Bolt, Thompson win Sportsman, Sportswoman crowns
Usain Bolt joined Michael McCallum as the most successful male athlete in the history of the RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards, while Elaine Thompson signed off on a brilliant year with her first hold of the top sportswoman title at Friday's glitzy ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus.
Bolt, who helped himself to three gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games was as expected handed his seventh Sportsman of the Year award, while Thompson's double sprint gold, sprint relay silver, 60m World Indoors bronze and 100m Diamond Race victory earned her a first hold on the prestigious award.
110m hurdles Olympic champion and 60m hurdles World Indoor champion Omar McLeod and swimming star Alia Atkinson, who broke the short course 50m breaststroke world record, equalled the 100m breaststroke world record and won three medals at the World Swimming Championships were named as runners-up to the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
Bolt was delighted with his latest triumph and left the stage with a message to the youth.
"I am from Trelawny. I never thought I would be on this stage as one of the greatest ever, hard work pays off so if you want to be great, work towards what you want, never give up. I have gone through a lot but I have never given up once, use me as n example to work to be the best you can be," Bolt said.
Thompson was thankful for her win.
"Huge thank you to my coach Stephen Francis in motivating and believing in me and for investing his time in me. Thanks to my fans in Jamaica and across the world for their invaluable support," Thompson shared.
Super athletics coach Stephen Francis was presented with the Sagicor Iconic Award, while champion trainer Wayne DaCosta was the recipient of the Chairman's Award.
Triathlete Llori Sharpe won the inaugural VMBS Youth Award, while chairman of the RJR Sports Foundation selection committee Mike Fennell was presented with the Global Lifetime Achievement award for his year's of service to sports administration.
The People's Choice Performance of the Year award went to Calabar's Christopher Taylor for his anchor leg run, which led his team to a win in the 4x400m Open relay at Champs 2016.
Awards were also presented to teams as well as category awards to each sporting discipline.
Certificates of Merit were presented to Douglas Beckford (squash), David Bernard Snr (fitness instruction and cricket), Lawrence Henriques (motor sports), Audrey Thompson (sport in western Jamaica and netball) and Susan Wates (equestrian).
Guest Speaker Olivier Gers, the recently appointed CEO at the IAAF hailed Jamaica's impact and success in international track and field and spoke to the association's efforts to reform athletics and develop it into a leading global sport.