PM urges investment in sport
... VCB nabs Walsh Award for Excellence
VERONICA Campbell Brown, one of Jamaica's most accomplished and respected athletes, was invested with the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence at the eighth annual awards function at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on Thursday evening.
Campbell Brown was the fifth track and field athlete to be so honoured, following Deon Hemmings in 2006; Brigette Foster-Hylton in 2009; Aleen Bailey in 2010 and Dr Neil Gardner in 2011.
Other winners of the prestigious prize include cricketer Jimmy Adams in 2005; netballer Elaine Davis in 2007 and cricketer Nehemiah Perry in 2008.
W Billy Heaven, chief executive officer of the CHASE Fund, made the announcement before a packed audience which included Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minsiter of Jamaica; other government ministers; members of the diplomatic corps; members of the sporting fraternity and students from Vere Technical High, the alma mater of the recipient.
Campbell Brown was presented with a crystal trophy and a cheque for $500,000. She won ahead of two other nominees — male athlete Nesta Carter and cricketer Stafanie Taylor.
Campbell Brown was not present at the award presentation owing to an overseas engagement, but was well represented by her sister Beverly Smith, who received, on her behalf, the trophy and cheque from Simpson Miller.
In its outline, the CHASE Fundindicated it is not only about winning, but also about the achievements of an individual who displays a high level of humility, integrity, discipline, and other exemplary qualities while excelling in the field of sport.
The award encourages athletes to maintain a high level of discipline and integrity, both on and off the field. It encourages athletes to strive for excellence and to remain humble, even while excelling.
Bearing in mind the central focus of the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence, Ambassador Walsh, in a short address, reminded the gathering that "We have to keep our standards high, otherwise we will lose our top rating and self-respect.
"As you are all aware, once you let the standards slip, the descent begins downhill towards mediocrity and eventual failure."
Added Walsh: "Every successful athlete has made tremendous personal sacrifices, and we applaud you for staying the course. Success comes through hard work and dedication.
"It takes time to perfect that run or bowling style and it takes hours of non-stop hard work to reach that stage," he said, advising sportsmen to "stick to rules and regulations and stay away from dishonest practices".
"... The values that constitute good sportsmanship and fair competition are personal decorum, integrity, humility, and are all common to all levels of sporting endeavour," he added.
Meanwhile, Simpson Miller urged the private sector to invest more in sports.
"The reality is that the Government is severely limited on how much it can spend as it grapples to restore the economy to viability and in this trying economic times, despite the challenges, I know that I have faith and I'm urging the private sector to invest more in sport," she said.