Windies warm-upsST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):West Indies will use unofficial Twenty20 games against minnows Zimbabwe in Sharjah as part of their preparation for next month’s T20 World Cup in India, the West Indies Cricket Board announced yesterday. The Caribbean side will take on Zimbabwe on Saturday and then again next Monday, with both games slated for the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. West Indies are currently in Dubai for a preparation camp ahead of the March 8 to April 3 T20 World Cup.They will also play two T20s against English County team Warwickshire at the ICC Global Cricket Academy on March 4 and again two days later. Following the fixtures, West Indies will fly to Kolkata on March 7, where they play official warm-up games against India on March 10 and against Australia on March 13.West Indies have been drawn in Group One of the Super 10 preliminary round stage, where they will face England, South Africa and Sri Lanka.The group will be completed by either Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Scotland or Zimbabwe, who do battle in a pre-tournament round of qualifiers.WI Women winWest Indies Women defeated South Africa Women by 16 runs in the opening One-Day International of the three-match series at Buffalo Park here yesterday.Scores: WEST INDIES WOMEN 214 for seven off 50 overs (Hayley Matthews 56, Britney Cooper 55 not out, Deandra Dottin 28, Shemaine Campbelle 26; Dane van Niekerk 2-25, Shabnim Ismail 2-40, Sune Luus 2-50). SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN 198 all out off 48.5 overs (Marizanne Kapp 69 not out, Trisha Chetty 47, Shabnim Ismail 34; Deandra Dottin 5-34, Shaquana Quintyne 2-15, Anisa Mohammed 2-36).FIFA reduces bans for Blatter, PlatiniZURICH (AP):Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini had their bans from soccer reduced from eight years to six by FIFA’s appeal body yesterday, two days before the sport’s ruling body tries to turn the page on years of scandals by electing a new president. Blatter and Platini were initially found guilty of wrongdoing by FIFA’s independent ethics committee, which is led by a German judge, over a previously-secret 2011 financial transaction.Platini, the UEFA president, said not being cleared was an “insulting decision, shameful and a denial of rights” and announced he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Blatter, as FIFA president, authorised a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) to Platini, which was found to be unethical and a conflict of interest. But following hearings last week, an in-house appeal committee comprising members of federations voting in tomorrow’s presidential election decided to relax the suspensions. The committee is headed by Larry Mussenden of Bermuda, who is currently campaigning to win a May vote to become president of CONCACAF and a FIFA vice president.Djokovic wins 700th career matchDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):Novak Djokovic earned his 700th career match win at the expense of Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 at the Dubai Championships yesterday. Djokovic, who joined the tour a decade ago, has a 700-146 career match record.He’s one of three active players to reach 700 wins, the others being Roger Federer with 1,067, and Rafael Nadal on 775.”Sounds like I played many matches in my career,” a smiling Djokovic told the crowd.
Akan’s Track Club’s Javon Francis was fastest in the men’s 400 metres, winning his heat in 46.39. Jonia McDonald of MVP was second in 46.48, with UTech’s Twayne Crooks third in 46. 52. Michael Frater clocked 10.60 seconds in 2.4 metres per second wind in the men’s 100 metres. However, Julian Forte stole the spotlight. Running in -1.6 mps wind, he clocked 10.28. Sprint Tech’s Rasheed Dwyer was second overall in 10.43, while MVP’s Andrew Fisher was third with 10.50. Former World Youth 400m hurdles champion Marvin Williams of UTech had a top time of 51.88 seconds. Second overall was Dwayne Extol of Eagles Track Club, in 52.27, with Andre Peart of MVP third in 52.41. St Jago High’s Keenan Lawrence took the men’s Open 800m 1:52.66, defeating UTech’s Trey Graham (1:53.99). Edwin Allen and Jamaica College (JC) captured the high school sprint relays. Edwin Allen won the girls’ event in 45.05 seconds ahead of Excelsior High (45.78), while JC clocked 40.59 seconds in winning the boys’ event ahead of Excelsior (41.50). UTech’s Orlando Thomas won the men’s javelin with 16.56m; UTech’s Tajay Gayle won the men’s long jump with 7.25m; while Geneva Greaves took the women’s shot put with 14.37m. WORLD 200 metres silver medallist Elaine Thompson produced a world-leading 11.07 seconds in the women’s 100 metres at the Senior Link-Up track and field meet at Stadium East yesterday morning. Thompson joined the United States Morolake Akinosun atop the world list after her win a week ago in Texas. Thompson sprinted away from a competitive line-up to post her impressive time as Anneisha McLaughlin Whilby was some way off in second spot in 11.41 seconds, with her training partner at Sprint Tech, Audra Segree, third in 11.45. Ronda Whyte returned to competition in style, scoring an impressive win in the women’s 400 metres hurdles. Whyte stopped the clock at 56.1 seconds, defeating Shannon Kallawan (56.3) and overseas-based Sparkle McKnight (56.6), who is a part of the MVP Track Club. Nikita Tracey, who also competes for MVP, was fourth in 57.3. Janieve Russell clocked 51.79 seconds in to win the women’s 400m ahead of Namibia’s Tjipekapora Herunga (52.03), representing MVP Track Club, and her training partner, Jody Muir (53.00). World 400 metres finalist, Stephenie McPherson, was too good for teammates Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in the 200m. McPherson won in 23.12 seconds ahead of Jackson (23.21), while Fraser-Pryce was third in 23.24. JAVON FRANCIS WIN