Braithwaite, Pompey cop top sports awards
… Forde, Fernandes are junior winners
By Frederick Halley
Guyana Chronicle
January 25, 2003

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WORLD Boxing Council cruiserweight world champion, Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite and 2002 Commonwealth Games 400 metres gold medallist, Aliann Pompey were voted Guyana’s Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year when a panel, comprising members selected by the Ministry of Sport and the media met at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall yesterday.

While Braithwaite earned his prestigious award by polling more ballots than the other contenders, including another world boxing champion, Vivian Harris, Pompey secured all 14 votes from the panel.

Harris, the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Association super-lightweight champion had to settle for the runner-up Sportsman-of-the-Year title, after defeating Caribbean and Central American (CAC) Games gold medallist Sylvon Gardner in a straight fight.

On October 10, 2002, Braithwaite won the WBC cruiserweight crown when he stopped Italian Vincenzo Cantatore in the 10th round of their scheduled 12-round encounter in Italy to become Guyana’s second world champion.

The victory was the boxer’s 18th professional win in as many appearances - with just three going the distance - 15 ending by knockouts.

Harris, living up to his name, viciously stopped Cuban Diobelys Hurtado with a sensational second round technical knockout to win the WBA super-lightweight crown in Houston, Texas.

After stunning Hurtado with a pair of left hooks in the first round, the bout did not last much longer, just 43 seconds into the second round. Harris put together a left hook and a straight right hand that knocked Hurtado into the ropes and down. Referee Laurence Cole immediately stepped in and stopped the fight.

Now resident in Brooklyn, like Braithwaite, Harris improved to 22-1-1 with 16 knockouts, winning his last six bouts.

Strange enough, Gardner, who received honourable mention, failed to receive a nomination from the Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding Federation but was instead nominated from the floor yesterday. The GABBF however saw it fit to identify itself for the Sports Association-of-the-Year award and also nominated its president, Yale Holder, for the Male Sports Personality award. The latter won the Male Sports Personality award easily.

Pompey ended a 68-year drought for Guyana’s athletics when she won the women’s 400 metres at the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester, England in July.

The 24-year-old held on to beat Scotland’s Lee McConnell in a historic race.

The Guyanese, who also resides in New York, dipped across the line in 51.63 seconds just 0.05 ahead of the fast-finishing McConnell.

Heptathlon athlete Nyota Peters, who carted off a Bronze medal at the CAC Seniors, took the runner-up Sportswoman-of-the-Year title, making it a first and second in that category for the Amateur Athletic Association of Guyana (AAAG).

The AAAG continued its good showing when long distance athlete Cleveland Forde copped the Junior Sportsman-of-the-Year award with the runner-up going to table tennis player Johnattan Sankar.

Rugby player Elwin Chase, whose performance was outstanding during last year and who is currently on a scholarship in England, apparently suffered from lack of sufficient information provided by Guyana Rugby Football Union (GFU) and could do no better than getting honourable mention.

National women’s squash champion, Nicolette Fernandes, who was nominated by the Guyana Squash Racquets Association for the Sportswoman (senior) of the Year title, was instead voted the Junior Sportswoman-of-the-Year after gaining a nomination from the floor. The association’s nominee, Kristina King, had to settle for honourable mention along with table tennis player Jodi Ann Blake.

Another AAAG nominee, sprinter/long jumper Michelle Vaughn, took the runner-up title for the Junior Sportswoman.

The Sports Coach-of-the-Year title went to Carl Ince of the Guyana Squash Racquets Association with honourable mention going to Guyana Cricket Board senior cricket coach, Albert Smith.

The Guyana National cricket team, which won the Busta International Shield title in 2002, deservedly took the Team-of-the-Year crown with Guyana Squash Racquets Association receiving honourable mention.

For the second year running, FIFA referee Dianne Ferreira-James was voted Female Sports Personality while Stephanie Fraser, who was a member of yesterday’s panel and who got nominated from the floor, received honourable mention.

The Guyana Squash Racquets Association carted off the Association-of-the-Year title with Guyana Boxing Board of Control and Guyana Volleyball Association getting honourable mention.

The volleyball association was also in the limelight with Lenny Shuffler receiving honorable mention after GABBF’s Holder had scored a runaway victory for the Male Sports Personality award.

Stabroek News’ Michael Da Silva was the panel’s choice for the Sports Journalist-of-the-Year award with honourable mention going to his colleague Steve Ninvalle and Chronicle’s Isaiah Chappelle.

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