Sports royalty - Fraser-Pryce, Gayle take top honours at RJRGLEANER Sports Awards
As expected, iconic sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and last year’s long jump surprise package Tajay Gayle last night walked away with top honours at the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards 2019.
In an elegant ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus, Fraser-Pryce put the cap on a season that saw her crown her return to the track in 2018 following childbirth, with her fourth world 100m title in Doha last year, before helping the country to 4x100m gold at the same championships.
Her 10.71 seconds season best effort and her 200m Pan American Games gold medal, meant that Fraser-Pryce was a certainty for what is her fourth National Sportswoman of the Year award, following successes in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Fellow MVP Track Club athlete Shericka Jackson was named first runner-up, after her busy campaign that not only saw win the women’s 400m at the Pan American Games, but also bronze in the one-lap event at the World Championships before following that up with gold in the 4x100m relay, which she anchored in the final as well as bronze in the 4x400m relay. Jackson is the first Jamaican to win medals in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the same championship.
Similarly straightforward was Gayle’s maiden National Sportsman of the Year title, with the World Championships gold medal winner becoming only the third field event athlete to win the award.
Gayle, another MVP athlete, disturbed the sand at an impressive 8.69m in Doha, Qatar, to establish a new national record in the event and join fellow long jumper James Beckford (1995, 1996, 2003) and Fedrick Dacres (2018) as field events recipients of the prestigious award.
Gayle’s distance makes him the 10th longest jumper in history.
Meanwhile, following his success in 2018, Dacres, the World Championships discus silver medallist, was named as the first runner-up this time around, after his silver medal in Doha and his gold medal at the Pan Am Games. He also set a new national record with 70.78m.
West Indies fast bowling great, Courtney Walsh, was recognised with the Gleaner Iconic Award for his contribution to sport in the country and the region. Walsh, the first bowler to take 500 wickets in Test cricket, is considered to be one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time and at one point held the record for the most wickets in the format, with 519 scalps.
Walsh captained the West Indies team in 22 Test matches and was in 2010 inducted in the International Cricket Council Cricket Hall of Fame.
The Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) YOUTH Award was presented to 12-year-old go-karting sensation John Alexandre Powell, who won the ROK Super Final in the Mini category in October 2019.
Powell, who competes in World Series Karting, is considered to be among the best on the planet in his category.
Assistant referees Princess Brown-Muir and Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing, who both officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, highlighted by their semi-final assignment between Sweden and The Netherlands, were jointly presented with the Chairman’s Award.