Famed Ocho Rios civic leader Joe Issa, has congratulated Usain Bolt on copping the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Male Athlete of The Year award, yet again.
IAAF, the 215-member world governing body for athletics headquartered in Monaco in the French Riviera, dubbed “land of the rich and famous”, awarded Bolt for the sixth time with the most envied award in world athletics.
“I lost count,” Issa said jokingly, of the number of times Bolt has won the award.
“What he has achieved is astonishing, and if he runs next year at the World Championships, he could become world male athlete of the year for the seventh time,” says Issa, who is believed to be no stranger to achieving firsts in his academic and professional career.
In 1988 at the young age of 23, Issa famously became the first accountancy and economics major to pass all four parts of the Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) examination in one sitting. He also became the youngest accountant in Jamaica, graduating Cum Laude and valedictorian from the prestigious College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts in the United States. He also copped the Massachusetts Society of CPA’s Inc. most outstanding junior student award and received the key to city of Lauderhill by the mayor.
Six years into his career in the tourism industry, Issa copped the Young Hotelier of the World 1994 award. Like Bolt, he was 29 years old when he beat all nominees from around the world. He has also won numerous other awards locally and internationally, including Travel Agents Magazine’s 100 Rising Stars award and he did so 4 years in a row – 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000.
Issa, who has a tradition of encouraging excellence in all sectors and commending young Jamaicans on their achievements had, in a blog tipped Bolt to deliver the now-famous “Triple-Triple” in Rio this year.
He said then, ahead of the Olympics: “If he succeeds, he will have achieved the most unlikely feat in the history of sports, surpassing Leicester City’s recent Premier League win.”
Issa also commended Leicester City’s captain, Jamaican Wes Morgan, who had steered the team to the famous victory which, at the time was dubbed by the international media as “the most unlikely feat in the history of sports”.
Noting that he is happy for Bolt for copping the award yet again and that he expects him to continue winning until he retires next year, Issa states in the interview, “It’s a long time since I stopped doubting Bolt, once it is within human endurance …If he says he will smash the 200m record next year, I expect him to do so, because he will work hard to achieve it.”
The awards gala was held in Monte Carlo, Monaco recently, where IAAF President Sebastian Coe presented the trophy to Bolt, making it the sixth time he has won the award – a record.
Bolt, for the third successive Olympic meet successfully defended his itles in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in Rio this year, for the third time, bringing to nine, the number of Olympic gold medals he has won in his sporting career.
At the same time, Female World Athlete of the Year 2016, Ethiopian Almaz Ayana, is said to have had a record-breaking year. She run the fastest 10,000m debut in history and won an Olympic record at that distance.
Ayana received her trophy from International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is a former guest of Issa’s family.
Research shows that Prince Albert’s father, Prince Rainier 111, famously married Hollywood idol Grace Kelly in 1956 and spent their romantic honeymoon on board a luxury yacht, which would later be owned by Issa’s family, who called her Zein after Issa’s sister and kept her for about 21 years between 1985 and 2006.
But Prince Albert, who was born at the same time that his parents sold the yacht and therefore, never had a chance to get to know the vessel, would later get a second chance when he visited Jamaica and was given a cruise along the north coast by the Issas.
Prince Albert 11 is said to have great affection for Jamaica and reportedly asked for diplomat relations to be establish with Monaco, with a view to enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries.
A city/state, Monaco is the second smallest independent country after the Vatican. It has a population of just over 30,000 people (2016) and an area of about two square miles or just under 500 acres. It is not a member of the European Union but is closely linked to it via a customs union with France.
Despite being a tiny European principality, Monaco is said to have more millionaires per capita than any other country in the world, thanks to its regime of zero personal income tax which is believed to have lured many wealthy Europeans seeking a tax haven.
Monaco is located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered on three sides by France while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. It has a coastline 4.1 km (2.5 miles) long and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 metres (1,859 and 382 yd). Its highest point is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level.
Monaco is known as a playground for the rich and famous, due to its tax laws. In 2014, it was noted that about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, similar to Zürich or Geneva, according to Wikipedia.