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Powell and Simpson selected as CAC athletes of the year

31 October 2006

By Gary Smith

Jamaican Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, the world's fastest sprinters in the just-concluded track and field outdoor campaign, have been selected as the best Central American and Caribbean Athletes of the Year.

Adding to the sprinters' joy was the award for the North America, Central America and Caribbean Track & Field Coaches Association (NACACTFCA) Coach of the Year, which was given to the man in charge of running the drills, Stephen Francis.

Undefeated in 16 finals and equalling the world record he shares with American Justin Gatlin twice this season, Powell completed a superb 2006 season, which saw him becoming the first Jamaican to win a share of the million dollar IAAF Golden League jackpot earlier this year.

The 23-year-old soft-spoken sprinter captured his first global title in March when he comfortably won the men's 100-metre Commonwealth Game crown in Melbourne, Australia. At the Jamaica National Outdoor Championships in Kingston, he broke 20-seconds for the first time in his career on his way to improving his 200m personal best to 19.90secs.

Powell, who completed an injury free spell, will be receiving the award for the best CAC athlete for second consecutive time.

Like Powell, Simpson also had an impressive season, which started out with her defeating Olympic champion and fellow Jamaican, Veronica Campbell, at the Commonwealth Games to win the women's 200m title.

The Olympic 4x100m relay gold medallist led the world on the female side this year with two sizzling performances at the Jamaican National Championships in June.

Her world leading times were 10.82sec for the 100m and 22.00secs, a performance she achieved twice over the 200m dash. Simpson broke the 10-seconds barrier seven times this season, three of which were under 10.90, while clocking three of the top five half-lap times in ending the period.

The 22-year-old finished off the season by winning titles at the IAAF World Cup in Athens and the World Athletics Final.

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