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Novlene Williams-Mills honoured at UN event

Friday, March 16, 2018

NEW YORK, United States — World and Olympic medallist Novlene Williams-Mills was on Tuesday honoured at a United Nations event here.

Organised by the Permanent Missions of Jamaica and the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations, the UN Population Fund, and a number of non-government organisations (NGOs), the event was also staged to coincide with the conference of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and women's health now under way here.

A cancer survivor, Williams-Mills was lauded for her exploits on the track, her determination and inspiration, and for being an exemplary role model to young girls across the world.

Tributes were paid to the Olympian by a number of diplomats, sports administrators and heads of several NGOs. Among them were Jamaica's permanent representative to the UN Ambassador Courtenay Rattray, Ambassador Isabelle Picco, Monaco's permanent representative to the UN, Jamaica Olympic Association President Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Warren Blake, and Dr Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund.

Williams-Mills was specifically lauded for her 2012 bronze medal win at the London Olympics, as the feat was achieved shortly after doctors had diagnosed her with breast cancer.

In relation to her accomplishing that feat, Ambassador Rattray said: “Novlene epitomises enduring strength, privately overcoming her challenges while publicly triumphing at the highest levels of her career.”

And Lorna Bell of Special Olympics Jamaica said she had to attend the event “to support a great Jamaican woman who is a role model and who knows what courage and determination can achieve”.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Williams-Mills, who was awarded a plaque by the permanent missions of Jamaica and Monaco to the UN, said she is “humbled that I have been able to motivate and inspire so many people”.

— Harold G Bailey