St Jago High School’s coach Glen Laing and his players are determined to emerge one of the top teams in this year’s schoolboy football competitions and so far they have done a very good job.The Spanish Town-based school finished as the best runner-up in their first-round Manning Cup group and qualified for both the lucrative FLOW Super Cup and Walker Cup competitions.But despite their good showing in the preliminary round, the second round is where Laing really wants them to make their mark and he believes he has the players, although he has one in particular that he looks to for goals.Shaqon Bryan netted the opening goal seven minutes into St Jago’s surprise 2-0 win over North Street-based Kingston College in the Walker Cup knockout quarter-finals last Friday at the Constant Spring Complex, taking his tally to nine for the season.Today, St Jago face the blue side of North Street, when they tackle St George’s College in the Walker Cup semi-final this afternoon at Constant Spring, and the speedy striker is aiming for more goals. He also knows there is no better way to announce their arrival to the big time than with a win over the mighty George’s.”The aim is always to win, and I always aim for more (goals),” Bryan told The Gleaner.”We are trying to put St Jago on the map and we are doing that … . The team has grown a lot, because at the start of the season, we didn’t have a few players, but we got them back and the team started working, and now all is well,” he added.The player and the team also have huge confidence in their coach, even though Bryan didn’t agree with his part-time substitution role in the first round, he wants to live up to the mantle the coach has handed him in their whole objective.”We are not finishing a lot of the chances we create, but we are getting there. It’s work in-progress. The coach has been telling me that I have the team on my back and that I should carry them forward. I hope to do that as best as possible,” he said.
1) New ZealandNormal service has been resumed. After the surreal scenes of the All Blacks not being No 1 (Wales were, then Ireland!) they enter the quarter‑finals back at the top of the rankings, rated by the bookies as twice as likely to win the tournament as the second favourites. Don’t be so sure. It goes without saying they remain the best when on form, but that cancelled game might well be more of a hindrance to them than anyone, given that their last meaningful fixture will have been four weeks before their quarter‑final against Ireland. At least Italy would have been semi-meaningful. These All Blacks are not invincible at the best of times. Current world ranking: 12) EnglandThe same concerns apply to England. Nobody should be under any illusion that the cancelled game will help them. Their draw had been perfect, a series of Tests neatly escalating in difficulty. But when the fourth rung was removed, quite a leap was created to a quarter-final with Australia. Otherwise, England are in good shape. Defence remains a big question-mark, but defence is so 2007. Only Wales seem to bother with it these days. In attack, England are as threatening as anyone. Off-the-cuff counterattacking remains the speciality of the All Blacks, but England have developed a variety of ways to undo defences, including at the start of games when everyone is fresh and there are no excuses. Current world ranking: 33) South AfricaIn these curious times in which New Zealand are not necessarily miles ahead, a lot of people – uncomfortable with the idea of Wales, Ireland or, God forbid, England as likely candidates – have ventured South Africa as their tip. They won the Rugby Championship this year, after all (although no team has ever won that and the World Cup in the same year). They certainly boast as formidable a tight five as any, a pleasing blend of spark and ice at half-back, and Cheslin Kolbe. Oh, Cheslin Kolbe. Defensively, though, the 2007 vintage this is not. Current world ranking: 54) WalesWhich brings us to the defensive masters. We have long been told that defences win these competitions — in which case, hand the gong to Wales now. There is a sense, though, that things have changed. Wales have embarked on quite the campaign of late, gathering a grand slam, a record winning run and the kudos of being No 1 in the world — and they’ve done it with scarcely a whiff of the sort of try to quicken the pulses back home. They’ve done it with scarcely a try full stop, registering 10 of them in that grand-slam campaign – the same as Italy. But they’re still here, they’re still winning. Current world ranking: 2 Share via Email Twitter Sportblog Since you’re here… The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Facebook Twitter 10) FijiFiji too would be worthy quarter‑finalists. They have produced an astonishing array of attacking talents — and that’s not counting all those they’ve supplied to other countries. Wins against Australia or Wales would not have flattered them. Defeat by Uruguay is borderline unfathomable. Current world ranking: 1111) ArgentinaSemi-finalists last time out, and here they are in 11th. This business of fielding the same team at international level as domestic isn’t working. They could have picked some overseas players but with what message to those who stay at home? A dilemma. Current world ranking: 1012) TongaBetter and better with each game – oh, what would a level playing field do for these Island teams? They finally clinched that win against USA, after a whisker away against France. There are 110,000 people in Tonga. That’s the population of Chesterfield. Current world ranking: 1313) GeorgiaEurope’s answer to the Pacific Islanders, but a natural affinity for the muscular gets them only so far without the flair. Still, the same questions apply: what might they become with regular exposure? There’s no sign of any solution to that conundrum. Current world ranking: 1414) UruguayAuthors of the second biggest upset in World Cup history. Uruguay’s overturning of a 30-point handicap with the bookies against Fiji is second only to Japan’s 42-point handicap against South Africa four years ago. Against Wales, they flirted for a while with equalling the latter upset. Incredible. Current world ranking: 1815) ItalyNo scope for them to progress or regress. Isolated in the middle of their pool, way below the top two, way above the bottom, third was all they were ever going to get, even with a bonus two points against the All Blacks. Current world ranking: 12 Rugby World Cup … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. New Zealand rugby union team Reuse this content Pinterest Share on Twitter Sergio Parisse and Jayden Hayward challenge Willie Le Roux in Fukuroi. Photograph: Mark R Cristino/EPA Share on Pinterest Facebook 5) JapanJapan, meanwhile, are doing so much more than win rugby matches. They are dismantling all received wisdom about how this game should be played and by whom. The hateful notion of tiers one, two and three has been exploded. As successive members of the old guard are dispatched, what should really terrify rugby’s establishment is that this team hail from a country of 125 million whose economy is the third largest in the world. If rugby can bite even modestly into Japan’s national consciousness, everything changes. A new centre of gravity could emerge to rival the current black hole that is England and France. America next. Current world ranking: 76) IrelandThe world rankings have received a lot of ridicule of late, never more so than when Ireland attained top spot on the eve of this competition, despite a string of recent indignities to embarrass 2018’s grand slam winners. The truth is, though, the rankings are very tight now with no one having to do much to top them – and that feels about right. Here Ireland are, sixth on our list (fourth on World Rugby’s), but they are genuinely capable of winning this thing, given a realistic upturn in form. Rugby has never had so much competition among its top teams. Current world ranking: 47) AustraliaAnd here we have Australia, World Cup finalists last time and twice champions. They too, it should not be particularly contentious to assert, are capable of winning this with a run of form. There is something by-the-seat-of-the-pants about this lot, but they will be relishing a crack at England, who seem so highly regarded after their humiliation by this side four years ago. Barely a few weeks ago Australia put nearly 50 on none other than the All Blacks. They are a long way from favourites, but an Australian triumph cannot be ruled out either. Current world ranking: 68) FranceDare we say the same of France? No, we dare not say anything about the French. This vintage is no different from any other – mutiny in the air, players sent home under suspicious circumstances, captains dropped, games won and nearly lost, chaos all round. And yet our eighth-ranked team are thrice finalists. Some of the rugby they have played has been devastating – and not just to themselves. They will look on Wales in the quarter-finals and shrug. Win there, and neither Japan nor South Africa would quite daunt them. They will not win the tournament, surely … but, well, you get the drift. They could. Current world ranking: 89) ScotlandA sobering few days, but let’s be clear: no team in the top 10 would have reacted any differently to the prospect of elimination without playing. They would sit comfortably in this top eight, but that no-show against Ireland will, and should, haunt them. Current world ranking: 9 Support The Guardian Share on Messenger Pinterest Rugby World Cup 2019 19) NamibiaAt one point their very participation was in doubt, World Rugby concerned about the integrity of Namibia’s governing body. No doubting that of Phil Davies and his happy band. They troubled teams rated far higher. A great shame their final game against Canada was cancelled. Current world ranking: 2320) CanadaThe decline of Canada is one of World Rugby’s more perplexing dilemmas. The former quarter-finalists should not have fallen so low. Much hope is invested in America’s new domestic league and this will hopefully help revive them, but too soon for this World Cup. Current world ranking: 22 Japan rugby union team Twitter 16) USADisappointing. Partly because expectations were high. USA had been rising steadily through the teens in those rankings, but they were flat in their opener against England and never quite discovered themselves. A Japan-USA final in 2043, anyone? Current world ranking: 1717) SamoaThey will always, along with Fiji and Tonga, hold the moral high ground, such are the gifts they have bestowed on a rugby world that gives so little in return. Alas, here they gave their fair share of gifts to the opposition too. Current world ranking: 1518) RussiaThey snuck in through the back door and found themselves opening the tournament against the hosts in Tokyo. Won a lot of friends with a feisty display in defeat, including the tournament’s opening try, but that was it for them and tries. Current world ranking: 20 Topics South Africa rugby team Wales’ centre Owen Watkin dodges a tackle by Uruguay prop Mateo Sanguinetti. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images Pinterest Share on Facebook Facebook Chris Harris escapes the attentions of Japan’s Ryohei Yamanaka. Photograph: Shutterstock Share on LinkedIn Australia rugby union team Share on WhatsApp features England rugby union team
Greek pole-vaulter Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou won the bronze medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing’s National Stadium, clearing 4.80 meters (15.74 feet) on Aug. 26.Cuba’s Yarisley Silva took the gold with a vault of 4.90 meters (16.07 feet) while Fabiana Murer of Brazil won the silver.Kyriakopoulou’s medal was the 21st in Greece’s history at the world athletics championships and the first in eight years. The country’s athletic program has suffered from big budget cuts during an ongoing economic crisis. TweetPinShare0 Shares
Junior all-around gymnast Jake Martin has claimed multiple accolades during his time as a Buckeye.Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsBig Ten athletics are, more often than not, associated with football or men’s basketball.But that’s not what comes to mind for Jake Martin.When Martin thinks of the Big Ten, the first things that come to his mind are: Ohio State, gymnastics at Michigan and gymnastics at Illinois, the OSU all-around gymnast said.“I think gymnastics in general is underrated,” he said.Martin, a junior from Oviedo, Fla., has been a three-time U.S. Junior National Team member, and claimed fifth in the all-around at the 2014 NCAA Championships, along with picking up multiple Gymnast of the Week titles.When Martin was growing up and was asked where he wanted to attend college, he would mention OSU, and typically hear about the quality of its football team, he said. But he’d instead respond with names of top gymnasts that competed for the Buckeyes.“Blaine Wilson went here, Raj Bhavsar went there, the Hamm twins,” Martin said. “I know a lot of these things about the school that a lot of people wouldn’t know.”Wilson is a gymnast who won the Nissen-Emery Award in 1997, which is men’s gymnastics’ equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He is also a silver medal recipient from the 2004 Athens Olympics. Bhavsar won the bronze medal in the 2008 summer Olympics and twins Paul and Morgan Hamm are American gymnasts who helped the U.S. win multiple medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.Gymnastics was Martin’s biggest factor when it came down to attending college, he said. The freezing cold temperatures of Ohio are certainly not what he’s used to from growing up in central Florida, but it was a reasonable trade-off because of OSU’s impressive gymnastics program.Now with the Buckeyes, Martin has at least one teammate who thinks he’s at the top of the sport.“(Martin) is one of the best gymnasts in the United States in my opinion,” sophomore all-around Sean Melton said.While he might be one of the best by his teammate’s standards, there were some who told Martin to take his talents to a different sport when he was younger.Growing up tall, gymnastics wasn’t the first sport that came to people’s minds for Martin.“A lot of people told me going into high school, ‘You should probably think about doing other sports to get a scholarship,’” he said. “I did get some kind of grief from people.”Martin said people sometimes told him “gymnastics is a girl’s sport”, but he just laughed it off.“I didn’t do gymnastics for anyone,” he said. “I did it for me. So I just thought to myself, ‘If it’s a girl’s sport, I’m just going to enjoy it.’”Along with honing his craft as a gymnast, Martin said he has high aspirations in the classroom as well.As a junior international studies major, he’s preparing to take the LSAT in June and is preparing as much as he can to attend law school. Martin said the athletic department and school itself have been helpful during his times of frantic scheduling.Growing up, Martin appreciated the support he got from his family and friends. Now in college, the two-time All-American has noticed that the atmosphere OSU has sets it apart from the rest.“You have people in the crowd that you don’t know,” Martin said. “But they’re wearing scarlet and gray so you know they’re cheering for you and you know they’ve got your back.”Melton said Martin brings more to the team than anyone could ever ask for.“I think he’s a great leader,” Melton said. “To have him on my team is definitely something we’re happy about and I can’t speak more highly of him.”Martin discovered his interest in gymnastics when he was a child with a growing curiosity. His cousins taught him how to do a back handspring off of an old mattress, which he mimicked off of his couch, resulting in a sprained thumb.Shortly after, he was signed up for gymnastics class and within a year, he was signed up for a pre-team because of his impressive progression.“Once I started gymnastics, that was it … I just decided that this is exactly what I want to do,” he said.Martin considers gymnastics a sport in which one must always work at perfecting their skill.“The main goal (in a lot of other sports) is to score,” Martin said.For gymnastics, however, he said displaying one’s perfectly crafted skills is the main goal.“We’re using our bodies differently,” he said. “When people think of brute strength, they think of weightlifting. But when you look at still rings, you have to hold these positions and it’s the same thing except our toes are pointed.“Gymnastics brings this element of brute strength, but we have to make it look good.”While the 2016 Olympics aren’t for some time, Martin said he uses every practice and competition to hone his skills into becoming a better athlete and an Olympic hopeful.“It’s nerve-wracking and I try not to think about what’s going to happen a little over a year from now,” he said. “But it is coming up and I have been thinking about it.”