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Dacres, Atkinson fancied for 2018 Sportsman/woman of the year awards

Senior staff reporter

Friday, January 18, 2019

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Discus thrower Fedrick Dacres and swimmer Alia Atkinson appear firm favourites to take the respective top prizes at tonight's 2018 RJRGleaner National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Dacres, 24, enjoyed a number of major achievements in 2018, including winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Australia with an event record throw of 68.20 metres.

He secured the discus diamond in the Diamond League final in Belgium with 68.67m. He has the second best throw of 2018, an effort of 69.67m in Sweden that made him Jamaica's record holder in the discipline. Dacres also won gold at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Championships in Canada.

Challengers to Dacres are squash player Christopher Binnie, shot put thrower O'Dayne Richards and sprint hurdler Ronald Levy.

The 29-year-old Atkinson, the reigning sportswoman of the year, has also been outstanding in 2018 — one of the highlights being the silver medal accomplishment in the 50m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games.

She also lowered her short course world record in the 50m breaststroke to 28.56 seconds at a FINA Swimming World Cup event in Hungary. Atkinson was dominant at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia, establishing games records in two events, while taking home three gold medals.

The veteran swimmer had another successful year on the World Cup circuit, dominating with three medals at the Short Course Worlds in China.

Atkinson will face fierce competition from 26-year-old shot putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who threw 19.36m to capture gold at the Commonwealth Games. She was also the second best indoor shot put thrower with 19.22m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in England where she won silver.

They are joined by seven contenders — footballer Khadija Shaw, cricketer Stafanie Taylor, 3000m steeplechase specialist Aisha Praught-Leer, 400m hurdler Janieve Russell, triple jumpers Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts, and netballer Shemera Sterling.

RJRGleaner Sports Foundation, responsible for organising the awards, annually honours outstanding achievements in sport by Jamaican athletes, by nominating a maximum of 10 individuals of each gender for consideration.

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