André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
With no Olympics or World Championships on the 2014 calendar, Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt admitted that it's a little difficult to stay motivated for the upcoming season, adding his delight at once again adding to his trophy cabinet.
Bolt and his fellow 2013 IAAF World Championships in Athletics star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were on Friday night named Jamaica's top sporting personalities at the RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist, Bolt, was taking home his fifth award, which leaves him in joint second place with Donald Quarrie; both sprinting legends firmly behind boxing legend Michael McCallum, who has eight wins.
Shortly after collecting his award, Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder told The Sunday Gleaner that it's his coach Glen Mills and his support crew who do their best to keep him focused on doing well in a year that many elite athletes use to rest their bodies for a three-year spell which will see World Championships in Beijing (2015) and London (2017) and the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
"It's true, it's always hard to stay motivated in a year like this year, and that's when my coach and my team come together to push me and remind me that yes, it's an off year, but we still have a job to do," Bolt said. "We still have a lot of people to motivate and people are always looking up towards me to do great things and to keep the sport on a high."
"So I try my best to stay focused, but yes, its always very hard in a year like this," said a smiling Bolt, while clutching his latest bounty.
"Its always a great feeling just to be recognised by your own people and to see the appreciation and the show of love for what you do for the country, so its brilliant," beamed the IAAF World Male Athlete of the Year and Laureus Sportsman of the Year.
"2013 was an up and down year, the best field wasn't there at the World Championships, but I went out there and did my best," added Bolt. "At the same time, this isn't the biggest year on my agenda, but my coach always reminds me that I can't sit out a season or make a season go by without trying my best to give great performances, so, for me, it's still about working as hard as possible, giving my best and just trying to blow people's minds and add to my accolades."
Any chance of seeing him equal McCallum's eight National Sportsman of the Year haul?
"I still have a long way to go to catch Mike McCallum, but those are some great names, and to be among the greats is always my aim, to continue adding to my accolades over the years and to continue setting the bar high," said Bolt, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the World Championships in Moscow.
World Championships 200m silver medallist and Diamond Race winner, Warren Weir, was the runner-up to the Sportsman of the Year.
IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year, Fraser-Pryce, who also won 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold in Moscow, before claiming the Diamond Race in the 100m and 200m, was extremely thankful for the support she received last season.
It was a tough year, but I was fully committed to the task and I completed it ... I had persons who believed in me, and I want to thank everyone for being there for me," said Fraser-Pryce. "Thanks for standing beside Shelly-Ann and what she believes in."
"As I look forward to the 2014 season, I want to thank all my fans and supporters, and those in the area of sports to continue to protect and love our athletes," added Fraser-Pryce.
Swimming standout Alia Atkinson, who set three national records and won 21 medals at the FINA Short Course World Cup, was named as runner-up to the Sportswoman of the Year.
Javon Francis won just under 50,000 votes to take home the People's Choice Performance of the Year award for his 44.00 seconds split on the anchor leg to give Jamaica a silver medal in the 4x400m at the World Championships.
Molly Rhone was the recipient of the Sagicor Iconic Award, while Winston 'Fanna' Griffiths was the Chairman's Award recipient.