PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, December 30, 2012 – As was expected T&T’s London Olympic Games gold medallist Keshorn Walcott was the major winner when he won four of the five awards he was nominated for at the second annual Spirit of Sport Awards (SOSA) which took placed at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, Friday.
The Toco-born Walcott, 19, walked away with the awards for “Break Through Athlete”, “Consistent Performer”, “Male Athlete of the Year”, and “Sport Performance of the Year”, the latter of which was decided entirely by fans who voted on facebook, twitter or the Sports Company website.
The soft-spoken Walcott, was denied a clean sweep of awards when he was edged out by Olympic Match Sprint fourth placed finisher and seventh in the Kerin, Njisane Phillip, who was also nominated in five categories but only copped the “Record Breaking Performance” award for erasing the national flying 200m metres record twice during the year
The 19-year-old Toco-born Walcott capped off an outstanding year of achievements when he stunned the world by capturing gold in men’s javelin final at the London Olympic Games with a throw of 84.58 metres.
The gold medal was only the second won by T&T at any Olympic Games and came 26 years after sprinter Hasely Crawford’s gold in the men’s 100m final at the Montreal Games.
In winning the Olympic title Walcott became only the second non-European to take the crown in 100 years of the Olympic Games, the last being an American back at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Less than a month earlier, Walcott had won the javelin crown at the 14th IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championship in Barcelona with a throw of 78.64 metres while he also topped his rivals at the CAC Junior Championships in El Salvador and won the Carifta Games title for a fourth time.
Already this year, Walcott was voted the IAAF “Male Rising Star” award recipient in Barcelona and copped the “Outstanding Youth Achiever Award” at the 30th Commonwealth Sports Awards for his performances during the period of July 2011 to June 2012.
Not to be left out, Walcott’s Cuban coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa captured the “Coach of the Year” award while Olympic men’s 400m bronze medal winner, Lalonde Gordon and 100m sprinter, Richard Thompson, were joint winners of the Comeback Performance
Among the women, Olympic Games sixth placed finisher in the 100m sprint final Kelly-Ann Baptiste made it two straight triumphs when she was again voted “Best Female Athlete” awardee ahead of West Indies women’s captain Merissa Aguilleira, Cleopatra Borel (athletics), Jodi Goodridge (cycling) and Anisa Mohammed (cricket).
The 25-year-old Baptiste, a former Louisiana State University student ran 10.94 seconds in the Olympic final for a fifth sub-11 clocking on the season to up her career tally to 14.
As promised the T&T athletes who medalled at the London Games and other finalists were also presented with monetary rewards of $300,000 by Ashwin Creed, Peremant Secretary in the Ministry of Sport while swimmer George Bovell III was also presented with a cheque for a similar amount for his 2004 Athens Greece Olympic bronze medal in the 200m individual medley.
The gala highlighted the local sporting fraternity and recognised a wide cross-section of talent – from athletes to coaches and community teams to journalists – who have contributed to the shining moments in T&T sport in 2012.
Grenada’s James honoured at SOSA
Grenada’s World and Olympic champion Kirani James was also presented with the Caribbean Spirit of Sport award by Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts for his “unparalleled spirit of humanity” displayed at this year’s London Olympiad.
The 20-year-old James won the 400 metres in London in a personal best of 43.94 seconds to cement the Spice Isle’s first ever gold medal at an Olympic Games.
“Kirani James is also credited with bringing an unparalleled spirit of humanity and true sportsmanship to the London 2012 Games as the world took notice of him swapping his Olympics tags with double amputee, Oscar Pistorius of South Africa,” a Sport Company of T&T release said.
The University of Alabama student, who still resides in the small fishing coast village of Gouyave on Grenada’s west coast, won his first senior international medal last year when he captured gold at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in 44.60.
2012 SOSA Awards Winners
Community Champion: Kenneth Francis Mc kell (Paralympic)
Community Programme: San Fernando Future Football Stars
Corporate Champion: Atlantic
Journalist of the Year (Print): Vinode Mamchan (Guardian Media Limited)
Journalist of the Year (Electronic):Paul Montano (TV6)
Athlete with disability (intellectual): Nikolai Lalla (swimming)
Athlete with disability (physical): Shanntol Ince (swimming)
Family team: Nicholson Phillip, Vere Marie Whiteman & Phillip Whiteman,
Manager: Peter Maharaj (cycling)
Coach: Ismael Lopez Mastrapa (athletics)
Emerging Athlete: Machel Cedeno (athletics)
Break Through Athlete: Keshorn Walcott (athletics)
Comeback Performance: Lalonde Gordon (athletics) & Richard Thompson (athletics)
Record Breaking Performance: Njisane Phillip (cycling – regional record flying 200m)
Consistent Performer: Keshorn Walcott (athletics)
Team of the Year: 4 x 400m Olympic men’s relay
Female Athlete of the Year: Kelly Ann Baptiste (athletics)
Male Athlete of the Year: Keshorn Walcott (athletics)
Sport Performance of the Year: Keshorn Walcott (athletics)
Awards that were already presented earlier in the month
Educator: Aaron Pollard (Physical Education Teacher – Trinity College East)
Best Performing School: Carapichaima East Secondary
Community Team: Cunupia Football Club
Community Group: Millenium Basketball Academy
Technical Team member: Dr Terence Babwah
Community Coach: Andrew Lewis (sailing)