Sports icons in JA

Caribbean sports icons have been nominated to be honoured at the Pegasus Hotel, Jamaica by the newly-formed Caribbean Awards Sports Icons next Friday.

The awards are based on accomplishments over the last 60 years between 1948 and 2008, for the 35 people who have made their mark in the various fields of sports.

Jamaicans dominate the list with more than 50 per cent of the nominees with 16, in the six categories including: football, boxing, cricket, athletics (male and female), netball and administrators.

The Jamaicans are: Merlene Ottey, Deon Hemmings, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Donald Quarrie, Bertland Cameron (athletics); Lindy Delapenha, Theodore Whitmore and the surprises selection Robbie Earle (football); Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh (cricket); Mike McCallum (boxing); Patricia McDonald, Janet Johnson (netball); Molly Rhone, Mike Fennell and Teddy McCook (administrators).

Trinidad and Tobago has seven nominees in Dwight Yorke (football); Brian Lara (cricket); Leslie Stewart, Claude Noel (boxing); Hasley Crawford (athletics); Jennifer Frank (netball) and Jack Warner (administrator).

The Bahamas has four in Chandra Stirrup, Debbie Ferguson, Avard Moncur (athletics) and Elisha Obed (boxing).

Sir Gary Sobers (cricket) and Gloria Ballentine (administrator) are the two nominees from Barbados.

Guyana has two nominees in Clive Lloyd (cricket) and Andrew Lewis (boxing); the same as Cuba in Teofilo Stevenson (boxing) and Alberto Juantorena (athletics).

Cricketer Sir Vivian Richards was the sole nominee from Antigua to complete the list.

Jamaican-born Al Hamilton, who resides in England and is the architect behind this initiative, said he expects at least 80 per cent of the nominees to be there in person, come November 7.

Hamilton added that he was pleased with the progress made since the idea was brought to the fore, and he noted that the entire Caribbean region is eagerly awaiting their turn to host what will from next year be an annual awards ceremony.

Hamilton, who is also the founder of the Commonwealth Sports Awards in London, said CASI is a non-profit organisation whose objectives are to preserve and highlight the rich sporting heritage of the Caribbean; educate the population in general and budding sports stars specifically about the legacy of our sports icons.

It also funds and facilitates sports seminars, conferences and workshops geared at building the capacity of Caribbean athletes, officials and administrators; support development camps that will assist in the learning of the game fundamentals; help to engender cross country contacts and relationships between youth sports participants across the region.

Digicel, one of the sponsors of the event, said they are honoured to participate in celebrating the Caribbean’s sporting icons.

Paula Pinnock-MacLeod, Digicel sports sponsoring manager, said her company is involved ‘because we hold sports heroes in high regard’.

‘Sports is a crucial component of national progress. We recognised that sports represent a commitment to excellence,’ she said.

Members of the sports media fraternity, national Olympic committees and national federations across the region were integral in the selection of the nominees.