NSC panel faces tough task

Stabroek News
January 26, 2007

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A tough task awaits the National Sports Commission panel which will deliberate today to select the winners for the 2006 National Sports Awards.

For most of the categories the panelists will be forced to measure the performances of the various athletes who have covered themselves and their country with distinction.

While local squash queen Nicolette Fernandes is expected to be a runaway winner in the Sportswoman-of-the-Year category with only Nathalie Gibson and Christine Sukhram for contenders, the Sportsman-of-the-Year race is expected to be a dogfight with Gairy 'Superman' St Clair as the frontrunner.

Fernandes has garnered 11 nominations as against one each for her rivals and last year's Sportswoman-of-the-Year seems set to continue her reign.

St Clair, in July last year, became the fourth male Guyanese boxer to win a world title when he lifted the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organisation (IBO) Super Featherweight title belts from then champion Cassius Baloyi in South Africa.

St. Clair's competitors will be footballer Nigel `Powers' Codrington, athlete Cleveland Forde, Caribbean darts champion Norman Madhoo, cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan and swimmer Onan Thom.

The junior categories of the awards also promises to pose headaches for the panel with the junior Sportswoman-of-the-Year looking to be a two-person race between Table Tennis star Trenace Lowe who has the most nominations in the category (six) and athlete Alika Morgan with four nominations.

There are nine contenders for the junior Sportsman-of-the-Year award and they are Samuel Ming, Steven Jacobs, Alex Arjoon, Yannick Noah, Gajanand Singh, Niall Roberts, Nigel Bryan, Narayan Ramdhani, and Randell Keiler.

Roberts leads that category with three nominations while Arjoon and Singh have two each.

There is a potpourri of teams to contest the Team-of-the-Year category comprising cricket, squash, rugby, football and karate teams.

The category is led by the national Stanford Twenty20 cricket team which won US$1m when they defeated Trinidad in the final of the inaugural tournament last year amidst much fanfare and excitement. Some other competing teams are the Golden Jaguars as the National Football Team is called, the National Rugby Sevens Male team and the National Junior Squash Team. Albert Smith, Carl Ince, Sherlock Solomon, Wayne Dover and last year's winner Linden Johnson are the competitors for the Sports Coach of the Year award.

Last year's winner Dr. Karen Pilgrim and Joseph `Reds' Perreira head the list for the male and female Sports Personality of the Year award while Lawrence Fanfair, Aubrey Crawford, Winston Oudkerk, Claude David and Ken Moore will contest the Sports Photographer category.

The Sports Journalist non print category should be a straight fight between NCN's Leeron Brummell and Avinash Ramzan with last year's winner Reuben Stoby and Isaiah Chapelle also in the running.

The judges will have their work cut out in the Sports Journalist print category where the contenders are Franklyn Wilson, Faizool Deo, Rawle Welch, Claude David, Edison Jefford and Michael Da Silva.