ROME (AP):It’s judgement weekend in Serie A. League leaders Napoli take a two-point lead over Juventus into a highly anticipated clash of the top-two squads today. Then tomorrow, third-place Fiorentina host fourth-place Inter Milan, who are one point behind the Viola.Napoli and Juventus are on club record winning streaks.Napoli have won eight straight, while Juventus have 14 consecutive victories, and need three more to match the Serie A record of 17 established by Inter in 2006-07.Napoli beat Juventus 2-1 in September with goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain, but that was before the Turin club found its stride and was able to overcome the off season departures of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, and Carlos Tevez.Having joined Juventus on a €40 million transfer from Palermo in June, Paulo Dybala has developed into the Turin squad’s most dangerous weapon with 13 goals. And with only 15 goals conceded, Juventus have the best defence in Italy.With 24 goals in as many matches, Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain is having the season of his life. With 14 matches remaining, Higuain already has more goals than the 22 that Mauro Icardi and Toni led Serie A with last season.”My intention is to continue scoring,” Higuain said. “For me, and most important, to help the squad, which is aiming for something really big.”Napoli’s only two Serie A titles came in 1987 and 1990 when Diego Maradona was carrying the club.Also this weekend, it’s Lazio vs Hellas Verona; Carpi vs Roma; Empoli vs Frosinone; Chievo Verona vs Sassuolo; AC Milan vs Genoa; Palermo vs Torino; Sampdoria vs Atalanta; and Udinese vs Bologna.
Hawthorne under pressure at St Jago… Axe looms for veteran as Wolmer’s also parts company with entire staffFollowing the recent restructuring of the Wolmer’s Boys School track and field programme, another high profile high school coaching job is reportedly on the line.Christopher Harley is the first major casualty following last month’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, with the team’s uninspiring performances said to have upset several influential members of the school’s support.As a result, Harley, who took over as head coach in 2012, along with his entire coaching staff, was shown the door at the Heroes Circle – based school earlier this week.The Wolmer’s programme will reportedly be overseen by past student and patron Stephen Francis, who runs the powerful MVP Track Club.Harley may have some company soon, with sources telling The Gleaner that long-time St Jago High school boys team coach Danny Hawthorne may also soon find himself on the sidelines, with a large section of the Monk Street-based school’s past student body pushing for a new direction.Hawthorne, a veteran, who has guided the likes of Yohan Blake and Nickeal Ashmeade over the years is under immense pressure as he is, according to several sources, seen by some of the programme’s backers to be incapable of guiding the school to a championship.St Jago’s boys finished in fourth position at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, 112.5 points behind winners Calabar, with Wolmer’s – winners in 2010 under David Riley’s leadership, finished 10th this time around after managing 50 points.St Jago’s last boys’ title came in 1993.The Gleaner tried to get in contact with both coaches but was unsuccessful.
WIN DEM WHEELZ, in association with Caymanas Track Limited (CTL), will pay homage to racehorse grooms at Caymanas Park on Saturday, April 23, with the Grooms’ Association Day race meet comprising 11 races. Details for Grooms’ Association Day were outlined by Andrew Azar, managing director of Win Dem Wheelz, as well as Cedric Stewart, chief executive officer of CTL and racing secretary Denzil Miller Jr at yesterday’s launch in the Trainers’ Room at Caymanas Park. To begin with, five veteran grooms will be honoured on the afternoon in recognition of their long and dedicated contribution to racing for 50 years. They are Headley Scott, popularly called ‘Scott Brady’, who groomed the second horse (Cardigan) to win on the opening day of Caymanas Park on August 22, 1959, and was a top groom with the legendary trainer Aston Commock back then; as well as Lenford Walker, Everald White, Fitzroy Tulloch and Roy Hamilton. The card will also feature the running of the Win Dem Wheelz Trophy over a mile for $180,000 claimers, this offering a total purse of $550,000 inclusive of $50,000 from the sponsor; the Grooms’ Association Trophy claiming $250,000 – $210,000, with a purse of $530,000; and, above all, the grade one renewal of the Legal Light Trophy over 1820 metres, with a purse o $1.2 million. According to Azar, grooms are “very special people to our industry and the unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to the daily care of the magnificent thoroughbred. On this special occasion, it is only fitting to mention the names of the five grooms who will be honoured”. Azar further stated that the first five grooms in each of the 11 races on the card would receive valuable product prizes and ultimately, the names of all grooms, who have horses on the programme will be placed in a raffle, and at the end of the meet, a lucky groom would receive a Ramco 250 Tiger motorcycle valued at $300,000, courtesy of Win Dem Wheelz. Azar was hailed by Trainers’ Association president Vin Edwards, United Trainers’ Association president Dale Murphy, and Grooms’ Asso- ciation president Fabian White for his generosity, social conscience, and unwavering support for racing, not only in his capacity as an outgoing deputy chairman of CTL, but through the support of his company. Vin Edwards said over a decade ago, he made representations for grooms to be included in the Hall of Fame, and although this was resisted initially, his persistent efforts paved the way for Vincent Blackwood to be the first groom to be so honoured some years ago. Edwards contends that divestment has never been successful in Jamaica, and he is sceptical that the pending divestment of racing will be beneficial to all stakeholders in racing. And finally, Edwards called for an investigation into the $750 million spent in the construction of the Jamaica Racing Commission /Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission building at 78C Hagley Park Road, which has become dysfunctional for the most part. -O.C.
Guyanese boxer Charwin Estwick pulled off the biggest upset of the Wray and Nephew 2016 Contender series on Wednesday night when he defeated American Daniel Powell by unanimous decision at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium.Judges Laurence Neufville and Lindell Allen scored the five round fight 49-46, while judge Eion Jardine had it 48-47.Because of his 11-0 record, which included nine victories by knockout or technical knockout, Powell was seen as the favourite to win, as Estwick went in with a record of only two previous fights, both of which he lost.At the weigh-in on Wednesday, however, Estwick, who had to take off weight to get to the 147-pound welterweight limit, declared, “I am not intimidated by his record because records do not win fights. Fighters do, and I am going to win this fight.”These words proved prophetic, as Estwick went on the attack from the opening bell, and his awkward southpaw stance clearly confused Powell, who never really got going. He was the better technical fighter, but it was Estwick who did the scoring, and the judges awarded him for his efforts.Estwick was busy right from the start, and threw a lot of punches to both the head and body. His work rate was impressive, but the cool, orthodox Powell gave the impression that it was just a matter of time before he took over. His jabs looked good and he scored primarily to the head, but it was Estwick who won the round.SUPERIOR WORKPowell was decisive at the start of the second round, and a good right hook to the head gave a glimpse of what he was capable of. He landed more punches in this round and took it comfortably, but Estwick came out blazing in the third round, and his superior work rate and quick flurries gave him the edge.Estwick also had a good fourth round, but in the fifth, he started to fade as Powell put pressure on him. Estwick suddenly seemed vulnerable, and it was at this stage of the fight that his defensive side was seen, and he was able to weather the storm to the final bell.With all the quarter-finalists in place, seeding of the top four boxers took place. American boxer Demarcus Coley was seeded at No. 1 and Caribbean boxers Tsetsi Davis, Richard Holmes and Ramel Lewis were seeded second, third and fourth, respectively. They then drew their opponents, and Lewis will meet Michael Gardener in the first quarter-final bout next week.In the two amateur bouts on the card, Sherine Williams from the St Thomas Boxing Club scored a technical knockout (injury) second-round victory over Nyoka Hewitt from the Stanley Couch gym. Hewitt injured her right knee and had to be assisted from the ring for medical attention. In the second bout, Fabian Tucker from Sugar Olympic gym scored a unanimous decision over Nico Yeyo from Stanley Couch gym.
Boxing powerhouse Cuba made it clear that they are the top nation in the sport in the Americas, and are still a potent force in world amateur boxing, when they won 10 medals in the recently concluded Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. They were in the finals of all the men’s boxing divisions, and ended up with six gold and four silver medals. They did not enter any female boxers.Host nation Canada also performed brilliantly and took home three gold and three bronze medals. The United States won two gold, one silver and two bronze medals to take third spot in the medal placing. Canada’s female boxers won two of the three gold medals that women competed for, while the highly favoured US team, won the other female gold medal.This performance by Cuba, made them the most successful nation in boxing since the Pan American Games started in 1951. To date, they have won 90 gold, 20 silver and 16 bronze medals, for a total of 126. The US are second with 33 gold 32 silver and 41 bronze for a total of 106, while Argentina are third with 21 gold, 15 silver and 27 bronze for a total of 63.It was recognised from the start of the competition that Cuba was the team to beat, and from day one they started to mow down the opposition. In the finals, however, competition was very keen in the lower weight classes, and four of their highly rated boxers had to be satisfied with silver.They prevailed in the heavier weight classes and although well known heavyweight Erislandy SavÛn for example, had to work hard for his victory, he took the gold medal with a 2-1 verdict over Venezuela’ s Julio Deivi. It was another Cuba versus Venezuela clash in the super heavyweight division, and Cuba again prevailed as Lenier Pero defeated Edgar Munoz on points 2-1.Outstanding performancesFemale boxers again showed that they have a place in boxing in international games, by giving some outstanding performances. They are only allowed three weight classes, but their performances were excellent throughout, and strengthened the call by AIBA president C.K. Wu, for more places for women in boxing in the various games.All three female bouts drew rave reviews for their competitiveness, and Canada took two of the three gold medals. Cheered wildly by the home crowd, flyweight Mandy Bujold gave herself a birthday present, by defeating highly favoured American Marlen Esparza on points, while lightweight Caroline Veyre defeated Argentina’s Dayan Sanchez, also on points.In one of the other highlights of the competition, American Claressa Shields lived up to expectations and defeated Yenebier Guillen from the Dominican Republic, on points, to take the middleweight title.
CHELSEA 1 LIVERPOOL 3GOALS:- CHELSEA: RAMIRES 4th. LIVERPOOL: COUTINHO 45th, 74th; BENTEKE 83rd.Chelsea boss JosÈ Mourinho suffered again as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed his first win. The Blues took an early lead through Ramires, but Liverpool levelled in first-half added time, with Philippe Coutinho scoring the first of two goals. He netted again with a shot that deflected off Chelsea skipper John Terry, before Reds sub Christian Benteke added a third for the visitors.CRYSTAL PALACE 0MANCHESTER UNITED 0Manchester United extended their goal drought to 325 minutes – more than five hours – in all competitions and squandered the opportunity to keep up with the Barclays Premier League pacesetters, with Crystal Palace putting up the shutters at Selhurst Park. It is the first time since 2005 that United have failed to score in three successive games.MANCHESTER CITY 2NORWICH CITY 1GOALS:- MANCHESTER CITY: OTAMENDI 67th; TOURÈ PEN 89th. NORWICH: JEROME 83rd.Yaya TourÈ’s late penalty rescued Manchester City and kept them at the top of the Barclays Premier League after Norwich had staged a brave comeback. Nicolas Otamendi’s header put the hosts in front, before Joe Hart inexplicably dropped the ball at the feet of Cameron Jerome for a Norwich equaliser. But TourÈ scored from the spot after Russell Martin’s red card for handball, before Aleksandar Kolarov missed a second penalty in time added.NEWCASTLE UNITED 0 STOKE CITY 0Not for the first time this season goalkeeper Jack Butland earned Stoke a point with a string of key saves. Newcastle went close when Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the post before Butland scrambled the ball clear. Moussa Sissoko twice went close with well-struck shots, only for Butland to save impressively each time. However, Stoke’s keeper saved his best until late on when he tipped a Jamaal Lascelles header over the crossbar.SWANSEA CITY 0 ARSENAL 3GOALS:- ARSENAL: GIROUD 49th; KOSCIELNY 68th; CAMPBELL 73rd.Arsenal bounced back from the humiliation of their 3-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday to remain level on points with Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City. Olivier Giroud headed Arsenal in front soon after the restart, before Laurent Koscielny seized on an error by former Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to double their lead. Joel Campbell struck on his first Premier League start to seal the victory.WATFORD 2 WEST HAM UNITED 0GOALS:- WATFORD: IGHALO 39th, 48th.Ten-man West Ham suffered their first away defeat of the season, after Odion Ighalo continued his goalscoring form. Ighalo turned home the opener, and then the Nigerian doubled Watford’s lead just after the break, firing home from Ikechi Anya’s cut-back for his seventh goal of the season. Hammers’ defender James Collins was red-carded for a foul on Ighalo.WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 LEICESTER CITY 3GOALS:- WBA: RONDON 30th; LAMBERT PEN 84th. LEICESTER: MAHREZ 57th, 64th; VARDY 77th.Jamie Vardy scored for the eighth game in a row to help Leicester come back from a goal down to beat West Brom. The England striker scored after two goals from Riyad Mahrez early in the second half had put the Foxes ahead. Salomon Rondon gave Albion the lead, and Rickie Lambert’s late penalty reduced the arrears, but Leicester hung on for the win and remain unbeaten away from home so far this season.
MANCHESTER CITY(4-2-3-1)HART, SAGNA, DEMICHELIS, MANGALA, KOLAROV, TOURE, FERNANDO, NAVAS, DE BRUYNE, STERLING, AGUEROSOUTHAMPTON (4-2-3-1)LONG, TADIC, S. DAVIS, LONG, CLASIE, WANYAMA, BERTRAND, FONTE, VAN DIJK, SOARES, STEKELNBURGManchester City wasted the chance to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League when they were thrashed 4-1 at home to Liverpool last weekend. It was only the second time City have conceded four goals or more at the Etihad – the other was a 4-2 League Cup third round home defeat after extra time against Aston Villa in 2012.It was also City’s heaviest home defeat in the Premier League in 12 years – when they were beaten 5-1 by Arsenal at Maine Road in February 2003.Interestingly, no fewer than eight of the 13 goals conceded by City this season have come in two games – last weekend’s defeat by Liverpool and another 4-1 rout, at Tottenham in September.However, City’s Joe Hart has kept more clean sheets – seven – than any other Premier League goalkeeper.City, who can return to the top, have a good recent home record in the Premier League against Southampton, winning the last four while scoring 11 goals. Saints last won there in April 2004, one of only three PL victories at City in 11 visits. City have won six and drawn two.On Wednesday, City went to Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League and lost 1-0. City were without David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony in Italy and are unlikely to have any of them back for this game.
Sagicor Bank has returned as title sponsor for the UWI Mona Guild-led Sagicor Bank Champions’ League. The event, now in its sixth staging, will see 16 teams competing for the coveted 2016 Sagicor Bank Champions’ League title.Sagicor, the sponsors of the event since 2010, has supported the league in an effort to ignite camaraderie among students of the University of the West Indies while highlighting the football skills among players of respective blocks on the UWI Mona Campus.Former president of the UWI Mona Guild of Students and marketing coordinator, Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited, Terron Dewar, said that “health, sports, and education are at the core of most of the initiatives we support, and this Champions’ League encompasses all those areas. The students of the UWI Mona Guild and, by extension, the wider university community have maintained an extraordinary level of excellence with this event and we are proud to be associated with it.”MAKING IT BETTERGames committee chairman, UWI Mona Guild, Oshane Grant, said: “Both students and players look forward to this league. Sagicor is all about making the campus better and the guild appreciates this. With sponsorship support through the years, this league has gone through a metamorphosis that has brought the university together.”The 2016 season of the Sagicor Bank Champions’ League was launched at the UWI Students’ Union yesterday.The first match in the knockout competition will kick off today at the UWI Mona Bowl between Taylor Hall’s Roosters and the ELR Towers’ Hybrid at 5 p.m. followed by a matchup between the defending champions, Chancellor Hall’s Block Aye and Irvine Hall’s Bears at 7 p.m.
“The appeal is also to the parents because that is such a small investment when you can save your child’s life,” she said. “The fact is that more of the parents, principals and coaches need to be convinced of the need for the screening of their athletes.” However, Calabar High School principal and Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association executive committee member, Albert Corcho, believes that Chen needs to take a more objective view of the situation. He said that all student-athletes at his school have done sudden cardiac arrest screening examinations, but he would not say at which facility. He added that because many schools have not gone in to the Heart Foundation of Jamaica for checks, it does not mean they have not done it at other medical facilities. As such, he said that it was difficult to make a broad judgement of the situation at each school that has athletes competing in various sporting activities. SMALL INVESTMENT The Heart Foundation of Jamaica Executive Director Deborah Chen says she is concerned about the few schools that have visited its facilities to have sudden cardiac arrest screening exercises done on student-athletes ahead of what she describes as their lengthy sports seasons. Chen, who was a guest at The Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Friday, said that only a “handful” of schools in the Corporate Area had sent athletes to the foundation for screening examinations. She added that among these schools, some did not send the full complement of their squads to be checked. “In screening these students, you may have a team that is selective in the groups that they send,” Chen said. “For instance, there is a football squad of 40 students and it has the reserves in it. Some schools take the ones that are going to play, and those who aren’t – who are in the reserves – are not screened. Chen said that those reserve players may be used at another point in the season, especially to replace injured players, which increases their risk of a dangerous incident occurring. She added that it is a bad approach to take as those reserve players also train as often as the regulars and an attack could happen during one of those sessions. “Screening is too crucial to neglect as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Jamaica,” she said. “A sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. We must not assume that it is only the person who collapses on the field. A physical examination and an ECG (electrocardiogram – a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart) can pick up 90 per cent of problems associated with cardiovascular disease.” Chen said that in some instances, the schools have covered the first-level screening fee of $2,500 for athletes, but many others do not get screenings because their parents do not provide the funds needed.
TWILIGHT DREAMS, the surprise package of the recent 2000 Guineas, reports well trained as the horse to beat in this afternoon’s Simply Magic Cup at 1820 metres. Out for the third time and sent off a rank outsider at odds of 99-1, TWILIGHT DREAMS ran the 2000 Guineas as though he was one of the favourites. The chestnut colt showed speed and pace to chase LOOSE CANNON from post-position one in a maximum 16-horse field, matching strides with SECRET TRAVELLER, while eventual winner FEARLESS SAMURAI tracked the pace from fourth. TWILIGHT DREAMS was still running strong a half-mile out in the one-mile Guineas before being passed by FEARLESS SAMURAI, who went after stablemate LOOSE CANNON three and a half furlongs out. Though relegated to third, TWILIGHT DREAMS stayed third into the lane, chasing splits of 1:11.3, and wasn’t joined by another horse until MARKET FORCE came with his run a furlong and a half out. Still showing fight TWILIGHT DREAMS actually improved into third with a half-furlong to run, going past a weakening LOOSE CANNON, almost as a team with MARKET FORCE, who started a late charge at FEARLESS SAMURAI. TWILIGHT DREAMS stayed third to the last quarter-furlong before being relegated to fifth by SOTOMAYOR and RADICAL closing from off the pace, beaten by a little less than six lengths. With his class exposed in the 2000 Guineas, TWILIGHT DREAMS returned to gallop seven furlongs in 1:28.2 eight days later, proving that he came out of the race none the worse, the only Guineas horse, fillies included, to have galloped so early after the opening classics. Down to carry 115lb and clearly the controlling speed this afternoon, the only question is whether TWILIGHT DREAMS will stay two turns. Apprentice Odean Edwards slips two kilos, making TWILIGHT DREAMS one of the lightest runners in the 12-horse line-up, returning 11lb lower than his Guineas outing two and a half weeks ago. He stayed on well enough at a mile with 126lb, against the best colts and geldings in the Guineas, to be given the benefit of the doubt in a weaker field.