Who will wear the crowns? - Dacres tipped for men's title, close for women between Atkinson and Shaw
World-ranked discus thrower Fedrick Dacres is a strong favourite to win his first RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year tonight, but the battle for the women's title is expected to be very close between swimmer Alia Atkinson and footballer Khadija Shaw.
The ceremony will be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, starting at 8 p.m.
Gary Allen, chairman of the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation, said that all is in place for the staging of tonight's awards ceremony.
"I think that we have had a good preparation process for the upcoming activities and so we are in a state of readiness for (tonight)," Allen said.
"I think that there has been a lot of anticipation, and we have had a lot of good discussions about the prospects that have emerged as our nominees in the different categories, and we had a really good 2018. I think the show will reflect that 2018 was an exciting year," he said.
"I think that (tonight) is also going to be special for one of our sponsors because J. Wray & Nephew, our sponsors of long standing, will inaugurate the Appleton Estate Joy Spence Pioneer Award for the first time," he said. "It is a special blend that is brewed by master blender Joy Spence, and she has created something that is intended to reflect the personality of the guest speaker, and we are really looking forward to this special moment," Allen added.
British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad will be tonight's guest speaker.
Dacres had an outstanding 2018, when he won the gold in the discus throw at last year's Commonwealth Games before dominating the circuit to win the discus diamond on the IAAF Diamond League circuit.
He is one of five nominees vying for the Sportsman of the Year award.
The others are Chris Binnie, the 2018 Pan American Games squash silver medallist; 2018 Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Ronald Levy; Hansle Parchment, the 2018 Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles silver medallist; and 2018 CAC Games shot put gold medallist, O'Dayne Richards.
Atkinson, the 2017 National Sportswoman of the Year, won eight gold medals in the 2018 series to take her lifetime tally at the FINA World Cup to 68 gold medals and also topped the podium in record time at the CAC Games last year. She also won a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games.
The ace swimmer is expected to face stiff competition from Shaw, who helped Jamaica's Reggae Girlz to a historic qualification for this year's FIFA Women's World Cup in France. Shaw was the leading scorer in Concacaf with 19 goals.
The other female nominees are Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase Aisha Praught-Leer; NACAC triple jump champion Shanieka Ricketts; Commonwealth Games triple jump champion Kimberly Williams; Commonwealth Games 400 metres champion Janieve Russell; Commonwealth Games shot put champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd; and Windies Women's captain Stafanie Taylor, who guided her team to the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World T20 tournament last year.
Apart from the National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, the 2018 awards ceremony will feature individual awards for outstanding performances, team awards for outstanding performances, category awards for outstanding males and females in the various sports; the ISSA Schoolboy and Schoolgirl awards; the Chairman's Award; The People's Choice Performance of The Year award (voted on by the public); and the Iconic Award.