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Alia Atkinson & Nicholas Walters are Awarded as Jamaica's Top Athletes 2014

Alia Atkinson & Nicholas Walters are Awarded as Jamaica's Top Athletes 2014

Posted by Shanelle Weir on January 17, 2015

Swimmer Alia Atkinson and boxer Nicholas Walters are the 2014 RJR Sports Foundation's National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year (2014).

Atkinson became the first black woman to win a gold medal at a swimming world championship, in the process equalling the world record in the 100m breaststroke.

The last time a non-track and field person won the award was in 1976 when cricketer Vivalyn Latty-Scott triumphed.

Atkinson joins Belinda Phillips (1974) and Frances Noble (1968) as the only other swimmers to have won this prestigious  award. Kaliese Spencer was the runner-up. Spencer was listed at the end of 2014 as the top 400m hurdler in the world.

Nicholas 'Axeman' Walters became the first boxer in 24 years to win the award, the last being Michael 'The Body Snatcher' McCallum in 1990.

Walters successfully defended the WBA World Featherweight title and later won the WBA Super World Featherweight crown to remain undefeated in 25 professional fights. O'Dayne Richards was the runner-up for winning the shot-put at the Commonwealth Games.

The 2014 Sports Awards is a landmark one for the RJR Foundation as it is the 10th year that RJR is staging the event.

The first awards were bestowed in 1962, the year of Jamaica's Independence, when it was then managed by the Carreras Sports Foundation. That year, the first winners were table tennis player Joy Foster and boxer George 'Bunny' Grant.

Since then, the track and field disciplines have dominated the awards -- winning the last 37 years in the women's section and 46 times overall. On the men's side, track and field has accounted for 25 winners and 12 of the last 13 years.

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