A People’s Choice Award will be added to the list of honours at this year’s T&T Olympic Committee 18th Annual Olympic Committee Gala at the Port-of-Spain Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on Dock Road, Port-of-Spain, on December 29.

Five awards were usually presented during the ceremony, the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year, which are determined by the TTOC executive based on a criteria which the emphasis surrounding performances delivered by athletes during the calendar year.

Brian Lewis, president of the TTOC made the announcement at Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday. The move by the national sporting organisation aimed to widen public participation in its activities.

To faciliate the awarding of the People’s Choice award the TTOC contracted Tribal Worldwide (Caribbean), a full service digital agency which is responsible for developing an on-line campaign for the award. The move is seen by the TTOC as a strategic move to explore every positive aspect of the digital experience.

But unlike existing People’s Choice Awards schemes, which shortlist athletes and categories, the TTOC was allowing voters the true power of choice. Dale Lutchman, general manager at Tribal Worldwide (Caribbean) said the People’s Choice Award was already launched on-line and promised to be different.

It was now up to the public, he said, to log onto www.ttoc.org and vote or access the link on the TTOC’s Facebook page and Twitter feeds. Any member of the public, any part of the world could vote once a day until midnight on December 20.

Lutchman said, “We have the mandate of ten-golds-24. That is not necessarily just a TTOC mandate, but it’s part of the culture; it’s part of the DNA and its somewhat of a challenge to the national athletes that we have a goal. We want to get ten gold by 2024. The public is aware of this goal and we need to make them even more aware and more involved in that process that support and fuels the athletes, so we just don’t see when the athletes come back with a gold medal or two at the airport. They need it on the road to Rio, on the build up to Rio. So there, we devised a strategy with the (TTOC) marketing team, because we know the old adage perception is reality.”

He added: “So we need to create that reality, on social media, as well as off-line media that the people are aware that this tiny Caribbean island with just over 1.6 million, are a force to be reckoned with. We have produced the world greatest batsman. We have produced gold medals at past Olympic Games. We have one of the best mid-fielders in the world, two Miss Universe and plenty achievements that we can boast about. And, in the same way there is a unified front with Team USA, Team Jamaica, there is now Team TTO. This is the starting point. As we prepare for the annual awards on the 29th of December, we have done the first part of the strategy where we get the public involved.”