Nicholas Paul and Teniel Campbell featured in a sweep for cycling at the First Citizens Sports Foundation 2019 Sports Awards, on Sunday evening.
Paul became only the third cyclist to be named Sportsman of the Year, following in the footsteps of three-time winners Roger Gibbon and Gene Samuel. Italy-based Campbell is the very first cyclist to claim the Sportswoman of the Year award.
Paul was outstanding last year, capturing the Pan American Games sprint title in Lima, Peru as well as Elite Pan Am Track Championship sprint gold in Cochabamba, Bolivia. En route to the Pan Am Champs title, he established a new flying 200 metres world record, scorching the track in 9.100 seconds.
“I have to give thanks to God for his blessings once more,” Paul told the Express. “Thanks to my family, my supporters and my coaches for making 2019 a successful year. I am elated to be awarded the First Citizens Sportsman of the Year for the first time.”
Paul has qualified for his first Olympic Games, but will now have to wait to make his debut following postponement of Tokyo 2020 to July/August, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am not disappointed, rather grateful, because I believe I will now have more time to prepare myself physically and mentally, to give my best performance at the Olympics.”
Campbell earned double silver at the Pan Am Games, finishing second in both the road race and time trial. In the Tour of Thailand, she won stage two and finished second overall. Campbell’s exploits on the road earned her qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. She will become the first female cyclist from T&T to compete on the world’s biggest sporting stage. Campbell, however, said that Olympic qualification is just the start.
“Olympics has been my goal, but it’s not my only goal. Whoever is following in my footsteps to try to be better than me, I know they’ll have to work hard. I take great honour in representing Trinidad and Tobago, knowing that there are so many people looking up to me.”
Before Paul and Campbell were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, the top ten were announced. Paul was among six men in the ten, along with swimmer Dylan Carter, sprinter Jereem Richards, boxer Michael Alexander, sailor Andrew Lewis and para athlete Akeem Stewart. Campbell, rower Felice Aisha Chow, sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste and netballer Samantha Wallace were the four women in the ten.
Athletics swept the youth awards on Sunday. Carifta Games boys’ under-17 100m champion Devin Augustine was named Youth Sportsman of the Year, with the Youth Sportswoman award going to Shaniqua Bascombe. At Carifta 2019, Bascombe grabbed girls’ under-17 200m gold. She repeated the feat at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-18 Championships.
The top ten youth nominees were Augustine, Bascombe, boxer Nyrell Hosein, cyclist Enrique De Comarmond, triathlete Troy Llanos, water polo’s Nathan Hinds, chess players Alan-Safar Ramoutar and Shemilah James, swimmer Gabriela Donahue and archer Shemariah Ali.
The Lystra Lewis Award for Team of the Year went to Deon Lendore, Richards, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio, the men’s 4x400m quartet that struck gold at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan. In a “finish for the ages”, anchorman Cedenio came from behind to secure gold for T&T.
The Chess Association (TTCA) and the Target Archery Federation (TTTAF) were the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award recipients, chess for large associations and target archery for small.
T&T’s first world boxing champion Claude Noel and swimmer George Bovell were among the ten personalities featured in the Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Bovell bagged swimming bronze for T&T at the 2004 Olympic Games. Two other Olympians, late table tennis maestro Dexter St Louis and taekwondo’s Cheryl-Ann Sankar, also entered the Hall of Fame.
Joining St Louis as posthumous inductees were table tennis and basketball administrator David Farrell, cricket umpire Ralph Gosein and sports journalist Dave Lamy. Coaches Bertille St Clair and Lester Osouna and administrator Dr Iva Gloudon complete the Class of 2020.
Another feature of Sunday’s awards show was a run down memory lane with Edwin Skinner and Kent Bernard. The former athletes reminisced about the 1964 Olympic men’s 4x400m final in Tokyo, Japan, where they teamed up with Edwin Roberts and Wendell Mottley to secure bronze for T&T.
Additionally, there was a tribute to Special Olympics athletes Latoya Charles, Joshua Maynard, Marlon Narinesingh, Aaron Ben Ali, John Laldeo, Damian Marquis and Donovan Garib.
The annual First Citizens Sports Foundation Awards show was originally scheduled for March 21 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), but had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was replaced by a made-for-television production, which was aired on local stations including TV6. The show was also live-streamed on www.tv6tnt.com.