Sanya Richards cooling out in Jamaica

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By: Melton Williams

SanyaRichards_Sports.jpgIAAF Female Athlete of the Year, Sanya Richards is relaxing in her native homeland Jamaica after she received the prestigious award along with a cheque for US$100,000 at the 2006 World Athletics Gala in Monaco on Sunday, November 12.

Richards, who will depart the island on Monday, said that her mission for 2007 is to win the gold medal in the 400 metres at the World Championship in Osaka, Japan .

The 21-year-old took 15 straight victories at 400m including breaking the 22-year-old American record with 48.70 to become the seventh fastest woman of all-time.

Although fresh from breaking the record, Richards said that the world record of 47.60 seconds held by Germany's Marita Koch is not in her reach at the moment.

Richards said: "It's not one of my targets for next year but I will attempt the record before I end my career, probably over the next four years or so. However, I'm hoping to challenge Marie-Jose' Perec's time of 48.2 next season."

Commenting on winning the award Richards said that "I was so excited when I found out that I was the Athlete of the Year. This is more than just the icing on the cake. Can I believe it?

"Yes and No. I have worked very hard this year; at the beginning of the season one of my main objectives was to be the 2006 Athlete of the Year but I knew it was going to be hard, with for instance someone like Yelena Isinbayeva who's been dominating the Pole Vault. Thank God I managed to remain on top and get this award," she told YardFlex.com.

She recalled her favourite memories for the year were breaking the American record at the very last meeting of the season and winning in Berlin to remain undefeated in all six meetings of the Golden League.

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