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January 11, 2013
Star Sport


Close call - Fennell says Sportsman, Sportswoman of the Year awards a tough decision
Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Mike Fennell

If we are to believe Mike Fennell, chairman of the selection committee for the RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards, arriving at this year's winners was a real hair-puller.

However, with Olympic standouts Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce closing 2012 in dominant fashion, it would be a massive shock if the pair was overlooked for the island's most prestigious award.

Speaking to Star Sports yesterday evening, Fennell offered: "It's always a difficult task because everybody knows that Jamaica has some top performers particularly in the sport of athletics, but we also have some top performers in the sport of boxing, swimming and cricket, so we have to ensure that we have a balance and select objectively based on the criteria."

Bolt, who won gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Olympic Games in London, also had success in the Samsung/IAAF Diamond League circuit, claiming the 100m title.

Fraser-Pryce was also successful at the Olympic Games, defending her 100m title, finishing second in the 200m before helping Jamaica to a national record and silver medal in the 4x100m. Fraser-Pryce won the sprint double at the National Trials and also won the 100m Diamond League title.

The other male nominees include Marlon Samuels, who some tip as a contender, Yohan Blake, Warren Weir, Nickel Ashmeade, Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters, Hansle Parchment, Christopher Gayle and Marlon Samuels.

Fraser-Pryce will be going up against Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kaliese Spencer, Alicia Ashley, Alia Atkinson and Stafanie Taylor.

Fennell was quick to underline the criteria for selection and underscored the importance of paying homage to our sporting standouts.

"The criteria is based on performance, not on effort or any sort of emotive elements, strictly on performance and it starts at the world level such as World Championships and Olympics. The next level is continental and then regional and of course the domestic level," Fennel said.

'We should never cease to recognise and celebrate with our athletes who do so well. They do at different levels because as you know with our award ceremony, we do not only recognise top achievers but we also recognise in each sport, those who have been regarded within their sport as the top performer of the year," he added.

Awards will also be handed out for Performance of the Year and the Sagicor Iconic Award.

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