December 11, 2009
Star Sport



Bolt, Fraser head nominations for Sportsman/woman of the Year
Jermaine Lannaman, STAR Writer

( l - r ) Bolt, Shelly Ann Fraser - file

Olympic and World double-record holder, Usain Bolt, and Olympic and world 100m cham-pion, Shelly-Ann Fraser, head a list of five men and nine women who have been nominated for the 49th staging of the annual RJR National Sportsman and Sports-woman of the Year awards.

The event, which will take place on January 14 next year, will see Bolt, who captured the award last year, going up against West Indies cricketers, Chris Gayle, Jerome Taylor and Brendan Nash, and fellow sprinter, Asafa Powell.

Meanwhile, Fraser, who missed out on the women's award last year at the hands of joint winners Melaine Walker and Veronica Campbell-Brown, will have as her rivals fellow Olympians Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Melaine Walker, Shericka Williams, Delloreen Ennis-London, Kerron Stewart and Veronica Campbell-Brown, netballer Romelda Aitken, and West Indies women's cricketer, Stefanie Taylor.

"The nominees reflect who we deem to be outstanding in their respective disciplines throughout the year by virtue of their performances, and we look forward to the night of the event when the winner of each category is selected," said chairman of the RJR Sports Foundation's Selection Committee, Mike Fennell, at the event's official launch yesterday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

The Foundation's Selection Committee also includes Courtney Walsh, Grace Jackson, Clement Radcliffe, Courtney Seargeant and Tony Becca.

The awards, which has been around since 1961 when boxer George "Bunny" Grant and table tennis player Joy Foster, copped the first titles, will also feature for the second year running the popular People's Choice Award, which is geared towards getting the public involved in the event via text message voting.

Won last year by Fraser who after her 100m victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, punched the air with innocent joy, the People's Choice Award will this year have seven nominees, an increase of two over last year's choices.

Among the list of nominees for this award are Foster-Hylton, who after many tries won gold at 2009 World Championships; Jerome Taylor, whose five for 11 off nine overs helped the West Indies bowled out England for 51 at Sabina Park; Stefanie Taylor, whose near run-a-ball 108 propelled the West Indies to a convincing five wicket win over South Africa in their opening match of a four match series; Melaine Walker, who captured 400m hurdles gold at the 2009 World Championships; and netballer, Simone Forbes, whose particular play inspired and helped Jamaica defeat New Zealand to level their two match series.

"It's an opportunity to get the nation involved in the process and expose excellent performers and perform-ances," said Chris Dehring, chairman of the RJR Sports Foundation.

"Voting will commence immediately following this press conference, and like last year, we are again anticipating good responses to the award from the public."

Other presentations that will be made on the night include Certificates of Merit, Category Awards, Team Awards and the Chairman's Award.

World Championship 400m gold medallist, Jamaican-born Sanya Richards, will be guest speaker at the function, which is being staged by the RJR Communications Group for the fourth year in a row.

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