Warri Guru Trevor Simon And Empire FC Welcome National Awards

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1. Treasurer of the Empire FC, Kennedy Greenaway, accepted the award on the club’s behalf.
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By Neto Baptiste

On Independence Day, November 1st, Antigua and Barbuda honoured a number of individuals and institutions for their contributions to nation building.

Among them were two noteworthy names within the sporting community, warri Grandmaster and reigning International champion Trevor Simon, and successful football club, the Empire FC, 13 times Premier Division champions here in Antigua. 

It was a significant moment for the Empire FC as it means they go down in history as the first sporting organisation to receive a national award.

Former defender and current treasure of the Empire FC Kennedy Greenaway said the award, the Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage, is not just for the past and current players, but for the entire Gray’s Green community.

“It shows the community that all the hard work and the support didn’t go in vain because the club has been around for the last 60 years, which means that it could not have been achieved by the players alone but it would also have to come from all the supporting areas. So the community, I am sure, would be just as proud as the players to know that we got this award,” he said. 

Empire won six straight titles between 1975 and 1996, while they were four-peat winners between the 1997/98 and 2000/01 seasons. The club also won titles in 1978/79 season, the 1987/88 season and the 1991/92 season.

Simon, who was awarded Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (CN), credited his late mother Naomi Simon for his achievements, adding that his only regret is that she was not around to share in the moment.

“At the ceremony, I can tell you that I became very emotional thinking about her. I actually welled up several times during the event thinking that mom should be here because I know she spent an enormous amount of time imparting her knowledge and instructing me about the game of warri. The rounders game, or round and round that the females play in Antigua, my mom was an expert at playing that game and she imparted that knowledge also. So, whenever I do workshops for students and so on, I not only teach them how to play warri, I also teach them how to play round and round,” he said. 

The 26-times International warri champion was humbled by the award.

“A number of folks have been saying it’s a long overdue process but, for me, just being awarded is sufficient. It shows that the nation appreciates what you’ve done over the years in putting Antigua on the map, so it is a humbling experience. I use that situation to influence the youngsters that I teach on a weekly basis at the Warri Academy and hope that what I have achieved will inspire them to do even greater things for Antigua in the future,” Simon said.

Simon has won 26 gold and one silver on the International scene, claiming the Swiss International Gold medal in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. He also won a Swiss International Silver Medal Winner in 2007 alongside many other world medals.

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