Sarwan, Fernandes named Sportsman, Sportswoman of the year

Sarwan edged out Guyana and the Caribbean’s distance star Cleveland Forde and the English-speaking Caribbean’s highest-rated fighter, Leon ‘Hurry Up’ Moore who were the only three persons to receive votes out of a field of seven athletes nominated for the prestigious award.

Windies opener Travis Dowlin, 2009 Caribbean men’s table tennis singles bronze medallist, Idi Lewis, marksman Mahendra Persaud and strong man ‘Big’ John Edwards were the other nominees.

Sarwan, who was named the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Cricketer-of-the-Year, scored 850 runs from nine matches last year with four centuries and one half century including a career best 291 against England in Barbados last May.

The 29-year-old Sarwan, who first won the NSC award in 2000, gained seven of the judges’ votes while Forde, who only mustered five votes, had to settle for the runner-up spot.

Rawle Toney

Squash queen Fernandes scored a landslide win over 2008 winner Alika Morgan and the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) bantamweight champion Shondel Alfred.

After being out of competition for almost two years with a career-threatening knee injury, the Caribbean squash champ returned to claim her first ever Women’s International Squash Players Association (WISPA) tournament when she won the Greek Open in early December.

Fernandes had reached an all-time personal best 27 in the world rankings in May 2007 before she was forced out by the  injury but steady progress in several international tournaments now see her being ranked at 62 in the world. She is also the highest rated player from the Caribbean and won the Sportswoman-of-the-Year award back-to-back in 2000/01 and then again in 2005.

Fernandes, 27, collected a total of eight votes while Morgan, who had dominated the nominations, only got three and Alfred two. Of the two other nominations for the category, only female rugby player, Tricia Munroe, received any vote while upcoming squash star Keisha Jeffrey did not get any.

The junior Sportswoman-of-the-Year draw saw the Junior CARIFTA Games gold medallist getting half of the 14 votes while Guyana and West Indies female player Shemaine Campbell (3) finished in the runner-up spot.

Fifteen-year-old Straker clocked 4:42.89 in the Girls Under-17, 1500 metres beating Jamaica’s Petrene Plummer (4:43.65) and fellow Guyanese Janella Jonas (4:45.05) at last year junior CARIFTA Games in St Lucia and qualified for the World Youth games.

The day’s toughest and closest voting came in the selection of the Junior Sportsman-of-the-Year which saw national youth cyclist Geron Williams coming out on top after four rounds of close voting.

His competitors this time came from teen basketball sensation Akeem ‘The Dream’ Kanhai, West Indies Under-19 opener Trevon Griffith, squash player Jason Ray Khalil, mid distance athlete Ricardo Martin and 12 year-old badminton star Narayan Ramdhani.

After the first round, it was clear that judges would have had an uphill task to select the winner after Kanhai, Griffith and Martin exited.

Williams still stood his ground and by round three it was between Williams and Khalil and the cyclist braced the tape by one vote. Khalil settled for the runner’s up spot while Ramdhani received honourable mention.

Stabroek Sports’ Rawle Toney was named (Print) Sports-Journalist-of-the-Year when he got eight of the 14 votes in front of 2008 recipient Rawle Welch (6) of Kaieteur News. Toney and Welch were the only two journalists to receive votes. The other persons in the category were Michael Benjamin and Franklin Wilson all of Kaieteur News.

Prime News reporter Iva Wharton won the none-print Sports Journalist-of –the Year award holding off NCN’s Leana Bradshaw, Mark Young, Avinash Ramzan and Wilson.

However, Wilson won his third Sports Photographer of the year award ahead of Orlando Charles (Stabroek News) by one vote.

Dr. Karen Pilgrim was unanimously named Female Sports Personality while Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) Public Relation Officer (PRO) and Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club President, Hilbert Foster was the male recipient winning in a close battle with Kashif Muhammad.

Coach of the year went to Laurie Adonis who is presently in Las Vegas with the National Seven’s Men rugby team who also won the Sports Team of the Year award.

The Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) was the Sports Association-of-the-Year award while the Guyana Amateur Power Lifting Federation was adjudged the most improved association.

March 5 is set for the prize giving ceremony which will be held at the National Cultural Centre.

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