“Chase your dreams.”
That’s the advice Cleopatra Borel gave to young athletes moments after being crowned Sportswoman of the Year at the First Citizens Sports Foundation 2014 Awards ceremony alongside George Bovell, the Sportsman of the Year.
But Borel was not present at the event to collect her award. She was out chasing her own lifelong dream, firmly in competition in Cuba.
Instead, the pre-recorded video presentation of the veteran female shot putter passing down pearls of wisdom to up-and-coming sportsmen and women turned out to be a fitting victory speech when the honour was finally announced.
“You have to go after your dreams,” Borel urged. “You can never achieve your goals by sitting at home and waiting for the moment. You have to go out there and make it happen. Remember you are your own best advocate. You have to do it.”
Bovell, meanwhile, in his usual style, thanked his supporters and those who have helped him along the way. It was his second such award after first being honoured in 2004. Borel triumphed for the fourth time after wins in 2002, 2007 and 2010.
The live televised programme also saw Bovell and Borel among the top ten nominees for 2014. Also among them was Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Athlete of the Year Keshorn Walcott, another big contender for the award. Each selectee had a strong year, including Commonwealth Games boxing bronze medallist Michael Alexander, shooter and two-time FCSF Sportsman of the Year Roger Daniel--who won back-to-back awards in 2010-2011—judoka Christopher George and powerlifter Adrian Brown.
Powerlifting continues to show tremendous strides, being the only sport outside of track and field to have both its nominees in the top ten, with Yolande Mc Intyre also making the cut. This after powerlifter Giselle-Ann Jackman won the award for 2013.
Monica Sealy (golf) and Rheann Chung (table tennis) also had very impressive seasons and made the top ten.
The Lystra Lewis award for an outstanding individual or team was presented to the T&T’s women’s football team, which fell at the last hurdle with a late 1-0 defeat to Ecuador.
The National Association of Athletics Administrators (NAAA) was given the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award for the top sporting administration of 2014 in the large category, while the T&T Target Archery Federation got the nod in the medium category.
In giving the feature address, incoming UWI pro-vice chancellor Hillary Beckles—who assumes the post from May 1 this year—said the Caribbean has more sportsmen and women per capita than any other region in the world. Where improvements need to happen, Beckles appealed, is in the governance of sport.
The event also had its poignant moments, as sportsmen who passed away in the previous year were remembered. They were all men, including runner Hakeem Alexander, Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Rodney Wilkes, Neville Phipps (table tennis), Rawle Barrow (sailing), Kevon Carter (football), Benedict Cayenne (track and field) and cricketer Tevin Robertson.
Cycling was hardest hit, losing no fewer than eight personalities: Clinton Grant, Hilton “Barracuda” Mitchell, Kent Luces, Roger Smart, Ronald Dickie Sr, Russell Parris, David Beard and Len Harvey.
“Chase your dreams.”