Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Kirani James Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 12, 2014 – Grenada’s Kirani James and Jamaicans Nicholas Walters and Kaliese Spencer are among favourites to win the top sports personalities of the year in the inaugural Caribbean Sports Journalists’ Association (CASJA) Sports Awards.

James, who dominated the 400 metres in 2014 and lost only once to American LaShawn Merritt, a world leading time of 43.74 seconds and culminating with a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is among picks for Sportsman of the Year in the first round of selection.

He is the only Grenadian nominated by sports journalists around the Caribbean. Jamaicans dominated the six categories including Sportswoman of the Year and Teams of the Year.

Walters’ boxing world featherweight titles makes him a leading candidate with James while Spencer, who clamied gold in the 400 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games and the crowned the IAAF Diamond League Trophy winner, is shortlisted for the Sportswoman of the Year.

Among the other contenders for the Sportsman of the Year are Shivnarine Chanderpaul of Guyana (Cricket) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica (Athletics).

The women are highlighted by Spencer (Athletics), Alia Atkinson (Swimming) and Romelda Aiken (Netball); Yarisley Silva of Cuba (Athletics).

The Jamaican 4×200 metres relay team which set a new world record at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas and Antigua and Barbuda’s Senior National Football team are among the frontrunners for the Team of the Year in the male category. Barbados Tridents cricket team and the Barbados Davis Cup team are also shortlisted.

In the female category, Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Princesses and the Jamaica’s national netball team are leading contenders while athletes from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Cuba dominate the Rising Star of the Year categories.

O’Dayne Richards of Jamaica (Athletics), Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago (Athletics), Kraigg Brathwaite of Barbados (Cricket), Lazaro Martinez of Cuba (Athletics), Wilhem Belocian of Guadeloupe (Athletics) and Jamaicans Jaheel Hyde (Athletics) and the late Cavahn McKenzie (Athletics) are shortlisted in the male category.

The female category is led by Akela Jones of Barbados (Athletics) and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (Athletics) and also includes Shanel Daley of Jamaica (Cricket) and Cubans Sahily Diago (Athletics) and Yorgelis Rodriguez (Athletics).

A six-member panel is deliberating on the final selections for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Teams of the Year (male and female) and Rising Star of the Year (male and female).

They are Tonique Williams of the Bahamas, Ato Boldon and Shaka Hislop of Trinidad and Tobago, Vernon Springer of St Kitts and Nevis, Terry Finisterre of St Lucia and Kayon Raynor of Jamaica.

The winners will be announced next week.

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