`Big Truck’/Burnett cop 2003 top sports awards
… NSC chairman urges media to highlight all Guyanese athletes

By Leeron Brumell
Guyana Chronicle
January 31, 2004

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WORLD Boxing Council (WBC) cruiserweight champion Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite and one of the country’s top female athlete Marian Burnett were selected as sportsman and sportswoman for the year 2003, when a panel from the National Sports Commission (NSC) and sports journalists met yesterday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

Of the 10 voters on the panel, Braithwaite picked up seven votes, while Burnett, claimed five votes out of ten when her category was addressed.

The runner-up sportsman is Guyana and West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, while another of Guyana’s top female athletes, Aliann Pompey, was named the runner- up sportswoman.

The junior sportsman was national athlete Cleveland Forde, who won by nine votes, with West Indies Under-19 cricketer Assad Fudadin being named the runner-up having secured five of the nine votes cast. He received some opposition from Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Under-19 champion Damien Da Silva.

The junior female sportswoman is Table Tennis CAC number one Jody Ann Blake with Under-19 squash champion Kristina King, the runner-up.

The most improved association of the year is the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) with the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) being the Association-of-the-Year.

Another plus for the GRFU was the naming of the National Under-18 team as the Team-of-the-Year for their outstanding performances, while president Kit Nascimento was declared joint winner with AAA president Claude Blackmore for the Male Sports Personality award.

The two were jointly nominated after each received three votes apiece along with Volleyball president Lennox Shuffler.

The panel headed by Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Laurie Lewis voted a second time and Nascimento and Blackmore each got four votes, until for the third time, they both were locked at 5-5 votes with the deliberators declaring them joint winners.

The female Sports Personality is Dianne Ferreira-James.

The sports Coach-of-the-Year is Carl Ince, who prepared the junior and senior squash teams for their engagements last year, while the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) named Fitzroy Johnson and Debra Bowen for male and female athletes and it was taken in good favour with the panel.

Stabroek News’ photographer Lawrence Fanfair was a clear winner for the Sports Journalist Photographer, while Kaieteur News’ reporter Claude David is the Sports Journalist. The non-print award saw joint-winners Sean Devers and GTV Channel 11’s sports reporter and anchor Alana Johnson.

After the selections were made, Lewis, after engaging the panel in some fruitful discussions, urged the media to highlight all Guyanese, whether fighting for Guyana or another country so that in future, the country will know about them.

The chairman said this will augur well for the future as associations and panellists will be aware of the achievements of these persons.

It was also noted that associations should be able to give accurate information of their nominees when they are submitted to the NSC.

A number of other plans on the selection of athletes and the improvement of the committee were also raised.

According to Director of Sports of the NSC, Neil Kumar, this was the first time that the selection process ran smoothly.

He said that compared to other years this was by far the best-organised, and he was surprised at the enthusiasm shown.

The selection panel chaired by NSC chairman Laurie Lewis, comprised NSC director Neil Kumar, tennis coach Debbie Bumbury, swimming coach Stephanie Fraser, writer Ian McDonald, former NSC chairman Conrad Plummer, general secretary of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) Ivor O’Brien and sports journalists Donald Duff, Alana Johnson and Leeron Brumell.

Missing from the panel were representatives of Kaieteur, Mirror and New Nation newspapers and the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).