The Wright View | Not our best week in sport
Last week ended with a flurry of international sport that was enough to give local sport fans hand problems, switching from radio to television, and from channel to channel in a gallant effort to be a part of success, success of teams that represent us, the people.
Every supporter or fan who watches and supports their team wants that team to win. But success requires more backbone than wishbone. The CONCACAF Under -17 Championships, which serve as a qualifier for a place in the World Cup finals at that age level, got under way with Jamaica carrying what I thought was the best prepared set of young men to go into competition.
Jackie Walters and Wendell Downswell have both taken us to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. None of them had the luxury of a multi-week training camp. In the build up to the tournament in Panama, Jamaica had the luxury of playing practice games, at home, against the USA, Cuba and Canada. Yet, what transpired on the field in Sunday's game against the Americans was simply unbelievable.
Defensive marking was absolutely nonexistent, and the midfielders and the forwards, whenever they gained possession of the ball, inexplicably booted it up field, where Jamaican forwards were ALWAYS outnumbered by American defenders! I am well aware that our team is populated by teenagers, who at times tend to go off on a frolic of their own, but so, too, are our opponents. Could it be that we were outcoached? Our next two games will give us, the fans, a good insight into how the coaching staff of our young Reggae Boyz respond.
At home, the 50th Test match played at Sabina Park got underway on Friday. Coincidentally, this test match was also the 50th Test match between the West Indies and Pakistan. There was a genuine and praiseworthy attempt by the marketing arm of the Jamaica Cricket Association to promote the game, but the weather and the quality of the Cameron/Browne XI (otherwise known as the West Indies Test Team) combined to keep seats empty. Most cricket fans witj whom I have contact, have a real and genuine problem with supporting a team of inexperienced triers, when our best cricketers are kept out of the game by spite and ridiculous eligibility rules. It is now obvious that West Indies cricket will continue to struggle until the people of the region the ones whose money and support of the sponsor's product(s) allow the board members the luxury of international travel and per-diems decide that enough is enough and support their prime ministers in disbanding an organisation that requests independent reviews of their governance, and rejects out of hand EVERY suggestion put forward by those hired and paid to deliver their opinion, which is that the board must go!
Jamaica's team to the World Relays, which concluded last Sunday in the Bahamas, saw a group of men and women, minus many of our best athletes, performing creditably in coming second to the mighty USA in the race for the golden baton. We can say that these relays were a prep for the World Championships in London this August, and so they can be, if our absent stars stay healthy, and the ones who went to the Bahamas continue to improve. But spare a thought for Canadian sprinter De Grasse. What a performance! His run against Justin Gatlin in the final leg of the 4x100 eliminations on Saturday and his third leg in the victorious 4x200 race on Sunday, was just awesome! Please, please, Usain, minimise the partying and train, I beg you. I just couldn't bear to see you lose your farewell race in London.
Finally, the execution of injured race horse King Pharaoh, by two gunshots, and an eventual lethal injection in front of shocked patrons at Easter Monday's race day at Caymanas Park, has resulted in condemnation from the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) and the head of the Veterinary Board and consultant to the Jamaica Racing Commission, Dr St Aubyn Bartlett. In fact, Dr. Bartlett has been on national radio apologising to fans, punters and stakeholders who witnessed the horrendous event. He has also stated that it is against the rules governing the running of Caymanas Park for horses to be shot on the compound. To date, I have not seen a response from the promoters with regard to this incident that occurred in front of children and adults after the last race on Monday last week. I am however aware that the Racing Commission and the JSPCA have launched investigations.