Italian Raffaele Bianco, the man charged with guiding national shotgun champion Christian Sasso and Shaun Barnes in their preparations for the upcoming Pan American Games, says both men are faced with monumental challenges if they are to return a good showing.Bianco pointed to a lack of proper equipment and enough opportunities to practise as major hurdles facing the Jamaican pair ahead of the games, which take place in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to August 11, 2019.The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) coach was enlisted to assist with improving the technique of the shooters. Both Jamaicans are many-time champions locally in the sporting clays discipline. However, Sasso will be looking to compete in the Olympic trap shooting discipline,while for Barnes, it will be Olympic skeet.Both disciplines present different competitive circumstances to the men from that of sporting clays.Bianco expressed to The Gleaner the challenges he was having with the preparations.“From what I saw, the potential of Christian Sasso is very high,” Bianco told us. “He, however, does not have sufficient equipment for training in trap. For example, here we have only one multi-directional machine available. The sporting discipline is different from the Olympic skeet andtrap discipline, and we are working on changing their shooting technique.“What I suggest is if they want to continue in the ISSF shotgun discipline, they have to stop competing in sporting. It is absolutely counterproductive,” Bianco said.Bianco also took issue with the cost of ammunition locally, stating that it costs far less in Europe to execute training and competitions.“Elite shooters around the world in trap usually shoot 60,000 to 80,000 cartridges for the year, [and] for skeet it is usually more than 100,000,” he noted. “These two guys have not shot even 10,000 cartridges. A box of ammunition in Europe is something like €60-70. Here, it is like €200. They need to be able to go overseas to be exposed. Here, they usually shoot alone, but when they go to the competition, you are with five people shooting. It changes the environment, the timing and everything.” UNFORTUNATE Jordan Samuda, president of the Jamaica Skeet Club, described the situation as unfortunate. He stated that the association was working assiduously to develop the infrastructure for Olympic trap shooting locally but was undone by the timing of the announcement of the pair’s intention to compete at the games.“The announcement that they were selected to compete in two wild-card spots at the games was made in February,” Samuda said. “The association is aware of the problem posed for trap shooting locally, and we are actively addressing the acquisition of the machines. We plan on upgrading our facilities to enable training locally for both disciplines.”Despite the obstacles faced by the two men, Bianco lauded their talent as promising. The trio were involved in an intense training session at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore last Saturday. The Italian thinks that Jamaica can be a serious contender in both disciplines in the years to come if granted the proper access to coaching and equipment.“There are steps that are absolutely necessary to improving performance and getting shooters to peak level of performance in the period of competition,” said Bianco. “There are usually two-three peaks within a given year for an individual. The coaches and mental trainers need to be able to bringout a shooters ‘peak’ at the right time. Without proper coaching, this heightened competition cannot be maintained consistently.”Sasso echoed similar feelings to those of Bianco. He said he needed more practice time in order to be in medal contention at the upcoming games. This, however, has not dampened his confidence.“I always give my best,” he said. “Where I stand right now, I am sure I can hold my own in the competition.”
Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce walked away with the Best Female Athlete award at the first-ever Panam Sports Awards ceremony, which was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday. Fraser-Pryce, who won gold in the 200m at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, earlier this year in a championships record 22.43 seconds, capped off an extremely positive year that also saw her win gold in the 100m and 4x100m at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar. The ceremony was staged to celebrate the performances of athletes from the 41 countries that make up the Americas region at the Pan Am Games and featured a month-long public competition that sparked fierce rivalries between some of the greatest athletes of the region as sport fans from across the continent voted for their favourite athletes and favourite moments of the Games. Fraser-Pryce thanked the organisers for the acknowledgement. EXTREMELY GRATEFUL “It’s always a fulfilling experience for an athlete to be recognised for their efforts and hard work. I would like to first applaud the Panam Sports Committee for making the decision to host this first edition to honour the athletes of the 41 countries who are members of the Americas,” said Fraser-Pryce through a post on social media. “I’m extremely grateful my performance was considered along with all the athletes being recognised as one of the most inspiring moments at the Pan Am Games held earlier this year in Lima, Peru,” Fraser-Pryce added. Meanwhile, Brazilian gymnast Francisco Barretto, who won three gold medals at the Pan Am Games, was named Best Male Athlete. Argentina’s gold medal winning men’s basketball team walked away with the Best Male Team award while the country’s women’s hockey team got the Best Female Team award for their undefeated run to the gold medal. Former US sprinter Carl Lewis received a Panam Sports Legend award.
The story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun before plummeting to the Earth, comes to mind when you think about the topsy-turvy campaign Molynes United have been having in their maiden season of the Red Stripe Premier League.The league debutants were riding high on confidence when they made their first few appearance in top flight football as they won their first six matches with impressive victories over defending champions Portmore United, UWI FC, Arnett Gardens, and Mount Pleasant. Fortunes quickly changed however for the league’s newcomers who went on to endure a 12 game winless streak and have fallen from their high perch of second in the league to just above the brink of relegation.Calvert Fitzgerald, the man given charge over the team after the departure of Lijyasu Simms, admits that while the club does have a few players marked as possible transfer targets, the main focus right now is to motivate the current crop of players.“The team started well, unbeaten in six games so obviously [Lijyasu Simms] was doing something well, so whatever went wrong, that will be what I’ll be trying to fix,” Fitzgerald said. “A few new players have shown interest and we’re taking a look at them, but so far, we’ve not finalised any transfers.”Coming into the job, Fitzgerald acknowledged that it would not be an easy fix as the string of poor results had impacted the players’ motivation heavily and hampered their play. He says that a major problem that he has identified so far is lack of fitness.“As you know, the Premier League is a very physical and hard-running league, so if you fall off the pace, you’re not going to be able to compete. It’s a long process to get fit but it’s easy to lose that fitness and I think that’s what happened,” he said.The team still has high expectations for their season as Fitzgerald says that while they maybe be just above the relegation zone, a single win may see them getting back into the thick of things. -Gregory Bryce
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):Captain Darren Bravo and exciting all-rounder Justin Greaves both struck half-centuries as CWI President’s XI dealt a blow to Ireland’s confidence ahead of next week’s start of the three-match one-day series against West Indies, with a convincing three-wicket win here Saturday.Chasing 276 in a 50-over contest at 3W’s Oval, Cave Hill campus, the President’s XI cantered to their target in the 47th over, with Bravo and Greaves getting the joint top score of 70.Left-hander Bravo, bidding for a return to West Indies colours following a period out of form, hit one four and half-dozen sixes in a knock requiring 62 balls.Greaves, fresh from helping West Indies Emerging Players capture the Super50 Cup last month, belted eight fours and a couple of sixes in 67 balls at the crease.Brandon King, one of West Indies’ latest batting recruits, chipped in with 45 off 57 balls, while Sunil Ambris (22) and Joshua Dasilva (21 not out) played supporting roles.Ireland had earlier posted 275 for nine off their allotted overs thanks to opener Gareth Delany’s top score of 60 off 78 deliveries.Kevin O’Brien with 43, captain Andrew Balbirnie, 49, William Porterfield, 36, and Lorcan Tucker, 35, all chipped in with important knocks.Sent in, Ireland’s momentum came initially from Delany, who put on 47 for the first wicket with Paul Stirling (17) and another 71 for the second wicket with Balbirnie.When Delany, who counted three fours and sixes, perished in the 25th over and Balbirnie fell eight balls later with five runs added, O’Brien and Porterfield combined in a 74-run fourth-wicket stand to rescue the innings.Asked to score at just over 5 1/2 runs per over, Ambris put on 32 for the first wicket with left-hander Kieran Powell (17) before adding a further 36 for the second wicket with King, who struck four fours and a six.Bravo then took charge of the innings, posting 48 for the third wicket with King and 61 for the fourth with Greaves, to put his side in command.When Bravo perished in the 35th over, Greaves assumed responsibility for the run chase, adding 56 for the fifth wicket with DaSilva and 35 for the seventh with Romario Shepherd (19 not out), before falling in the 46th over with just eight runs required for victory.
One of Jamaica’s track darlings, Sherone Simpson, has hung up her spikes after a creditable 18 years in athletics and has signalled that she will pursue studies in sports psychology. I commend Simpson for bringing glory to our nation on numerous occasions from as far back as the 2002 World Junior Championships at the National Stadium where she, along with Kerron Stewart, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, and Simone Facey blazed to a championship record, and, of course, gold over the 4x100m event. Simpson, who formed part of Television Jamaica’s punditry team for the 2019 World Championships, was a breath of fresh air and a natural on camera. I hope she continues to do television as well, because far too many of our athletes, unfortunately, don’t articulate well enough to transition to commentary or analysis upon retirement. On the matter of sports psychology, Simpson explains that she wants to fill a void, as she believes Jamaica has done a good job of identifying talent and preparing them physically, but it is the mental aspect of the preparation that is lacking in some instances. TRAINING THE MIND I do believe that the training of the mind is as essential as the training of the body. The reserves of mental fortitude, focus and a good mental space, in spite of what is happening around an athlete personally or professionally, are key components for success. Simpson would have experienced the highs and lows of her sport and is well equipped to stand in the athlete’s shoe in offering professional advice in the future. She would have overcome injuries, a failed drug test, and rebounding after childbirth, which many athletes will contend with at some point in their career. All athletes are faced with occasional mental barriers that may limit peak performance. Sometimes it’s based on a past injury, or just their predisposed response to a competitive atmosphere that can be quite debilitating. This is where a psychologist becomes useful. In speaking to Simpson this week, she expressed that one area that requires positive reinforcement from a psychologist is when an athlete becomes injured. She said that it can be very hard on athletes to give of their best in training or competition after a major injury. The fear of rehashing the injury, coupled with concerns about one’s ability to earn, will creep in and take some athletes off their ‘A game’. If their injury occurred in training, even training becomes worrisome for that athlete. Simpson expressed that athletes need constant motivation and persuasion to get out of that crippling mental space, especially top athletes with a lot at stake and who are faced with a high level of pressure. A good sport psychologist can help. BOUNCING BACK Simpson further explains “athletes getting back into that positive frame of mind after losing a championship or having a few poor back-to-back seasons will likely have thoughts of giving up creeping into their heads”. It is very important that athletes have persons they can meet with on a weekly basis to help them deal with these issues, or before these thoughts get out of control. Having a good team would help athletes overcome those issues.” There are some cases in which, of course, some athletes are so fiercely competitive by nature that they are fuelled by obstacles and actually relish proving the naysayers wrong. I once had a conversation with an athlete manager about the importance of good mental health for all athletes. He shared something which I considered quite profound. He said not everyone should be ‘fixed’ by a sports psychologist. It was his view that there are some psychological issues that exist within some athletes that make them winners. Sometimes, there is a pre-existing chip on the shoulder, if you will, that gives them an added competitive zeal and a will to excel despite any prevailing odds. You take that away and you may end up with a perfectly balanced human who wants to wake up to smell the roses, literally. I wish Simpson all the best with her next chapter. Something tells me she made an excellent choice. One Love. Tanya Lee has over 10 years’ expertise as a Caribbean sports marketer and is also an athlete manager and publicist.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):Test skipper Jason Holder is confident of returning to his best one-day form following a recent lean patch, and said he was still adjusting to the transition of being just a player again after being replaced as captain eight months ago.The 28-year-old all-rounder has been one of the Caribbean side’s most reliable players, especially in Tests and one-day internationals (ODIs), but has averaged just 10 with the bat in his last eight ODIs and taken only six wickets.“Situations haven’t really gone my way in terms of having an extended time to bat in one-day cricket, which I feel personally has contributed to me not having that score,” the Barbadian told TalkSPORT’s Cricket Collective podcast.“I’m a batsman who needs a little bit of time to get in and then flourish, and I haven’t had many opportunities to get a solid knock. And then there hasn’t been much Test cricket going on as well … which helps me a lot in terms of spending time at the crease and getting that batting that you would like. TECHNICAL SESSIONS He added: “But I’m not too disheartened, I’ve done a lot of thinking, I’ve done a few technical sessions trying to work through some things that I wanted to correct, and I’m in really good spirits. “I know the performances will come and I’m just being as patient as I possibly can before that happens. I don’t think it will be long before you see me getting back to my normal self. “I’m very, very confident. I don’t think it’s a question of my ability, it’s just performing and producing. The structure and dynamics have changed and, obviously, based on how things have gone, it’s little to no time when going in to bat. “I’ve just got to find ways to cope and produce in these short stints of batting on the international stage.”Holder, appointed one-day captain six years ago, led West Indies in 86 matches before being sacked last September after overseeing an abysmal World Cup campaign and a subsequent series defeat in the Caribbean to India.He was replaced by seasoned all-rounder Kieron Pollard with whom he said he shared a strong relationship. And even though his form had dipped, Holder said he tried to contribute to the squad by also sharing his experience when required. TOUGH TRANSITION “It’s been tough transitioning back to just a player, and in hindsight thinking back on it, it has been tough to try and understand how to get back in and fit back in as just a player,” explained Holder, currently the world’s leading Test all-rounder.“Kieron and I are very good. We actually share a lot and I’ve tried my best to help him because in the end the winner has to be West Indies cricket, regardless of who is captaining and who the administrators are.“It’s just about West Indies cricket, so I do everything in my power to ensure that when we step on a cricket field that we are as prepared as we possibly can – we’ve prepared, we’ve got as much information shared to beat the opposition – so I’ve given him everything I’ve possibly could give him.”He continued: “Performances probably haven’t been there as I obviously would’ve liked but I’m not too disheartened. I don’t beat myself up, I don’t get too worried because I know my ability and what I can produce. I just know an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner.”Following the regional side’s 2-1 series defeat away to India last December, Holder was rested for a similar three-match ODI series against Ireland last January, and said that break had been crucial to reorganising himself mentally.“I felt I needed the break after the India series, particularly just to refresh,” he pointed out.“I’d played every single series the entire year, played County cricket as well, so my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge and, obviously, I needed some time to go away and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player, and trying to work out how just to be a player as opposed to being a captain.”
Ivan Lucic, Taylor Moore and Gustav Engvall all make their City debuts at Craven Cottage.Elsewhere, Adam Matthews returns from injury at right-back and Aaron Wilbraham starts up front.Only Aden Flint and Marlon Pack keep their places following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Derby County in the Sky Bet Championship.Fulham: Joronen, Johansen, Ream, Madl, Malone, Christensen, Tunnicliffe, Adeniran, Edun, Piazon, Woodrow. Subs: Bettinelli, Kebano, Jozabed, Sigurdsson, Sessegnon, Smith, De La Torre.Bristol City: Lucic, Matthews, Flint, Moore, Golbourne, O’Dowda, Pack, Brownhill, Freeman, Engvall, Wilbraham. Subs: O’Donnell, Ekstrand, Little, O’Neil, Reid, Tomlin, Abraham.Referee: Mr A Davies.
England will now play Australia (9.50 am GMT) after Jo Watmore scored with the final play and Alice Richardson held her nerve to kick the conversion.England were the first to score through Heather Fisher but a strong period of play by Fiji either side of the break allowed them to take a 17-5 lead.Strong running and good feet by Bristol’s Abbie Brown put England back on the front foot and Watmore touched down twice with Richardson adding the crucial additional points as England fought back.A dominant first-half performance by Fisher allowed England to get off to a good start, bursting through the defence after starting the passage of play with a quick offload out of the tackle.Fiji then capitalised on England errors to assert themselves on the game and levelled the scores just before half time. Exploiting space on the outside, they added a second-after the break before extending their lead further to 12 points.Strong in the contact, and with a determined performance, England eventually created space for Watmore to break through and touch down under the posts. With Fiji giving away penalties, England showed composure to keep edging towards the try line until Watmore was able to get the all-important score.
The Scottish international recorded a pair of double-doubles over the weekend, including a 14 point, 13 rebound performance against his former club to claim a 12 point win in the South West derby.Brandon Boggs has also been named in the team of the week, following a BBL career-high 30 points to go along with five rebounds in a losing effort against the Surrey Scorchers.Click here to view the full BBL team of the week.
Each team can nominate two players to represent their club in U13 and U14 fixtures during the interval, with nominations based on the players demonstrating the core values of our game – teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. “We were disappointed to have to postpone the Nando’s Cup Festival on Sunday, but although Bristol Grammar School has an artificial pitch, the roads surrounding the playing fields were treacherous and safety is always our first priority. “Despite the postponement, youngsters will still have the chance to play on the hallowed Ashton gate turf on Friday night, so we’re asking clubs to nominate two players who perfectly represent the sport’s core values.”If you have any questions, please contact community development officer, Craig Capel (email@example.com).