Cabinet has approved the Government’s athletes insurance plan to provide group health, as well as life and personal accident insurance, for more than 1,000 athletes across all sports.Information Minister Sandrea Falconer made the announcement during yesterday’s Jamaica House press briefing.”Cabinet has approved the selection of the Guardian Life Insurance and Allied Insurance Brokers as the providers of insurance of our athletes,” said Falconer.”Guardian Life will provide group health, while Allied will provide group life and personal life and personal life accident coverage,” she said.Falconer added that all national sporting associations and federations have also committed to supporting the Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan by contributing five per cent of the cost for their participating member athletes.”The Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan has received funding support from the Sports Development Foundation, Tourism Enhancement Fund, the National Health Fund, and Culture, Health, Arts, Sport and Education (CHASE) fund.Falconer noted that one must be a current athlete in order to qualify for the insurance scheme.”They have to be in a programme representing Jamaica and so once you are not active in a programme then you will not qualify,” Falconer stated.Falconer said Minister with Responsibility for Sports Natalie Neita-Headley, will provide further details on the schemes at a later date.Meanwhile, newly appointed president of Netball Jamaica, Paula Daley-Morris, said her association welcomes the move by Cabinet.”We spend a lot of money on our players in terms of taking care of their medical issues,” said Daley-Morris.”This is going to help to keep a little bit more money in our coffers and so I wish to thank the Government for being so considerate at this time and supporting athletes in general,” she said.
SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):Andre Russell’s small all-round cameo helped Sydney Thunder to remain unbeaten in the Big Bash League with an uncomplicated seven-wicket win over Adelaide Strikers yesterday.Asked to field first at the Sydney Showground Stadium, Thunder limited Strikers to 117 for nine off their 20 overs, with West Indies pacer Russell producing a key spell of two for 28 from his four overs.Captain Brad Hodge top-scored with 34 from 33 deliveries with two fours and two sixes, while Adil Rashid got 25 from 18 balls and Mahela Jayawardene, 21 from 31 deliveries.In reply, Thunder were propelled by opener Jacques Kallis’s 49 from 48 deliveries, while Aiden Blizzard struck 35, in a 66-run first-wicket stand.Russell arrived in the 15th over to blast two sixes in his 17 off seven deliveries as the hosts sped to their target with 21 balls remaining in the contest.Thunder currently sit top of the standings with six points from a perfect three outings.
With next month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships overlapping with the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs), general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, admits there are challenges, but is confident of putting together a strong team of athletes and officials in particular.The JAAA’s selection committee will meet shortly to select a team to represent Jamaica at the March 17-19 event, which takes place in Portland, USA, but with the interest-hogging ‘Champs’ taking place inside the National Stadium from March 15-19, filling the coaching and management positions on the delegation might provide some headaches for the administration.COACH AVAILABILITYGayle noted that most of the island’s top coaches and management representatives are deeply involved with high-school teams, which will be competing at Champs and are unlikely to be available for the World Indoor Championships.”Naturally, for sure, it (Jamaica’s World Indoor Championships selections) will be affected. Management personnel, for instance, is the first thing that comes to mind,” Gayle told The Gleaner yesterday.”Most of our renowned coaches are also very instrumental and involved with their alma mater, and you look at the press focus on Boys and Girls’ Champs, which is a major event on our calendar.”We have already started some work in looking at what could be a likely combination and try and get the best fit for the national team. Champs does come in at a crucial point, and I would use the world carefully, but it does clash with the World Indoors and provides some challenges,” Gayle admitted.He is, however, confident that the JAAA will be able to put together a strong support staff for the athletes travelling to represent the country in Portland.”We are confident that our discussions with local and international coaches will be positive, and we will be able to send a competent and experienced team of management to accompany the athletes,” said Gayle.Meanwhile, Gayle is expecting that the selection process will be completed well ahead of the February 29 deadline set by the IAAF, and shared that a number of athletes have already indicated their availability.DEADLINE”It seems close, given that the deadline is just a couple of weeks away, but it is not unusual for many of our elite athletes and their coaches to still be deciding whether or not they will be participating at the World Indoors at this point,” Gayle said. “What we know for sure is that we will have the best available team to go out and compete and represent Jamaica at the World Indoor Championships.”We have received indications from a number of athletes, but we can’t give any names at this moment; just to say that it’s not unusual that some of our most elite athletes and their coaches will be weighing the pros and cons, even at this point, especially in an Olympic year,” he added.Jamaica won five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze – at the last IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in 2014.
– 9:30 a.m.: Triple Jump Class 11 Boys Discus – Class 1 Girls – 10:30 a.m.: Long jump – Class 3 Girls Discus – Class 1 Boys – 11 a.m.: High jump- Class 2 Boys – 11:30 a.m.: Long jump – Class 3 Boys Shot Put – Class 2 Boys – 2 p.m.: Triple jump – Open Girls High jump – Class 1 Boys Shot put – Class 2 Boys – 3:15 p.m.: Long Jump – Class 4 Girls High jump – Class 2 Girls – 4:30 p.m.: Long jump – Class 1 Boys Discus – Class 2 Girls Field Events Finals THE 2016 track and field season will hit another high gear today as the two-day Digicel Grand Prix Central Championships will take place at G.C. Foster College, starting at 9:30 a.m., with the preliminary round of the girls’ 400 metres, starting with Class Two. Today, there will be 15 field events finals, along with eight on the track. A prelude to next month’s GraceKennedy ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships, this event will definitely give some clue about who will win the girls’ section as the top five teams at the national championships last year, headed by defending champions Edwin Allen High, will be on show with Hydel High, St Jago High, Holmwood Technical, and Vere Technical being the leading teams, along with the much-improved Manchester High and its new coaching staff, led by technical director Jerry Holness and Dwayne Jarrett. CONFIDENCE A year ago when the meet was held at Kirkvine Sports Club due to the unavailability of G.C. Foster College Edwin Allen won the championships quite easily and went on to win the national title, also quite easily. Head coach Michael Dyke is very confident of dominating once again and is taking this meet seriously as there is also a cash prize of $250,000 from Digicel for the overall winning team. Additionally, the top two finishers in the individual Grand Prix events in the Under-18 and Under-20 categories will advance to Saturday’s Grand final, the G.C. Foster Classics at the same venue, where the top male and female schools will each get $1 million in gym equipment. There is also a Grace Most Improved School Award for each of the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship meets, which sees the respective male and female high-school winners each receiving $125,000. “We want to continue our winning ways this season and we are hoping to be well represented in all events as we want to keep this momentum going into Champs, and we will not be dropping our guard,” said Dyke. St Jago High were absent last year and after a dominant performance at the Camperdown Classics at the National Stadium last Saturday – where Edwin Allen, Hydel and Holmwood were absent – they will want to prove that their performances were no fluke. Last year, they were touted to unseat Edwin Allen at Champs, but placed third behind an improved Hydel and will want to prove that they have the ammunition to go all the way this time. Since their introduction to these Championships, St Jago’s boys have dominated and the Danny Hawthorne-coached team, who were absent last year, are favourites for a massive win. Defending champions Manchester High will have their hands full in containing the former champions. It has been an excellent season so far for St Jago boys, especially in the middle-distance events where they are led by the outstanding Lerone Clarke, Keenon Lawrence and Joel Jean Pierre. – 3:10 p.m.: 400m Hurdles Girls – Timed Finals – 3:25 p.m.: 400m Hurdles Boys – Timed Finals – 3:40 p.m.: 1500m Girls- Timed Finals – Class 3, 2, – 4:10 p.m.: 1500m Boys – Timed Finals – Class 3,2,1 Track Finals
CRICKET:GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):With matches set to be played in the United States market for the first time, Caribbean Premier League communications director, Peter Breen, believes the high profile Twenty20 tournament is set for a major take-off this year.Since its inception in 2013, the tournament has been played across the six territories of the competing franchises, but organisers have slated fixtures for Florida during this year’s campaign.”It’s very clear with the talent on display, both local talent and international talent have been contracted and that’s a massive vote of confidence from the wider cricketing public that the Caribbean Premier League is unique, it’s the ‘biggest party in sport’ as we all know,” Breen told the Guyana Times.”It’s incredible vibe and an incredibly fun place, but with serious cricket on the field and people want to be part of that.”He continued: “It’s a very exciting tournament to be a part of. I think it’s a massive year for cricket full stop. It would have started with the Big Bash into the various little tournaments that have been happening and I think with the growth and movement to America that opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities for West Indies cricket and for CPL.”There’s a lot of work to be done to ensure we deliver an outstanding tournament because that’s the level we want to achieve. We want to achieve an outstanding tournament and we’re very confident in our abilities to do so and we know that it will be very, very competitive, particularly looking at the talent of the players who are going to be involved this year.The CPL has been a huge success, turning out capacity crowds in most venues and managing to attract some of the world’s finest Twenty20 players like Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.Last year alone, the tournament experienced massive growth in numerical terms in attendance — a development Breen said organisers were hoping to sustain.”It’s a tournament that’s definitely growing year on year and we know that in terms of social media, in terms of the global viewership as well,” he pointed out.”Last year 302,000 came through the turnstiles for CPL- that was a growth of 44 per cent. It is lovely to think we can sustain that crowd, but I’m not sure if we physically can, given the size of the stadia, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.”For this year’s edition, the likes of South African superstar AB de Villiers, New Zealander Brendon McCullum and Australia’s Shane Watson, are all expected to feature.The tournament is scheduled to bowl off in June, but organisers are yet to announce fixtures.