Sprinters take top Ja sporting awards
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Sprint royalty Usain Bolt claimed his fourth RJR Sportsman of the Year award, while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce walked away with her first Sportswoman of the Year prize at last night's ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Bolt, who also won the island's top sporting honour in 2011, 2009 and 2008, now ranks third among male recipients, behind boxing great Mike McCallum, who has seven awards, and sprinting legend Donald Quarrie, with five of his own.
Fraser-Pryce, who struck gold in the 100m at the London Olympic Games before claiming silver in her first attempt at a senior international 200m at the same games, also helped Jamaica to a national record 41.41 seconds and silver in the 4x100m relays.
The diminutive sprinter also claimed the sprint double at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships, winning the 100m in a national record 10.70 seconds - the fourth fastest time in history.
Fraser-Pryce's recognition also extends a 36-year streak of track and field dominance of the National Sportswoman of the Year Award, as one would have to look back to 1976, for the last time the accolade was given to an individual from another sport. Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Vivalyn Latty-Scott was the recipient in 1976.
The MVP Track Club standout was also dominant on the circuit, bettering her rivals in the lucrative IAAF/Samsung Diamond League series, winning the jackpot in her 100m pet event.
Alia Atkinson, who impressed at the Olympic Games, constantly lowering national records before finishing fourth in the 100m breaststroke, was named as runner-up.
good year for Atkinson
Atkinson, the island's number one talent in the pool, closed a strong year for herself and Jamaican swimming, with a double silver-medal performance at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
Meanwhile, Bolt, who also won the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year award last November, was always favoured to add to his trophy collection, after another all conquering performance at the Olympic Games.
The 26-year-old sped to 9.63 in the 100m final inside the London Olympic Stadium - the second fastest time ever, before easing to 19.32 in the 200m. Bolt also anchored Jamaica with an 8.70 split to a world-record run in the 4x100m, stopping the clock at 36.84.
Like Fraser-Pryce, Bolt also topped the 100m field in the IAAF/Samsung Diamond League circuit, grabbing his first hold on the cash-rich series.
Yohan Blake, Bolt's training partner and main rival through 2012, like he did at the Olympic Games, finished as runner-up in the race for the Sportsman of the Year honours.
The extremely talented Blake was the only man to beat Bolt in 2012, forcing his more-celebrated Racers teammate into second spot at the National Trials in both the 100m and 200m.
Blake, who lowered his 100m personal best to 9.69 - the joint third fastest time in history, also won silver medals in the 100m and 200m in his first Olympic Games, before a blistering 9.09 leg, running the curve in that 4x100m world-record run.