THE year 2014 certainly belonged to the Guyana’s National 15s and 7s rugby team, with the ‘Green Machine’ becoming the first Caribbean country to hold both titles in a single calendar year and yesterday they were duly rewarded – picking up the bulk of the Awards from the National Sports Commission.
An esteemed panel of judges converged on the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to cast their votes with the aim of naming Guyana’s top teams, sportsmen and women along with personalities for 2014.
After defeating USA (South) to win their first ever NACRA 15s title, the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) assembled their best possible team for the game’s shortest format and went on to win their 7th NACRA 7s championship and also booked a place in the Olympic Qualifiers.
For years they have been calling to be recognised and their cries did not fall to deaf ears when the judges voted unanimously for the GRFU to win the Sports Association-of-the-Year award and the Most Improved Association accolade while Theodore Henry was named Coach-of-the-Year and the president Peter Green clinched the Male Sports Personality-of-the-Year award.
The GRFU won five of the six awards contested since only captain Ryan Gonsalves came up short in the Sportsman-of-the-Year category which was won by Guyana and West Indies spinner Veerasammy Permaul.
Permaul who was nominated by the Guyana Cricket Board edged out hotshot racer Kristian Jeffrey who was a favourite for the award.
Jeffrey was nominated by the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC), the Guyana Boxing Association and the Guyana Tennis Association and though becoming the first Guyanese to win the Caribbean Champion Driver title last year and owning the lap record at Bushy Park, the Stag Beer-sponsored driver had to settle for the runner-up position.
Lindener Cassie George won both the Junior and Senior Sportswoman-of-the-Year awards, after a sensational season on the track last year.
Dominating the local scene in 2014, George defied the odds when she won the 1500 and 3000M at the CARIFTA Games to become the first Guyanese female to win both events at the games.
Jason Yaw, the new South American Youth Championship 400M record-holder, is the Junior Sportsman-of-the-Year and easily won ahead of his competitors Narayan Ramdhani (badminton), Shemron Hetmyer (cricket), Delroy Murphy (judo), Nyron Joseph (squash) and Alanzo Ambrose (cycling).
Yaw clocked 46.79 seconds to erase the old mark of 47.46s in the event He also ran under the old record in his heat when he posted 47.42s.
Stabroek News’ Orlando Charles won the Photographer-of-the-Year award while his colleague Emmerson Campbell was named the Print Sports Journalist-of-the-Year.
Avenash Ramzan of the Guyana Times and Television Guyana (TVG) was Non-print Sports Journalist-of-the-Year.
Director of Sport Neil Kumar extended congratulations to the respective winners and encouraged those who came up empty-handed to keep pushing for excellence in their respective disciplines.