Atop the heap! Bolt, Fraser-Pryce, Mills claim JAAA Awards
AS expected, Olympic Games sprint champions Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce walked away with the 2012 Male Athlete and Female Athlete of the Year Awards at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Golden Cleats Awards Luncheon at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston yesterday.
Celebrated coach Glen Mills was named the Coach of the Year.
The three were chosen by a selection panel which included Earl Bailey, Anthony Foster, Donald Quarrie, Bernie Panton and Hubert Lawrence.
Bolt, who was last year named the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) top male athlete, became the first person to successfully defend the Olympic 100m and 200m titles at the London Olympics in August. He was also a member of the 4x100m relay team which broke the world record.
Bolt, who quickly fled the function, briefly spoke of his pride in being recognised by his countrymen.
"It's always good to be appreciated by your own Jamaicans; it's the JAAA, so it's wonderful. For me, it's always wonderful to see Jamaican people celebrating and having a good time," he said.
Fraser-Pryce became the first non-American to retain the women's Olympic 100m title when she posted 10.75 seconds for victory. She also copped silver in the 200m in a personal best 22.09 seconds.
Fraser-Pryce was also a member of the 4x100m relay silver medal-winning team and set a new personal best and national record 10.70secs to win the 100m at the Olympic Trials in June as well as the IAAF Diamond League title.
The diminutive star, who also delivered the vote of thanks, called for an end to the animosity between groups falling under the umbrella of the JAAA, calling for unity for the good of the sport locall.
"Put away what side is feuding and what side is not feuding," she said.
The reserved Mills, who guides Bolt as well as Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist Yohan Blake and 200m bronze medallist Warren Weir, said he was proud of the overall work done last year by members of the University of the West Indies-based Racers Track Club.
"(There were) a number of achievements, although they weren't gold medals... I like the work we have been doing," he said.
Meanwhile, reigning World Junior discus champion Fedrick Dacres was presented with the Howard Aris Award for the outstanding junior in a non-traditional event.
In addition to the aforementioned accolade, Dacres won his event at the CAC Junior, Carifta, and Pan American Junior Championships last year.
Dacres and World Junior 400m hurdles champion Janieve Russell also won scholarships towards university tuition worth $250,000 apiece, courtesy of Scotiabank.
Scotiabank, which sponsored the awards function, invested US$5000 towards the JAAA's purchasing of new finish line equipment as the association moves to enhance and broaden its hosting of world-class events.