JIS News

Story Highlights

  • World Championships 400-metre relay gold medallist, Novlene Williams Mills, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in Sports.
  • The 400-metre specialist was chosen from a field of four shortlisted nominees, including: Chess Champion, Warren Elliot; National Netball Player, Sasher-Gaye Henry; and National Football Player, Rodolph Austin.
  • The athlete, who hails from Gravel Hill, in St. Ann, has kept Jamaica’s name at the forefront of international competition with a slew of outstanding performances over a decade.

World Championships 400-metre relay gold medallist, Novlene Williams Mills, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in Sports.

The 400-metre specialist was chosen from a field of four shortlisted nominees, including: Chess Champion, Warren Elliot; National Netball Player, Sasher-Gaye Henry; and National Football Player, Rodolph Austin.

The athlete, who hails from Gravel Hill, in St. Ann, has kept Jamaica’s name at the forefront of international competition with a slew of outstanding performances over a decade.

A four-time national 400-metre champion, Novlene has also tasted success at the highest level in her sport. She is a three-time Olympic 4×400 metres relay bronze medallist in Athens, 2004; Beijing, 2008 and London, 2012.

In 2014, she won her second individual medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, adding to the bronze attained in Melbourne, Australia, in 2006.

Novlene has also won the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League title on multiple occasions, including last year, which earned her automatic qualification to the World Championships in Beijing this year.

The Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence was presented to Mrs. Williams Mills by Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, during the awards ceremony, held on October 15 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

All the nominees received special plaques in recognition of outstanding achievements in their respective disciplines.

In her response, Mrs. Williams Mills expressed appreciation to the selection committee for choosing her as the 2015 recipient of the award.

“My fellow nominees you are all winners. Thanks for recognising all the hard work that I do, both on and off the track throughout all these years. I do not take this for granted, because at times it was not easy and sometimes I even felt like quitting. But thanks to the many people in my life who are always there for me, because one thing I realise, is not how many times I fall down, but it’s how many times I get back up,” she said.

Also at the function, Junelle Bromfield of St. Elizabeth Technical High School and Javauni Garwood of Wolmer’s Boys’ School were awarded with the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence – Student Award.

Both Junelle and Javauni received tablets and the schools they attend will receive $250,000 for a school project, courtesy of the Supreme Ventures Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Neita Headley said the Government is working to expand the sporting infrastructure across the geographical expanse of Jamaica.

“And as we do, more heroes will announce themselves and more icons will indeed emerge,” she said.

The Minister reminded student athletes that they do not “have to win to bring honour to the schools.”

“But, you must bring your best…If your team is your workplace, then you must set an example to your supervisors and to those who you supervise as well,” she added.

For his part, Chairman of the Courtney Walsh Award Selection Committee, Brian George, noted that since the establishment of the award in 2005, “we have celebrated the exemplary characters and athletic prowess of 10 outstanding athletes.”

“Unfortunately, one person at a time can be selected. We feel confident that the awardee chosen for 2015 is truly deserving of the honour. We hope that the spirit of sportsmanship, level-headedness and humility of Ambassador Walsh and awardees over the past 10 years will filter down to our future promising athletes,” Mr. George said.

The Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence is presented to a sportsman or woman who has a history of outstanding achievements; demonstrates a spirit of sporting goodwill and national pride; is a model of sporting endeavour; and displays appropriate deportment and a high level of discipline and integrity within and outside the sports arena.