Fourteen-year-old Shaniqua Bascombe and Eighteen-year-old Jaden St Louis, were named the senior Girls and Boys ‘Athletes of the Year,’ respectively at Cougars Track and Field Club annual awards and dinner on Tuesday at the VIP Room of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.
Bascombe who was the fastest Thirteen-year-old in the world in 2017 with her clocking of 11.70 and 23.50 for the 100 metres and two hundred metres events, was a runaway winner after copping gold at the national championship for Trinidad and Tobago in June of this year. She came back at the junior championship to win impressively and was also the winner of the 100 metres event at the Secondary School Championships.
Bascombe said, “It’s a good accomplishment but still, I know I have more work to do. I made it to the Carifta team this year but because of the age restriction I could not take my place. I hope to be part of the team in 2018. I am working towards accomplishing my goal. I have learnt that working hard and not giving up helps you out a lot, and when you have a coach driving you as my coach does, you will achieve excellence” she said.
“At a young age, I looked up to many of our top athletes and those international stars. Now, my aim is to make it to the Olympics but not just be an Olympian. but to win our first medal as a sprinter for Trinidad and Tobago.
St Louis who won his first major title in the club said, “I know now that hard work will pay off. I have mess up a few times so I know what time it is. St Louis had to fight hard to overcome the challenge of Recardo Prescott. St Louis, who represented T&T in Barbados in preparation for the Carifta Games, was the anchor-man in Grenada two years ago.
“This award is very important to me, knowing that I worked hard throughout the year. Achieving this is a big thing for me. My goals and having my coach there keeps me motivated. Knowing that he is there, driving me towards my goals that is what motivates me, along with my parents and of course Almighty God,” said St. Louis, a former student of St Anthony’s College.
Responding to questions about running out of shelf space at home for his awards, St Louis replied jokingly that space for his trophies was not an immediate concern, but when that time comes, “My mother would build more shelves.”
St Louis was edged out for top honour when Prescott, who also runs 400m, 800m and 1,500m events, finished second in the Under-18 Boys event in the Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships at the Queen’s Park Savannah, in November.
The 800 metres champion Joanna Rogers was the runner-up to Shaniqua Bascombe. She represented T&T at this year’s Carifta Games, finishing seventh in 400 metres final and received a bronze medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay. Rogers is unbeaten at the 800m in T&T and won the women’s 800m at the Falcon Invitational Games.
They weren’t the only top medallists taking the spotlight on the night’s ritzy affair. The Club is so ripe with talent, the executive of the premier developmental outfit was forced to introduce two new awards junior boys’ and girls’ Athlete of the Year.
The Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman title were copped by Tyrell Springer and Janika Jordan. Eleven-year-old Springer performed with distinction throughout the season while Janika ‘Hulk” Jordan dominated the Under 12 Girls.
According to her coach Kelvin Nancoo, she is an Olympian in the making.
President of the NAAA—Ephraim Serrette was in attendance and he challenged the Cougars Club to make the transition from Juvenile Champions to Junior Champions in 2018. ‘You have won the Juvenile Championship for seven years and winning at that level is great but the time has come for the transition to Junior Champions.’
The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Association President—Brian Lewis was the feature speaker at the awards and captivated the audience with his presentation. He asked the young athletes to use their God Given Talent.
He commented, God gave al of us talents It show you use it that will matter. I urge you all to use your God Given talent, nurture it and invest in it. We are living in trying times where everything seem to have failed us but we must remember when all else has failed there is God and Sport. Cougars has performed with distinction and I commend your Coaches and the parents for all that you you have achieved. Keep up the great work and keep your faith in God.’
Kelvin Nancoo thanked all the coaches and parents for their support and assistance to the club and for making the 2017 season the success which it was. He intimated, “We have one year remaining in out ten year development plan and 2018 will see us become the Juvenile and Junior Champions of Trinidad and Tobago. That was our dream, our vision and our mission and at this same function in 2018, I will say to you, “Mission Accomplished.”
Senior Athlete of the Year (M): Jaden St Louis
Senior Athlete of the Year (F): Shaniqua Bascombe
Junior Athlete of the Year (M): Tyrell Springer
Junior Athlete of the Year (F): Janika Jordan
Champion Age Group Athletes:
Under 10 Boys: Makaelan Woods
Under 10 Girls: Shania Thomas
Under 12 Boys: Tyrell Springer
Under 12 Girls: Janika Jordan
Under 14 Boys: Jordan Noel
Under 14 Girls: Karissa Kirton
Under 16 Boys: Ariel Kerr
Under 16 Girls: Caliyah Wallace
Under 18 Boys: Josiah Wilson
Under 18 Girls: Joanna Rogers
Under 20 Boys: Jaden St. Louis
Under 20 Girls: Kershel Mc Intyre
n Ashton Gill - Leadership
n Abeyola Akowe - Commitment
n KaleighForde - Commitment /Improvement
n Tafari Waldron - Commitment/Improvement
n Octavia Cambridge - Commitment/Improvement