Jamaican swimming sensation Alia Atkinson received the title of National Sportswoman of the Year at the RJR/Gleaner Sports Foundation ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on January 18,, 2019. IAAF Continental Cup and Commonwealth champion Frederick Dacres was named National Sportsman of the Year.
This was the second consecutive year that Atkinson received the RJR award. She had an exceptional year of performances in 2018 and also received the Gleaner Iconic Award. Atkinson has been named Sportswoman of the Year three times in her career to date. Additionally, Atkinson took home the People’s Choice “Performance of the Year” award for her new 50-meter breaststroke record in the World Short Course. She swam the distance in 28.56 seconds at the FINA Swimming World Cup competition in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2018.
Highlights in Atkinson’s stellar year included winning the first medal for Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, a silver in the 50-meter breaststroke in April; winning three gold medals at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia; and ending the year by winning five gold and two silver medals at the FINA Swimming World Cup.
Frederick Dacres won gold at the NACAC Senior Championships in Toronto, improving the championship record by over five meters with an opening throw of 67.89 meters. In the second round, he had a throw of 67.38 meters and finished with a throw of 68.47 meters, his fifth-best achievement to date.
Runners-up for the titles were shot-putter Daniel Thomas- Dodd and triple-jumper Kimberly Williams.