Paul, Ahye cop TTOC top awards

TEAM TTO cyclist Nicholas Paul and track and field athlete Michelle-Lee Ahye are the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) Senior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, for 2021.

The high-performance pair gained their kudos at the TTOC’s 27th Annual Awards Ceremony -- themed this year as “The Glass in not Half-Empty” -- that was broadcast via video-conferencing platform Zoom, the TTOC’s YouTube channel, its Facebook page, and its website ( yesterday evening.

It was Ahye’s fourth lien on the title (2016, ‘17, ’18, & ‘21) and Paul’s second time (2019 & ‘21) in the men’s division, while the cyclist doubled-up as the People’s Choice Award winner, his third time topping this category (2018, ‘19 & ‘21).

Since the onset of the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in March, 2020, it is now the second consecutive year that the TTOC has hosted its prestigious gala awards ceremony virtually.

Paul, the current world record-holder for the Men’s Flying 200m, earned the top male award based on his silver medal performance in the Men’s kilometre time-trial at the UCI Tissot World Track Cycling Championship in Roubaix, France, in October. He was also sixth in the Men’s Sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ahye was deemed the top female based on her ninth-place in the Women’s 100 metre-dash at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, when she missed making the final by a few thousandths of a second.

The 55-minute event -- produced by Wendell Constantine, an executive member of the TTOC -- also saw swimmer Nikoli Blackman earning his second consecutive lien on the Junior Sportsman of the Year award while Tobagonian native Rae-Anne Serville copped the Junior Sportswoman of the Year.

West Indies women’s cricketer (vice-captain) Anisa Mohammed copped the Future is Female award while heptathlete Tyra Gittens -- the Tokyo 2020 Olympic long jump finalist whose dynamic and energetic posts have inspired a sizeable Instagram following -- is the TTOC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

And veteran sports administrator and senior counsel Elton Prescott, a former TTOC executive member who proposed the Alexander B Chapman award back in 2009 -- has gained the nod for that same prize this year.

Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, addressed the virtual audience and delivered the TTOC Patron’s Address. Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe, gave congratulatory remarks whilst TTO hockey official Ayanna McClean, who was bestowed with the Golden Whistle by the International Hockey Board (FIH) earlier this month -- having officiated in her 100th match as an international umpire -- delivered the feature address.

TTOC president, Brian Lewis, set the stage for the 27th Annual Awards event by reviewing the experiences of athletes and officials in 2021 and expressed his appreciation to all as the TTOC closed the curtain on its 75th Anniversary celebrations.