farewell to FIFA after more than 40 years. The FIFA appeals committee rarely cuts or annuls sanctions imposed by the governing body’s ethics or disciplinary panels. Blatter and Platini have said they expect their cases will fail at FIFA before they pursue further appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. FIFA’s appeals committee has previously imposed a life ban after judge Joachim Eckert decided on an eight-year sanction. In 2013, then-FIFA executive committee member, Vernon Manilal Fernando, of Sri Lanka, was expelled for bribery after then-prosecutor Michael Garcia appealed. Manilal Fernando was judged to have bribed Asian officials to vote for Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar in a 2009 election for a FIFA executive committee seat. The loser in that bitterly fought contest, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa of Bahrain, is now a candidate for the FIFA presidency. CAS later upheld Manilal Fernando’s life ban.
MANCHESTER, England (AP):It sums up the erratic nature of this season’s Premier League that a match between Chelsea and Manchester United has been relegated to a mere sideshow just as the title race is getting interesting.Instead, this weekend is all about whether Leicester can pull off their biggest shock yet and finally be recognised as genuine title contenders.Leicester, which battled relegation all of last season, take a three-point lead to Manchester City today in a match between the top-two sides in the league. A victory would guarantee Leicester at least a five-point lead with 13 matches remaining.Surely that would make the team favourites for the title, and set up one of the most unlikely storyline in English football history.”It’s not a coincidence we’re top of the table,” Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater said. “This is team spirit at its highest. We won’t stop believing.”We’re staying on the ground, but if we carry on the way we are, then why not have the belief (to win the league)? It would go down in history surely.”Even a draw would be fine for Leicester, which visit another title challenger in Arsenal the following weekend before a benign run of games.City, though, will want to send a message to Leicester’s upstarts and collect a fourth straight win in all competitions to take over in first place on goal difference.Seeking a third league title in five years, City have extra motivation for the run-in – giving departing coach Manuel Pellegrini a successful send-off after it was announced this week that Pep Guardiola would the club’s manager from next season.”Manchester (City) are built to win the title, to win the Champions League,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said Thursday as he continued to downplay his team’s chances of winning the league.Asked who will win the title, Ranieri chuckled and said with a smile: “The others.”City said Thursday that captain Vincent Kompany is back in training after a six-week lay-off with a calf injury.Chelsea – the defending champions – and Manchester United – a record 20-time champion – already are also-rans in the title race, although United will boost their ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League with a win at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. United are in fifth place, five points off the Champions League qualification spots and 10 points behind Leicester.Chelsea are 13th and can probably forget about making up ground to the European positions in the top five.Arsenal are winless in their last four league games and have dropped to fourth, behind Tottenham on goal difference, ahead of a visit to Bournemouth tomorrow.Also today, it’s: Liverpool vs. Sunderland; Aston Villa vs Norwich; Newcastle vs West Bromwich Albion; Swansea vs Crystal Palace; and Southampton vs West Ham.
The other daunting fact is that Champs is a month away and he could improve. That would put him within touch distance of the Class One records. Those belong to Zharnel Hughes at 10.12 seconds in the 100 and to Usain Bolt at 20.25 in the 200. Bolt’s mark was set in 2003 and survived a 2013 assault by Delano Williams by just 0.02. A closer look shows that Bolt had an aiding wind of 1.9 metres per second compared to the 0.9 breeze in Williams’ race. It’s not a done deal until the races are run, however, and Ellis will face worthy competition at Champs. Jhevaughn Matherson of Kingston College has looked good in his outings so far and ran 20.97 seconds to win the Class Two 200m in 2014. Fast-starting Raheem Chambers of St Jago should be in the picture too. He finished behind Ellis in the 100m last year but generally has been great at Champs. He won in both Class Two and Class Three in record times, and while Matherson broke his class 3 mark, his Class Two standard of 10.29 still sparkles. In fact, a win for Chambers would put him in an elite group of sprinters to win the 100 in Classes One, Two and Three. Donald Quarrie and Remaldo Rose of Camperdown, Dexter Lee of Herbert Morrison and Calabar’s Michael O’Hara have done it. Chambers has to beat Ellis to join them. • Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980. Could improve If you were worried that the showcase sprint events of the 2016 ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships would be dull, worry no more. Nigel Ellis, the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) sprint stylist, changed the landscape last week with brilliant times at Western Championships. Ellis has fans licking their lips in anticipation. Fourth last year in both the Class One 100 and 200 metres, he would have been among this year’s favourites anyway. Now there is no doubt. His Western Champs times – 10.20 and 20.40 seconds – ensure that.
Former 800 metres world record holder Wilson Kipketer, here in Jamaica for the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships as a guest of his and the event’s sponsor Puma, was left amazed by the experience, as he welcomes the chance to work with Jamaican youngsters. The three-time World Champion, who is also visiting Jamaica for the first time since a stop in 2010 at the Gibson Relays, said while the times registered at Champs in his pet event could have been better by international standards, he understands the nature of the championships has a great effect. “It’s really impressive, the performances and atmosphere here is really amazing,” said the Kenyan-born former Danish athlete in reference to his impressions of his first Champs experience. “This is not something you see anywhere else in the world and in my opinion, there should be a World Juniors or something here every year here in Jamaica. “I was here for the 800m and 400m and I think there is a lot of potential. It’s all about the right training and technique and with that I think the youngsters here can develop and run very well,” Kipketer said. “They can run faster times here at but of course a big focus here at these championships is to win points. “It’s going to be difficult because a lot of the athletes are doing three events and so they are tired and are going for points but the potential and really raw talent is there that can be developed,” he added.
Motor vehicle dealers Toyota Jamaica will today seek to rev up the Toyota Jamaica 100 Sporting Clays at the Jamaica Skeet Club, located at the Portmore Range in St Catherine. Today’s event will see a number of Jamaica’s leading shooters, top upcoming juniors, and respective class contenders square off for prizes and bragging rights. Registration is scheduled to run from 9-10:15 a.m., which will be followed by a 10:30 shotgun start. Today’s entry fee is $1,000, while women and juniors are slated to compete free. Jamaica Skeet Club president Khaleel Azan is expecting a family-styled fun day with intense rivalries, keen competition, and a memorable staging from organisers Toyota Jamaica. “The course manager is Errol Ziadie, and he hopes to have 15 stations with some interesting targets, having just returned from some overseas shoots,” he said of what is expected to be an entertaining day of keen competition. Azan added that they are hoping to have new traps and new towers ready for today’s shoot, which should help to make the competition more compact and memorable.
Crawford finished with 30 points and Cole Aldrich added 21 points and 18 rebounds – both season highs – for Los Angeles, which have won eight of their past nine games. Gordon Hayward had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz, for whom defeat complicated their push for a play-off spot. Dallas closed in on another play-off spot by beating Memphis 103-93. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and rookie Justin Anderson had a career-high 19 for the Mavericks, who matched a season best with a sixth straight win. The Mavericks will make the postseason for the 15th time in 16 seasons with a win or Houston loss in the final three games. Orlando put a dent in Miami’s push for a top-four spot in the East play-offs by beating the Heat 112-109, with Nikola Vucevic scoring the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds on his way to 29 points. Boston continued their play-off charge with a 124-109 win against Milwaukee, as Tyler Zeller tied his career high with 26 points. Charlotte completed a four-game season sweep of Brooklyn by downing the Nets 113-99. New Orleans dominated Los Angeles in retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s final game in the Big Easy, winning 110-102. New York also completed a four-game sweep of Philadelphia – for the first time in 21 years – as Robin Lopez had 24 points and 15 rebounds in a 109-102 win. AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (AP): Detroit clinched an NBA play-off berth for the first time in seven years by beating Washington 112-99 on Friday night, led by 39 points from Reggie Jackson. The Pistons became the seventh team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a play-off spot, while eighth-placed Indiana will have to wait a little longer after losing at Toronto. Elsewhere, Denver defeated a second-string San Antonio team to complete the unique feat of beating both the league’s top two teams – the Spurs and Golden State – and a Jamal Crawford shot with two-tenths of a second left in overtime gave the Los Angeles Clippers victory over Utah. Detroit’s last play-off berth came in 2009 when they were swept in the first round by LeBron James and Cleveland. The Pistons are likely to face the same opponents this year. Markieff Morris had 29 points for Washington, which came from 19 points down to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Jackson continued to attack and helped the Pistons take a 100-94 lead with five minutes left. Denver ended a run of 10 straight losses to San Antonio dating back to 2013 by downing the Spurs 102-98. Jusuf Nurkic scored a career-high 21 points and Gary Harris had two pivotal defensive plays in the waning seconds for the Nuggets. Tim Duncan was the only regular starter to play for the Spurs and finished with a season-high 21 points. Coming off a loss to Golden State, they dropped two straight for the first time this season. Toronto rookie Norman Powell scored a season-high 27 points as the Raptors beat Indiana 111-98, delaying the Pacers’ bid for a play-off berth. The Pacers need one more win or a Chicago loss to qualify for the postseason. The Clippers rested four starters at Utah and needed the last-gasp three-pointer from Crawford to snatch a 102-99 win. SEASON HIGHS
LONDON (AP):Claudio Ranieri shed his coy and cautious demeanour yesterday to flaunt his euphoria about Leicester being on the brink of the Premier League title in the most stunning season in the club’s 132-year history.Breaking the habit of a season, when Ranieri has mostly restricted himself to prioritising top flight survival, the manger finally publicly acknowledged the target is delivering the title.With 12 points to play for, Leicester have a five-point lead over Tottenham as they looks to collect the biggest prize in English football for the first time.The pursuit of the title has overshadowed the landmark already achieved: steering Leicester into the Champions League for the first time by securing a top-three finish.”Hey man, we are in Champions League!” Ranieri said at a giddy news conference appearance at the central England club. “Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, come on! You forget.”You speak about blah, blah, blah, but we are in Champions League! Come on man!”Leicester’s hierarchy were mocked for hiring Ranieri last July having only just avoided relegation from world football’s richest league.The 64-year-old Italian had been out of work for almost a year after being fired by Greece for making a wretched start to European Championship qualifying.And he hadn’t coached in England for 11 years since being fired by Chelsea. Now Ranieri’s team is a staggering 29 points ahead of defending champion Chelsea, with the two teams meeting in the last round.”Fantastic, fantastic. Terrific. Well done. Well done to everybody,” Ranieri said. “The owners, the fans, to the players, the staff, everybody … it’s a great achievement, great achievement. Unbelievable. And now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes. Yes man!”Amid the unusual expressiveness, Ranieri still had a serious message for his players: “Keep calm.”One key player will be missing this weekend: top scorer Jamie Vardy. The 22-goal striker is banned for tomorrow’s visit of Swansea and is waiting to discover if the suspension will be extended after admitting that his conduct toward the referee was improper after being sent off in last Sunday’s draw with West Ham.”Now we go straight away to try to win the title. Yes man, only this remains,” Ranieri said. “I talk to my players, ‘Come on, now is the right moment to push’.”I always believe. I am a positive man. If Tottenham go above us, congratulations, but I prefer to be five points ahead.”