Sports award a big boost for McLeod
RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation's Sportsman of the Year, world 110 metres hurdles champion Omar McLeod, says he is motivated to go faster and achieve a lot more in his career.
McLeod and swimmer Alia Atkinson were named the country's top sports performers for 2017 at the awards ceremony held on Friday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
After lifting the trophy for the first time, McLeod said that the award meant a lot to him.
"This was my lifelong goal ... and to finally achieve it gives me an extra boost going forward in the rest of my career," said McLeod.
"The most important thing in life is self-belief and self-awareness because when you believe in yourself, you can do literally anything," he said.
McLeod won the gold medal in the 110 metres hurdles at last year's London World Championships, clocking 13.04 seconds. He ended the year winning nine of his 12 races in the 110m hurdles and was unbeaten in the 60m hurdles with six wins.
Bolt, who retired from athletics after winning the bronze medal at last year's World Championships in London, finished runner-up to the Sportsman o the Year.
Atkinson, who dominated the FINA World Cup short course last year, took the Sportswoman of the Year award for the second time. She was not at the ceremony to collect her award, but she expressed her gratitude to members of the audience via a video message. Last year's World Championships 400m hurdles bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey was named runner-up to Atkinson.
Guest speaker GraceKennedy Group's chief executive officer Don Wehby, in a wide-ranging address, called on corporate Jamaica to invest a lot more resources in sports.
"The most valuable asset a company has is its people," said Wehby. "Not inventory, not cash, not receivables. The sport industry's most valuable assets are our sportsmen and women. They carry our nation's hopes and dreams, and they are a constant source of inspiration through their ambition to achieve great things," he said.
"Not all of our sportsmen and sportswomen will end up being big stars, but they give the best of themselves and have brought honour to the nation. They have inspired us to push boundaries and set our goals higher," Wehby said.
He added: "Sports is a big business. Any growth in the sports industry will see an increase in job creation and economic growth. This improves the climate for further investments."
Veteran sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown copped The Gleaner's Iconic Award, while National senior team volleyballer Aiko Jones collected the VMBS Youth Award.