Three-time RJRGLEANER National Sportswoman of the Year, Alia Atkinson has called for more support for Jamaican athletes who are striving to become world beaters. Speaking after she captured her third title at a glittering awards function at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Friday night, the 30-year-old swimmer said that a lot more emphasis should be placed on improving the lives of the country’s athletes in their quest to achieve greatness. “My vision is that sports associations will have as their primary goal the support and funding of their athletes so that these athletes will be able to represent their country based on their God-given talent and work ethic and not get left behind because of the lack of funds,” said Atkinson. “I envision a day when our athletes don’t have to worry to pay for their sporting equipment or a day when we don’t have to pay to get our way to competitions,” she said. “We love our athletes, but we can do more, and athletes can do more,” Atkinson said. She added: “I envision a day when we will be the example of the Caribbean, not solely based on the popularity of sports or athletes, but on the management, communication, and transparency of our associations and federations.” Atkinson, who had an outstanding year last season, where she broke her own world record in the 50m breaststroke at the FINA World Cup, collected two other major awards at the function. These were the Gleaner Iconic Award and the People’s Choice ‘Performance of the Year’ Award for her world-record swim. There was a tie for the Sportswoman of the Year runner-up spot with triple jumper Kimberly Williams and shot-putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd sharing the honour after both won gold at the Commonwealth Games and silver at the World Indoor Championships in their respective events. Fedrick Dacres took home the Sportsman of the Year trophy after an outstanding season last year. The runner-up was 110m hurdler Ronald Levy, the national champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Dacres was elated after collecting his prize. “I feel good because I am the top sportsman for last year and so I am just thankful,” said Dacres. REAPING THE REWARDS “A lot of hard work went into this and I am just reaping the rewards,” said Dacres while adding that he also plans to break the national record this season. “I am always trying to go for the national record, and so, yes, I will be going for it again this season,” he said. After breaking his own national record with a throw of 69.67m, Dacres’ year went from strength to strength as he won the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal in his event before taking the diamond for discus on the IAAF Diamond League circuit and NACAC gold in Toronto, Canada. In other top awards handed out on Friday night, Reggae Girl Jody Brown was presented with the Youth Award for her outstanding performances during Jamaica’s successful qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France while Jamaica Chess Federation President Ian Wilkinson was selected by Gary Allen, chairman of the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation and CEO of the RJRGLEANER Group, for the very prestigious Chairman’s Award.
0Shares0000Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League first-leg Group A football match in Malmo, Sweden on September 30, 2015. PHOTO/AFPMALMO, September 29- Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Raul’s Real Madrid scoring record as the Portugal star steered the Spanish giants to a 2-0 victory at 10-man Malmo in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.Ronaldo ended an uncharacteristic three-game drought with the 500th goal of his career just before the half-hour in Sweden before adding a second late on to guide Real to a second straight win in Group A. The brace for Ronaldo took his goals total since joining Real from Manchester United six years ago to 323, matching the mark set by former Spain striker and Real legend Raul Gonzalez Blanco.The victory left Madrid with a maximum six points from two games and ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, 3-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, on goal difference.With Sunday’s Madrid derby against Atletico on the horizon, Rafa Benitez opted against rushing back James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale while Los Blancos were also without injured defensive pair Sergio Ramos and Pepe.Malmo, European Cup runners-up in 1979, made a reasonable start with skipper Markus Rosenberg and Anton Tinnerholm testing Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas from distance.But Madrid gradually asserted their dominance as the first half wore on with Ronaldo, scorer of a hat-trick in an opening 4-0 win over Shakhtar, drawing a pair of saves from home ‘keeper Johan Wiland in quick succession.Malmo failed to heed those warning signs and paid the price on 29 minutes when Isco slipped a ball through to an unmarked Ronaldo who calmly fired past Wiland to extend his Champions League goals record to 81.Dani Carvajal was desperately unlucky not to add to the lead a few minutes before half-time as the right-back’s half-volley with the outside of his foot bounced back off the crossbar with Wiland well beaten.Mateo Kovacic fired just wide with the second half only five minutes old but Madrid were given a scare when Rosenberg sent a header skipping just wide of the target.Malmo’s hopes of salvaging something were dealt a big blow when Peruvian left-back Yoshimar Yotun was dismissed for a second booking on 78 minutes.Only the heroics of Wiland prevented Ronaldo from adding to his haul shortly after as the Swede flung himself to his left to tip over a goalbound strike with another stunning one-handed save denying the Portuguese again a few minutes later.But Ronaldo eventually wrapped up the victory in the final minute of normal time, stabbing home a Lucas Vazquez cross from close range to write his name into Real’s record books.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)