Longer jumper Gayle, sprinter Fraser-Pryce front-runners for top sports awards

Athletics

Longer jumper Gayle, sprinter Fraser-Pryce front-runners for top sports awards

BY HOWARD WALKER
Observer senior reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 17, 2020

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MVP athletes Tajay Gayle and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are heavy favourites to be crowned 2019 RJR/GLEANER Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at what is expected to be a glittering awards function at the Pegasus Hotel tonight.

Gayle, who stunned the world by copping gold in the men's long jump at the World Champions with 8.62m – which was longest jump in the world for 10 years – should easily secure his first Sportsman of the Year title.

His main challenge should come from the 2018 winner Fedrick Dacres who won silver in the discus at the World Championships; Caribbean squash champion Christopher Binnie; and Yona Knight-Wisdom, Pan American Games diving silver medallist.

Gayle would join James Beckford who won in 1995, 1996 and 2003 as the second long jumper to win the prestigious award since it started in 1961.

Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce should win her fourth Sportswoman of the Year award following her gold medal run at the World Championships in London last year.

It was a stunning return to the track as she won her fourth 100m World title in a world-leading 10.71 seconds after giving birth to her son in 2017.

Athletics has dominated the awards in its 58-year history with males winning 29 times and the women 50 times.

Having broken the dominance of athletics winners in 2014 and again in 2017, and 2018, swimmer Alia Atkinson will be hard-pressed to retain her crown despite a wonderful season on the circuit which saw her also qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

Atkinson is the only non-athletics person nominated as the field is completed by Danniel Thomas-Dodd who won a World Championships shot put silver medal; Rushell Clayton and Shericka Jackson, bronze medallists in the 400m hurdles and 400m, respectively; and Shanieka Ricketts,World Championships triple jump silver medallist.

Pan America Games 800m champion Natoya Goule is also shortlisted as is Elaine Thompson who won the Pan America Games 100m gold and Danielle Williams, the World Championships 100m hurdles bronze medallist and Diamond League winner.

There will be a number of other category awards with the People's Choice Performance of the Year award being very interesting. The nominees are:

• Fraser-Pryce: Lightening Speed – Amazing gold medal run in the IAAF World Champions in a world leading 10.71 winning 100m.

• Tajay Gayle: Earth shattering gold medal performance at IAAF World Championships with the longest jump in the world for 10 years.

• Natoya Goule: Unrelenting – determined win over 800m at the Pan American Games.

• Shamar Nicholson: Priceless long distance strike in a game-winning friendly international against the United States.

• Havana Solaun: Historic - scored Jamaica's first-ever goal at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The awards honour outstanding achievements in sport by Jamaican athletes dating back to 1961 with boxer George “Bunny” Grant and table tennis prodigy Joy Foster the first winners.


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