Jamaica Gleaner / Reigning World 110 metres hurdles champion Omar McLeod is tipped to win the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year award. However, the battle for the Sportswoman of the Year title is expected to be very close between swimmer Alia Atkinson and track athlete Ristananna Tracey.
The awards ceremony will be held tonight at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston starting at 7 o’clock.
The 25-year-old McLeod, the national 110 metres hurdles record holder at 12.90 seconds, turned in a spectacular performance to win the gold medal in the event at last year’s World Championships in London, clocking 13.04 seconds.
The former Manchester High and Kingston College star ended the year winning nine of his 12 races in the 110m hurdles and was unbeaten in the 60m hurdles with six wins.
McLeod has also received the RJRGLEANER Honour Award’s 2017 special award for sports.
The other male nominees include world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt, who won a bronze in the short sprint in London; and cricketers Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller, and Chadwick Walton; Reggae Boyz goalkeeper and captain Andre Blake; and squash star Christopher Binnie.
Atkinson ended the year as the number-one swimmer on the short-course circuit for both the 50m and 100m breaststroke.
Tracey produced an excellent stretch run to capture the bronze medal in the women’s 400m hurdles at the World Championships in London.
Elaine Thompson, who won the award, last year, is the other nominee for the Sports Woman of the year award. She is the reigning the IAAF 100m Diamond League champion.
Gary Allen, chairman of the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, said he expects a great evening of exciting activities.
“I think that we are going to have a good event as usual,” said Allen. “I am looking to winners on the night and I am also looking forward to a nice entertainment package from 50 years now in the business, Ernie Smith,” he said.
Allen added: “I am also looking forward to the presentation from our guest speaker Senator Don Wehby, who is going to be speaking on investing in sports looking at options and opportunities. I think that is going to be a good thing for the athletes and sports people and those who are in the sports fraternity.” Meanwhile, McLeod, Blake, along with footballer Kemar Lawrence, cricketer Oshane Thomas and boxer Kemahl Russell are the nominees for this year’s People’s Choice Performance of the Year.
The Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Schoolboy and Schoolgirls Awards, The Gleaner Iconic Award and the Sports World Magazine Awards will also be presented as new additions at the event.
There will also be a VMBS Young and Outstanding Upcoming Talented Headliner Award. The two-hour event will be broadcast live on TVJ and streamed live across the globe through 1SpotMedia. TVJ and streamed live across the globe through 1SpotMedia.