With more prize money up for grabs and the best local tennis stars looking to close out the year in fine style, this year’s sixth annual JN Open Tennis Championship is expected to be an exciting and action-packed affair.The championship will start on Saturday and end next Thursday at the Liguanea Cub in New Kingston.Jamaica National has raised the bar with increased prize money for the men’s event from $150,000 to $200,000, while women’s prize money has moved from $50,000 to $60,000.Tournament director Llockett McGregor has described this year’s event as “bigger and better”.The tournament which will start with a kiddie’s camp with 50 juniors on Saturday morning, will feature men’s open singles, ladies open singles, men’s amateur class two and class three as well as doubles event.”Once again, we want to say thanks to Toyota Jamaica, thanks to Singer but most of all we want to say thanks to JN for their continued support and we want to invite the general public to come out and support this wonderful event,” said McGregor at the event’s press launch at the Liguanea Club yesterday.Entries close today for the event which has total prize money of more than $600,000.Gavin Beckford, marketing executive at Jamaica National said his company views the JN Open Tennis Championship as an opportunity “to showcase the talents of Jamaica’s tennis players”.
The outstanding season of Jamaica Scorpions left-arm spinner Nikita Miller continues.The left-armer, the leading wicket-taker in the WICB First-Class Championship this season, increased his tally to 48 victims after claiming seven for 69 against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in seventh round action at Sabina Park yesterday.The 21st five-wicket collection of his 78-match first-class career, the haul was also instrumental in limiting Trinidad to 206 in their first innings on day two, 19 runs short of the Scorpions’ 225.Jamaica, batting a second time, closed on 13 without loss with new captain John Campbell not out on eight, and first innings standout Shacaya Thomas on five.”I had to come up trumps in this innings, as we did not put as many (first innings) runs on the board as we should have,” stated Miller after his display.”I didn’t start that well, as I got hit for consecutive boundaries early by Lewis, but I settled down afterwards and got the job. It is now for us to put on a good second-innings total,” he added.Resuming on 196 for six, Jamaica’s tail failed to wag as only wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, 16, made any impression before he was last man out.Leg-spinner Imran Khan ended with four for 73 and off-spinner, Jon-Russ Jagessar, three for 53.ATTRACTIVE 87Trinidad opener Evin Lewis led the way for his team with an attractive 87, which included three sixes and five fours.The 33-year-old Miller, who last represented the West Indies at the one-day level in 2011, expressed satisfaction with his effort so far this season.”I know that I am someone that the team depends on to do a dual job of keeping things tight and getting wickets,” he outlined. “I have been doing both this season and I am happy.”IN ST THOMAS, US VIRGIN ISLANDS: Windward Islands Volcanoes, replying to Leeward Islands Hurricanes’ 327 all out, were 21 without loss at the close on the second day of their seventh round match.AT KENSINGTON OVAL: BRIDGETOWN: Barbados Pride, leading Guyana Jaguars by 84 runs on first innings, were 71 for one in their second innings at the close of the second day.Scores: Pride 274 and 71 for one; Jaguars 190.SCOREBOARDSCORPIONS 1st Innings(overnight 197 for six)+C. Walton c Lewis b Khan 16N. Miller lbw b Richards 2D. Jacobs c Cariah b Khan 4S. Cottrell c Ottley b Emrit 7M. Mindley not out 0Extras (lb3, w2) 5Total (all out, 101.3 overs) 225Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-111, 3-127, 4-129, 5-195, 6-196, 7-207, 8-212, 9-225, 10-225.Bowling: Emrit 17.3-5-39-1, Richards 20-7-31-2, Khan 36-11-73-4, Jagessar 21-3-53-3, Ottley 4-0-17-0, Mohammed 3-0-9-0.RED FORCE 1st InningsE. Lewis c Thomas b Jacobs 87J. Solozano c wkp Walton b Cottrell 16K. Hope b Thomas 0Y. Cariah c McCarthy b Miller 28*J. Mohammed c wkp Walton b Miller 8Y. Ottley c and b Miller 29+S. Katwaroo lbw b Miller 0R. Emrit c McCarthy b MillerImran Khan not out 22M. Richards lbw b Miller 6J. Jagessar c McCarthy b Miller 0Extras (b3, lb2, w1, nb3) 9Total (all out, 70 overs) 206Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-28, 3-117, 4-131, 5-154, 6-155, 7-159, 8-192, 9-206, 10-206.Bowling: Cottrell 7-1-18-1, Mindley 9-0-28-0, Thomas 5-0-27-1 (w2, nb1), Miller 26-3-69-7, Campbell 8-1-27-0, Jacobs 15-5-32-1.
What is known, though, is that Brown has not played a first-class cricket match since the March 16, 2015, when he played for Jamaica against the Leeward Islands. Was Brown suspended from playing cricket, or did he voluntarily give up the sport? Were other international athletes who missed three drug tests suspended until their case was heard? The embattled West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has announced most definitely that Russell WILL play in the T20 World Cup. That seems to be on the basis that JADCO has not set a date for the hearing, and the WICB is certain that a hearing will not be scheduled to coincide with the dates of the tournament. I find this to be completely unacceptable. The public of Jamaica (and indeed the world) has a right to be given information when ANY of our citizens run afoul of the rules and regulations of sports. There cannot be one rule for Odean Brown and another rule for AndrÈ Russell. Every West Indian cricket fan, thirsty for the pleasure of watching a strong West Indies team competing in the World Cup, would like to see AndrÈ Russell play. But the question is: Should his appearance in the competition be in defiance of the WADA code as regards missed tests? With the present board of JADCO and its executive director refusing to even explain the Whereabouts Rule to the media and the public, speculation as to why an international star and icon would miss three scheduled drug tests in 12 months will continue. This, I do believe, will be to the detriment of the cricketer. “The strongest human instinct is to impart information. The second strongest is to resist it.” COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE An American writer, Kenneth Graham, once said: “The strongest human instinct is to impart information. The second strongest is to resist it.” I am reminded of that quote as I try to make sense of the news that came out on March 2 this year, when chairman of the disciplinary tribunal of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commis-sion (JADCO), Kent Pantry, said he had received notification two weeks prior that Jamaica and West Indies T20 cricketer, Andre Russell, had missed three drug tests in 12 months. Pantry told the media that he had appointed a disciplinary tribunal to hear the case. This has serious repercussions for the athlete, and indeed Jamaica and the West Indies cricket team, now in the Far East preparing for the T20 World Cup. Since then, I have not heard an ‘official word’ from JADCO re this very serious case, other than the fact that he has not been suspended, so he is free to continue playing until his case is heard. When the present chairman of JADCO was appointed (Danny Williams) two years ago, I distinctly remember him stating that transparency would be the order of the day and that a liaison officer would be appointed to keep the media informed regarding the important work of his association. His remarks were necessary because the previous chairman, Dr Herb Elliott, was criticised by many (including this newspaper) about his penchant for coy and unhelpful statements. I was sure that the ‘new’ JADCO would be not only new, but different. Missed tests in sports are considered a serious offence and are usually associated with severe sanctions. When Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu missed three drug tests in a 12-month period, her excuse was that she had moved house and “messed up”. This excuse was apparently not accepted and she was banned. The same WADA rule apparently applies to athletes in other countries except Jamaica. On August 15, 2015, Jamaican cricketer Odean Brown was reported in the press as having missed three tests and was to appear before a disciplinary tribunal headed by Pantry and included Professor Archie McDonald, head of the Department of Surgery, University Hospital of the West Indies, and cricketer Maurice Foster. The next news via the media was that the case was postponed until September 4 as a result of a request from the lawyers involved. To date (March 15, 2016) there is absolutely no word as to what the outcome of that hearing is.