When the RJR Sports Foundation announces speedsters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the 2015 recipients of the National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year awards at tonight’s ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus, it will hardly come as a surprise to many.Likewise, considering the year they both had, shot put strongman O’Dayne Richards – last year’s runner-up and sprint hurdles world champion Danielle Williams are sure to get hearty receptions, as they head the candidates seeking the runner-up spots.Richards struggled on the Diamond League circuit before coming to life at the Pan American Games in Toronto, where his national record heave of 21.69m won him a gold medal. He would repeat the mark a few weeks later at the World Championships in Beijing, to take the bronze and become Jamaica’s first medallist in the event at that level.Hansle Parchment’s World Championships silver medal in the 110m hurdles also makes him a strong contender for the runner-up spot. Additionally, the towering hurdler is the first Jamaican to win a silver medal in the 110m hurdles in senior-level global competition, given his result – like Richards’, considerable historical significance.He might, and dare we say, should, however, be edged out by Richards’ back-to-back national record efforts.Williams, flying below the radarOn the female side, Williams, flying below the radar in every pre-championships predictions, delivered when it mattered most in winning the gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the World Championships.That was a massive result for the pint-sized hurdler, who returned the gold to Jamaica after Brigitte Foster-Hylton’s win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.It should be enough to see her across the line – behind Fraser-Pryce, with some other top contenders such as World Championships 200m silver and 4x100m gold medal winner Elaine Thompson; boxer Alicia Ashley, who successfully defended her WBC super bantamweight title; World Championships bronze and relay gold medal winners – Shericka Jackson (400m and 4x400m); Veronica Campbell-Brown (200m and 4x100m); and ever-present swimmer Alia Atkinson (50m breaststroke silver and national record as well as 100m breaststroke bronze at the FINA World Championships plus a year-ending number-three world ranking in the 50m breaststroke, all presenting strong claims.Little doubt, however, as to who will spend tonight as the country’s top male and female sporting stars.Save for some major surprises, speed-king Bolt will win his sixth National Sportsman of the Year title.This will give him sole command of the second-place spot in the all-time list, which is headed by boxer Michael McCallum, who punched his way to seven titles.Bolt shook off a rusty start to his season to win World Championships gold medals in the 100m (with the third-fastest time in World Championships final history – 9.79), the 200m and as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team.Last year’s nod to Atkinson was the first time a non-track-and-field athlete won the Sportswoman of the Year award since 1976, when cricketer Vivalyn Latty-Scott won the award.Fraser-Pryce, who won this award in 2012 and 2013, won gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m at the World Championships as well as took the 100m title in the IAAF Diamond League series.
WESTERN BUREAU:Organisers are looking at participation in this year’s MoBay City Run/Walk races to top 4,000. The event last year drew almost 3,000 runners and raised approximately $3 million in the process.”We are doing our best to see how much we can, but we are realistically looking at about $5 million this year,” said chief organiser, Janet Silvera.The event is held to raise funds for assisting students in defraying costs at tertiary institutions.Four institutions will benefit directly from proceeds of the MoBay City Run – the University of the West Indies and University of Technology (western campuses), Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, and Montego Bay Community College.The event, which consist of a 5K Run/Walk and a 10K Run, had its launch on Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Resort and indications are that this year’s renewal will be much bigger and better for the runners.RACE ROUTEThe race will get under way on Sunday, May 1 in the vicinity of the Old Hospital Park in Montego Bay and will take the runners and walkers through the city and back to the starting line, where the race will end.Two-time men’s winner, Ronique Williams, will be back defending his title, as will female champion Arieta Martin.Williams have made the MoBay City Run his own, winning the overall title in the event’s inaugural staging in 2014, and return with a bang last year to defend his title, when he completed the race in 36 minutes and 17 seconds. He is among the favourites again this year.Martin took the female first place medal and trophy in a time of 47 minutes and 10 seconds and could repeat as champion.However, with an expected increase in overseas participation, especially among the female runners, Martin will be hard pressed to hold on to her crown.In preparation for the event, organisers have maintained the fitness camp, which will run from March 12 at the Old Hospital Park, on Gloucester Avenue.The team section was one of the most exciting aspects of the City Run last year and will again be a spectacle of colours. Riu Hotel won the team trophy by sending a huge contingent of 521 members in 2015.Scotiabank, FLOW and the Royalton Hotel will feature again this year with big contingents also.
Last year Calabar High matched their best ever winning streak at the annual Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships, when they won their fourth successive crown. On Saturday, the Red Hills Road-based school lifted the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for the fifth time on the bounce, when they beat away the challenge of perennial rivals Kingston College (KC) to gain their 26th hold. For head coach, Clarke, last year was his first time winning four straight and after extending it to five-in-a-row on Saturday, the tactician described the victory as ‘memorable’ and says plans are in place for the school to go on and claim a sixth straight championship. “This is a memorable one, very historic. The school in its history has never done five straight before. KC is a talented team, very well coached, but today (Saturday) was our day. But that’s championships for you,” Clarke commented amid the team’s celebrations on the running track. “But it’s not so much for me, it’s for the school. They have never gone five straight, so that’s historic. For me it’s also quite an achievement and I am quite pleased by the success. “We are always planning ahead, like three years ahead so it’s quite a possibility,” he said about winning next year. 15 TITLES Clarke has won a combined 15 Boys’ Champs titles with three different schools. He won his first championship with St Jago in 1988; then moved to Jamaica College where he won seven titles. He won his first double in 1991-92 with the Old Hope Road-based school and his first triple with the ‘Dark Blues’ from 1998-2000. He joined his alma mater, Calabar, in 2003 and saw them to back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008. Last year he claimed his first four-peat and now he has won five straight titles for the first time. “I am humbled by the success and I give God thanks for it as well,” he told The Gleaner. Calabar finished with 287.50 points, well clear of KC, 250, and JC, 227.50.