Four years after the London Olympics, the hype regarding the safety of the next venue, Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, seems to have died down, particularly where track and field is concerned. The start of the lucrative Diamond League series has heralded the onset of several other meets all over the world, giving fans and indeed athletes an opportunity to discover who are the potential finalists in the many events to be contested this summer. Jamaicans got an opportunity, up close, to witness one such early contest with the staging of the Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet last Saturday at the National Stadium. The meet was well attended and the usual World leading and personal best performances of some of the athletes on show added to the general satisfaction of those who attended or who watched on television. The late withdrawal of some of the big name stars seemed not to have dampened spectator enthusiasm except when it was announced – just before the start of the women’s 200-metre event – that double Olympic sprint champion and Jamaican sprint queen, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce would not be running. The Jamaican hopefuls who did compete, however, gave fans confidence that the prophesy of Olympian and new Member of Parliament, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, would be fulfilled. Mrs Cuthbert-Flynn predicted that the nation would surpass the 12 medals garnered at the event in London in 2012. Elaine Thompson (10.79), Kemar Bailey-Cole (10.01) in the 100-metre races, Danielle Williams (12.55) in the sprint hurdles, Janieve Russell (54.61), Jaheel Hyde (49.16) in the 400m hurdles races, Javon Francis (44.85) and Novlene Williams-Mills (50.87) in the flat 400m, all showed signs of being in the finals of their events in Rio. This is not to say that the other Jamaicans who competed last Saturday night have no chance in reaching the finals or even medalling in Rio. Asafa Powell looked very good in the early stages of the men’s 200m and his time of 20.45 is not to be sniffed at. However, with his history of groin and hamstring injuries, I am confident that his handlers will encourage him to concentrate on the 100m and the second or finishing leg of the 4x100m relay, of which the nation seems to be a sure pick for the gold in Rio. There were other very notable performances at the JII last Saturday. Bahamian Shaunae Miller, who ran what seemed to be an easy 22.14 in the women’s 200m, was the standout performance of the night. Miller is better known as a 400m runner, who uses the 200m to sharpen her speed in the first 200m of the race. Her body type is reminiscent of another top world class runner (a male) and if she continues to progress (as it now appears), Marita Koch’s very suspicious world record of 47.60 seconds may be in danger. Well, maybe not this year, but definitely before the following Olympics.
DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DRAKE WATCHRaptors fan and ‘global ambassador’ Drake sat in his regular seat adjacent to the Toronto bench. The rapper wore a black hoodie with ‘KAWHI ME A RIVER’ printed on the back.STREET PARTYOutside the downtown arena, fans flooded streets, bringing traffic to a standstill. One video posted on social media showed a group of fans partying on the roof of a Toronto city bus. Fans surrounded Marc Gasol’s car as he was driven out of the arena , and the center rolled down his window to trade high fives with the crowd.BIRTHDAY BOYToronto’ reserve Norman Powell scored nine points on his 26th birthday. Standing at the back of the room, Powell’s mother wished him a happy birthday at the end of her son’s press conference.FAMILIAR POSITIONThe last team to overcome an 0-2 deficit and win a conference finals was Oklahoma City, which beat San Antonio in six games in 2012 after losing the first two on the road. Ibaka played for that Thunder team, while Leonard was a Spurs rookie.UP NEXTThe NBA Finals comes to Canada for the first time when the Raptors host the Warriors on Thursday night. Toronto swept Golden State in the regular season. View comments ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Toronto was eliminated by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in three straight postseasons before shaking things up last summer with the acquisition of Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP who was acquired from San Antonio and has carried the Raptors in this postseason.“He’s the best player in the league and we’re happy he’s in Toronto,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said.Asked about Ujiri’s compliment, Leonard said he’s focused on different goals.“I just want to win,” he said. “I don’t care about being the best player. I want to be the best team.”Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, but the NBA’s top team in the regular season saw its bid for a first finals berth in 45 years come to a disappointing end with a fourth consecutive defeat.“Man, obviously when you’re up 2-0, that doesn’t mean nothing,” Antetokounmpo said. “You’ve got to learn how to come out and close out games, especially after Game 3. We’ve got to get better as a team, and we’ve got to get better individually.”Even Nurse found his team’s turnaround hard to believe.“Beating this team four times in a row is almost mind boggling,” Nurse said.Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said it hurt to see a great season end.“The roster that was put together for this season, as the season started going, you started feeling like it was special and could do special things, including advancing past tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Budenholzer said. It sure did. Now imagine how it will sound when the NBA Finals come to Toronto for the first time next week.Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Raptors into the finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. His big dunk with 6:46 to go in the fourth quarter was the final basket in a game-changing 26-3 run that began late in the third.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“It was kind of a momentum capper,” Lowry said. “We were on a run, and why not feed the big dog? Let the big dog eat.”The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit to win the series in six games and will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) holds up the trophy after the team’s 100-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Toronto. The Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — Kyle Lowry stole the ball and pushed it ahead, then waited for Kawhi Leonard to arrive before feeding his All-Star teammate for a thunderous one-handed slam over Giannis Antetokounmpo.“The building exploded after that dunk,” Leonard said.ADVERTISEMENT Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals? 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PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war A win is a win It will be the two-time defending champions against a Raptors team that will finally bring the NBA Finals outside the U.S. after entering the league in 1995.“They’re one of the greatest teams in history,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the Warriors. “It will be a tall task, but we’ll try to figure it out.”Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet 14 for the Raptors.Lowry held the game ball and picked up his children after the game, finally getting to the championship round after the Raptors kept falling short against Cleveland.“It’s taken a long time to get here in my career,” Lowry said. “I’ve run into one guy for a while.”ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Down 76-71 to start the fourth, the Raptors tied it with an 8-2 run while Leonard and Antetokounmpo were both on the bench. Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 10:32 to go tied it at 78.Antetokounmpo returned after a timeout, but Leonard kept sitting. That didn’t matter to Toronto, with Siakam’s basket giving the Raptors an 80-78 lead, their first lead since it was 6-3.Toronto made 12 of 27 3-point attempts, including four of eight in the fourth quarter.Siakam, who missed a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s double-overtime win in Game 3, hit one to make it 98-94. Leonard grabbed the rebound on the second and was fouled. He made both, putting the Raptors up 100-94 with 3.9 seconds to go.Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton each made a pair from long range as the Bucks shot 6 for 9 from 3-point range in the first and closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points to lead 31-18. Toronto shot 6 for 19 in the opening quarter, missing six straight twice in the first 12 minutes.The Bucks extended their lead to 38-23 on a 3 by Ersan Ilyasova with 7:46 left until half. Toronto cut the gap to 46-43 on a 3 by VanVleet with 1:07 left in the second, but Eric Bledsoe answered with a 3 and Antetokounmpo split a pair at the line, giving the Bucks a 50-43 advantage at the intermission.The lead went back to 15 in the third before Leonard finished the period with a flourish. He had eight points in the final 2:01 and Toronto closed with a 10-0 run, cutting a 15-point deficit to 76-71.TIP-INSBucks: Milwaukee shot 4 for 16 in the second but three of its made baskets were 3-pointers. … The Bucks had six points in the paint in the first half. They finished with 28. … Budenholzer was called for a technical foul on Milwaukee’s first possession of the second half. Leonard missed the free throw. … Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 10 at the free throw line.Raptors: Danny Green, who missed all three of his field goal attempts in 16 minutes in Game 5, had another rough night. Green shot 0 for 4 in 14 minutes. … Leonard’s 17 rebounds were his most in any game this postseason. … Lowry had eight assists. MOST READ LATEST STORIES Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport