- Olympian, Michael Frater, is the recipient of this year’s 10th presentation of the prestigious Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in sports.
- The 100 metres specialist was chosen from a field of four shortlisted nominees.
- Mr. Frater was recognised for his wide ranging accomplishments while representing Jamaica in track and field in individual and relay events, in global competitions.
Olympian, Michael Frater, is the recipient of this year’s 10th presentation of the prestigious Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in sports.
The 100 metres specialist was chosen from a field of four shortlisted nominees, including: fellow Olympian, 400 metres runner, Novlene Williams-Mills; outstanding National Sunshine Girl Netballer, Romelda Aiken; and Middleweight boxer, Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis.
Mr. Frater was recognised for his wide ranging accomplishments while representing Jamaica in track and field in individual and relay events, in global competitions.
These include: Olympic 4×100 metres relay gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games in Beijing, China, and London, England, respectively, and similar medals in the 2009 and 2011 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany, and Daegu, South Korea.
He also anchored Jamaica to 4×100 metres relay gold medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, and repeated the feat at the 2006 edition in Manchester, England.
His achievements also include the 2005 World Athletics Championships 100 Metres silver medal; and 2003 Pan American Games 100 Metres gold medal.
The award was presented to member of Mr. Frater’s management team, Laurel Smith, in his absence, during Thursday’s (October 16) awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
The presentation was made by Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who represented Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; and former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson.
All the nominees also received special plaques in recognition of outstanding achievements in their respective disciplines.
In his acceptance speech, which Mr. Smith delivered, Mr. Frater, in expressing gratitude for being chosen for the awarded, dedicated it to “those who nurtured and created in me the will to succeed, the discipline to persevere, and the recognition that whatever talent I may have, were given to me by the Creator.”
“I accept this ward with profound appreciation. But I ask respectfully that you (also) salute the pioneers and unsung men and women who have given all of us a birthright of which we can be justly proud,” Mr. Frater stated.
This year’s ceremony also saw the inaugural presentation of the Male and Female Student of Excellence Awards, which were copped by Wolmer’s Boys School’s Jaheel Hyde, and St. Jago High School’s Natalia Whyte.
Both were chosen from four shortlisted nominees, who included 400 metre runner, Martin Manley, who also attends St. Jago; and swimmer, Kevaughn Campbell of Wolmer’s Boys.
Jaheel Hyde was awarded for his exploits in athletics this year, which saw him winning the Boys’ World Junior Championships 400 metres Gold Medal at the Games in Oregon, USA; and the Boys’ World Youth Olympics 110 Metres Gold Medal in Nanjing, China, the latter in an age group record 12.96 seconds.
The student athlete was also instrumental in guiding Wolmer’s to successive holds on the Corporate Area Walker Cup schoolboy football knockout title, in 2012 and 2013. He is currently representing the school in this year’s Corporate Area Manning Cup schoolboy football competition.
Natalia Whyte was recognised for creating history when she became the first Jamaican to win the Girls 200 metres gold medal in the Nanjing Youth Olympics; and also copping a silver medal, as part of the Jamaica’s Girls 4×100 metres relay team at the Oregon World Junior Championships.
She also won gold and silver medals the 200 metres, 4×100 metres relays, and 100 metres, at the 2014 Boys and Girls Athletics Championships in Kingston.
Both youngsters were presented with their awards by Chairman of the sponsor, Supreme Ventures Foundation, Dr. David McBean.
The Foundation also made presentations of $250,000 each to Wolmer’s Boys School’s and St. Jago High School’s administrations, to fund a special project of their choice.
In her address, delivered by Minister Pickersgill, Prime Minister Simpson Miller, commended the nominees, and congratulated the winners, pointing out that she was “pleased that…(awards have been) presented to two outstanding students… at the secondary education level.”
In his remarks, Mr. Patterson, who conceptualised the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence, said he was “extremely pleased” that the presentation has “now been expanded in its outreach and to recognize our young men and our young women, who not only continue to represent us with pride and with distinction, but who are there to ensure that Jamaica’s star will always shine brightly in the firmament of sports internationally.”
Former Jamaica and West Indies pace bowling Cricket legend, Ambassador Courtney Walsh, commended the junior and senior nominees and winners, pointing out that “just (by) being nominated, I think you are winners in yourselves.”
“We are all winners in our own sports, and I think that discipline that we carry forward is what will elevate us, and why we are such a proud nation in Jamaica,” he stated.
Chairman of the Selection Committee, Brian George, noted that the bar in Jamaica’s sporting exploits “has been set high”, particularly at the global level, by the seniors. He added, however, that “from what we see of the junior athletes, there will be no problem filling the vacancies, (when these arise).”
The Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence is presented to a sports man 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.