Swimmer Jeron Thompson and Track and Field athlete Khalifa St Fort added more hardware to their cabinet after winning the Boys and Girls Youth of the Year awards for 2015 respectively at the First Citizens Sports Foundation Youth Awards held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, on Friday night.
It was the second time both athletes were rewarded for their outstanding performances in 2015. At the Annual T&T Olympic Committee Awards Ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on December 29, Thompson won the Junior Sportsman of the Year Award, while St Fort copped the Junior Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Thompson, 15, splashed his way to numerous gold medals, the highlight coming for him in Barbados at the CCCAN Championships in June. The Trinity College East student won gold medals in the boy’s 13-14 50metres freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke. He made it five medals at the meet when he won a silver medal in the 50m butterfly.
Two months earlier he led the way for the T&T swim team at the Carifta Championships, winning a gold medal in the 50m backstroke, silver medals in the 50m butterfly, 50m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, and 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m freestyle.
Thompson also gained experience after representing T&T at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.
After receiving the award Thompson said, “I am finally being recognized for all the hard work that I have put in. Usually I don’t get any recognition because swimming is not really one of the major sports in T&T.” He added his mother also deserves a trophy. “When I see all the hard work that my mother puts in, waking me up on a morning to get me to training. She is one of the true reasons why I am successful here today.”
St Fort, coached by legendary T&T sprinter Ato Boldon blazed the track in 2015. She won a silver medal in the women’s 100m event at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia in a national Under-18 record time of 11.19 seconds. There was no stopping St Fort at the Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton as she captured the 100m title. She also competed at senior level, helping the T&T women’s 4x100m relay team to bronze at the IAAF World Championships in China.
After winning her second award over the past month St Fort stated, “I am honoured to receive this award and I am happy to represent T&T.”
St Fort said training with top athletes Richard Thompson and Kelly Ann Baptiste has been a rewarding experience. “It has been great, they are great leaders to look up to and I am hoping to follow in their footsteps and go to Rio and medal there.”
Forty-one other T&T youth athletes in various disciplines were given medals for their memorable performances during 2015. The top 12 youth athletes in 2015 were given special mention which included Thompson, St Fort, Tyler Cole (cycling), Kollyn St George (cycling), Sachin Kumar (golf), Ysabelle Lawrence (golf), Christian Mardsen (swimming), Aaron Wilson (table tennis), Akanni Hislop (athletics), Gabrielle Wood (judo), Salisha Rahim (powerlifting) and Amira Pilgrim (swimming).
Female Youth of the Year 2015
Athletics—Khalifa St Fort
Male Youth of the Year 2015
Top 12 Youth 2015
Cycling—Tyler Cole, Kollyn St George
Golf—Sachin Kumar, Ysabelle Lawrence
Swimming—Jeron Thompson, Christian Mardsen
Table Tennis—Aaron Wilson
Athletics—Akanni Hislop, Khalifa St Fort
Top Special Olympic Athletes 2015
Floor Hockey—Darrius Gokool