… climbs to 105 in latest WTA RankingsSACHIA Vickery, fresh of her rise in the latest Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to 105 in their latest World Rankings, said that she’s open to representing Guyana at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan.Sachia Vickery is seen during a light workout at the GBTI tennis court during her vacation late 2015. (Samuel Maughn photo)This is welcome news for Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) president Juman-Yassin and Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) president Jamal Goodluck.“Of course, I’m open to representing Guyana at the Olympics,” Vickery said, speaking exclusively to Chronicle Sport on Thursday.“It’s my home country and that would be something that’s a dream of mine in the future. Even though I wasn’t born in Guyana, I still consider myself Guyanese. I embrace the whole culture and I always love going back, so I do consider myself Guyanese,” said the 22-year-old who was born to Guyanese parents.Vickery, born to Guyanese parents, former national football player Rawle Vickery from Linden and Paula Liverpool, also from Region 10, is on the verge of breaking the WTA’s Top 100 for the first time after she had the best week of her career in Auckland, New Zealand this past week. She not only reached the first WTA semi-final of her career, but also set a brand new career-high of No. 105 in the world.Before this year, Vickery’s best showings at the WTA level were four quarterfinals, one per year the last four years – Stanford in 2014, Nottingham in 2015, Bogota in 2016 and Quebec City in 2017.But in the very first week of the 2018 season, the 22-year-old Hollywood, Florida native surpassed all of those at the International-level ASB Classic, not dropping a set through three rounds of qualifying and another three rounds in the main draw – including upsets over No. 5 seed Lauren Davis and No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. She’d fallen to No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals, 6-4, 6-4.Vickery’s win over the No.28-ranked Radwanska was the best victory of her career. Her previous-best win in terms of ranking came against No.30-ranked Zhang Shuai at Stanford back in 2014.The run pushed Vickery from No.122 to No.105 on the new rankings, leapfrogging her previous career-high of No.108 in the world, which she had originally set the week of July 20, 2015.“This is great news,” said Yassin, when contacted by Chronicle Sport, but the GOA boss noted, “We want someone who would commit to not only the Olympics. They should now contact the GLTA so we could get things started. But this is something the GOA is happy about.”Goodluck, the GLTA president, noted, “This is exciting news for us and we would like to welcome Sachia with open arms. Of course, we have to submit our names for the Commonwealth Games, and she will certainly be one of them.”According to Goodluck, Vickery would be one of the country’s most high-profile players, and as such, the GLTA would like to ensure that she imparts her knowledge of the game to the up-and-coming players locally.The defending Olympic champion, Monica Puig, born in Puerto Rico, is no stranger to Vickery, given the fact that they had faced each other three times in her career.Vickery won the last meeting between the two (6-7, 6-2, 6-1), 2014 in the Round-of-16 WTA Stanford. However, at the tournament, Vickery lost to Varvara Lepchenko in the semi-finals. That tournament was won by Serena Williams.Looking ahead, Vickery told Chronicle Sport, “I just want to keep improving my game, improving my strengths on the court and just becoming a better player so I can reach my goal, to be in the top 50. My goals for 2018 are to break into the top 100 and to be the main draw at the grand slams.”Vickery is on the verge of becoming the 15th American woman in the Top 100 – the 14 that are currently in the Elite are led by Top 10 players Venus Williams (ranked No.5) and CoCo Vandeweghe (ranked No.10).
A luxury hotel in South Beach, Miami is facing a discrimination lawsuit that claims a group of Haitian dishwashers were fired because of their race, color and nationality and were called “slaves” by managers.The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the SLS Hotel, claiming they violated federal law.The suit alleges the Haitian workers were terminated and replaced with light-skinned Hispanics. It also claims managers called the black employees disparaging names, even referring to them as “slaves.”James Greeley, chief legal officer for the hotel, said the company decided more than two years ago to outsource the staffing of some departments at the SLS Hotel for economic reasons, to try to manage “the wide seasonal fluctuations in the Florida market.”“When this issue first came to our attention, we immediately conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing,” Greeley said in a statement. “We shared all of that information with the EEOC, and have been engaged in what we thought were cooperative and good-faith discussions about how to resolve this matter. We do not believe we have done anything wrong and will fully defend our company against any false claims.”The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation and changes at the hotel.
The State Department suspended an employee of its energy bureau for alleged ties to a white supremacist group.According to Politico, Matthew Gebert, a foreign affairs officer for the department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, has been an active member of a white supremacist group for more than five years.Gebert has been linked to the Washington D.C.-area chapter of white supremacy.A report published Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate speech, also linked Gerbert to racist propaganda published online.The group cited a post from Gebert where he allegedly called for white people to establish “a country of our own with nukes, and we will retake this thing lickety-split.”The State Department has not spoken out about the matter at this time.
A Broward County firefighter paramedic is missing following a truck vs. tree crash in Jupiter Farms on Friday.Investigators say James Vonminden was last seen around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, disoriented, in the area of Randolph Siding Road and Alexander Run in Jupiter Farms.Vonminden is 5’11”, 210 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, dark colored shorts and sandals.Members of Local 4321 Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue say Vonminden is a firefighter and paramedic with Broward County Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue. Union members say he was in a single-vehicle car crash near his Jupiter Farms home before he went missing. Union members are asking anyone willing to help with the search to contact union member Brendan Quilter at 754-264-2307.Union president Jason Smith says there are two search sites, one by the crash site and another by Vonminden’s home. Smith says there were more than 200 volunteers searching for V0nminden on Sunday, and that the search did not start until 24 hours after Vonminden went missing.“Jimmy is just a strong man. He has a gentle spirit just about him, his demeanor is very soft,” said Jason Smith, president of Local 4321 Broward Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Union. “He has a young son who I know he is very proud of.”Smith says hope is fading with every passing moment that Vonminden will be found safe.“I’m overwhelmed. I’m saddened. I’m nervous. I look at each one of the members who work for the organization, they elected and chose me to be their voice and when I speak to his wife and I ask how the son is doing and today is Father’s Day and we still don’t have Jim in safety, I can’t even explain the words,” said Smith. “I take my oath and my responsibility very serious and I almost feel like when I didn’t find him today when I was out there like I failed, I failed the mission and I failed the objective and it’s hard.“His son has just been very quiet. I know he went out yesterday with his family and his cousins looking for his father and today I can tell you he’s very melancholy and is very quiet.””Anyone with information about Vonminden’s whereabouts is urged to contact PBSO Dispatch at 561- 688-3400 or their nearest law enforcement agency.