Jackson, Watson crowned as Jamaica’s 2023 National Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year

By Sports Desk January 20, 2024
Shericka Jackson and Antonio Watson were named as Jamaica's 2023 National Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year. Shericka Jackson and Antonio Watson were named as Jamaica's 2023 National Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year.

World champions Shericka Jackson and Antonio Watson were crowned Jamaica’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the year, respectively, at the 2023 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Friday.

Jackson claimed the award for the first time after a phenomenal 2023 season which saw her successfully defend her World 200m title with a personal best 21.41, the second fastest time ever, in Budapest in August.

In addition to her 200m title, Jackson also ran 10.72 for 100m silver. She ended her season with the sprint double at the Diamond League Final in Eugene with times of 10.70 and 21.57, respectively, in September.

The 29-year-old also achieved a new personal best in the 100m with 10.65, the fifth fastest time ever, to defend her National title in July.

Antonio Watson shocked the world to become the first Jamaican man in 40 years to win 400m gold at the World Championships.

After running a massive personal best 44.14 in the semi-finals, the 22-year-old produced 44.22 to take gold in the final. Watson also ran 44.54 for second at the National Championships in July.

Watson also took home the people’s choice award for his gold medal winning performance.

Danielle Williams was named runner-up for Sportswoman of the Year while Hansle Parchment was runner-up for Sportsman of the Year.

Williams, like Watson, shocked the world in Budapest by claiming her second 100m hurdles World title, the other coming all the way back in 2015.

Parchment, the reigning Olympic champion, claimed his second World Championship silver medal with a 13.07 effort in Budapest. He followed that up in September with a new personal best 12.93 to win at the Diamond League Final in Eugene.

The recipient of the 2023 Icon Award was 400m hurdles Olympic and World champion Deon Hemmings-McCatty while West Indies Under-19 batsman Jordan Johnson was named the winner of the VM Group Y.O.U.T.H award.

Some other athletes receiving awards for their individual sports included CAC Games bronze medallist Tahlia Richardson for badminton, Ricardo “Big 12” Brown for boxing, Sherea Clarke and Wayne McCalla for bodybuilding, West Indies batter Rashada Williams for cricket and Sara Misir and Fraser McConnell for motorsport.

Arguably Jamaica’s two most successful sports teams, the Sunshine Girls and the Reggae Girls, were given special awards for their performances in 2023.

The Reggae Girls were rewarded for their historic performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand from July 20-August 20.

They became the first Caribbean team ever, male or female, to advance to the Round of 16 at a FIFA World Cup.

The Sunshine Girls also had a historically good year with a gold medal at the CAC Games held in El Salvador from June 25-29 and bronze at the Netball World Cup held from July 28-August 6 in South Africa.

That World Cup also saw the Jamaicans get their first ever World Cup win over world number one and eventual champions, Australia.

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    Celebrated coach and Racers Track Club President Glen Mills says the value of meets such as the Racers Grand Prix cannot be overstated, given the significant role it plays in the development of the country’s young athletes in particular.

    Mills’s comments came as he announced the plethora of local and international stars that are expected to set this year’s sixth edition of the Racers Grand Prix alight at the National Stadium on June 1.

    Among them is American World champion Noah Lyles, who clocked a superb 19.67s to win the 200m, sharing the spotlight with Jamaica's Shericka Jackson and South African Wayde Van Niekerk last year.

    He is set to line up in the men’s 100m on this occasion, alongside rising Jamaican sensation Oblique Seville, World University champion Kadrian Goldson, Great Britain’s World Championships bronze medallist Zharnel Hughes, Canadian Aaron Brown and American Kendal Williams, with two more athletes to be confirmed.

    According to Mills, who was instrumental in the decorated career of now-retired Usain Bolt, having young athletes compete on home soil against world class superstars not only drives their development, but also influences positive behavioural changes towards training.

    Reigning 400m World champion Antonio Watson is one such example, as he broke the 45-second barrier for the first time on his debut outing at the event last year, and he later followed that up by topping a quality field in Budapest, Hungary. 

    “A meet of this level is very important in development of our athletes, and I don't think we can underscore its value in their development as a coach. I can tell you, when we have them competing here in Jamaica against the world and the fans come out and really cheer for them, it makes a difference when they return to the training field,” Mills said during the event’s launch at the Jamaica Pegasus on Tuesday.

    “They know and feel the support and the energy and electricity. When that happens, we get better performances on the training track, and as you can see, it goes on to the international stage as well. So, thank you for supporting Racers Grand Prix all and I'm hoping to see everyone on June 1,” he added.

    Known globally as Jamaica’s foremost track and field meet credited with showcasing many of Jamaica’s most decorated athletes, Racers Grand Prix, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver event, promises an exhilarating demonstration of athletic excellence.

    There are 13 events –men’s and women’s 100m, 200m, 400m and 400m hurdles, women’s 100m hurdles, men’s 110m hurdles, as well as the men’s long jump, triple jump and discus throw –to be contested across two-and-a-half hours of scintillating action starting at 7:00pm.

    The women's 100m hurdles is headlined by Bahamas’s World Indoor champion Devynne Charlton, and Great Britain’s Cindy Sember, up against Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper and rising Jamaican sensation Ackera Nugent.

    For the men’s 110m hurdles, Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment will lead compatriots Damion Thomas and last year’s champion Tyler Mason, against the American duo of Trey Cunningham and Robert Dunning.

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