GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP): Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took seven wickets as Sri Lanka completed a stunning comeback yesterday to win the first Test against India by 63 runs with a day to spare. Set a target of 176, India crumbled against the spin duo of Herath (7-48) and Tharindu Kaushal (3-47) to concede defeat after lunch on day four – all out in their second innings for 112 in the three-Test series opener. India resumed on 23-1 and lost six wickets in the morning session. The last nine Indian wickets went for only 82 runs as the tourists collapsed from 30-1. Ajinkya Rahane top scored for India on 36; Shikhar Dhawan got 28. Yesterday’s play completed a remarkable turnaround for the hosts. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 183 in their first innings after electing to bat first, and India took a lead of 192 runs after piling on 375 in reply. Sri Lanka were heading towards an innings defeat Friday when they were reduced to 95-5 in their second innings, but an unbeaten 162 by man of the match Dinesh Chandimal revived the hosts’ fortunes, and the bowlers then put them on top. Herath, who was dropped for Sri Lanka’s last Test against Pakistan, went wicketless in India’s first innings with 0-67. But yesterday, he created pressure by bowling a tight line, which India couldn’t deal with. Herath was introduced in the 15th over of the innings from the Dutch Fort End. He struck immediately, trapping nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (10) leg before wicket. Rohit Sharma was bowled by Herath for four to make it 34-3. But the biggest break came when India captain Virat Kohli (3) was spectacularly caught by short leg fielder Kaushal Silva off the bowling of Kaushal. UNBEATEN 162
It looks like there will again be a heavy Jamaican presence at a major international sporting event, with indications that Jamaicans have been gobbling up tickets to next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with more than 500 tickets bought through the ticket lottery.However, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mike Fennell, is urging local fans to act quickly to secure the remaining tickets and packages before it’s too late.Cartan Global is the exclusive authorised ticket reseller and tour operator for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for Jamaica and 35 other countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe, with the organisation’s director, Jay Price, promising Jamaican fans an unforgettable experience at the August 5-21 spectacle.The travel agency, which was represented by vice-president of international business, Greg Harney; director of global partnerships, Price; and sales account manager, Rony Epelbaun, has created three tour packages for fans, which include event tickets, hotel accommodation, airport meet and greet, shuttle service, breakfast, full-day city tour and access to a well-appointed hospitality area – Casa Cartan – among other offerings.Packages range from US$3,495 (bronze package), US$6,195 (silver) and US$7,995 (gold).important marketPrice, speaking at a press briefing held yesterday at the JOA offices at Cunningham Avenue in Kingston, said he is looking forward to again welcoming Jamaican fans to his company’s sports travel experience and highlighted the various ticket and tour packages on offer.”It’s extremely important for us to have Jamaican presence in what we do, in our packages. Especially at the last few Olympics, the Jamaican teams have done extremely well and the world’s focus is on Jamaica and it’s a really important market for us,” said Price.”Some of the best athletes have come from Jamaica, everyone loves the Jamaican team and follows the Jamaican team, so for us to be working and being a part of what’s going on in this country with the Olympic movement is extremely important,” added Price.The agency has received 20,000 tickets for all sports for its markets in its first allocation from the International Olympic Committee and although there is still some availability, smaller venues in Brazil when compared to previous Olympics, means that there are limitations.”We are very pleased with the reception. I wish we could make the stadium larger, I wish there were other things we could do to accommodate everyone, but we are very pleased with the response. We love working with Jamaica and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that everyone who travels to the Olympic Games from Jamaica have a beautiful experience,” Price added.Cartan’s travel packages will be executed in four different ‘waves’ or travel periods for spectators – August 4-9; August 9-13; August 13-17 and August 17-22.Stand-alone tickets are also available for fans who are not interested in full packages, while Price also noted that spectators who prefer to stay for periods outside of a particular wave can also be accommodated.”We had great interest back in May during our lottery process. We have got some tickets remaining in the morning sessions. A lot of the tickets that we have for the evening sessions are tied to our packages, but regardless, it’s important that people who are interested in going to the Games, go online and register,” added Harney.Fennell, underscored that tickets are limited and cautioned against last-minute applications.”This is my great worry – that a lot of persons will come on at the last minute, thinking they can get tickets. Luckily, the Jamaicans who have gone to previous Olympic Games – quite a large number of them – have already secured their tickets,” Fennell said.”There are others who have been excited since the Beijing performances and they have now come on board and they want their tickets, but there are limitations.”The capacity of the stadium is less than that of London, although we got the same number of tickets available to us,” Fennell warned.Cartan has also been working with local agency Sporttravel by Trafalgar, with Olive McNaughton being the point person.
Jason Morgan, who set a new national record in the discus in 2015, is looking forward to being even better in 2016 and perhaps even win an Olympic medal in Rio this summer.He has reason to be optimistic. Training has been going well, he is working with a team of coaches, and best of all, he has a shoe contract with apparel manufacturer Puma that is expected to run until the end of his career.In other words, things are looking up for the 33-year-old 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who in June last year set a national record of 68.19 metres in Pearl, Mississippi.It was the second best throw in the world for 2015.”I am working a part-time job while I train and at this moment, training is going hard and well. I have a set workout plan and different cycles for the season. I also have a couple of great coaches that will assist me on the road to the Rio Olympic Games,” he said. “I have great support and a management team, and it’s a blessing to have Puma as my sponsor.”training in preparationFor the past few years, Morgan has endured great financial difficulty while training in preparation to represent Jamaica. Earnings from his job, plus some financial support from the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA), were not enough to allow him to take care of his family, train, cover medical expenses and travelling to competition.He believes his work ethic and affable personality helped land him the Puma contract, revealing that officials there have told him that they have always admired his will power and hard work, as well as his character.The deal he signed with Puma last December now allows him greater freedom to focus on his preparation for what could be his last Olympic Games.”It’s like a dream come true,” said Morgan of the shoe contract. “They have supported Jamaica’s track and field and the world’s best athletes. They will assist me on the rest of my journey. It’s a blessing to be able to be part of a pioneer brand, and I will continue to inspire and break down barriers, and give young and old people hope to believe in themselves, no matter what the journey.”
It has been a constant going around in circles in recent years as it relates to the format for the top local football league, now the Red Strip Premier League (RSPL). Four seasons ago, the semi-final and final playoff knockout format was restored after yet another cycle of having the traditional league format, where the champion was the team that accumulated most points at the end of the season. The conventional league format was always the most just and credible way to go. It smacked of injustice and lacking total integrity to have a team accumulating the best record and most points at the end of the regular season, then having one bad game in a concocted semi-final and final knockout game against a team that finished in fourth spot 10 or 15 points adrift the top team, then that fourthplace team could go on to be crowned league champions. There still remains a certain level of innate unfairness in that kind of scenario. This is one of those occasions on which I have been convinced by the unfolding reality to reconsider my previous position. It is a matter of the good of the situation outweighing the bad of the situation. The dynamics of the local football reality make it an unfair comparison to make between our top-flight football in Jamaica and what obtains in the elite leagues of England, Spain and Italy. These leagues have the advantage of huge television deals, more vibrant and richer economies and better infrastructure, which all contribute to better general spectator attendance and a more viable product to market throughout the season. IRRELEVANT, BORING AND USELESS The current format of the RSPL, with the top four teams pooled into a post regular season knockout phase, has worked and continues to work. The level of interest and buzz generated by the approach to the ‘playoffs’, as well as during the current phase, has increased exponentially. There was no disputing the fact that the four top teams in the league, on merit, all made it to the knockout round Montego Bay United, Portmore United, Arnett Gardens and Humble Lion were all rewarded for their consistency and that, of course, helped in the selling of the playoff intrigue and drama. There is also a particular spectacle and almost guaranteed excitement associated with a knockout series that does not exist in the straight league format, where there is always the possibility of one team running from the pack leading by 10 or 15 points, which would render the last three or four games of the season irrelevant, boring and useless. There is no possibility of that happening in a knockout play-to-win scenario. It is also quite instructive that in other regional football jurisdictions such as Mexico, the USA and Costa Rica, and in the majority of the South America countries, it is the post-season knockout format that is used to determine the national league champions. While there can be no real value placed on the unfortunate scenario of the best and most consistent team throughout the season losing a knockout semi-final or final, thus losing the league title, there is some credence to the decision to offer the top performing team at the end of the regular season $1m incentive. All things considered, the format of the RSPL working and is working well. The intensity and interest at this point in the season, as they have been ever since the re introduction of this format, are at an all-time high and I suspect that most, if not all, the previous dissenting voices against this format, have been duly silenced by its success.
Richard ‘Frog’ Holmes had his numerous and vociferous supporters cheering with glee at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium on Wednesday night as he fought his way to a unanimous decision over Trinidad and Tobago’s Irwan Azore. Judges Lindell Allen and Eion Jardine scored the fight 49-46, while judge Laurence Neufville had it 50-45.Holmes, who was seeded at No. 3 after the preliminary round, has now claimed the third semi-final spot in the competition and has set up another clash with Tsetsi Davis, the No. 2 seeded boxer. The last quarter-final bout between American Demarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley and Revlon Lake will take place next Wednesday night.Despite the unanimous decision, Holmes had to work very hard for his victory, and every round was close and hard fought. In the end, it was the aggressiveness that Holmes showed throughout the fight that paved the way for his victory. Azore was in a defensive groove for most of the night and his infrequent forays did not give the judges any reason to vote for him after the first round.FEELING-OUT PROCESSThe first minute of the fight saw Holmes and Azore engaging in a feeling-out process, with Holmes trying to set the pace. Azore kept low and tried to find the mark with his jabs, while Holmes made the body his target. Azore was able to score with a few jabs and hooks to the body and head, while Holmes tried to find his range, with limited success.Shortly after the second round started, Azore literally drew first blood, as a straight left followed quickly afterwards by an accidental butting of the two heads left Holmes with a gash on his right eyebrow. Blood flowed freely, and referee Peter Richards stopped the action and asked ringside physician Dr Andre McDonald to take a look at the injury. He signalled that although there was damage, the fight could continue.Holmes showed his anxiety on the resumption and stepped up the pace of his attacks. Azore’s response was to initiate a lot of clinches, and the crowd booed and urged him to fight. Holmes stepped up the pace in the third and kept Azore on the defensive throughout the round. Holmes fought in spurts and drew applause from the crowd when he successfully landed the necessary punches to clinch the round.There was intermittent bleeding from the cut, but never enough to give a hint of a stoppage. As the bell for the final round sounded, Holmes moved in resolutely, and with cheers from the crowd of “Frog! Frog! Frog!” ringing in his ears, he kept the pressure on his opponent, and left his fans pleased with his performance.Holmes has now put himself in line for some of the prize money that is at stake in the competition. The winner will take home $2 million, the runner-up $500, 000, third place $250,000, and fourth place $200,000.It was a good night for Bruising Gym as, apart from Holmes winning his fight, two amateurs from the gym were also successful. Light heavyweight Omar Campbell scored a 43 seconds first-round knockout victory over Sugar Olympic gym’s Oshane Campbell, and their welterweight boxer, Shavon Lindo, defeated Raheim Pitter from Boys’ Town, who was disqualified in the third round for persistent holding.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC):Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has praised West Indies’ ability in the shortest format, but said while they respected the reigning World champions, his side intended to play fearless cricket during the upcoming Twenty20 International series.The two teams meet in the opening game of the three-match series on Saturday, and Arthur said yesterday that after having undergone an overhaul, the Pakistani team could provide a stiff challenge for the Windies.”Our Test side, in particular, is a very stable side, with a lot of senior players in it, but we need to rebuild our one-day side,” Arthur said.”We were playing a style of cricket that was totally outdated. The exciting thing is bringing in a new brand of young players.”He continued: “The players we have brought in – Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Sohail Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammed Nawaz – they take the game on.”They don’t fear failure, which is fantastic. They are the guys we want to build this one-day cricket brand around. We have to change this brand.”Pakistan are coming off a big win over England last month in Manchester when they trounced the hosts by nine wickets in a one-off T20 International. And of the four T20Is they have played against West Indies, they have won two – when they swept the series in the Caribbean three years ago.Arthur said West Indies were a “formidable opposition”, especially in conditions that were similar to the Caribbean.”West Indies are a very good Twenty20 team. They are the current world T20 holders so you can never take them lightly even in conditions like these … so they are going to be a formidable opposition and we are going to have to play really well to beat them,” the South African said.”We have played a lot of cricket of late. The players have been playing cricket, and whether you are playing one-day cricket or Twenty20 cricket, as long as you are playing the skills are sharp.”We have just got to hone those skills. We have four training sessions to get that right. I am confident the guys will be ready. A lot of guys have been playing the domestic competition at home anyway so they have been playing Twenty20 cricket.”
HEIGHTENED AMBITION – 6:30 a.m: Manchester United vs Leicester – 9 a.m: Bournemouth vs Everton – 9 a.m: Liverpool vs Hull City – 9 a.m: Middlesbrough vs Tottenham – 9 a.m: Stoke City vs West Brom – 9 a.m: Sunderland vs Crystal Palace – 9 a.m: Swansea vs Manchester City – 11:30 a.m: Arsenal vs Chelsea Tomorrow’s matches Ambition has soared at Everton since Iranian-British businessman Farhad Moshiri became majority shareholder in February. With greater financial power under Moshiri, Everton spent around $50 million on explosive winger Yannick Bolasie and Wales captain Ashley Williams in August, and almost broke their club record to sign Moussa Sissoko on deadline day before the France midfielder had a late change of heart and joined Tottenham. To top it all off, Koeman looks to be the real deal after replacing Roberto Martinez, fired in May after running out of ideas and patience among fans after three years in charge. Standards have suddenly risen at Everton. While the relaxed Martinez used overstatements and cringe worthy hyperbole to laud under performing players, Koeman has no issue in calling out players whose level drops. Rising star Ross Barkley was substituted at halftime in one match this season, for example. “Yes, there is a fear, definitely,” Everton captain Phil Jagielka said. “It is like being back at school with a new headteacher who is trying to be a little bit stricter.” Gareth Barry, Everton’s 35-year-old midfielder, has opened up about the difference between the Martinez and Koeman regimes. “The standards of the players were, for me, slightly slipping last season, on and off the pitch,” Barry said. “It was things like time-keeping, dress codes, training, everything really. “The confidence and everything had gone.” Now it’s back. Everton have beaten West Bromwich Albion, Stoke, Sunderland and Middlesbrough after opening with a draw against Tottenham, and the team looks stronger in every department. A leaky defence seems tighter with the presence of Williams at center back and energetic midfielder Idrissa Gueye – another summer signing – just in front, while Romelu Lukaku has returned to form with four goals in his last two games and, when at his best, is among the Premier League’s most dangerous and prolific strikers. MANCHESTER, England (AP): With his ‘headteacher’ aura and astute offseason recruitment, Ronald Koeman is making an immediate impact at Everton and getting the best out of the club’s strongest squad in a generation. It might be time for the blue half of Merseyside to start dreaming again, three decades after their trophy-laden heyday. Koeman, a highly respected ex-Netherlands and Barcelona defender, was lured from Southampton in June and has guided Everton to their best five-game start to a league campaign in 38 years. With a draw and four consecutive wins, Everton are in second place, behind Manchester City, in the English Premier League standings going into a game at 17th-place Bournemouth tomorrow. English football is already looking for the next team to “do a Leicester” and rise from nowhere to win the Premier League. Maybe it’s Everton’s turn, although Koeman has warned against any comparisons with the current champions. “Normally, we can’t win the title. I think what Leicester did last season was an exception,” Koeman said. “I am realistic. If I tell you we will fight for the title, I think most people will say, ‘That man is crazy.'” That winning the title is even in the conversation around Goodison Park is testament to work being done by Koeman, who appears to be at a club going places after their disappointing 11th-place finish last season.
Group H Excelsior 2 Jonathan Grant 1 Holy Trinity 2 Camperdown 1 “I want to win the Manning Cup as it is a traditional competition. However, we are also in the Super Cup. It is a work in progress, so we will take it game by game,” he added. In the feature game, Holy Trinity, who suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to daCosta Cup contenders St Elizabeth Technical High School in the Super Cup last Saturday at Montego Bay Sports Complex in St James, rebounded with the win against Camperdown. Holy Trinity took the lead when striker Shai Smith netted in the 26th minute. Camperdown cancelled that goal courtesy of Nicolai Small in the 73rd minute. However, with time running out, Holy Trinity second-half substitute, Orarando Salmon, netted in the 90th minute to hand his team a deserved victory. “The feeling is good to come off the bench and score the winning goal for my team. We lost on Saturday and it motivated us to come all out today,” Salmon, who got his first goal of the season, told The Gleaner. Coach of Holy Trinity, Devon Anderson, praised Salmon for his positive response after he was left out of the team last Saturday in Montego Bay. “Salmon did not play on Saturday and cried because he was left out and then the team lost. I spoke with him and he came back today and found the winning goal,” Anderson shared. “We had a long journey back from MoBay Saturday night and in less than 48 hours played again. The team showed heart. We are happy for the win to keep pace with Excelsior in the group,” he also shared. Today’s games Yesterday’s Results WORK IN PROGRESS Excelsior High and Holy Trinity scored similar 2-1 results against Jonathan Grant High and Camperdown High respectively, in the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)-FLOW Manning Cup Group H second round football matches at Constant Spring Complex yesterday. In the first game of the double-header, Excelsior earned a hard-fought come from behind win. The Spanish Town-based Jonathan Grant led courtesy of a goal by captain Tahj Beckford in the fifth minute. However, former champions Excelsior were resilient and struck twice through Cadine Graham (13th) and Tyrick Sutherland (53rd). Following a big 5-0 win against Ocho Rios High in the prestigious ISSA/FLOW Super Cup competition last Friday, Excelsior got another important win in the opening game of the Manning Cup’s second round. Their head coach, Shavar Thomas, was naturally happy for the win to put three points on the board in their bid for one of four semi-final spots. “We started out slow, but picked up and got an important victory in order to be in contention for the semi-final spot. I felt that the referee made a bad call that led to Jonathan Grant scoring early,” said Thomas, who is a former Excelsior High and Jamaica star defender. Group I Constant Spring Complex 1 p.m. – St Jago vs Hydel 3 p.m. – Jamaica College vs Denham Town
Italian champions Juventus are one step away from signing long-time target Axel Witsel.Juventus are said to be close to agreeing details with the Belgian star’s club, Zenit St Petersburg, ahead of a move that would finally take the highly rated midfielder to Turin after he was minutes away from securing a deadline day deal in the summer.The Russian side had just completed the signing of Hernani from AtlÈtico Paranaense for just €8 million and are also chasing Renato Augusto. Juventus have offered €6 million, plus add-ons to sign Witsel early ahead of the expiration of his contract in July. The overall offer is around €10 million and Zenit’s asking price is €10 million.There is now not too much distance between the two parties, and middlemen are working night and day to find an economic agreement between the two parties, but at this stage, Juventus are as close as ever to signing the Belgian midfielder, who already has an agreement with the Old Lady.Juventus hope to finalise the deal by the end of the month and announce Witsel’s arrival at the beginning of 2017.
He also believes the legacy he has build after one term drove fear in his expected challengers, none of who turned up for nomination. “My work has been recognised wide and far, and those who were talking didn’t see the need to put up a challenge. The facts are there,” Lothian said. He now has major plans to build on what they have and continue pushing the sport forward. “We have a Japanese coach for two years, an office with skilled staff and 74 coaches combined across the country. These are the legacy that are there, there is room for improvement, but with the little we have, we have made good use of it.” In three years, he wants 15,000 athletes playing table tennis and also wishes to increase the amount of course conductors to 12. “The foundation is being set with the Milo Primary/Prep school league set to start the 27th of April, so we are on the right track,” he said. Meanwhile, Glenroy Williams and Owen Flowers were returned as first and second vice president, respectively. Ann Marie Burton-Cole stays on as general secretary. Treasurer Rayando Williams and his assistant, Maureen Nembhard, were also returned unopposed. There will be two votes at the AGM, with Francena Pryce and Carmen Alliman vying for the assistant general secretary position. Plus there will be a vote to reduce the council membership to nine from the 12 nominated. The 12 nominees are, Darrington Ferguson, Sandra Tomlinson, Maxeline Knuckles, Pedro-Polean Henry, Sean Wallace, Clive Grosset, Nicholas Morrison, Andrea Murray, Francena Pryce, Konata Beluchi and Ruel Clemetson. Legacy Table tennis president, Godfrey Lothian, who was returned unopposed at the Table Tennis Jamaica council elections on Tuesday, says there will be a motion to extend each administrative term from three to four years when the annual general meeting (AGM) takes place this Saturday. Lothian, who came to the helm in 2013, also had the majority of his slate returned unopposed and says an extra year in his tenure would allow him to get more things accomplished. “At the AGM, there will be a resolution put forward by the Duhaney Park Table Tennis club to extend the association’s administration life from three to four years. This would be a plus for the organisation, as we would get more things done. We expect it to go through,” he told The Gleaner.