The accolades and winners on the night of the 54th RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards function held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston were in line with the scripts and predictions made leading up to last night’s proceeding, as Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and Alia “Swim Sensation” Atkinson, copped the respective 2014 top awards.
Both athletes were confident in the lead up to the awards ceremony and for some it was just a mere formality, in hosting the ceremony to crown the two athletes who did exceptionally well in 2014 in their respective sports. This the first pair since 1974 when swimmer Belinda Phillip and cricketing great Lawrence Rowe ending a 40 years history of a non-track and field athlete winning either of the top awards.
Alia's win made her only the third swimmer, behind Frances Noble, Phillip while the Axe Man joined the clique of great boxers in the first sportsman awardee George 'Bunny' Grant and Mike " the Body Snatcher" McCallum who won in 1990.
Atkinson who also received the people’s choice award for top performance along with the top swimming award on the night, appealed for support to aspiring athletes as they seek to fulfill their sports dream.
"When we achieve greatness, everyone in Jamaica achieves it with us. And when youths have fallen they are to be nurtured and brought back up” she said.
For the WBA World Featherweight champion Walters, his award was aligned to a world sports award “Getting Sportsman of the Year is like getting Sportsman of the World," he said.
JAAA Sportswoman and Sportsman awardees 2014 Kaliese Spencer and shot putter O'Dayne Richards were the respective runners-up.
Other major awards on the night went to 1976 Olympic 200 metre champion and multiple Commonwealth Games champion Donald "DQ" Quarrie who copped the Sagicor Iconic Award and Alicia 'Slick" Ashley, the former world champion, who received the Chairman's Award.
There were selected winners for several sporting disciplines in both gender and also for individual and team performances throughout 2014 at the respective national and international events, such as the Common Wealth games and world indoor Championship.