Spencer heads race for Golden Cleats Award
DIAMOND LEAGUE and Commonwealth Games 400 metres hurdles champion Kaliese Spencer, headlines the women's field for the 2014 Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Scotiabank Golden Cleats Awards.
The race for the men's award is tightly bunched, with practically all the nominees jostling on the forefront for the main prize to be handed out at the ceremony, which is set for Friday at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St Andrew, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Five male and five female athletes will vie for the respective awards. In addition, five coaches were also nominated for Coach of the Year.
Not surprisingly, top male sprinter Usain Bolt was not named among the nominees, as he rarely competed last season.
Among the male nominees are Commonwealth Games gold medallists Kemar Bailey-Cole (100 metres), Rasheed Dwyer (200m), O'Dayne Richards (shot put), Andrew Riley (110m hurdles) and Hansle Parchment.
Dwyer led a historic men's 200m medal sweep, with Warren Weir claiming silver ahead of Jason Livermore.
Richards, in the meantime, established a national and Commonwealth Games record on the way to securing a historic win, the first Commonwealth shot put gold medal won by a Jamaican.
Spencer, who blitzed her rivals with a most dominant piece of hurdling on the Diamond League circuit as she went unbeaten throughout the year, goes up against multiple Diamond League race winner and Commonwealth Games 400m champion Stephenie McPherson, Commonwealth 400m silver medallist Novlene Williams-Mills, who also shone on the Diamond League circuit and the affable sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a multiple Olympic and World Championship sprint gold medallist.
Like the men, the women were also involved in a historic medal sweep, as McPherson led a Jamaica one-two-three in the women's 400 metres. Williams-Mills won silver, while Christine Day won bronze.
The coaches nominated include Stephen Francis, Fitzalbert Coleman, Lynval Swaby, Maurice Wilson and Glen Mills.
"We decided to use a ranking system to determine the winners. At the end, we hope to arrive at decisions that will please the majority," Bernard Panton, chairman of the JAAA selection committee, announced at ScotiaCentre yesterday.
"We will work though the permutations and announce the winners at Friday's function," Panton added.
Meanwhile, Scotiabank said its continuation in partnering with the JAAA to stage this annual event underlines its commitment to sports development.
"Sports is an integral part of social life in Jamaica. Cricket and football have always been a staple and our track and field athletes continue to do us proud, locally and internationally. We at Scotiabank Group are committed to the development of sports in Jamaica," Hugh Reid, president of Scotia Insurance, informed.
"Each year, Scotiabank hosts the event, provides scholarships of up to $250,000 to two promising athletes at the tertiary level and presents the JAAA with equipment to assist in hosting track meets. This year, we will hand over an electronic display board for use during field events," he also said.
President of JAAA Dr Warren Blake said both organisations have benefited from the partnership.
"This partnership has transformed our lives. Both partners have benefitted from this marriage," Dr Blake disclosed.
Panton apart, the other members of the selection committee are: Hubert Lawrence, Anthony Foster, Earl Bailey, Donald Quarrie, Deon Hemmings-McCatty and Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn.