By Calvin Roberts
Guyana, West Indies and Durham dependable middle order batsman Shivnarine ‘Tiger’ Chanderpaul recorded another milestone in his life when he won the National Sports Council (NSC) Sportsman of the Year award, claiming the 2008 version via a unanimous vote yesterday.
On the same note, local marathon queen, Alika Morgan, who was Junior Sportswoman in consecutive years, chalked up a double by claiming both the Senior and Junior awards, also via a unanimous vote.
The ‘Tiger’ stole the spotlight from Morgan, adding the local title to the long list of accolades bestowed on him in 2008.
First there was the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricketer of the Year Award, followed by the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award. The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) also showered the dependable middle order batsman who now sits in the number three position on the all-time run scorers’ list for West Indies batsmen, with their Cricketer of the Year award late last year.
But Morgan would be celebrating with a happy feeling, after losing out on the award to Ashley Khalil last year.
This year she defeated another queen in world- renowned squash player Nicolette Fernandes for the senior award.
Among Morgan’s numerous achievements in 2008 the gold medal performances in the South American and Suriname 10k, the local 10k, University of the West Indies (UWI) half marathon and the Suriname Marathon readily come to mind.
Five-time Central American and Caribbean (CAC) bantamweight bodybuilding champion Sylvan Gardner took the runner-up position to Chanderpaul, while national rugby captain Claudius Butts received honourable mention.
On the distaff side, Fernandes who resumed her climb to international fame on the squash courts last year following knee surgery and is herself a former Sportswoman of the Year winner, had to settle in second spot behind Morgan, with national table tennis player Michelle John receiving honourable mention.
In the Junior category, Caribbean Junior and Cadet Championships gold medal and Commonwealth Youth Games silver medalist Clevon Rock got the judges’ nod over Olympian Niall Roberts while Narayan Ramdhani received honourable mention.
Other winners included Oliver Kerr (Special Award for Persons with Disability), Franklyn Wilson (Sports Journalist-Photographer), Rawle Welch (Sports Journalist-Print), Guyana Rugby Football Union (Sports Association), Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (Most Improved Association) and National Rugby 7’s Male team, the Sports Team of the Year.
While no award was given for Sports Journalist-Non-Print, Prime News’ Iva Wharton received an honourable mention even as FIFA acclaimed referee Dianne Ferreira-James and Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) president Afeeze Khan won the Female and Male Sports Personality Awards. The panel comprised Chairman and Director of Sports of the NSC Conrad Plummer and Neil Kumar respectively, former Chief Justice Cecil Kennard, Frank De Abreu, Phillip Fernandes, Stephanie Fraser, Debbie Bunbury, Claude David, Shahab Khan, Joe Chapman and Avenash Ramzan.
The presentation of the awards will be done on March 20 at the National Cultural Centre.