Narine, Aguilleira in line for top prizes
PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD - Track and field nominee Olympic men’s champion Keshorn Walcott is the overwhelming favourite to cop his first First Citizens Sportsman of the Year award at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, later today.
The 19-year-old created history becoming T&T’s second Olympic gold medallist when he won the men’s javelin title at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
The Toco-born thrower upset a quality field in London to take the gold with a national record of 84.58m to come the youngest ever winner of the event.
His track and field female counterpart Kelly-Ann Baptiste is going for her second award after she became the first local woman to qualify for an Olympic finals, finishing sixth in the 100m finals in London.
Baptiste would cop the 2011 accolade after she sped to bronze in the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
The race for the Sportsman award seems clear-cut but there were several other outstanding male performers in 2012 including swimmer George Bovell III and spinner Sunil Narine, Njsane Phillip (cycling) and 2010 winner Roger Daniel (shooting), are strong contenders to make the top ten.
Bovell, after missing out on a medal in the men’s 50m finals at the London Olympics made up for the disappointment to finish second overall in the men’s rankings at the World Cup.
He capped the year with a bronze in the men’s 100m individual medley at the FINA World Short Course Champs in Istanbul, Turkey, to win this country’s first ever medallist at the meet.
Narine captured the ICC Emerging Player of the Year award and named Player of the Series in the West Indies’ 4-1 one day international series win over New Zealand.
The 24-year-old also grabbed nine wickets in helping the West Indies win the ICC World Twenty20 Championships in Sri Lanka last October. Phillip missed out a medal in the match sprint in London, finishing fourth.
Among the ladies, T&T and West Indies cricket captain Merissa Aguilleira, Kennya Cordner (football) and Krystle Esdelle (volleyball) lead the contenders to be named in the top ten.
Aguilleira led the regional side to the semifinals of the ICC Women’s World Twenty 20 champs and T&T to the runner-up spot in the West Indies Twenty20 tournament.