Thu | Feb 27, 2020

The grand pay-off - Gayle, Fraser-Pryce hotly tipped for RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Awards after superlative 2019

Published:Friday | January 17, 2020 | 12:56 AM

The ‘Pocket Rocket’ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle are tipped as front-runners to grab the top individual awards at tonight’s RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards. The two athletes have enjoyed a stellar 2019 season which culminated at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, last October.

Fraser-Pryce, who is no stranger to the limelight, is expected to walk away with the Sportswoman of the Year award after her performances on the track. With a blistering time of 10.71s in the women’s 100m final in Doha, she won an unprecedented fourth world title and became the oldest woman to do so, at age 32. This came two years after giving birth to her son Zyon.

Nominated with Fraser-Pryce are compatriots Elaine Thompson, Alia Atkinson, Danielle Williams, Shericka Jackson, Natoya Goule, Rushell Clayton, Shanieka Ricketts and Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

Atkinson walked away with the prize last year.

On the male side, first-time nominee Tajay Gayle will be expected to mark his award nod with a victory after he leapt a historic 8.69m to win the men’s long jump in Doha World Championships, beating out his more fancied opponents.

His staggering jump erased the long-standing national record of 8.62m by James Beckford set in 1997 and placed him 10th overall on the all-time list.

OTHER NOMINEES

He is nominated alongside last- year’s recipient Fedrick Dacres, Traves Smikle, Yona Knight-Wisdom, and Christopher Binnie.

Gayle is also nominated for the People’s Choice ‘Performance of the Year’ but will be up against strong competition such as Fraser-Pryce’s ‘Lightning Speed’ run in the 100m finals, and Havana Solaun’s ‘Historic’ goal against the Australians at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Shamar Nicholson’s goal against the US and Natoya Goule’s impressive win over 800m at the Pan America Games will also be in contention for the Performance of the Year award.

Tonight’s awards ceremony will be broadcast live from The Jamaica Pegasus hotel at 8:30.

– Gregory Bryce