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It`s Deon Hemmings-McCatty

17 October 2006

Atlanta's Olympic Games 400m hurdles gold medallist Deon Hemmings-McCatty on Tuesday night received the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence, the brainchild of former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.

Senator Delano Franklyn, who represented Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, handed over the award to Hemmings-McCatty at a special function, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Hemmings-McCatty, who like winning the 1996 gold medal, defeated the likes of World Championships gold medallist Bert Cameron, Elaine Davis of netball, Simone Forbes, who represented Jamaica at netball, basketball, and volleyball, Marlene Davis, and former West Indies cricketer Nehemiah Perry, was elated.

Hemmings-McCatty's speech:

"In 1996, when I stood in a stadium in Atlanta and accepted a gold medal for my performance in the 400m nhurdles, tears came to my eyes. Most of us try to hide our tears when they come without warning, but i could not hide mine. They were tears brought on by pride in my country, and appreciation for the men and women who have helped me on this path to Olympic gold".

"I stand in that same position tonight. I am totally humbled to be given the honour of the second Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence in Sports. I thank you Mr. Patterson, for having the foresight to recognise the importance of sports in our national life, and to initiate this award. I thank you for the recognition of the importance in the sporting world of discipline, integrity and humility, capped by God given talent."

"It is with a real sense of pride and heartfelt humility that I accept this award in the name of someone who has been a shining example to his fellow atheletes. Walsh is a beacon for our young people to follow, and I am honoured to be associated with him through this prestigious award," she said in her speech.

Walsh's speech:

"When I viewed the list of nominees I would not liked to have been in the shoe of the selection committee as I know it must have been a tough decision to single out just one person. But I must say that I am extremely pleased at the final selection...Hemmings-McCatty is someone whose career I have watched in awe and this award is truly well deserved.

"One of the things I have learned over the years is that success does not automatically drop in anyone lap, it has to be earned through hard work, discipline and effort."

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