It was a first! The National Steel Symphony orchestra conducted by Dr Akua Leith playing both the presidential fanfare and the national anthem at the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) 24th Annual Awards ceremony at the Ballroom Hyatt Regency Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain on Saturday.
The black-tie event was well attended, among the audience T&T's Head of State and the twin Island Republic's first female president, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes and The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Featured speaker was Olympian and a pioneer in her own right Candice Scott. Among the award recipients were history-making cyclist Teneil Campbell who received her Future is Female Award from 2017 awardee Maurissa Aguillera, who was the first recipient of the award.
Michelle-Lee Ahye took away the TTOC sportswoman of the year while Shaniqua Bascombe will reign as the T&T Olympic Movement's 2018 Junior Sportswoman of the year.
Should Bascombe remain disciplined and focused and seek to emulate female athletes and role models such as Candice Scott, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Cleopatra Borel and Ahye much more will be on the offering in the future from the talented athlete. But that's if she remains disciplined and focused and stay true to the fulfilment of her potential and talent.
Off the field role models such as Her Excellency, Paula-Mae Weekes is someone whom our youthful and talented females with the potential to be Olympic champions can look up to.
The times are tough and the temptations and distractions are many and ever present. In all aspects the - Future is Female - but positive role models to emulate will be important.
The T&T Olympic Committee is making a concerted effort in its push to set a new benchmark for the involvement of women and girls in sport. The search for future is female leaders and Olympic champions can't only focus on the physical it must also embrace the emotional and cognitive.
The signs are there that the future is female but there are many potholes and stumbling blocks along the way. However, one can sense we are on the verge of a breakthrough and there is an energy of positivity but it's a fragile balancing act that can easily turn negative.
The year 2019 is underway and its fair to say that 2018 may very well be seen as the year when the golden era of women in Olympic sport began here in Trinidad and Tobago.
A quick point re the national steel symphony orchestra. It's the intention of the TTOC to vigorously pursue the recognition and use by the IOC of the steel pan version of the T&T national anthem played by the national steel symphony orchestra. The intention is to complete the process by Tokyo 2020.
Happy New Year to all of Trinidad and Tobago.
Editor's Note: Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not necesarily those of the organisation.