Twitter blamed for jamming Olympic information during cycle road race

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By Andrew Warshaw at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London


In the first broadcasting controversy of London 2012, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pledged today that the problems which beset yesterday's men's cycle road race were "teething troubles" which would not be repeated.

The BBC and other broadcasters registered concerns with the IOC about a lack of key timing data that left millions of viewers baffled and unable to follow the race properly.

The IOC's broadcasting arm, Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), provides TV pictures to networks around the world.

But for large periods of time yesterday there was no information about the gaps between the various teams with OBS unable to supply crucial information to commentators.

With around one million people lining the roads for the race networks became jammed by too much tweeting, preventing organisers from receiving crucial timing and positional updates.

As a result, said IOC spokesman Mark Adams, crucial GPS data could not be received.

He said that OBS was now attempting to disperse its communications onto other networks so that information could be received.

"From my understanding one network was oversubscribed and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers," said Adams.

"We don't want to stop people engaging in social media and sending updates, but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.

"Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people.

"It's just [a case of] if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please take it easy."

Adams said talks had taken place late last night and early this morning in attempt to solve the issue.

"We are taking action on a number of things," he said.

"It's a network issue, teething troubles, and it is that which we are working on."

Caledonia AIA dumps W Connection on penalties

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Caledonia AIA pulled off a stunning upset on Friday night when it ousted defending champions and four-time winners DirecTV W Connection from the 2014/2015 Digicel Pro Bowl, 5-4 on penalty kicks after an entertaining 3-3 draw at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. In the winner-take-all $100,000 final on May 29, at the same Couva venue, Caledonia, tournament winners in 2008 and beaten in the decider, both in 2009 and 2012, will come up against first-time finalist Central FC, 1-0 winners over Police in Friday’s other semifinal.

It will be the second time that Central and Caledonia will be squaring off in a final after the latter won the T&T Football Association FA final, 2-0 at Couva in 2013, to ruin the “Sharks” prestigious title in their debut season. However, at Couva on Friday it was the Jerry Moe-coached Caledonia, disappointing eighth-placed league finishers this season which was on the tip of most spectators’ lips after dumping W Connection.

On the eve of the clash, a repeat of their previous two quarterfinal encounters, both won by W Connection 3-1, Moe had stated his team had much respect for its opponent, but held no fear. It was W Connection which struck as early as the third minute through defender Mekeil Williams, who rifled home past goalkeeper Shemel Louison from inside the six-yard box, off a rebound.

It did not take Caledonia too long to respond as Guyana international Pernell Schultz got on the end of a right-sided centre from Nathan Lewis to hit past Julani Archibald for a 1-1 score after only 11 minutes. Eight minutes before the half, Lewis was again the provider, this time for Kareem Joseph to fire past Archibald for a 2-1 lead which his team took into the break.

Caledonia could not have asked for a better start to the second-half when veteran midfielder, Conrod Smith latched onto a careless pass in his own 18-yard box by W Connection defender Alvin Jones and fired through the legs of defender Leslie Rusell on the goalline to extend his team’s advantage to 3-1 in the 56th and within sight of the finals.

The “Savonetta Boys” still searching for a first domestic title this season then mounted a late charge with Shannon Gomez and Jomal Williams replacing Yhon Stiven Reyes Lopez and Neil Benjamin Jr in the 61st minute while Jones made way for Christian Rodriguez 11 minutes later. The changes soon brought reward for coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier as Gomez right-sided cross was turned in by Shahdon Winchester in the 78th minute to reduce the score to 3-2.

Two minutes from the final whistle, with Caledonia hanging on by the thread, Gomez set up  Arcia to net and leveled the match at 3-3 and send the contest to penalties. Williams (M) started off things for W Connection by converting his attempt while Joseph did likewise for Caledonia. Winchester then stepped up with W Connection’s next attempt, but looked on in dismay as it ricocheted off the base of the upright to hand Caledonia the initiative which Pierre Hitner took full advantage of by scoring his effort for a 2-1 lead.

The trio of Hashim Arcia, Williams (J) and Gerard Williams scored the remaining three penalties for W Connection, but Caledonia trio Keyon Edwards, Nicholas Marcano and Jameel Neptune also found the target to send their team to the final, its first in the competition since a 5-2 drubbing from Defence Force in the 2012 decider at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

...Plaza sends Central FC to final
The second semifinal failed to live up to the first encounter as Central FC needed only one goal from Willis Plaza to slip past last year’s beaten finalist Police FC and secure their spot in the final.

Plaza, who also netted the lone goal in his team’s quarterfinal win over Defence Force, hammered home the winner six minutes into the match past goalkeeper Adrian Foncette on his first post to ease off-field worries of his teammates who entered the match distracted over promised bonuses yet to be paid.

Caledonia 3 (Pernell Schultz 11th, Kareem Joseph 37th, Conrod Smith 56th) vs W Connection 3 (Mekeil Williams 3rd, Shahdon Winchester 78th, Hashim Arcia 88th) — Caledonia won 5-4 on penalty-kicks

Central FC 1 (Willis Plaza 6th) vs Police FC 0


Rugby women prepare for Olympic qualifiers with Colombia tourney

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T&T’s women rugby sevens team yesterday began a valuable training stint in preparation for next month’s Nacra zone Olympic qualifiers with a series of matches against Central and South American opposition at the International Campus of Women Rugby Sevens Tournament in Medellin, Colombia.

Led by captain Ayanna Skeete and coached by Carlton Felix, the sevens team arrived in Colombia on Thursday for the two-day round-robin tournament. They were scheduled to play a series of top quality opposition in Casco champions and hosts, Colombia, Nacra women’s champions, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru. The first match, against Mexico, finished after press time last evening.

They then faced the host team in the second match. Today, the second and final day, T&T will meet Peru and finally Costa Rica.

The team in Colombia is comprised of Skeete, Nicolette Pantor, Kanisha Vincent, Ornella George, Jolyene Coward, Sara Griffith, Kafi Wright, Alesha Bruce, Apphia Glasgow, Maria Mendez, Victoria Caliste, Dalia Jordan-Brown, Fayola Jack14. Tenisha Samuel-Duke, Blossom Stewart and Kathleen Stephens. Felix’s assistants are Jenilee Limada and Kelson Figaro. Ebony Young is the manager, while Derek Ashby-Williams is the team’s physiotherapist.

The trip, funded by the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT), Ministry of Sport, the T&T Olympic Committee and Nacra, is unprecedented a T&T women’s rugby team. Speaking ahead of the trip, Felix said the tournament serves a top opportunity to lift the women’s game and increase the team’s chances of success next month.

“I am really looking forward to this tournament, as it would provide us with ideal match preparation as well as give us the opportunity to have a closer look at some of the players,” Felix said.

“The timing of it would also allow us to properly analyze the games and make the necessary adjustments before the Nacra Tournament in June. The opportunity to have this type of preparation, as we have not had before, I am pretty confident that it will boost our chances come June.”

The women’s team will visit North Carolina, in the US, for the June 13-14 Olympic qualifiers.


St Kitts/Nevis' Williams sent home

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St. Kitts & Nevis sprinter Tameka Williams has been sent home from the London Olympics by her team for a potential drug violation.

Williams had been using a substance which was "clearly oyesteron Sunday.

Knight said Williams had not tested positive, but the team acted after consulting with the World Anti-Doping Agency "to find out about the product."

"In discussions with our team management, she volunteered to them that she had been using a particular substance which, when we did our own investigations, we considered to be outside the accepted medical code," Knight said.

Williams told team officials about using the substance — which the team has not disclosed — in a pre-Olympics training camp.

"It was a matter of the management of the team doing their due diligence," Knight said.

The 22-year-old Williams had qualified for the 100 and 200 metres, and gave samples for anti-doping tests at national Olympic trials last month.

"It was not based on any positive drug test. She turned up a clean test," Knight said.

Williams marched at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday as the only woman in a seven-member team from the Caribbean islands, who are all track sprinters. The best known is five-time Olympian Kim Collins.

Knight said St Kitts team officials sought expert advice in London before acting.

"We wanted to consult with the anti-doping fraternity," he said. "We are a very tiny country with limited knowledge of these things."

Indians upset by mystery woman marching alongside them in Opening Ceremony

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India have complained to London 2012 over an apparent security lapse during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night when an unidentified woman walked alongside flag-bearer Sushil Kumar during the athletes' parade.

The young woman, dressed in a red shirt and blue trousers, marched next to the weightlifter, a bronze medallist at Beijing four years ago, despite having no visible accreditation.

India's Chef de Mission P K Muralidharan Raja has now complained to London 2012 about the incident which has become the main talking point in India about the much-praised Opening Ceremony.

"She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent and we are taking up the issue with the organisers," he said.

"We don't know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in.

"It is a shame that she was with the athletes in the march past.

"We were initially told that she would accompany the contingent till the track but she went on to take the entire lap.

"There was another man also but he stayed back and did not enter the Stadium.

"We have taken strong exception to this.

"The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent.

"We are totally taken by surprise how a person could just intrude into the track."

A total of 40 Indian athletes and 11 officials dressed in traditional blazers and Rajasthani yellow turbans or yellow sarees marched in the Opening Ceremony, earning one of the biggest cheers of the evening.

"The Indian contingent was shown for hardly ten seconds in the television coverage and the entire focus sadly was on this lady, instead of the athletes," said Raja.

It is a major issue for Raja to take over having only been promoted to the role of Chef de Mission on the eve of the Opening Ceremony after Ajitpal Singh, the original choice, was unable to travel here due to a serious back problem.

By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park in London