OUTSTANDING Jamaican track athletes Veronica Campbell-Brown, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake lead six women and six men shortlisted for the 2011 RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards.
Campbell-Brown, the defending champion and four-time winner, won the 200m and was second in the 100m at the Daegu World Championships, while Blake emerged on the scene with a masterful performance to cop gold in the men's 100m at the World Champs in the absence of the false-started Bolt, who made amends to retain the 200m title. Both combined to form part of the winning 4X100m relay team.
The other contenders are (women): Boxer Alicia Ashley, who won the WBC Junior Featherweight world title; swimmer Alia Atkinson, the 200-metre Individual Medley silver medallist at the Pan American Games; track star Kaliese Spencer, the 400-metre Hurdles Diamond League champion; Melaine Walker, another 400-metre hurdles track star who won the silver medal at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea; and cricketer Stefanie Taylor, the ICC Women's Cricketer of the year, who's also ranked the number one all-rounder, second best in batting and seventh ranked in bowling in the World One Day rankings.
On the men's side, the other candidates are fellow track stars Lerone Clarke, the 100m Pan American Games gold medallist, and Asafa Powell, the 100m Diamond League champ; as well as cricketer Marlon Samuels, who scored over 600 runs in the Regional First Class Tournament, and boxer Nicholas Walters, ho made successful defences of his WBA Fedelatin titles.
A new Sagicor Iconic Award will be introduced this year, where the recipient will be honoured for achievements over 50 years of the existence of the Awards.
There will also be the return of the Chairman's Award after a year's absence. It will be presented at the discretion of the RJR Sports Foundation's board. There will also be Category Awards, Special Awards, Certificates of Merit, as well as the popular People's Choice Award, which is determined by the public's votes.
Guest speaker for the gala-like Awards Ceremony, which takes place on January 20, 2012 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is Jamaican-born, British Olympics gold medallist Theresa 'Tessa' Sanderson, who competed in javelin and the heptathlon.