Harris/Braithwaite should share Sportsman-of-the-year award
-Sylvon Gardner also in the reckoning
Says Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
January 12, 2003

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Guyana’s two world boxing champions, ‘Vicious’ Vivian Harris and Wayne `Big Truck’ Braithwaite are tipped to share the 2002 National Sports Commission (NSC) Sportsman-of-the-Year award.

The panel to select the 2002 sports awardees will meet at 10am on January 24 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

Harris is the current World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Association (IBA) junior welterweight champion, while Braithwaite is the World Boxing Council’s (WBC) cruiserweight champion.

Twenty four-year-old Harris secured a second round TKO victory over Diobelys Hurtado on October 19, to wrest the WBA and IBA belts from Hurtado becoming the youngest Guyanese ever to win a world title, while 27-year-old Braithwaite stopped Italian, Vincenzo Cantatore in the 10th round on October 11, in Italy, eight days earlier.

Their feat, helped Guyana become the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to have two world boxing champions in eight days.

Harris’ record now stands at 22-1-1, 16 KOs, while Braithwaite’s record is 18 wins with 15 KOs.

Braithwaite became the second Guyanese fighting under the Golden Arrowhead to win a world title, and Harris the third.

Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis who was the first Guyanese to win a world title, was adjudged Guyana’s 2001 Sportsman of the Year.

Members of the selection panel which includes journalists from the various media houses (print and electronic) will deliberate over who should be given the nod.

The over 30 sports associations/federations in Guyana, had up to Friday last, to submit their nominations, but according to National Sports Commission’s Logistic Officer, George Green, only three or four associations reached the deadline.

However, some associations have asked for an extension on the date for submission of nominees, citing that their (associations) executives will be meeting this week to select their respective nominees, Green said.

According to Green, an association does not necessarily have to nominate an athlete from their association since “any association can nominate an athlete from another association.”

There were other outstanding performances by local sportsmen in 2002, but Harris and Braithwaite’s feats surpass the others.

In bodybuilding, Sylvon Gardner became the first Guyanese in 30 years to win a Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding, bantamweight gold medal when he participated in last year’s championships in Venezuela.

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