Sports awards judge continues to advocate for changes

- Advertisement -

Head of the judges’ panel for the Vitamalt National Sports Awards, Franklyn “King Frank-I” Francis, has called on the Ministry of Sports to mandate that all national associations have internal awards and name their respective athletes of the year before they are allowed to make nominations for the major awards.
His call comes following last Sunday’s National Sports Awards held at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, stating that the judges encountered many of the same challenges they faced in 2016 while deciding this year’s winners.
“I don’t think that the cricket association is supposed to be nominating as some associations do just as an afterthought because they tell you to fill out a form and that sort of careless attitude I see from some associations,” he said.
“I think they need to start looking at it like it is done in Trinidad and some of these other places where every year, each association nominates their person of the year and then when we [judges] hear the footballer of the year, cricketer of the year then we can be able to look and say well ok, did the footballer do more to be honoured as sportsman of the year,” he added.
Francis, who has long lamented the flaws plaguing the current nomination process, also called for a more comprehensive judging panel capable of looking at the various awards from a wider perspective.
“A broad-based committee with media, judges, sponsors, the NOC, ministry officials and so forth who would be mandated to look after the whole process and that means that the promotion is on their back. Setting up of the awards ceremony is in their mandate but unless we look at it in this sort of professional way, I don’t think we are going to rise to the level we see in other countries,” he said. 
The judge, who was absent during Sunday’s awards, also offered his apologies to all involved.
“I am offering my abject apologies to the minister, the sports people of Antigua & Barbuda and particularly to those honoured athletes and all those who were nominated for various positions. I am very sorry I was not able to attend your moments of glory because it really is a moment of glory and one that has not been treated with the respect that I think is due,” Francis said.
Cricket’s Alzarri Joseph and bodybuilding’s Kimberly Ephraim were winners of the senior men’s and women’s accolade while tennis’ Aron Fields and athletics’ Joella Lloyd were the junior male and female winners respectively.
Dominoe’s Seymone Parks won the mind sports award while Edith Clashing was the Official of the Year and Nelson Molina, also of swimming, was Coach of the Year.

- Advertisement -