Jackson, Williams, and Watson headline nominees for RJR Sports Foundation Athlete of the Year

November 30, 2023  -The competition for the titles of Jamaica’s Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year for 2023 has officially kicked off with the announcement of the nominees on Wednesday.

The 63rd RJR Sports Foundation Female and Male Athletes of the Year award ceremony promises an intense contest among some of the nation’s most exceptional athletic talents. Notably, World Athletics Championships gold medalists Shericka Jackson, Danielle Williams, and Antonio Watson are among the standout contenders.

In addition to these prestigious awards, there is also anticipation surrounding the People’s Choice Award, which includes Jackson’s remarkable 200m victory, Williams’ impressive triumph in the 100m hurdles, and Watson’s ground-breaking performance at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The excitement for these accolades is palpable, given the remarkable achievements of these athletes on the global stage.

Awards ceremony set for January 19, 2024

The unveiling of the winners of these prestigious awards is scheduled for January 19, 2024. Jackson, widely regarded as a heavy favorite to secure the award, after inexplicably finishing second to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2022, continued to shine with another outstanding season.

She secured a silver medal in the 100m at the World Championships in Budapest and demonstrated her exceptional form by clinching the Diamond League titles in both the 100m and 200m events in Eugene, Oregon.

Williams also had an exceptional year, surprising many by claiming victory in the highly competitive 100m hurdles event in Budapest. Her performance outshone formidable rivals, including reigning Olympic Games gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, as well as Kendra Harrison, and world record holder Tobi Amusan.

Trailblazing Jamaican sprinter

The Female Athlete of the Year competition intensifies with the inclusion of World Championship bronze medalists Rushell Clayton and Fraser-Pryce, as well as Suncorp Super Netball League standout Jhaniele Fowler.

In the Male Athlete of the Year category, Watson, the trailblazing Jamaican sprinter, leads the nominations. Watson made history by becoming the first Jamaican man in 40 years to secure a gold medal in the World Championships 400m event. The list of male nominees also features World Championships 110m hurdles silver medalist and Diamond League champion Hansle Parchment, along with standout long jumpers Wayne Pinnock and Tajay Gayle, who won silver and bronze medals in Budapest.

Pan American Games 400m hurdles champion Jaheel Hyde and motorsports star Fraser McConnell are also among the nominees.

Memorable sporting moments

The People’s Choice Award nominations encompass memorable sporting moments, including Shamar Nicholson’s game-changing goal in the recent CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final match against Canada and Drew Spence’s remarkable free-kick performance against Canada in their Olympic qualifier.

The selection panel, chaired by Mike Fennell, comprises a distinguished line-up, including retired media practitioner Courtney Sergeant, Olympian Deon Hemmings-McCatty, President of Jamaica’s Inter-Secondary School Sports Association Keith Wellington, and Michael Hall, former chairman of the Sports Foundation and League Operations Manager of the Caribbean Premier League.

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