Sports Secretary Jomo Pitt isurging athletes to make use of the opportunities available to them and work hard to achieve their goals.
Speaking at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Sport Awards last Thursday evening at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands, Pitt told the athletes that success would take time.
“I encourage all athletes to be your best, you might not see the results today, neither tomorrow but rest assure that someone is looking and someone is listening. It may be ten years later someone would reach out to you. I beg you to take advantage of the opportunities when they come your way.
“It all consists of preparation which will bring opportunities which is why you must give your best at all times. Some say because you from Tobago, you won’t be recognised but take a look around, we have athletes right from Tobago that have made the country proud on the international stage. If you are good you will be discovered,” he said.
“We have to get beyond the point where we celebrate mediocrity instead for pushing the benchmark or raising the bar. We have a way of lowering the bar and acknowledging or recognising low standards,” he added.
National junior netballer Kalliyah Stephen, a student of the Scarborough Secondary school, was named Sportswoman of the Year 2018. Picking up the Sportsman of the Year Award was Dwight St Hilaire, now a student at the University of Kentucky, USA. In all 17 awards were handed to athletes, sports clubs and officials. Six icons in cricket and five in basketball were also recognised for their contribution to sports in Tobago.
Stephen, in an interview, said she was not expecting to pick up the top title but she was nevertheless enjoying the honour.
“It feels good to win this award, it opens a door for me and it’s not that my career stops here, it goes on. I really want to go far for better in my life,” she said Stephen said she had some financial challenges over the years but was still able to perform at her best.
“I was able to go to Jamaica to represent Trinidad and Tobago and my school in the National Champions of Champs and it felt good,” she said.
Stephen said she would like to see more young people getting involved in sports.
“Some children my age feel that sport is just normal but it is something that can build a strong future. I would like them to recognise that at an early age so that they can see how they can reach far in life with sports.
She advises young athletes not to give up on their goals and to believe in God and hard work for their success. Her plans to try out for the Under 19 Women’s National Netball team this year.
St Hilaire’s mother, Leslie St Hilaire, who collected the award on his behalf, said she was elated by her son’s achievement.
She told Newsday Tobago:
“I know Dwight has done very well in 2018 which is why I’m glad he won athlete of the year. I always tell him to remember to read his bible and to pray because that is the only thing that will carry him through. I wasn’t expecting him to win; it came as a surprised to me.”
She encouraged parents to believe in their children’s abilities.
“Whichever direction you see your child going, try and give that child all the support and push into that direction. Dwight always wanted to be a professional athlete so I channel and guide him along that part of professionalism,” she said.
List of awardees
Primary School Female Athlete of the Year – J’eleshia Alexander
Primary School Male Athlete of the Year - Kaylon James
Secondary School Female Athlete of the Year - Kelecia George
Secondary School Male Athlete of the Year - Tyriq Horsford
Primary School Female Student Athlete of the Year - Q-Jhea Stewart
Primary School Male Student Athlete of the Year - Jace Quashie
Secondary School Female Student of the Year -Kelelicia George
Secondary School Male Student Athlete of the Yea r- Kassidy Davidson
Sports Administration - Tobago YMCA Aqua Warriors
Coach of the Year - Arlon Morrison
Sporting Official- Janelle Edwards
Community Sport Programmes/Projects - Roxborough Police Youth Club
Club of the Year - Kaizen Panthers
Secretary’s Award - Andwuelle Wright
Sportsman of the Year -Dwight St Hillaire
Sportswoman of the Year - Kalliyah Stephen