Memorable seasons by Nicholas Paul and Teniel Campbell saw the national cycling pair honoured as the top T&T athletes when the First Citizens Sports Foundation held its annual Sports Awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony which for the first time was not done in front of a live audience because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which is currently affecting all countries the world over. T&T is currently on a national lockdown and the government has restricted gathering to no more than five persons in any one place at time.
The presentation of the 57th edition of the annual function, which was due to take place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) Port-of-Spain on March 21, had to be re-imagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic and instead was broadcasted on television.
Viewers were not disappointed as the Foundation relived video footage of the national athletes' outstanding performances over the past year and messages from several of them via video recordings which had started in November according to Dr Terrance Ali, chairman of the First Citizens Sports Foundation.
Paul and Campbell, who completed a clean sweep of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) “Sportsman of the Year” and “Sportswoman of Year” awards for their discipline in December, have already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Paul’s successful season included setting a new World record in the Men’s Flying 200 metres at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Then, he lowered the record to 9.100 seconds, taking 0.247 off the previous record set in 2013 by France's Francois Pervis. He also broke his own Pan American record of 9.378 seconds which he set in Mexico in 2018, and also took gold when he defeated Surinamese Jair Tjon En Far in two rides in the final a day before with a blistering 9.583 time.
Campbell became T&T’s first-ever women's cyclist to qualify for the Olympics. She starred for T&T at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in July, where she copped four medals, including a gold in the women's road race and three bronze in the Scratch, Omnium and individual pursuit, respectively.
The 21-year-old, signed on for UCI Women’s Pro Cycling Team Valcar Cyclane, of Italy, for the 2020 competitive season, also became the first double Caribbean Women’s Road Champion, CAC gold medallist and the first cyclist to receive the Hummingbird Medal (Silver) for her achievements in the sport.
Favourite sprinter Shaniqua Bascombe repeated as the youth "Sportswoman of the Year" and fellow sprinter Devin Augustine won the boys' version of the award on a night where the Sports Foundation celebrated some 100 of the nation’s top athletes and inducted ten more sporting icons into the Sports Hall of Fame.
In other awards handed out, the T&T Chess Association (TTCA) was named the winner of the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award, large category, which is given to a national governing sports body that has outstandingly showcased initiatives, and made significant improvements in its administration and towards the development of its athletes.
For the smaller category, the award went to the T&T Target Archery Federation.
The Lystra Lewis award is for any individual, team or group whose performance has impacted significantly on the national sports landscape. The winner was the Men's 4x400m relay team of Jereem Richards, Deon Lendore, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio who running in that order won gold at the IAAF World Relays in Japan.
Sportsman of The Year: Nicholas Paul (Cycling)
Sportswoman of The Year: Teneil Campbell (Cycling)
Youth Sportwoman of the Year: Shaniqua Bascombe (Athletics)
Youth Sportsman of The Year: Devin Augustine (Athletics)
Top 10 Athletes of the Year:
Nicholas Paul (Cycling), Teneil Campbell (Cycling), Dylan Carter (Swimming), Akeem Stewart (Paralympic), Jereem Richards (Athletics), Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Athletics), Michael Alexander (Boxing), , Samantha Wallace (Netball), Andrew Lewis (Sailing), Felica Alisha Chow (Canoe & Rowing).
Devin Augustine (Athletics), Alan-Safar Ramoutar (Chess), Nyrell Hosein (Amateur Boxing), Enrique De Comarmond (Cycling), Troy Llanos (Triathlon), Nathan Hinds (Swimming), Shaniqua Bascombe (Athletics), Shemilah James (Chess), Gabriella Donahue (Swimming), Shemariah Ali (Target Archery).
Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award (for the top organisations):
Small Category Winner - T&T Target Archery Federation
Large Category Winner - T&T Chess Association
Lystra Lewis award for top individual, team or group: Men's 4x400m relay team (Jereem Richards, Deon Lendore, Asa Guevara, Machel Cedenio).
Hall of Fame 2019 class: Rev. Dr Iva Gloudon (administration), Lester Osouna (coach), David Farrell (posthumous - adminstrative table tennis, basketball), Bertille St Clair (football coach), Dexter St Louis (posthumous - table tennis), George Bovell III (swimming), Ralph Gosein (posthumous - cricket umpire), Cheryl Ann Sankar (taekwondo), Claude Noel (boxing), Dave Lamy (posthumous - sports journalist).