Yard Flex Sports Flash Back 2007

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By Dwight Fraser and Devon Anderson


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The year 2007 will go down in no uncertain terms, as perhaps the most memorable year in sports for Yard Fans, who have come to expect that Jamaica's exploits on the track, on the pitch, or on the court's will be the quintessential of the Caribbean.

2007 saw massive accomplishments, and unparalleled performances where the Caribbean athlete in general and Jamaicans pushed the bondaries of
Athleticism, in further stamping their class on the International sporting Arena.

Cricket

In April 2007 the Caribbean came together, organized and staged without question the best ever International Cricket Council/Caribbean World Cup of Cricket, and an estimated television audience of 1.8 billion watched the month long event.

Some 16 teams took part in the World Cup, where Games were held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, The Queens Park Oval In Trinidad, The Kensington Oval in Barbados, and Sabina Park In Kinston. Defending Champions Australia were again winners after beating Sri-Lanka in the final by six wickets thanks to a glorious 149 by Adam Gilchrist.

Tickets sales were confirmed at 31.4 million us dollars over the 52
matches, and was the highest ever achieved for any cricket world cup,
beating the previous record of 22 million in the United Kingdom in 1999.

The Caribbean men advanced past the first round with victories, over
Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland but failed to get past the Second Round.

It was in the month of April that the West Indian Legend Brian Charles
Lara bid farewell to the game of glorious uncertainties. April was surely an active month; at one point for the wrong reason as Pakistan's Coach Bob Wolmer was murdered under what was initially considered mysterious circumstances.

In 2007 Jamaica led by Chris Gayle and Wavel Hinds also restored joy and jubilation in the hearts of yard fans, after they won the regional 50 overs competition, beating Barbados in the final.

Track and Field

Jamaica's Asafa Powell shrugged off injury (an arevated groin) earlier in the season to break his previous world mark of 9.77 seconds in setting a mind boggling and lifetime best 9.74 seconds at the Reti Grand Prix meet in Italy on September 9. This was a legal trail wind of 1.7 metres per second.

Intrestingly Powell's aforementioned record would come a mere nine days after he anchored Jamaica to the historic breaking of the national Men's 4x100 metres record twice in one day at the World Track and Field Championship in Osaka, Japan. After the local team sped to a frightening 38.02 in the heats, the quartet of Marvin Anderson, Usain Bolt, Nester Carter, and Powell copped the silver behind the United States in the 4x100 metres final in a blazing 37.89 seconds.

Notable too was the fact that Veronica Campbell reminded the world that she was a legitimate contender for every title that there was to win, when she clocked 11.01 seconds to win the women's 100 metres at the World Championship This became her first Individual Gold at this level, beating the United States pair of Lauryn Williams and Carmelita Jeter who came in second and third respectively.

Coming in for some recognition in 2007 on the track was Usain "Lightning" Bolt. The former William Knibb runner smashed Donald Quarrie's National 200 metre mark of 19.86 seconds to establish 19.74 at the Jamaican National Trials at Kinston's National Stadium in June.

In 2007 the world renowned Merlene Ottey and the American Tyson Gay were in attendance to give wedding blessings on Veronica, who said 'I do' to her long time companion from Trelawny Omar Brown.

Jamaica also said farewell to the great Olympian Herb Mckenely who died of a heart attack in late November. Mckenely a longstanding icon, coach, and legend, was the first man to go under 46 seconds over 400 metres. He was part of Jamaica's first and only team to win gold in the 4x400 metres relay in Helsinki. Mckenely was 85.

Football

In football Jamaica's Junior Reggae Boys (under 23) under the guidance of Youth Coach Wendell Downswell made a massive stride at this level in the best finish ever at the Pan Am Games, copping the silver after a 2-1 loss to Ecuador in the final.

Go Reggae Boys, Go Reggae Boys...Go, the seniors knocked over all in the way and came up trumps with the Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong to give the Serbian, Bora Mulotinovic his first win while in charge as National Technical Director. .However, that would be their only silverware for 2007, as they failed to win a single game over several months, and dropped outside the Fifa/Coca Cola top 100 for the first time in more than 15 years.

A reprieve came when reggae Boys finished the year at position 97
following two back to back victories at the National Stadium over
El-Salvador and Guatemala respectively. This came about as the vibes
slowly returned to The Office (National Stadium) with players like Ricardo 'bibby' Gardner, Ricardo Jamal Campbell-Ryce, 'Wily Boo' Fuller, Khari Stephenson, Luton Shelton, Donovan Ricketts, Damian 'Stew Peas' Stewart, Ian 'Pepe' Goodison, Tyrone Marshall, Fabian Taylor and Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson - all in the line up.

Captain Horace Burrel the man who was at the helm when Jamaica qualified for it's first ever World Cup in 1998, was returned unopposed as The President of the Jamaica Football Federation, ousting Cresston Boxhill in November. Under this change in administration the coach who was in charge in '94, Professor Rene Simoes was recalled to lead the National Programme.

Let us not forget The Reggae Girls who had fluctuating fortunes in 2007, as they were knocked out of the CAC Games first round but finished the year at Postioin 61...not bad for some ladies who get no international friendly games to help in their preparation.

Netball

Jamaica's Senior Sunshine Girls led by Captain Eliane Davis, and the
sensational Simone Forbes, had a spectacular year in 2007, as their
crowning moment cane when they retained the bronze Medal won at the World Netball Championship in New Zealand, beating England 53-52 in the third place playoff in November.

This performance was a convincing turnaround to a disappointing run in the three months leading up to the Championship, as they lost to Australia, New Zealand, and England in three separate tests.

Special Olympics

Jamaica's biggest medal haul came at the 12th renewal of the Special
Olympic World Games, in Shanghai, China, when some 57 medals were won
across 8 disciplines. That is Track and field, Swimming, Football,
Basketball, Bocce, Badminton, Skating and Volleyball.

This medal tally outweighed the 47 won in Ireland in 2003, and placed the cap on a wonderful year where some 55 athletes and 11 coaches were in training since 2005.

Lorna Bell and her hard working team were supported all the way by
corporate Jamaica, especially Digicel who kept pace with their every move.

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