Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ) President Godfrey Lothian has made a call for greater support from corporate entities, following the country’s third-place finish in Division Three at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Perfect World Team Champion-ships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, recently, which also saw the Jamaicans jumping from Division Five to their current status in three years.In 2014, in Japan, the Jamaica team of Michael Hyatt, Kane Watson, Simon Tomlinson and Chris Marsh swept all before them to take the Division Five crown.Starting out at Division Four this time around, the Jamaicans won all their four group matches, before moving on to the quarter-finals where they defeated the United Arab Emirates 3-0.In the semi-finals, the Jamaicans lost to Pakistan.TOO HOT FORPANAMAHowever, the Caribbean team was too much for Panama in the bronze-medal match, as they beat the Central Americans 3-0 to claim third spot and a place in Division Three for the next championship.”In three years, we have moved up two divisions. We have moved from fifth to fourth to third [division], and that is unprecedented. So things are happening in table tennis, and we should be rewarded with some strong support,” Lothian commented.”We see that we can have success in the sport. This [sport] is not just for Asian and European countries. Countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular, Jamaica, can have success, but we need corporate Jamaica to see table tennis as a sport they can invest in.”They (corporate community) need to see it as a sport that can draw large support as it can be played any and everywhere. We also have a lot of new activities coming on board that we just want support for,” he continued.Lothian was also full of praise for the country’s representatives – Hyatt, Watson and Mark Phillips – who won the bronze at the championship, and noted that there were many more youngsters on the rise.”I am elated! This is great because success has been achieved, so we are overwhelmed,” beamed Lothian.”They (players) really did Jamaica proud. We have other youngsters coming up, so we have a face now of five, six players, so things are looking good for table tennis,” he added.
Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says that Jamaicans should feel privileged to have seen sprint legend Usain Bolt compete.Grange was speaking at the launch of the JN Racers Grand Prix, and hailed Bolt for continually achieving excellence on behalf of the country. She described him as someone who is a superstar but also very humble, adding that he should be respected for succeeding every time he competed.”We have said it many times. He’s extraordinary, he’s wonderful, he’s funny, he’s truly amazing,” Grange said. “But I’m not sure that we quite understand yet what a privilege it is for us to live in the time of Usain Bolt. In a way, he has spoilt us – not only Jamaicans, but he has spoilt the entire world! He represents tremendous talent, hard work and he knows how to have fun.”STATUE THIS SUMMERGrange also reminded the audience that Bolt will be honoured at Statue Park at the National Stadium this summer with an eight-foot statue to be made by local sculptor Basil Watson.”We are on schedule to complete this statue by Independence and to have the mounting coincide with Bolt’s final World Championships in London,” Grange said. “It will be spoken about and studied by athletes for generations to come. I’m determined that Jamaica will do its part in memorialising and celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime athlete, and there are more things to come.”The minister said that although this is only the second staging of the meet, she is expecting it to be a “highly anticipated event”.”(This is) particularly because the country’s greatest athletics son – the world’s greatest athlete, Usain Bolt – will compete for us one last time on home soil. Is that so?” Grange said while jokingly suggesting to Bolt that she wants him to reconsider retirement.- R.P.
MEXICO CITY – Almost a year since the disappearance of 43 students tainted his administration’s international image, the case has come back to haunt Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.Peña Nieto’s approval rating began to plunge after his government’s handling of the case was criticized last year, and now an independent probe has raised questions about the credibility of the official investigation.Experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights rejected the government’s conclusion that the students were incinerated by a drug gang in a garbage dump as scientifically impossible.The panel also put the army on the spot, calling for an investigation into whether soldiers failed in their duty to protect the young men while corrupt police attacked and detained them in the southern city of Iguala.“It’s another element that adds up to the lack of credibility of the official narrative in many areas,” Héctor Zamitiz Gamboa, political science professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told AFP. Relatives and friends of the 43 missing students of Ayotzinapa, meet with experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who investigated the disappearance. Omar Torres/AFP‘Tunnel of impunity’ Peña Nieto’s popularity had already taken a battering in recent weeks following the prison escape of Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in July.The president and his wife also have come under scrutiny over the purchase of a mansion from a government contractor, although a government investigation – not surprisingly – said they did nothing wrong.The independent probe into the Iguala case found that some detainees in the case claimed they were tortured and that some evidence, including video footage, was destroyed.The experts urged the government to open a new line of investigation into their own theory: that the students may have been viciously attacked because they inadvertently snatched a bus used to transport drugs.“Mexico needs to resolve the case as soon as possible, not only to solve this crime, but also to prove to the world that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of impunity in Mexico,” El Universal newspaper said in an editorial.While the government said it would investigate the garbage dump again, the director of investigations at the attorney general’s office insisted that at least a large group of students were burned there.“Rather than doing new tests to prove a theory that has already been discarded, the Mexican government should work to restructure the investigation and pursue all of the proposed lines of investigation,” said Maureen Meyer, a Mexico expert at the Washington Office on Latin America, an advocacy group.‘Massive stain’ on governmentThe former attorney general, Jesús Murilla Karám called the official account of the fire last year the “historic truth.”Denise Dresser, a renowned political analyst, wrote in the daily Reforma that the case was a “historic lie” that was fabricated by prosecutors to “turn the page, close the book.”The case never went away and Peña Nieto has faced criticism for only meeting with parents of the victims once and never going to visit them in their impoverished home state of Guerrero.Peña Nieto, however, said on Monday that he was willing to meet with them again “and support them in a permanent way” because he shared their desire to know the truth.A day before, relatives of the students had demanded a meeting with him this week along with the experts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.The human rights group Amnesty International said the commission’s findings are “a massive stain on the Mexican government’s reputation, which they can only begin to reverse if they find those responsible.”Related: Salman Rushdie, Paul Aster and other prominent writers blast Mexican president over journalist slayings Facebook Comments Related posts:Independent probe doubts 43 Mexico students cremated Mexico’s Peña Nieto pledge to find students falls short for families Mexico police, protesters clash ahead of grim anniversary of 43 missing students Parents of 43 missing students in Mexico wage hunger strike