SOSA JOY: Paralympic swimmer Shanntol Ince, right, hugs national shot putter Cleopatra Borel when she received her Spirit of Sport Award (SOSA) ring for being one of five nominees for the Sports Performance of the Year category.
—Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY
‘Emotional’ Jehue stars at SOSA
World Championship 400m hurldes gold medallist Jehue Gordon captured the prestigious title of Sports Performance of the Year, one of four awards the top athlete took away when the Spirit of Sport Awards (SOSA) Ceremony took place at the Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s on Saturday night.
Gordon also received the keys to a Maracas/St Joseph duplex from Housing Development Corporation (HDC) CEO Jearlean John and a cheque for $800,000 for his golden run in Barcelona back in July/August.
Ace swimmer George Bovell was on hand to accept his $250,000 cheque for his FINA World Swimming Championship Men’s 50m freestyle bronze medal effort in Barcelona.
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts said the rewards were all part of a clear reward policy for athletes who achieve feats during the various regional, world and Olympic competitions.
Gordon beat a strong field in the race for the Sports Performance for the Year award, including Bovell, Dylan Carter (silver in the men’s 50m butterfly at the FINA World Youth Swimming Championships), cyclist Njisane Phillip (silver in the First UCI World Cup Series in Manchester) and Paralympic swimmer Shanntol Ince (four golds at the Paralympic Pan American Championships).
When he received his award, Gordon said: “It is amazing to be here and to receive these gifts. You know it is hard for some of the athletes. I for one am hardly around my family six or seven months of the year,” he said, pausing to wipe tears from his eyes.
“Thinking about it is very emotional for me, but what I would like to say tonight is all of the people who have been instrumental in my development, I’d just like to say thank you very much for all the support I have received thus far. To the whole of Trinidad and Tobago, thank you for the gift, because as you all know, it is because of all the taxpayers. Anyhow, to all the awardees and non-awardees congratulations and all the best for the 2014 season.”
This country’s top athletes for 2013 and their athletic achievements were feted and rewarded at the gala red carpet show, hosted by the Ministry of Sport and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago.
Gordon also grabbed the titles of Male Athlete of the Year, Consistent Performer of the Year and Breakthrough Performance of the Year.
Ince was the next most heralded athlete on the night, taking home two trophies for Athlete with a Disability and Emerging Athlete of the Year for her four gold medal sweep at the Paralympic Junior Pan American Championship in Argentina back in September.
Top youth swimmer Carter also received one award for Record-breaking Performance of the Year to add to his Junior Male Athlete of the Year award he received at the SOSA Nomination Ceremony at Queen’s Hall on December 17.
National athletes, shot putter Cleopatra Borel, sprinter Emmanuel Callender and sailor Andrew Lewis were joint hosts of the event, which featured live performances from some of the country’s leading and upcoming artistes including Ravi B, 3Canal, 3 Miles to Midnight and Nebula 868.
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts handed the Lifetime Achievement award to Marjorie John, an 81-year old multi-sport athlete and patriot, who challenged the Minister to a race around the Savannah.
John joins the ranks of McDonald Bailey (2012) and Rodney Wilkes (2011) as a recipient of the award, which is meant to recognise citizens who have dedicated their lives to Trinidad and Tobago through sport.