Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Bolt, Thompson The Toast of 2016 ... McLeod, Atkinson finish as runners-up

Published:Saturday | January 14, 2017 | 1:00 AMRachid Parchment
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Multiple Olympic gold medallists Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson, as expected, were last night recognised as Jamaica's top athletes in 2016 after being named the RJR Sport Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

Last night's glitzy ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston saw members of Jamaica's sporting fraternity including athletes and administrators turning out in large numbers to witness the nation's finest sportsmen and women receive due praise for their hard work representing the country in 2016.

Bolt, who is claiming his seventh hold on the crown after previously winning in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, took this year's award after cementing his legend status at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he took gold in the 100 and 200 metre sprints, as well as the 4x100m relay.

This was the third time he won gold in all three events at the Olympics after previously doing so at the 2008 and 2012 Games in Beijing and London. The feat also took his overall Olympic medal count to nine.

Bolt joined boxer Michael McCallum as the most successful athlete in the history of the awards. McCallum was successful in 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 1989 and 1990.

Sprint Hurdler Omar McLeod, who won Jamaica's first Olympic gold medal in the 110m hurdles in Rio, and, also became Jamaica's first men's 60m hurdles champion at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon, last February, was the runner up to Bolt. The other male nominee was West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels.

Thompson won her first Sportswoman of the Year title after a dream year for the MVP Track Club star. Her double Olympic triumph in the 100m and 200m sprints, as well as her national record-equalling 10.70 seconds in the 100m at the National Senior Championships last summer made her the overwhelming favourite for the nod.

Thompson's achievements did not stop there, as she also won the Diamond Trophy after consistent performances in the 100m sprint event in the IAAF Diamond League in 2016.

Alia Atkinson, who was the winner two years ago, took the runner-up spot for her 50m short-course breaststroke world record swim at the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup in Tokyo, Japan last October. She also equalled the 100m breaststroke record and won three medals at the World Swimming Championships late last year.

The newly added Victoria Mutual Building Society Youth Award went to triathlete Lori Sharpe for her creditable performances in the World Junior Triathlon Championships held in Mexico last September, which saw her place 18th out of 56 triathletes. She completed the 750-metre swim in 10:55 minutes, the 20 kilometre bicycle race in 34:38 minutes and the 5k run in 21:40 minutes.

MVP Track Club head coach Stephen Francis, who no doubt was full of pride that three of his sprinters (Thompson, Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) were

nominated in the Sportswoman category, walked away with something of his own, as he was honoured with the Sagicor Icon's Award.

Veteran racehorse trainer Wayne DaCosta took the Chairman's Award after becoming the most successful Jamaican trainer in 2016 after beating fellow trainer Phillip Feanny's record of 1,950 career wins.

Calabar's Christopher Taylor won the public vote -driven People's Choice Performance of the Year award for his anchor leg run in the 4x400m at Champs 2016.