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McLeod, Alia front-runners for top national sports awards

Friday, December 15, 2017



The RJR/GLEANER Sport Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards for 2017 was launched at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday with Omar McLeod of track and field and Alia Atkinson of swimming seen as the front-runners for the respective awards.

Seven men and three women were nominated in the two categories, which for the first time since 2008 doesn't include Usain Bolt.

The other nominees in the male category are Christopher Binnie (squash), Andre Blake (football) and cricketers Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller and Chadwick Walton. The two other women are Ristananna Tracey and last year's winner Elaine Thompson.

Other categories for awards include The People's Choice “Performance of the Year” award, The ISSA Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Awards, The Gleaner Iconic Award and the VMBS YOUTH Award.

Atkinson, who last won the award in 2014, has had a stellar year in the pool and is seen a clear front-runner ahead of Elaine Thompson, who failed to win a gold medal at the World Championships in London earlier this year.

Tracey had personal best performances in the 400m hurdles in London on the way to winning the bronze medal which has put her in line for the top honour. This award has been dominated by track and field athletes with only Atkinson interrupting the streak that began in 1977.

Omar McLeod became the first Jamaican male to win both the Olympic and World Championship gold medal in the 110m hurdles event and also had personal best performances in the 60m indoor and 200m in what has been a truly outstanding year for the 25-year-old.

Footballers Andre Blake and Kemar Lawrence, who were members of the Reggae Boyz team that finished second at the CONCACAF Gold Cup this past summer, were nominated for People's Choice Award. Blake for his save in the game against Canada and Lawrence for his goal against Mexico that lifted Jamaica into the final against eventual winners the United States of America.

— Dwayne Richards

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