Almost every year, the Annual National Sports Awards has become somewhat of a coronation for high jumper Levern Spencer. How else to explain this three time Olympian and world class high jumper being named Sportswoman of the Year for the 15th time.
It happened again at last Saturday’s 39th National Sports Awards at the Conference Centre at Royalton Resort and Spa located at Cap Estate. Spencer did not receive the award in 2017, but boy did she ever make up for it in 2018 by having one of her best years ever having won several gold medals at international competitions including the Commonwealth Games and NACAC.
Spencer who is from Babonneau said winning the award for the 15th time it’s an honor and I am really excited. Last year I had a really great year. I set many records and in the process created history for St Lucia when I won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games for the first time. I worked really hard and it paid off so I think the award was well deserved.” Spencer began the indoor season a on a high note clearing 1.91 metres in both of them. However she pulled out of her third competition after sustaining what she called a “niggling injury.” She plans to rehab to prepare for the outdoor season.
It was also a big night for Albert Reynolds who won his second Sportsman of the Year title having first received the award last year. Albert competed in javelin at several international meets and an along the way established a new.
“Amazing” is how Reynold described being named Sportsman of the Year for the second consecutive year. He confessed that results in competitions last year was not what he expected but told me “I was always aiming for something better that I already did is what kept me going throughout the season. When asked what are your goals for this year he replied, “getting over the 80 metre barrier, qualifying for the World Championships and Pan American Senior Championships and try my best to continuing striving to set an example for athletes and trying to be a role model to all the athletes out there and trying my best to maintain my stand for my country.”
It was truly a historic nigh for the community of Babonneau. Besides Spencer and Reynolds who both reside there, so does outstanding young cricketer Kimani Melius who captured the Junior Sportsman of the Year Award for the second consecutive year. Sensational young sprinter Julian Alfred is the Junior Sportswoman of the Year gave the St Lucia Athletics Association with their third prestigious award on the night. Her achievements included placing a second place finish at the Youth Olympic Games. Alred who is studying overseas could not attend the proceedings however Coach Cuthbert Modeste gladly accepted on her behalf.
The awards night under the patronage of his Excellency, Governor General, Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac who was attendance along with this wife. Other officials included Acting Prime Minister, Guy Joseph; Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Edmund Estephane; Senator and President of the St Lucia Olympic Committee Inc, Fortuna Belrose; and Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Liota Charlemagne-Mason; Director of Youth Development and Sports, Patrick Mathurin.
During his address, Estephane said: “Tonight’s Sports Awards serve as a clear demonstration of St Lucia’s highest honor and respect for our sporting champions and legends. It also indicates government’s total passion and commitment to the advancement and growth of sports and recreation. This government recognizes sports and recreation as a medium for developing healthy lifestyles, creating opportunities for rewarding careers, employment as well as fostering national pride. As a government we recognize that sports serves as a key role in encouraging a culture of team work, cooperation and discourages antisocial behavior. It is with this key objective in mind that we have pledged to take sports development to new and rewarding heights of excellence.”
With St Lucia celebrating its 40th Independence Estephane assured everyone that we are progressing positively with sports development
with massive investments for the further improvement of the youth of St Lucia. He mentioned as part of the Sports Development plan at this time next year government will be presenting new and upgraded sports venues and facilities and he promised to keep the public educated as government begins ground work and proceeds with this major sports infrastructural program and development.
Estephane went on and announced that by our 41st Independence next year, our sportsmen and women will begin to enjoy new and upgraded world class state of the art sporting infrastructure and program support that will come from the National Lotteries Authority. In addition to the prestigious awards previously mentioned following are the recipients of the varuious awards: Administrator of the Year, Yasmin Tyson, St Lucia Amateur Swimming Association (SLASA).
Coaches award: Renatta Frederick, St Lucia Rugby Football Union (SLRFU); Peter James, SLASA; Christopher Wells, St Lucia National Table Tennis Association (SLNTTA); Emmanuel Bellas, St Lucia Football Association (SLFA). Technical Officials: Hilroy Emmanus (SLASA); Chantal John, SLRFU. Community Awards: Zadie St Louis. Special Recognition: Club of the Year, Lightning Aquatic Swim Club; Special Olympian, Benvick Joseph.
Media: The various media houses print and electronic received plaques from Ministry of Youth Development and Sports official, Mary Wilfred. Presentation to Teams: Senior Women’s Volleyball, National Under 15 and Under 19 Cricket Teams, OECS Under 23 Netball Team and the Rugby 7’s Women’s National Team. Long Service (Posthumous): Spar St Helen. Life Time Achievement, Hollis Bristol; Dunstan and Jane DuBoulay.