QUEENS, New York: ONE of the world’s leading athletes, Veronica Campbell-Brown, says based on her own experience, she distrusts the way anti-doping measures are effected. At the National Championships in 2013, Campbell-Brown returned a positive test for diuretics (lasix) and was provisionally suspended. She denied knowingly taking banned substances and was later cleared (October 2, 2013) by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and issued a public warning. The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the sport’s world governing body, appealed the decision, but the Court of Arbitration for sport (CAS) cleared Campbell-Brown of all doping charges, citing the JAAA’s testing procedures for not being complicit with international standards. As a consequence of that experience, she has no faith in the system and is urging fellow athletes to be honest and arm themselves with enough information to avoid making incorrect decisions pertaining to doping. Seventeen-time Olympic and World Championships medallist Campbell-Brown was in New York at the weekend where she was a guest of honour at the 21st Children of Jamaica Outreach yearly function and presented with its Humanitarian Award for her work as a philanthropist. While here to collect her award, she was asked about a couple of current drug-related happenings in her sport, one relating to the Russian Federation – and, by extension, its athletes – being banned from competition after a systematic doping programme was uncovered; and corruption allegations against former IAAF president, Senegal’s Lamine Diack. “I tend not to judge people,” she said, when asked if the IAAF’s first-time decision to ban an entire country’s athletes from competition was unfair. “You never know what’s going on, and based on my experiences, which I really don’t want to go into, I really do not trust the system, and I won’t ever trust the system and that’s the most I want to say,” Campbell-Brown stated firmly. “But I do believe that God has blessed a lot of people and there are a lot of talented people out there, and the great talent that we have makes for great competition, but that’s all I’m going to say about that. “The federation made their ruling and I don’t know all the information they have to make that ruling,” she added. Diack is alleged to have taken bribes totalling more than US$1 million as part of a cover-up for Russia’s doping issues. “I do not know the president personally, so there’s nothing I can say on that matter,” was the Jamaican sprinter’s offering on that topic. She said the bad news isn’t good for track and field. “I do not follow the negative part of my sport too much, because it is not good for us, it’s not good for the upliftment of the sport,” the 33-year-old pointed out. “Track and field needs more support, we need more sponsors, and with the negative publicity that we’re getting, it’s not helping us, so I tend to just stay focused on me and I just pray that people will be honest in what they’re doing .”
KINGSTON:In addition to his highly anticipated performance at the Digicel Grand Prix finals on Saturday, popular dancehall artiste Popcaan is also pledging $100,000 in cash, which will be awarded to the top two schools in the Digicel Grand Prix Athletic Championships.”I have been hearing a lot about the Digicel Grand Prix and everything they’re doing for the young athletes and their schools, so I wanted to be a part of that,” Popcaan said. “So, in addition to the other prizes, I will be giving the top male and female schools $50,000 each to continue the development of their track and field teams.”I want to also encourage students to continue to pursue non-traditional career paths such as track and field and entertainment, especially with Jamaica’s growing dominance in these fields worldwide,” he added.Sponsorship manager of Digicel, Danielia McLean, welcomed the announcement.”We’re very excited to have Popcaan on board to close the 2016 Grand Prix series and celebrate the performance of our young athletes,” said McLean.”The development of the schools’ athletics programme and Jamaica’s track and field industry overall is something that we all have a part to play in, so Popcaan’s contribution will also go a far way in helping us to achieve the main goal of this initiative,” she added.The month-long series will end with a grand finale this Saturday at the G.C. Foster Classics in St Catherine. The top performing boys’ and girls’ schools will each receive $1m in gym equipment from Digicel and the most improved boys and girls’ school will each receive $125,000 in cash from GraceKennedy. Honey Bun will also be providing $100,000 cash towards for the athlete nutrition programme at each of the winning schools.The grand finale will feature exciting performances, a major surprise, plus a party stand. Tickets to the event will cost $500 for adults and $300 for children. Patrons can gain access to the party stand by purchasing a $300 Flex Card at the gate.The Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship is sponsored by SportsMax, GraceKennedy, CB Chicken, KFC, Gatorade, Pure National Ice, Honey Bun and Logo Stitch.
Mexico’s Toluca are the defending champions of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Under-13 Champions League, having dismissed their Zone A El Salvador counterparts in the finals with a crushing 4-0 scoreline last year. One outstanding player from the Jamaican contingent at the last tournament was Kellijah Morgan, a community resident from Southern Cross Drive. In the one match they won, he broke away from his markers to receive a Rasheed Willis pass and slotted home after 14 minutes to hand his team a 1-0 lead. Morgan doubled the lead seven minutes later when captain Rojaughn ‘RoRo’ Joseph dissected the defence for him to waltz by the goalkeeper and score. Scotiabank signed on as the official bank of CONCACAF and the league’s first official partner in 2014 and title sponsors of the Gold Cup, the Champions League, and the Caribbean Nations Cup. DEFENDING CHAMPS Harbour View Football Club’s Under-13 team has been selected again to represent Jamaica at the second staging of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Under-13 Champions League. The east Kingston team will be one of 12 clubs playing in the championships scheduled to take place from July 23-30 in Mexico City. “Scotiabank has always been associated with developmental sports, and so we are excited to be exploring the possibilities in football through our CONCACAF affiliation,” said Yanique Forbes Patrick, Scotiabank’s vice-president of marketing. In the draw conducted to determine the groupings, Harbour View were selected to play in Group A against Mexican club Buhos de Hermosillo FC, Real EstelÌ from Nicaragua, and Jabloteh (Trinidad and Tobago). The draw sorted the 12 club teams, representing 10 CONCACAF nations, into three groups of four for round-robin play starting in July. “We are happy to be selected and we’re preparing to have a little more depth this year to see if we can go a little further than we did last year and advance from the zone,” said Clyde Jureidini, general manager of Harbour View FC. Group B consists of Menor Tijuana (Mexico), Comunicaciones FC (Guatemala), Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (Costa Rica), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Canada). Pungarabato Guerrero, the final Mexican club in the competition, heads Group C and will compete with Sporting KC (USA), Chorrillo FC (Panama), and CD Santa Ana (El Salvador). At the last championship, hosted in Mexico City in August 2015, Harbour View finished third in Zone B with three points behind Canadian zone winners Montreal Impact (nine points) and second-placed Aguilas UAS of Mexico (six points). The team won one game against DC United USA (5-2) and lost two matches against Montreal Impact (2-3) and Aguilas (Mexico) (2-1).