CONRAD JENKINS, president of the Jamaica Taekwondo Federation, in response to martial artist Nicholas Dusard’s claims of bias, has issued a press release outlining criteria used in selecting Jamaica’s two-man team for a Pan Am Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico this week.However, the criteria, prepared by sole selector Jenkins, conflicted with an audio recording of a team meeting during which Dusard had challenged him about his non-selection after trials at the National Indoor Sports Centre on February 26.Dusard, who won the -68 kg category at the February 22-26 trials, complained in a story published in The Gleaner on March 3, that he was denied a chance to compete at -80 kg and was never told that current world rankings would have been a determinant.A subsequent press release, sent by Howard Chin, general secretary, JTF, on behalf of Jenkins, stated three criteria used in selection – results from the 2016 US and Canada Opens, WTF Olympic ranking and ‘athletes with the best competition management and with the least or no illegal acts in the fight offs’.Speaking to The Gleaner after Dusard’s claims, Jenkins insisted the three criteria listed in his press release were the only determinants.However, during an audio recording presented by Dusard, the JTF president was heard singing a different tune when challenged by the fighter, admitting he had not mentioned the use of rankings before the fight offs.In addition, Jenkins went on to explain, at length, to Dusard and the other fighters that accomplishments in competitions “over the years” were also a factor, a criterion not included in his press release list of three.”If it was mentioned, it made no sense none of the -68s fought. If we knew it would have come down to rankings, Raymond, Bruce and I, we had no chance,” Dusard was heard saying on the recording.”A chance should have been given for us to maybe step up to Craig or Jason’s weight class to fight off for that spot. Based on what is happening now, none of the -68 people had a chance of going, so we came here to fight for no reason,” he added, at which point Jenkins interjected.”I understand what you’re saying, you’re expressing a good concern but let me take it another step. The ranking is just one but it’s more than the ranking. When you assess, the second leg of the ranking, let’s put the ranking aside, the second leg of it, we’re dealing with number two, who has been competing and awarded medals in fights over the last couple of years,” the JTF president said, before Dusard objected.”I understand that, sir, but that was never said. That was never said, that’s the issue,” the fighter said, at which point Jenkins agreed.”That part was never said before the fight off, that is true and that is where we take the next step away from the rankings to who has been awarded,” he said.Presented with the recording, to which he listened intently, a defiant Jenkins ignored its contents, saying, “the three criteria were sent”. He also claimed that Dusard’s request to go up in weight class was only made on the day of the fight offs.”On the day of the fight offs?” a stunned Dusard responded when contacted by The Gleaner.”How could I make that request on the day of the fight? Raymond James from New York and I, who fought -68, we both asked on the 22nd if we could fight -80. We both expressed our desire and willingness to fight -80. We were told no by Jenkins,” he said.United States-based fighters, Craig Brown (-80 kg) and Jason Grant (+80kg), winners of their respective divisions, were chosen by Jenkins to represent Jamaica at the March 10-11 Pan Am Olympic qualification tournament in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Delhi Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw heaped praises on teammate Rishab Pant, calling him the best finisher among youngsters after the 21-year-old helped Delhi Capitals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by two wickets in a nerve-wracking IPL Eliminator here.Chasing a target of 163, Delhi Capitals, who had lost the way after a blazing start, were brought to cusp of victory by Pant, who smashed 49 off 21 balls with five sixes even as West Indies’ Keemo Paul finished it off in the penultimate ball of the innings with a boundary off Khaleel Ahmed on Wednesday night.”In these T20 games, there’s a lot of pressure. I was praying that we win. Pant did a brilliant job. I have said that he is the best finisher among the young players. He always opens up the game for us. He has been doing very well. Unfortunately, he could not finish it for us, but Keemo did well in the end,” Shaw said at the post-match press conference.He also pointed out that Amit Mishra’s single run was an important one.The 19-year-old said it was important for him to get back into form after a few bad games.Shaw top-scored with 56 off 38 balls on a “sticky wicket” to give Delhi a great start.”First six overs are important because if you put runs on board, it will take the pressure off the other batsmen. It was a bit difficult to pull the ball. Since their bowlers were bowling cutters on a sticky wicket, it was not pulling. I waited and waited for the loose balls,” he said.advertisementShaw said while playing in the middle he concentrates on choosing the bowlers who he can hit.”While you’re playing in the middle it is simple – just play your game and chose bowlers that we want to hit first and obviously (Mohammad) Nabi and Rashid (Khan) were the best bowlers on their side. It was an interesting game and I’m happy that we won.”On how he plans to tackle Chennai Super Kings bowlers in the Qualifier 2, to be held here on Friday, Shaw said the Delhi players have faced the defending champions in previous IPLs and they understand the game.”The team will have a plan after reaching Chennai. How to face which bowler like Harbhajan (Singh) bahi, Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) sir or (Imran) Tahir sir. We will have to plan. We will look to do what we’ve done earlier.”Shaw said that it is not about who plays who but depends on how prepared the team is for the game.”Personally, whichever ball is lose, I will smash that ball. Even with Harbhajan bhai and Tahir sir is bowling, I will obviously smash it,” Shaw added.When asked about Delhi’s tendency to lose wickets at the most crucial moments, the batsman said, “I think we like to make every game interesting. Every time things are going well, we give away two-three wickets.”But I think that’s the charm of T20 cricket. Till the time you don’t feel the pressure, it is not as much fun.”Shaw also applauded Amit Mishra’s (1/16) effort with the ball, saying: “We knew that the wicket was too sticky-ish and I think our bowlers did a fantastic job. Amit Mishra has got that experience. He has played 10-12 years of international cricket.”Whenever he bowls those four overs, he knows exactly what his plans are. He has bowled to almost every player and he knows where to bowl to them. He has done a great job for the team and I hope he does the same in the next match as well.”Shaw thanked the management for not losing faith in him despite he not being among runs in the last few games.”When you are not scoring runs for the last two-three games, then you need to get that form back, preparation is the best thing to do. I have prepared quite a lot. I wasn’t scoring that good in powerplays and the team wasn’t very happy but they never gave up on me.”They believed in me and more importantly, I believed in myself and thanks to all the support staff…Sourav sir, Ricky sir, Praveen sir and Kaif sir, and players who give me lots of positive vibes. I just played my game out there,” said Shaw.Also Read | Delhi Capitals played very well and they deserved this win: Kane WilliamsonAlso Read | IPL 2019: Rishabh Pant credits ‘muscle memory’ for his big-hitting prowess in T20s