(Trinidad Guardian) Sprinter Jereem Richards and the members of the T&T 4×400 metres relay team received the Sportsman of the Year award when the T&T Olympic Committee held its 23rd Annual Awards function at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of- Spain on Friday night.
The team of Richards, Machel Cedenio, Renny Quow and Lalonde Gordon, which claimed gold medal in the final of the IAAF World Championship in England in August, reunited for the award in front an appreciative crowd that included President of the Republic of T&T Anthony Carmona and his wife Reema, Brian Lewis, president of the TTOC and Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA) among many others.
As they did four months ago, the crowd was again stand in acknowledgement of a performance that bettered that of the more superior United States and England.
Only Jarrin Solomon, the runner of the opening leg, failed to make it to the awards.
Richards, the Point Fortin born sprinter who recently graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, also got the TTOC’s People’s Choice Award after voting was done on the social media, while sprint queen Michelle Lee Ahye was voted the Sportswoman of the Year. Ahye who won the award last year, was the overwhelming favourite to receive it a second time based on her performances for the year.
Khalifa St Fort, who has been following in Lee Ahye’s shadows in the sprint events, was voted the Junior Sportswoman of the Year and sprinter Adell Colthrust, the Junior Men’s equivalent.
Colthrust was among the medals for T&T at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas in July and is touted as one of the country’s bright young talent.
Meanwhile, Akeem Stewart, who set a new world record at the Paralympics in the javelin throw last year, was named the TTOC’s Sports Personality of the Year while T&T and West Indies Women cricket captain Merissa Aguilleira copped the first ‘Future is Female’ award, introduced by the TTOC to highlight the achievements of women in sports.
Feature speaker Christopher George, a former T&T swimmer who eventually became the first judoka to qualify for the Olympic Games, hailed athletes as agents of change who follow a tradition of discipline and hardwork.
He told the audience in T&T we often forget the process athletes have to go through to become champions, saying we instead jump on the bandwagon when they achieve, without understanding the hardwork that has to be put in.
Lewis on the other hand, thanked his staff and corporate partners for helping the TTOC deliver support to most of its athletes during an economically challenging year.
He urged stakeholders to brace for an even more difficult 2018, saying it is a time now to persevere and not relent, as they attempt to replace guns and crime by productive individuals through sports.
Also among the awardees was football coach Anthony ‘Dadda’ Wickham, receiving the Alexander B Chapman Award for his contribution to the development of young talent.