Will it be Shelly-Ann or Shericka?
I’d hate to be one of the persons who have to decide whether Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce or Shericka Jackson is the Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year. Both of them are World champions and they both dominated their prime events. The choice is so...
I’d hate to be one of the persons who have to decide whether Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce or Shericka Jackson is the Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year. Both of them are World champions and they both dominated their prime events. The choice is so difficult that two major award-giving entities have it split at 1-1.
In November, World Athletics put Fraser-Pryce, the 100 metres World champion, ahead by naming her among the top five finalists in its Athlete of the Year reckoning. Jackson, winner of the 200m at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, was among the 10 nominees for the award but was eliminated when World Athletes narrowed the group down to five. United States publication Track And Field News announced its 2022 list of the top 10 women this week and its 31-member panel of international experts voted her into the number 4 spot with Fraser-Pryce at number 5.
It was very close. Jackson got 197 votes to 196 for Fraser-Pryce as that panel polled on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Both had remarkable seasons. Shelly-Ann not only won in Eugene but in a nearly flawless 100-metre season, she blew past the 10.7 seconds threshold seven times. That’s unprecedented. Her fastest run was 10.62 seconds, just 0.02 off her lifetime best.
After a loss to 2021 Olympic bronze medallist Gabrielle Thomas in her opening 200m race of the season in Doha, Jackson zoomed to win in all of her remaining six 200m races and twice ran under 21.6 -21.55 in Kingston at the National Championships and a Jamaican record of 21.45 seconds in Eugene.
Those times are the second and fourth fastest in history.
They both have fine credentials in another event. Fraser-Pryce was second to Jackson in the World Championships 200m and, according to Track And Field News, is this year’s world number 2 in the curved sprint. Similarly, Jackson was second to Fraser-Pryce in the World 100m final.
If the Sportsman and Woman of the Year panel pursues the matter, it will probably have to place a value on the performances of those two fantastic athletes in their weaker events. Fraser-Pryce clocked 21.82 seconds in Eugene behind Jackson and finished her four-race 200m season with two wins and two losses, with her low point being third place at the Nationals. Jackson ended 2022 with five wins in seven races in the 100m, but with silver in Eugene and a personal best of 10.71 seconds behind Fraser-Pryce in Monaco.
Her lowest 100m race finish was fifth in a season-closing race in Italy.
Interestingly, Jackson is the only person to beat Fraser-Pryce all year in the 100m, 10.73 seconds to 10.74 in Brussels. Jackson won both of their meetings over 200m. I don’t know if that will tip the panel one way or another.
What I do know is that the Sportsman and Woman Awards have never had a tie. That will make the work of the panel really difficult.
Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.