By Carlena Knight
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Leon ‘Kuma’ Rodney has agreed with the stance taken by government to not host the National Sports Awards.
This is the second straight year that there will be no event due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and the fact that no domestic sports have been played since March 2020.
Sports Minister Daryll Matthew had made the revelation that there would be no staging of the staple event, but this was met with some backlash from a few sporting persons who believed a virtual event could have been held with those athletes who did compete this year.
However, Rodney agreed with the cancellation, explaining that it would not be a level playing field for all the sporting associations, in terms of nominations, as only a few were able to have athletes compete either locally or internationally.
“The persons who would have competed internationally is a small amount, so you basically would have had maybe five persons. People have to be given a reasonable opportunity. If it’s enough to say yes, we will give them some level of recognition then that’s fine, but I think I would have to agree that since everything was on lockdown, I really don’t have a problem if it is delayed or put back until sports can reopen and everyone is given a fair opportunity,” Rodney said.
“It’s ok to just say the sportsman and sportswoman of the year alone, but remember there are other components as well, like the administrator of the year, coach, and things like that. So, I would have to agree with it,” he added.
Last year’s celebrations were scheduled to be replaced with a scaled downed version of the event.
However, in February this year, Deputy Director of Sports, Evans Jones, announced that the National Sports Honours Awards ceremony, geared at recognising former athletes and administrators who had given years of service to sports and its development, had been postponed for an unspecified period.
The award had been slated for February 13 at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium.
So far this year, there have been a number of outstanding performances from some of the country’s top athletes to include bikini fitness competitor, Kimberly Percival, who recently captured her division at the Arnold Classic Europe held in Seville, Spain.
There has also been credible performances from sprinter Joella Lloyd who, in May, set a new national record in the 100m at the Tennessee Challenge at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium in Knoxville.
Her time of 11.19 not only broke Heather Samuels Daley’s Antiguan record of 11.20 set in May 1993, it was also the World U-20 leading time.
In the men’s category, cricketers Hayden Walsh Jr and Rahkeem ‘Jimbo’ Cornwall have all had commendable performances this year, while young all-rounder Essan Warner, who was awarded the cricket association’s player of the tournament for the Super40, could also be in the running.
Warner amassed 341 runs and grabbed 24 wickets in the Super 40 tournament as Bethesda clinched the title on the last ball in a thrilling final against Anderson Carty Empire Nation in February this year in Bethesda.
Kite-boarder Tiger Tyson who is currently training and attending school in Europe has also had some notable performances, while sprinter Cejhae Greene could also be considered.