JOA, JAAA laud Fraser-Pryce after Laureus Award
Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce poses with her Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award during the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Paris on Monday. (Photo: AFP)

Two of Jamaica's major sporting bodies have praised Olympian Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for being awarded the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year for 2023.

The ceremony took place in Paris, France, and honoured sportsmen and sportswomen for their excellence over the 2022 calendar year.

Fraser-Pryce won gold in the 100m sprint for an unprecedented fifth time at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last summer.

Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) President Christopher Samuda says Fraser-Pryce continues to be what he describes as an inspiration for young Jamaican women.

"What more can we say of this great sporting asset of Jamaica, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce," Samuda told the Jamaica Observer. "She has conquered so many horizons and she continues to conquer more. An exemplar for young Jamaican women and women in general, for she has achieved phenomenally. She continues to be a beacon of light, she continues to inspire Jamaicans on and off the field. She will continue to inspire her own generation and generations to come.

"The Jamaica Olympic Association congratulates her on this feat. We encourage her to continue to be a national asset and to be, in track and field, the best version of herself. We look forward to her continued influence, we continue to look to her for nationalism."

Those sentiments were shared by JOA General Secretary Ryan Foster, who, like Fraser-Pryce, is a Wolmerian. He says the award is long overdue.

"Her achievements over the past 15 years have been exceptional, if not superhuman," Foster said. "She has been a role model for not only athletes but to the average Jamaican citizen as her career illustrates hard work, commitment, humility, dedication, and of course, excellence," he said.

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle says Fraser-Pryce has made Jamaicans across the world proud.

"The JAAA is exceedingly happy and we stand proud of the achievement of Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce," he said. "All sports-loving Jamaicans across the world, I'm sure, are singing joy and praise for her award this afternoon. We are happy that she continues to fly the Jamaican flag high."

Fraser-Pryce, while receiving the award, said it almost brought her to tears as she dreamt of moments like this since she was a teenager.

"Looking back, there's no barrier when it comes to your passion and your calling as time honours your greatness," she said. "I thank you, the Laureus Academy, for this award and I pray that it will be an inspiration to all Jamaican young girls, mainly the girls from my Pocket Rocket Foundation, to know that there are no limits when you believe what you believe and continue to work hard, continue to inspire the next generation of women to understand that we are strong, we are powerful, and most importantly, we are fearless."

This is her first Laureus Award after six nominations.

Lionel Messi took the men's award after captaining Argentina to their first FIFA World Cup title since 1986 in Qatar in 2022.

Rachid Parchment

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