Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president, Handel Lamey, is throwing full support behind his sport’s standard bearer Alia Atkinson, who he is hoping will win her second RJR Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year award next month. The prestigious annual awards ceremony will be held on January 13 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. Two years ago, Atkinson, 28, won her sport’s first national award since Belinda Phillips’ 1974 nod. According to Lamey, the only blemish on Atkinson’s high-calibre performances this year was her failure to medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year, but he was quick to underline her impact on the sport both locally and internationally, pointing to her as a worthy candidate. “I think she is a very strong candidate for this year being that she (equalled the) 100m world record, (set a new) 50m world record and the only thing is that she did not achieve an Olympic medal, but in terms of performances, she has done exceedingly well,” the ASAJ boss told The Gleaner yesterday. Atkinson, who won three medals at the Short Course (SC) World Championships recently and broke the 50m breaststroke SC world record, will be looking to upstage a high-level field which favours double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson, who is looking for her first hold on the award. TREMENDOUS IMPACT Locally, Lamey describes to the swimmer’s impact as tremendous, noting that the she has now become a household name and continues to lift the sport in a positive light. “It’s a big deal for us, considering that she has been the only swimmer in a long time that has won the award,” said Lamey. “She is very good to have been nominated on so many occasions and having won it.” Meanwhile, the overseas-based Atkinson has also lifted the prestige of swimming by virtue of being back-to-back runner-up in 2012 and 2013 behind sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. “She is our winner, she is our standardbearer and topped the sport here in Jamaica, and she has a very good international ranking and standing also. When you look out there in the swimming environment, there aren’t that many black swimmers coming from this region who are participating at that level,” said Lamey. After her disappointment in Rio, Atkinson equalled the 100m breaststroke world record in her return to the pool, clocking 1:02.36 on August 26 in France. She then posted 28.64 to break a seven-year SC record by 0.16 seconds at a meet in Tokyo. The Jamaican finished second in the overall World Cup points standings and in a dominant showing, won all eight 50m breaststroke events that she started. Besides Atkinson and Phillip, the only other swimmer to win the National Sportswoman of the Year award is Frances Noble, who did so 1968. Phillip Alexander (1965) and Paul Nash (1969) are the only National Sportsman of the Year recipients.
Besiktas fought gainly and held firm until just before half-time when Bayern captain Mueller scored from close range.The floodgates opened after the break at Munich’s Allianz Arena as Kingsley Coman struck before Mueller poached his second.Bayern claimed their fourth on 79 minutes when Lewandowski pounced on a rebound after defender Mats Hummels’s long-range shot was parried.Mueller then weighed in with an assist to set up Lewandowski for the fifth just before the final whistle.Besiktas, making their debut in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, face a near impossible task in the return leg in Istanbul on March 14 if they are to prolong their European adventure.Bayern made a bright start when Coman’s curling shot forced Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri into a save on nine minutes, Joshua Kimmich’s free-kick then headed wide by Arturo Vidal.But Besiktas were the architects of their own downfall as a poor pass from skipper Atiba Hutchinson was snapped up by Lewandowski, who was sent tumbling by last man Vida as he closed in on goal.Despite the dismissal of the Croatia defender, Bayern initially struggled to make the advantage count as the Besiktas defence, marshalled by Portugal veteran centre-back Pepe, refused to buckle.The Turkish champions created chances of their own as winger Ricardo Quaresma beat Bayern centre-back Hummels before firing wide, while Pepe shot over the bar.But Bayern broke the deadlock when Coman whipped in a cross and David Alaba flicked the ball to Mueller, who tapped the ball through Fabri’s legs on 43 minutes.Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez went off with a calf injury just after the goal, replaced by veteran winger Arjen Robben, a surprise exclusion from the starting side, in a move that pushed Mueller more to central to accommodate the Dutchman.Bayern maintained the pressure following the restart as Lewandowski hit the post with a free-kick four minutes into the second half.The Poland forward turned provider for Coman’s goal, passing back inside after being put in behind the defence by Mueller.With the Besiktas defence worrying about Mueller and Vidal, Coman steamed into the area unmarked to slam home Bayern’s second goal on 52 minutes.With Bayern peppering the Besiktas goal, visiting coach Senol Gunes sacrificed striker Vagner Love for defender Dusko Tosic to try and limit the damage.It had little effect though as Bayern grabbed their third when Kimmich’s cross was met by Mueller at the near post on 66 minutes.A speculative Hummels shot was kept out well by Fabri, but Lewandowski was on hand to tuck away his 28th goal of the season in all competitions on 79 minutes.Mueller and Lewandowski combined for Bayern’s fifth goal when the Germany forward squared for his Polish team-mate to cap the rout two minutes from time.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Ten-man Besiktas almost held on until the half-time interval but Muller pounced to fire the German champions in front. PHOTO/REUTERSMUNICH, Germany, Feb 20 – Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski netted twice as Bayern Munich thrashed 10-man Besiktas 5-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.Disaster struck for Besiktas after just 16 minutes when Domagoj Vida was sent off bringing down Lewandowski when the Poland striker was through on goal.