Fraser-Pryce, Gayle named Jamaica's athletes of the year

By Sports Desk January 18, 2020

World Champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle were named the 2019 RJRGleaner Sports Foundation Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year in an awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday.

Fraser-Pryce saw the award presented to her for a fourth time, having previously claimed the honour in 2012, 2013 and 2015.  The recognition capped off an exceptional season for the diminutive sprinter who previously became the only athlete to win the 100m World Championship title on four occasions with triumph in Doha.

Quartermiler Shericka Jackson, who claimed three gold medals at the World Championships, with bronze in the 400m and 4x400m along with gold in the 4x100m, was runner up behind Fraser-Pryce.

The year was also an exceptional one for Gayle.  The athlete created history at the Doha World Championships after upstaging Juan Miguel Echevarria to claim top spot.  The winning jump was the longest in the world in 10 years.  It was also the farthest distance recorded at the World Championships since Ivan Pedroso’s 8.70m leap in Gothenburg, recorded some 24 years ago.

Fedrick Dacres, the World Championships discus silver medallist, was voted runner up to the Sportsman of the Year.  The other male nominees were Christopher Binnie (squash), Yona Knight-Wisdom (diving) and Travis Smikle (athletics).  Fraser-Pryce and Jackson were joined by Alia Atkinson (swimming) and Rushell Clayton, Natoya Goule, Shanieka Ricketts, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Elaine Thompson and Danielle Williams.

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    According to a recent Jamaica Observer article, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) managing director, Andy Fuller, recently contacted Harriott about the possibility of hosting the 2021 American Flag Football World Championship in Jamaica.

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    Flag football is the scaled-down version of American football and the event has the potential to pull around 600 participants and 2,500 visitors to the island.  Hosting the championships at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium could initiate something bigger than just reclaiming its relevance as a stadium.

    Using the stadium for such an event could assist the venue in fulfilling a much greater purpose; promoting sports tourism.

    As stated in an article by the Jamaica Information Service titled, ‘Major Upgrading for National Stadium and Trelawny Multipurpose Facility’, there are plans for the stadium “ to be redeveloped to become the centre of sport tourism.”

    Sports tourism involves travelling to a destination to participate in or watch sports. It involves travelling for other sports-related reasons like stadium tours, sports museums and exhibition tours, player's testimonials etc.

    Harriott pointed out that if Jamaica is to host the IFAF World Championship, it would “fulfil the Government of Jamaica’s mandate of promoting Jamaica as a sports tourism destination, opening opportunities for Team Jamaica to present another success on the world stage, and advancement of the sport domestically and in the region.”

    For sports tourism to be a growing sector in Jamaica, the country has to showcase its facilities and its ability to produce excellent athletes. That way, athletic teams worldwide would visit Jamaica for tours and may even want to use the facilities to train.

    Equally important is embracing sports that are popular in other countries. Spectators from far and wide will travel to watch the sports they love.  Nurturing athletes in developing sports can attract and retain global support.

    It is only fitting that the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium, described as “the centre of sport tourism” is used to host the 2021 American Flag Football World Championship, once the opportunity presents itself.

     

    Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

     

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    Michael Bernard’s colt Nipster shattered the champion owner’s top horse Wow Wow’s Triple Crown bid in delivering a 31-1 upset victory in Saturday’s Jamaica St Leger at Caymanas Park.

    Ridden from off the pace by Linton Steadman for trainer Gary Subratie, Nipster swept to the front inside the final furlong and won the 10-furlong Classic by a length and a quarter over his stablemate and 1-2 favourite Wow Wow in a fast time of two minutes 06.00.

    “It’s a bittersweet moment I must say,” a smiling Bernard said. “I really expected and wanted Wow Wow to win so he could continue on his Triple Crown journey, but it’s a wonderful feeling,” he quickly added after watching his two three-year-olds snatch first and second in the JA$3 million (US$21,000) event.

    The 20-1 bet Oneofakind was a further half-length behind in third and the even-money second favourite Mahogany struggled to fourth.

    Out of the starting gates in pouring rain, 1000 Guineas and Oaks runner-up Another Affair, one of four Subratie entries, shot to the front with Wow Wow, the 99-1 bet Green Gold Rush and King Arthur (8-1) tracking.

    Another Affair quickened to lead down the backstretch by seven lengths followed by the 2019 Champion two-year-old Wow Wow and King Arthur racing as a team. Green Gold Rush was fourth and as they hit the six-furlong marker, Mahogany, who had entered the backstretch in 10th spot, gained rapidly toward the lead and moved into fifth spot.

    Nipster was still not among the front six at the half-mile as Another Affair’s lead shrunk to just over two lengths with Wow Wow poised to pounce while King Arthur and Mahogany closed in to challenge.

    Wow Wow’s rider Robert Halledeen, anxious to keep the 2000 Guineas winner on the Triple Crown path, flew past Another Affair leaving the three-furlong marker with Mahogany on his heels and Wow Wow held command at the top of the homestretch.

    Heading to the eighth pole, Wow Wow still led and appeared to be safely repelling Mahogany’s challenge while Oneofakind -- widest of all -- looked threatening and Nipster suddenly appeared with a sprightly rail run.

    In a flash, Nipster collared Wow Wow and moved clear with the ecstatic Steadman standing tall in the saddle even before the finish as the colt logged his fifth win in 14 lifetime starts.

    “From half mile out I saw he (Nipster) had a whole heap of gas that could last out and become a winner,” Steadman said after his second St Leger triumph.

    For Steadman, who had also won the 2016 St Leger with Bigdaddykool, it was his first time aboard Nipster in a race but developed a connection with the Casual Trick-Nippit bred colt after two exercise gallops aboard him.

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