Ashley 'thrilled' at receiving Chairman's Award
Leroy Brown, Gleaner Writer
"Shocked, then thrilled."
That was the reaction Jamaica's former World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight champion, Alicia 'Slick'Ashley, said she was overcome with when it was announced that she had been given the prestigious Chairman's Award for 2014 last Friday night at the RJR Sports Foundation's Sportsman, and Sportswoman of the Year 2014 Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
World Boxing Association (WBA) Featherweight Super champion, Nicholas Walters, was named the Sportsman of the Year, and swimmer Alia Atkinson was named Sportswoman of the Year.
The Chairman's Award was one of the major awards issued at the gala that paid tribute to sporting excellence in Jamaica in 2014.
The award is presented annually, at the sole discretion of the Chairman of the Sports Foundation, to a person who has achieved excellence by participating in or given service to sport.
Ashley, who had been shortlisted for the award to sportswomen on several occasions, also won the category award for female boxing in 2014, and she told The Gleaner the latter was the only award she had expected.
"I was totally shocked when I saw my image go up on the screen as the person who had been selected by Chairman Gary Allen for the award this year. When it sunk in, however, I was thrilled that this honour had been bestowed on me," said Ashley.
"It is an award that I will cherish forever, and I must really thank Mr Allen for selecting me, as this pays tribute to my achievements over the years," she added.
Allen said that the selection was easy for him to make this year.
"I have been watching her for a few years. Apart from her achievements, I have noticed the way she carries herself, her poise, her gentleness and how proud she is of her country. I admire the way she turned the adversity of being injured and therefore not being able to pursue her career as a dancer, into becoming a world-class boxer," the chairman of the Sports Foundation observed.
"She has had an exceptional career, and it is only fairly recently that we became aware of her and her accomplishments. She was not recognised for a long time and she is now a great role model. She is someone of whom we can all be proud," he added.
Ashley, who has a 22-10-1 record, is also a former International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight champion.
She lost her WBC title last September in a controversial split decision to Mexican Jackie Nava in Mexico.
Ashley has been promised a return fight this year, which she anxiously awaits.
"When it does (happen), I am going to regain my title," she told The Gleaner.