When Trinidad and Tobago National Champions and Olympians Keshorn Walcott and Michelle-Lee Ahye were voted “Male Athlete of the Year” and “Female Athlete of the Year” respectively by the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) at their annual awards ceremony held at the Radisson Hotel last Saturday, they achieved the distinction of a unique national double award for their outstanding performances during the 2016 international athletics season.
Walcott, the 2016 Rio Olympics javelin bronze medallist, edged out new national 400-metre record-breaker, Machel Cedenio, who placed fourth in the Games’ men 400M final, which has been deemed the fastest ever one-lap race at the global level.
Walcott was named overall “Male Athlete of the Year” plus the “Top Male Field Athlete” while Cedenio copped the “Top Male Track Athlete” award plus the “Most Outstanding Open Track Award” for his new national record of 44.01 secs., that was recorded in the Rio final.
Ahye’s outstanding performances in both Rio Olympics sprint finals (100 and 200) placed her ahead of 2015 Pan-American Games shot put gold-medallist, Cleopatra Borel, who also reached the Olympics final and placed seventh in her pet event in Brazil.
Both Walcott and Ahye had copped the Trinidad and Tobago Olympics Committee (TTOC) “Sportsman of the Year” and “Sportswoman of the Year” awards at their annual function which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ballroom on December 29 last year.
So it is double honours for both reigning senior champions who generated much energy and excitement for Trinidad & Tobago at the Rio Olympics Games and other international athletics meets throughout the 2016 season.
And apart from creating a T&T record of being the first woman sprinter from the twin island republic to compete successfully in both finals of the women 100 (6th) and 200 metres (6th), Ahye was also a key member of the Trinidad and Tobago women sprint relay (4×100) team that placed fourth in the Rio Games final.
Ahye won the overall open “Female Athlete of the Year” award plus the “Top Female Track Athlete” award with a new national record in the 200 metres with a time of 22.25 secs. in the 2016 Rio Olympics 200 third semi-final when she placed second to American, Tori Bowie (22.13).
Ahye placed sixth in the Rio Olympics 200 final which was won by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson who won double sprint gold and established her credentials as one of the fastest women ever.
Thompson won the Olympics gold in both the 100 (10.71 secs) and 200 (21.78 secs, SB) in convincing fashion. Ahye finished behind Thompson, Bowie (10.83), Jamaica’s two-time Olympics champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.86, SB), Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (10.86) and Netherlands Dafne Schippers (10.90) in the 100 and did likewise behind Thompson, Schippers
(21.88, SB); Bowie (22.15), Ta Lou (22.21) and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (22.31) in the 200 final.
Borel, the five-time T&T “Sportswoman of the Year”; was named the “Top Female Field Athlete” with her Olympics and IAAF Grand Prix performances.
By Brij Parasnath