Samuda hails Gayle, Fraser-Pryce
President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, said Tajay Grant and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are deserving winners of the 2019 RJRGLEANER National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, and expects both athletes to replicate their success at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan later this year.
Gayle stunned the nation and the athletics world when he took the long jump gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in a national record of 8.69 metres, while Fraser-Pryce won the 100m gold medal at the championships.
“I think both Shelly and Tajay are both deserved winners (Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year awards). They worked hard, they have been an example to many of the younger generation, so what you can learn from them is, search in circumstances to overcome,” Samuda said.
“Shelly came back from having a child and she didn’t let that daunt her; as a matter of fact, it was a catalyst to ensure that she is an example. And then Tajay – what a wonderful athlete – from circumstances that would have made another person daunted, but he applied himself and won the gold medal at the World Championships, and now he is the Sportsman of the Year. So I think they serve as model athletes, they are determined, focussed and they (went) against the odds and rose to occasions,” he said.
He also looks forward to the Olympic Games in Japan this year with equal enthusiasm for the pair.
“It (World Champs performances) serves well for the Olympic Games. They distinguished themselves at the World Championships and they will go in (Olympics) with tremendous optimism. But they have to ensure that they stay ahead of the game. But I know both are very sober athletes, they have a will to win and they do not allow the big occasion to get to them. So I am expecting them to do exceptionally well,” Samuda said.