Talented and promising – Makeda Harding a remarkable squash and hockey player

first_imgFIFTEEN-year-old Makeda Harding credits her ability to hold her own under great pressure as the buoy that keeps her afloat when the demands as a student athlete gets just a little too much.It’s a trait that has served the Marian Academy third former well, as she juggles life as a dedicated student, and a national junior squash and hockey player.Harding takes it all in stride by ensuring that she has her plan all mapped out.“The first part of the year I mostly focus on squash, and coming down to the middle is when I have to push more, and then the second half is when I can ease off and play more hockey. Yea, there are some parts of the year when it’s really hard, but I have the ability of being able to cope well under pressure,” the Sports Personality-of-the-Week said.The four-time ‘Most Outstanding Girl’ squash player most recently copped her sixth and seventh national junior title, in just four years, due to her entering in multiple categories of the tournament over the years.Playing in the Girls’ Under-19, Under-17 and Under-15 categories this year, Harding ended with both the Girls Under-17 and Under-15 titles at last month’s Woodpecker Products Ltd Junior National Squash Championships. She finished second in the Under-19.“I like playing in multiple categories, it pushes me more, knowing that I can beat this person or get really close, and it builds my confidence,” Harding noted of her achievements.“I like my accomplishments because I like to use them to build myself against people, people who say I’m not good at anything, or who try to bring me down.”Her most recent squash accolades add to the ‘Most Promising Female Player’ award that she copped in hockey at last year’s GTT National Indoor Championships where she played for her Spartans team.Harding had been involved in hockey since she was 10 years old, encouraged to follow in the footsteps of her sister, Micaela. But it was in late 2011 when she got involved in squash. Makeda started out in a developmental programme held by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) that offered one-hour training on Saturdays.The keen eyes of national coaches Garfield Wiltshire and Carl Ince picked up that Makeda was just a diamond in the rough, and were eager to see this talent developed.Wiltshire first offered Makeda training outside of the Saturday programme, and before long so did Ince, and she began to grow in the sport, gradually of course, but showed growth nonetheless.By 2013 she made it all the way to a third place finish in the Girls’ Under-13 category at the national junior tournament, and the GSA was confident enough to give her a spot on the national team for the Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships, which was held in Trinidad that year.Makeda did not disappoint. Despite finishing only seventh in the Girls’ Under-13 category, she was instrumental in gaining Guyana’s eighth consecutive Girls’ team title, and ninth consecutive overall team title.She’s been a fixture of the national team, at the annual event, ever since, each year improving just a little bit more in the individuals. When she returned in 2014 she was fifth after another year in the Girls’ Under-13 category.In 2015 she was in the Girls’ U-15 category and made her first final, but was cut down by Barbados’ Megan Best, their leading junior Girls’ player. Last year she ended third, after being stopped by Cayman Islands’ Jade Pitcairn in the semis.This year she’s facing another tall order as she enters the Girls’ U-17 category, where Best will again be joining her. Best is now a junior and senior Caribbean champion, after she won the women’s title at Senior CASA last year.last_img read more

Libonati: For one beat writer, watching Eric Dungey play has become cringe-worthy

first_img Published on November 6, 2016 at 11:13 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Another video of Dungey getting hit against Pittsburgh last season is simply titled, “Eric Dungey Dead?” Pitt linebacker Nicholas Grigsby laid out Dungey with a helmet-to-helmet collision. The quarterback lay on the ground, motionless.“I took a pretty big hit, but I was good and just ready to get back out there,” Dungey said at the time. “Just had to take a second to make sure everything was working.” The last of Dungey’s prior trio of hits came against Louisville. Down 30 points, then-head coach Scott Shafer left his quarterback in despite the blowout. Scrambling downfield, another helmet-to-helmet hit knocked Dungey out of the game. A Syracuse.com story confirmed Dungey had concussions after the hits in last year’s Central Michigan and Louisville games.Six years ago, as a sophomore in high school, a fullback buried his helmet into the ear hole of my helmet. I remember lying on my back staring up at the sky as a warm feeling spread on the side of my head. I touched my finger to my ear because it felt as if blood had dripped out, though there was none there. Then, I got up and ran to the sideline. My coaches said I looked woozy, so I sat out the rest of the game.That night, my mother tried talking me out of playing football again, something I refused. Spencerport (New York) High School’s concussion protocol required a certain number of symptom-free days, too many to allow me to play in the next game. In that week, I took an ImPACT test to gauge my cognitive function after the concussion. I scored higher with the concussion than I scored on the baseline test taken in August without a concussion.Daily Orange File PhotoI came back in two weeks. At the time, I played center and called a few different checks at the line. Multiple times, I made mistakes on assignments I typically didn’t make mistakes on. During the game, I realized I probably still had lingering effects from a concussion.Bodies react differently. College players are bigger, faster and stronger. It’s hard to imagine a helmet-to-helmet hit from a borderline professional football player that left Dungey dizzy and unable to stand immediately would cause anything less than a concussion. Physics seems to lean that way.Eleven players and trainers circled around Dungey. I’m not sure what’s scarier — the scene being the biggest that’s congregated around the quarterback after an injury or that the scene has become so familiar.Familiarity has bred a greater tolerance for the violence. Fans keep expecting Dungey to get up after each hit because he hasn’t yet been unable to.But I fear a time when he can’t.Chris Libonati is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at cjlibona@syr.edu or @ChrisLibonati. Comments Eric Dungey plunging through a hole at the line of scrimmage Saturday made me ask myself, Why is he running there? Running close to the tackle box almost guaranteed Dungey would get hit, and the hole materialized between tight end Cameron MacPherson and left tackle Cody Conway.That was just before Clemson linebacker Dorian O’Daniel lowered the crown of his helmet to meet Dungey’s shoulder and subsequently his helmet. It’s not particularly anyone’s fault: The way a play materializes can’t be anticipated ahead of time. Dungey lay on the ground after the hit, hardly moving other than to bring his hands to his helmet and try to lift his head. He looked woozy as two trainers propped him up on his walk to the sideline and then to the locker room.Escaping talk about helmet-to-helmet hits has become harder. Two weeks ago, Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry launched at Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams, knocking him out for the season. The Bills placed Williams on injured reserve and the safety’s father said he’d have to consider his future in football, per the Associated Press. Last week, Bills receiver Brandon Tate left after this hit. Saturday, when O’Daniel decked Dungey, I recoiled. For the fourth time in Dungey’s SU career, an opponent blasted him with a high hit.The more hits I watch, the more cringe-worthy watching football becomes. There are few players more cringe-worthy to watch than Dungey. It wasn’t just hard to watch for just the Clemson game, either. It’s been difficult for two years. Every time Dungey runs, fans have to wait with bated breath. That’s not an indictment of him as a player or person — it’s simply hard to watch the violence and quantity with which he gets hit. And on a small scale, I empathize with him.Three times last year, defenders flattened Dungey. After Syracuse’s game against Central Michigan, in which defensive end Mitch Stanitzek hit Dungey after the latter had thrown the ball, the ACC made a video called “Injury Alert: Syracuse QB Eric Dungey.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Delicate balance as Kerr faces ‘crazy August’

first_imgThey are playing the league, continental football as well as the domestic cup where they have reached the quarter finals playing more or less with a second string squad.“The KPL have killed us. It’s crazy. Nowehere in the world have I ever seen this happen. It has come to a point where we have to make tough choices. We have to look at our best players and know when to use them and when not to use them because especially this month we have two very important games,” the tactician told Capital Sport.In total in August, Gor will play  10 games, averaging at least a game every three days.Nakumatt FC’s Timothy Wanyonyi against Gor Mahia’s Bonface Omondi during their Kenyan premier League match in Machakos on August 3, 2018. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYAThey kicked off the crazy month with a 3-0 win over Kariobangi Sharks in Kisumu on August 1 before playing to a 2-2 draw with Nakumatt FC three days later in Machakos.They play Bandari (August 7- Mombasa), Posta Rangers (August 10- Kisumu), Kakamega Homeboyz (August 13- Machakos) and Chemelil Sugar (August 16 – Machakos).After this, they will face Rwandese side Rayon Sport at home in a crucial Confederation Cup fixture on August 19 before playing USM Alger in their final group match 10 days later. In between, they will play Sofapaka on August 22 and arch rivals AFC Leopards at Kasarani three days later.“It is what it is and we have to make with the situation. We have to ensure every player is fit, every player is happy and we remain hopeful that we are injury free. Otherwise it is a disaster,” the tactician said.Kerr has made it clear time and again that their most important assignment this season is the Confederation Cup. Currently topping group D with eight points, Gor have a huge chance of making it into the quarter finals.If they win against Rayon and Yanga lose to Alger, then they will have booked a ticket to the quarter finals with a game to spare. Their final group game against USM in Algeria will be a decider on who tops the group.Gor Mahia’s Godfrey Walusimbi and Jacques Tuyisenge put USM Alger’s Hemza Koudri under pressure during their CAF Confederation Cup match at the Kasarani Stadium on May 16, 2018 in a CAF Confederation Cup match. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaBut before that, the tactician has to think in of their league assignments though they have a healthy gap of 13 points with three games at hand.They were however handed a scare last weekend with Nakumatt equalizing late on to force a 2-2 draw in Machakos, putting to an end their eight-match winning streak.“Against Nakumatt we were second best. To be honest, Nakumatt was the better team though still we should have won the match looking at the chances we created. It will definitely be tough for us because now everyone will look at that result and saw, hold on, Gor Mahia is beatable,” the tactician noted.Nakumatt on Tuesday afternoon at a humid Mombasa will offer them a bigger challenge with the dockers having fished three points on their weekend sojourn to Nairobi, beating Posta Rangers 3-1.They have won three of their last five matches and have lost only twice at their Mbaraki backyard this season.Gor Mahia winger George ‘Blackberry Odhiambo’ Odhiambo beats Bandari’s Nicholas Meja. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA“Bandari is a tough team and the condition of the pitch there will not make it easy for us. We have already played there in the Cup competition and it was tough. We have to go for the points and at this stage of the season, we need to be ruthless with results,” further added the coach.He will most likely revert to his strongest 11 with the return of Francis Kahata, Godfrey Walusimbi, Boniface Oluoch, Humphrey Mieno and George Odhiambo who all missed the Nakumatt game with illness while Jacques Tuyisenge has managed to shake off an ankle injury.“We will definitely want to field a strong side but we also have to look at how we manage the squad to ensure that we stay injury and fatigue free,” the coach added.A win for Gor will stretch their lead atop the standings to 16 points and two matches at hand.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr reacts during his side’s Kenyan premier League clash against Thika United at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on September 17, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr has admitted he will have to make with some intricate balancing acts if his side is to survive one of the craziest fixture schedules, facing ahead of them nine games within the next 25 days.With the Kenyan Premier League squeezing its calendar to ensure that the league comes to an end by first week of October as per CAF directives, Gor have found themselves in the thick of things, bearing the brunt of their progression in the CAF Confederations Cup.last_img read more

JOE BROLLY SLAMS ‘SLAVERY’ OF MODERN COUNTY FOOTBALL

first_imgDERRY football legend Joe Brolly has painted a horrific picture of the modern game, describing players as ‘slaves’ and slamming the professionalism creeping into the national game.“The players are little more now than indentured slaves,” he told the ‘Off The Ball’ programme on Newstalk last night.“We’ve imported professional practices into a sport that is community based. The boards are complicit in this. “The winter training ban, which is the hierarchy’s only attempt to deal with the problem, is just laughable. It’s lip service.“We’ve a real problem on our hands because we’ve got all these young lads between 20 and 30 drifting between scholarship to scholarship. They’re not able to work full-time, they’re not able to build careers.“Managers are coming in and wringing every last drop out of them. The ethos we’ve allowed to develop is win at all cost.“We went through the Derry team, the Donegal team, the Armagh team and almost 90pc of the lads are students. Most of lads do not have careers. They drift from a wee coaching job here to a wee coaching job there. Their life has to be put on hold. “You look at Aaron Kernan, he has a wife and a child and he’s trying to build a career now. One of the great footballers in Ulster has walked away. A lot of the big stars of Ulster football are unemployed.”Brolly claimed county boards and the Gaelic Players Association have been part of the problem.“The GPA are a big part of the problem now. The GPA trumpet the welfare work that it does and to an extent that is good, any highlighting of mental health issues are important, but in terms of real welfare, the playing game at county level is unhealthy,” said Brolly.“Players are spending a lot of time doing very little between training sessions and wasting valuable years of their lives. That’s the real concern.”The Dungiven man said the county fixtures – right through to All-Ireland – should be done and dusted by June. “The urgent thing that needs to be done is to re-balance the fixtures,” he said.“The National League should start in January and finish in March, the Championship should start in April and finish at the end of June.“Then you have got June to December for the clubs. That would be a bold statement but it’s what we need.“It’ll set out a basis for the restoration of the GAA.” JOE BROLLY SLAMS ‘SLAVERY’ OF MODERN COUNTY FOOTBALL was last modified: January 7th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:JOE BROLLYNewstalkoff the balllast_img read more