Jamaica Gleaner / WORLD 110 metres hurdles gold medallist Omar McLeod and swimming ace Alia Atkinson were crowned the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation’s National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at last night’s awards ceremony, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
McLeod, 25, the national record holder for the event, won the award for the first time in his career after being runner-up to Usain Bolt last year. Bolt, who retired last year after earning a bronze medal in the men’s 100 metres at the IAAF World Championships in London, was named runner-up.
McLeod, a former Manchester High and Kingston College star, produced a brilliant run to win the gold medal in the hurdles event at the London World Championships, clocking 13.04 seconds. He ended the year winning nine of his 12 races in the 110m hurdles and was unbeaten in the 60m hurdles with six wins.
Earlier this week, McLeod also received the RJRGLEANER Honour Award’s 2017 special award for sports.
Atkinson, who was also runner-up last year, lifted her second Sportswoman of the Year award, having first won the title in 2014. She won this year’s award ahead of last year’s World Championships 400m hurdles bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey.
The Jamaican star ended last year as the number-one swimmer on the FINA World Cup circuit in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke events. She won 11 of the 12 finals she competed in on the circuit and finished the season as the short-course world leader in the 50m at 28.84 seconds and the 100m at one minute 02.67 seconds.
She also broke the national record in the 100m butterfly with a new mark of 59.94. Last night’s Gleaner Iconic Award went to veteran sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown.
The 35-year-old Campbell-Brown is a double Olympic 200 metres champion (2004 and 2008). She is also a many-time IAAF World Championships medallist including gold in the 100m at the 2007 Championship in Osaka, Japan.
The veteran sprinter recently announced that she will be competing at this year’s Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Australia in April.
National senior team volleyballer Aiko Jones copped the VMBS Youth Award. Jones, who attends the University of Louisville in the United States, is a former student of Wolmer’s Girls.
The 17-year-old multitalented athlete won a gold medal for Jamaica in the shot put at the 2016 Carifta Games in Grenada.