Braithwaite, Burnette crowned sportsman, sportswoman for 2003
Stabroek News
January 31, 2004

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World boxing Council's cruiserweight champion Wayne Braithwaite made it back-to-back wins as Guyana's Sportsman-of-the-year following his success last year, while overseas-based athlete Marian Burnette copped the Sportswoman-of-the-year award when the National Sports Commission's panel met yesterday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

Though not nominated by the Guyana Boxing Board of Control which opted to nominate Howard `The Battersea Bomber' Eastman, the reigning European middleweight champion, Braithwaite however, won hands down (seven votes to two) in a straight fight between himself and West Indies middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chander-paul, the Guyana Cricket Board's nominee.

Burnette, one of three nominees submitted by the Amateur Athletic Association of Guyana (AAAG) beat 2002 Commonwealth Games 400m gold medalist Aliann Pompey and another athlete Michelle Vaughn in the three-runner race.Chanderpaul and Pompey occupied the runners-up sportsman and sportswoman positions respectively.

And another athlete, Cleveland `Little Kenyan' Forde romped away from the junior sportsman field to win the title virtually unchallenged.

Earning the runner-up junior sportsman spot was cricketer Assad Fudadin who is currently in Sri Lanka with the West Indies under-19 team preparing for next month's ICC Youth World Cup competition.

Table tennis player Jody Ann Blake won the junior sportswoman of the year award with squash player Kristina King gained the runner-up position.

The Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) copped the Sports Association of the year award while the GRFU's under-18 rugby team was voted team-of-the-year.

Debra Bowen, who copped two gold medals at the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games and Fitzroy Johnson who won a gold medal in the 100m at the same games, won the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) awards.

Squash coach Carl Ince won the coach-of-the-year award while the Male Sports Personality award ended in a tie between AAAG president Claude Blackmore and GRFU president Christopher `Kit' Nascimento.

Chairman of the NSC, Laurie Lewis, who chaired the proceedings opted not to use his casting vote to break the 4-4 deadlock which came after three rounds of voting failed to separate the two.

The Female Sports Personality award was a much easier case and Dianne Ferreira James, athlete/official extraordinaire romped to an easy win over Burnette and Maxine Parris-Aaron.

The AAAG was voted the most improved sports association while Claude David of Kaieteur News won the reporter of the year award for print media.

The reporter of the year (non-print) award was shared by Alana Johnson of GTV and Sean Devers while Stabroek News' Lawrence Fanfair was an overwhelming winner as sports photographer of the year.

Chairman Lewis and Director of Sports Neil Kumar said they were pleased at the way the panel handled the sometimes delicate decisions.

Lewis also thanked Conrad Plummer, Ivor O' Brien, George Greene and Kumar who were part of a committee that pre-planned the event and also looked at ways of improving the process.

"We will improve upon the process," Lewis said whilst stating that there are plans to make the sports awards co-incide with the national awards in May.