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Take it easy, Aries tells Powell over athletes` recognition

15 December 2006

By Gary Smith

Following a statement made by world record holder, Asafa Powell, voicing his disappointment with level of recognition being given to other athletes who have performed well for the country, Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) president Howard Aries, said the country recognises the more superb performances.

According to reports from Jamaica, Aries said the association had to be careful not to just present awards to athletes for any performance, so as to not blow the value of being honoured out of proportion.

Speaking on Wednesday at a luncheon at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, to honour the sprint pair of Powell and Sherone Simpson, along with their coach Stephen Francis, for their outstanding efforts this season, Aries said those who have been rewarded are the ones that have taken their performance to another level.

"We have to be careful," Aries said in regard to Powell's statement. "We recognise efforts, but at the same time we have to recognise the ones that are at another level.

"One of the things we are trying to do is not just to give recognition, but to create a climate of awareness," he noted.

Powell received a special award from the IAAF presented to him by legendary Herb McKinley, which adds to the number of awards he has won this season, including the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year award, as well as being named Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Male Athlete of the Year.

In the meantime, Simpson, who returned the two fastest performances in the 100m and 200m this season, was presented with an award for landing her best-ever season thus far on the circuit, where she finished the campaign as the number one ranked female sprinter on the IAAF World 100-metre rankings list.

She was also nominated for the IAAF's Female Athlete of the Year award, a crown in which Jamaican-born American sprinter Sanya Richards won during the 2006 Gala in Monaco.

Simpson was also named CAC Female Athlete of the Year.

"We must rejoice and pay tribute to these two athletes and their coach," Aries said.

Aries went on to thank Powell for continuing the tradition of world record performance, which he said goes back to the days of the legendary, McKenley.

"Asafa, you are maintaining the standard," Aries proudly stated, adding that while other countries have failed to maintain their standards, "We have been able to sustain these (world ranked) performances over the years."

The sprinters, along with Coach Francis, will continue preparation for the upcoming 2007 track and field season, which will be highlighted by the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, slated to run from 25 August - 2 September in Osaka, Japan.

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