Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was crowned the Best Female Athlete at the inaugural Panam Sports Awards on Friday. The 32-year-old Fraser-Pryce was rewarded for her performance at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, United States. Fraser-Pryce produced one of the highlights of the fourth day of track and field in Lima on August 9 by adding the Pan American Games 200m title to her illustrious collection with a 22.43 (-0.1 m/s) performance to break the previous games record of 22.45 set by USA’s Evelyn Ashford in 1979. Fraser-Pryce was competing at the Pan American Games for the first time. The Jamaican was nominated for the best female athlete honour alongside American cyclist Chloe Dygert, triple Lima 2019 swimming champion Delfina Pignatiello of Argentina, Mexican racquetball champion Paola Longoria and Venezuela’s Pan American Games and world champion triple jumper Yulimar Rojas. Fraser-Pryce posted on her Instagram page that “It’s always a fulfilling experience for an athlete to be recognized for their efforts and hard work.”
She further stated that “I would like to first applaud the Panam Sports Committee for making the decision to host this first edition to honor the athletes of the 41 countries who are members of the Americas . I’m extremely grateful my performance was considered along with all the athletes being recognized as one of the most inspiring moments at the Panam Games held earlier this year in Lima, Peru. “2019, I decided I was “made for more”. Motherhood was never going to diminish what Shelly-Ann the athlete wanted to accomplish. To everyone who voted, thank you.” Brazilian gymnast Francisco Barretto took the award for the Best Male Athlete. Barretto helped Brazil to the men’s team gold in Lima and also topped the podium in the men’s pommel horse and horizontal bar competitions. The US received the best National Olympic Committee (NOC) prize for topping the Lima 2019 medals table with 120 gold, 88 silver and 55 bronze. Peru were crowned the Most Improved NOC after winning 11 gold, seven silver and 21 bronze medals at their home Games.