AS THEY did in the 2015 Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Award ceremony in late December, track and field stand-outs Machel Cedenio and Cleopatra Borel secured the 2015 First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards at the Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on Sunday night.
For the 19-year-old Cedenio, the Sportsman of the Year award was his reward for an excellent season, which saw him guide the TT men’s 4x400-metre relay team to gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada last July. He ran the final leg and propelled the TT quartet from third place (when he took the baton) to victory.
At the Pan Am Games, he also got silver in the men’s 400m, weeks after setting a personal best time of 44.36 seconds at a meet in George Town, Cayman Islands.
Cedenio said, “I feel really good winning this award. It’s the most prestigious award I ever won. It really meant a lot to me.” Currently preparing for his second successive Olympic Games, Cedenio, who is based in Florida, United States, noted, “preparations has been going really good for me. Me and my coach (Lance Brauman) are taking it slow at the moment, putting a lot of stuff together.
We are working together to make me a better athlete.” Questioned as to what moment stood out for him last year, the teenager replied, “Pan Am, but I still cherish all my moments.” Borel, on the other hand, made history as the first five-time winner of the Sportswoman of the Year award, having walked away with the trophy in 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2014.
The 37-year-old’s most significant achievement last year was also at the Pan Am Games, where she captured gold in the women’s shot put with an effort of 18.67m.
“It feels great, five is my favourite number,” said Borel, after the ceremony.
Like Cedenio, Borel pointed out that the Pan Am Games stood out for her during her 2015 season.
“Being the first (TT ) female to win a Pan American Games gold medal, I think that’s what did it for me,” she said.
Looking ahead to her fourth Olympic Games, Borel said, “training and preparation are going really well. The coach (Ismael Mastrapa) and I are getting ready for World Indoors, and we have a solid plan going into Rio (Olympics).
Based on how things have gone thus far I’m really happy.
“This year I’m working on my strength. I’m working on my technique and all the little things that make my shot put goal go a little bit further.” Both athletes were in the Top 10 Athletes for 2015, along with former winners Keshorn Walcott (track and field), George Bovell III (swimming), Njisane Phillip (cycling), Vanessa Hill (body building), Kelly Ann Arrindell (sailing), Kenwyne Jones (football), Monifa Sealy (golf) and Akeem Stewart (paralympics).
Ironically, there was double success for Cedenio, as the men’s 4x400m Pan Am Games gold medal squad walked away with the Lystra Lewis Award, as the team/ group of the year.
The Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award, for the National Governing Body which has showcased initiatives, and made significant improvements, in its Administration as well as the development of its athletes, was given in two categories.
For the smaller bodies, the Trinidad and Tobago Chess Association got the nod, ahead of the TT Gymnastics Federation and the TT Table Tennis Association. And, for the larger bodies, the National Association of Athletic Association (NAAA) emerged victorious, ahead of the TT Netball Association and the TT Hockey Board.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith, and Sports Foundation chairman Dr Keith Clifford, also delivered addresses in the hour-and-15-minute long ceremony.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were President Anthony Carmona and Her Excellency Reema Carmona, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, TT Olympic Committee (TTO C) president Brian Lewis and members of the diplomatic corps.