Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce scoop awards for embattled Jamaica

 

Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were crowned male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2013 by the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, at a ceremony in Monaco last night.

At a time when the Jamaican gold medal-winning sprint factory is under scrutiny for its drug-testing procedures, the double award comes as a welcome boost.

Indeed, last week Fraser-Pryce had threatened to go on strike from major international competitions unless the Jamaican athletics authorities stand by their sprinters in the wake of what she described as "hurtful" allegations. "We believe that we deserve not to have our names tarnished," she said.

Bolt won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay at the World Championships in Moscow in August to take his all-time tally to eight golds and two silvers. That haul made him the most successful athlete in the history of the championships.

The 27-year-old, who also has six Olympic gold medals and holds the 100m and 200m world records, won the IAAF award for the third season in a row and the fifth time in six years.

"This season will be the one to go for the [200m] world record," said Bolt, hinting that a time below 19 seconds was the target. His current world record is 19.19sec.

The 26-year-old Fraser-Pryce claimed gold in the same three events in Moscow, having previously won two golds and two silvers, and is also the Olympic sprint champion.

It the first time since Britain's successes in 1993 that two athletes from the same country have won the awards in the same year. "I'm shocked and excited. It's something that has been a dream of mine," said Fraser-Pryce, who becomes the second Jamaican woman to win the award after Merlene Ottey in 1990.

Bolt and Fraser-Pryce also receive a prize of $100,000. The other male nominees were the Ukrainian high jumper Bohan Bondarenko and British distance runner Mo Farah, while the New Zealand shot-putter Valerie Adams and Czech hurdler Zuzana Hejnova were shortlisted for the women's prize.

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