The community of Waterhouse, the birthplace of Digital Dancehall, has yet another monumental feat to celebrate.

This is because, Shelly-ann Fraser-Pryce, the darling of Jamaican track, a daughter of Waterhouse, and one of the greatest sprinters of all time, copped the World Sportswoman of the Year Award at the 2023 Laureus Sports Awards on Monday in France.

The track icon, who lists music as her source of encouragement along the journey of faith, graciously received her award at a star-studded ceremony in Paris, on Monday.

The diminutive sprinter, who in her acceptance speech highlighted her days growing up in Waterhouse, stood tall amongst the likes of Argentina’s Lionel Messi who copped the Sportsman of the Year award.

“This is the sixth time I’ve been nominated in this category, so to finally hold the Laureus Statuette in my hands is one of the greatest honours of my career. When athletes have the spotlight, it’s important the example we set is the best it can be. We have a responsibility to influence the next generation in a positive way and that’s what the Laureus Awards are all about,” she said.

“The Mommy Rocket extended her phenomenal legacy on the track last year by winning a fifth @WorldAthletics 100m title and a fifth @diamondleagueathletics trophy,” the Laureus organisation noted of her on its Instagram page.

“If Messi can be considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, then the winner of the Sportswoman of the Year Award is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest female sprinters in history. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s memorable 2022 – including the 100m gold medal at the World Athletics Championships – saw her pick up the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award,” it noted in a release. 

Fraser-Pryce is the second Jamaican woman to cop the award.  Her compatriot, double sprint Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah had taken it home last year.

Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia Grange,  lauded the sprint queen on her newest accomplishment.

“Congratulations to the phenomenal Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 2023 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year! Your incredible talent, dedication, and sportsmanship have truly made a mark on the world of athletics. You are an inspiration to us all!” Grange noted on Instagram.

Nominees for the Laureus World Sports Awards are decided by the  media houses across the world.  The winners are voted on by the 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy  described as “legendary figures from the past 50 years of athletic excellence, and the ultimate sporting jury”.  

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also sent his congratulations to the Pocket Rocket.

“Shelly-Ann has once again shown the world what it truly means to be a champion. Her incredible accomplishments on the track have been nothing short of extraordinary. She has proven time and time again that she is one of the greatest athletes of all time, and we are honoured to have her represent Jamaica on the world stage,” he noted.

“I am proud to see one of our own receive such a prestigious award. Shelly-Ann’s infectious spirit, warm personality, and unwavering commitment to excellence make her a true ambassador for our country,” the Prime Minister added.

First held in 2000, the annual event honours the greatest and most inspirational sporting triumphs of the year as well as showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good.

The awards had shortlisted athletes in seven categories (Sportswoman, Sportsman, Team, Breakthrough, Comeback, Action and Sport for Good), created from votes from more than 1,000 sports media from over 70 countries.

In other categories, the Breakthrough of the Year Award went to Carlos Alcaraz and the Team of the Hear went to Messi’s Argentina.

Catherine Debrunner copped the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, Eileen Gu took home the, World Action Sportsperson of the Year, while the World Comeback of the Year Award went to Christian Eriksen.

According to the organisation, the Laureus World Sports Academy which is described as “a unique group of sporting legends”, votes for the winners in each shortlisted category.   The Academy, it said, also has the ability to grant discretionary awards, such as the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award, and that a global public vote determines the winner of the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year award, which honours one inspiring story that encapsulates the power of sport inspire and bring people together.

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