... Laud public support after landing top awards
THOUGH neither was surprised at their victories, RJR Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, were thankful for the support of fans and felt winning the titles had capped a year of hard work.
The duo won the country's top awards at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday evening.
"I kind of knew I was going to win because I defended my title, but it was kind of bitter/sweet for me because I've always said the next time I win the Sportswoman of the Year Award I want to break the world record and I didn't get to break the world record, but I did the next best," Fraser-Pryce told the Jamaica Observer.
"I have to give thanks for everything that has happened in 2012; the support from the fans and everybody who chipped in," she said.
Bolt, who said he wanted to thank his true fans and not the "bandwaggonists", was pleased with being the first man to defend the 100m and 200m Olympic titles.
"I'm very proud of my accomplishments this year and I worked really hard through the bad and through the good," he said.
"It shows that the work you put in throughout the season when you win the awards; it shows that these works have not gone in vain, so for me, it's always a pleasure," Bolt added.
Swimmer Alia Atkinson, who was female runner-up and winner of the People's Choice Performance Award for her fourth-place finish in the 100m breaststroke in the London Olympics, said the latter award meant more.
"It was the thought that people over and over showed that they appreciated what I was doing and knowing that they wanted to support me, so that was definitely a lovely surprise," she said.
The male runner-up was Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist Yohan Blake. The other male nominees were athletes Nickel Ashmeade, Hansle Parchment and Warren Weir; boxer Nicholas Walters and cricketers Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle.
The other female nominees were athletes Veronica Campbell Brown and Kaliese Spencer; boxer Alicia Ashley and cricketer Stafanie Taylor.
The Sagicor Iconic Award worth $200,000 went to legendary coach Glen Mills who guides Bolt, Blake, and Weir, as well as other members of the Racers Track Club. The funds will be donated to a charity of Mills' choice.
Category Award winners were Fraser-Pryce and Bolt for athletics; Katherine Wynter and Charles Pyne for badminton; Sasha Dixon and Samardo Samuels for basketball; Ashley and Nicholas Walters for boxing; Taylor and Samuels for cricket; Dahlia Palmer and Marloe Rodman for cycling; equestrian Samantha Albert; Jodi Ann McGregor and Rudolph Austin for football; Trudy Ann Knight and Kemar Mitchell for hockey; Sebastian Rae for motor sports; Jhaniele Fowler for netball; Paul Scott for sailing; John Nelson for shooting; Imani and Icah Wilmot for surfing; Atkinson and Timothy Wynter for swimming; Tracey Ann Dattadeen and Kane Watson for table tennis; Ina Daley and Matthew Parchment for triathlon, and Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes and Dellan Brown.
Special Awards were presented to Caribbean squash champions Alyssa Mullings and Chris Binnie; Tae Kwon Do World Cup champion Kenneth Edwards and silver medallist Nicholas Dussard; World Junior championships 100m bronze medallist Odean Skeen and the women's 4x400m team of Sandrae Farquharson, Shericka Jackson, Janieve Russell and Olivia James.
Fredrick Dacres received an award for taking discus gold at the World Juniors. Alphanso Cunningham won an award for his javelin gold at the 2012 Paralympics.
Team awards were also presented to the Olympic women's mile and men and women's sprint relay teams; National Under-17 women's and men's cricket teams for winning regional championships, and the national junior and senior netball teams.
In the inaugural year of the ISSA Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Awards, athletes Danniel Thomas of Edwin Allen and Sanjay Powell of Kingston College; cricketer Fabian Allen of Vere and footballers Shanice Bowen of Lennon and Bryan Brown of Rusea's. Guest speaker Michael Holding used his time to celebrate Jamaica's sporting achievements over the years.
"All these greats obviously had abundant talent, but it didn't and doesn't end there. A lot of hard work was put in," he said.