Tobago’s Akeem Stewart was rewarded for his double gold medal success at the Para-Pan Games in Toronto in August with a cheque for US$6,000 presented by the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis at the Conference Room of the Division of the Education, Youth Affairs and Sport in Scarborough, Tobago on Thursday.
The incentive was part of the medal bonus pledge by the TTO C to reward athletes who medal at the Para-Pan and Pan American Games.
Present for the presentation were Secretary of the Division Huey Cadette, Assistant Secretary Jomo Pitt, Technical Director of Sport Justin Latapy George, Secretary General of the TTO C Annette Knott and one of Stewart’s coaches Wade Franklyn.
Stewart won the men’s discus and javelin events in the F44 class in Toronto but broke the world records as a F43 competitor.
Cadette congratulated Stewart and said that his success must be credited to the support of others. “We are happy to be part of the success. I think the fact that Akeem is here today is a reflection that we are getting some things right.
Before Akeem we had Kelly-Ann (Baptiste), Lalonde (Gordon), Renny (Quow) and Josanne (Lucas). We have a lot be proud of.
I want to pay kudos to the Franklyns (Wade and Gerard).
Cadette called for more attention of Para- athletes like Stewart.
“I want to challenge us to ensure we give our para-athletes our support. We don’t ever hear anyone say ‘let’s have a contingent to support our para-athletes’. With Akeem’s success, we have to ensure we give it the same kind of emphasis.” Knott said Stewart will create further history if he qualifies for the Rio Olympics and Para-Olympic Games as he will be the first local athlete to achieve such a feat. “I know that our athlete here (Akeem Stewart) will be in both the Para Olympics and I am hoping as well the able-bodied Olympics.
That will be history for Trinidad and Tobago to have an athlete both at the Para and Olympic Games,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lewis pledged the TTO C’s commitment to continue working with the Tobago House of Assembly for the development of sports in Tobago. “I give the assurance that as long as Mrs Knott and myself are at the helm of the Olympic Committee, the relationship with Tobago will not be one of lip service but one of deep commitment.” Stewart was one of six athletes and two teams which medalled at the Pan and Para- Pan Games. Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott (Javelin), Cleopatra Borel (shot put) all won gold at the Pan Am Games along with the men’s 4x400m relay team. Mikel Thomas (110m hurdles), Machel Cedenio (400m), Njsane Phillips (sprint), George Bovell (50m freestyle) and the men’s 4x100m relay team also were rewarded for their medal winning performances