WITH about five weeks still to go before the staging of the 39th National Sports Awards, which is scheduled for Saturday, February 17, the Department of Youth Development and Sports is expected in a few days’ time to announce the shortlist of sports personalities who will vie for top honours.
For the first time in years, a number of National Sports Federations were able to meet the Friday December 29 deadline for their nominations of sportsman, sportswoman, junior sportsman, junior sportswoman, coach and administrator for recognition on the prestigious evening.
Among Associations submitting nomination forms were the Saint Lucia Athletics Association, National Basketball Federation, Saint Lucia Boxing Association, Saint Lucia National Cricket Association, Saint Lucia Golf Association, Karate Do Jo Federation, Netball Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Rugby Football Union, Shooting Association, Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association, Special Olympics Saint Lucia and Saint Lucia Table Tennis Association.
The Saint Lucia Rugby Football Union submitted nominations for all six categories, while boxing and cricket submitted for five. Table tennis and athletics made nominations in four categories. Basketball, karate and shooting had entries for three categories of awards. Golf and swimming made two nominations, while one each was made by Special Olympics and netball.
As customary, four associations did not meet the deadline — the Saint Lucia Cycling Association, Saint Lucia Football Association, Saint Lucia Tennis Association Inc. and Saint Lucia Volleyball Association.
Among the awards are Esteemed Award for Sporting Excellence, Association of the Year, Team of the Year, Club of the Year, Special Olympian of the Year (male/female), Administrator of the Year, Coach of the Year, Sponsor Awards, Technical Official of the Year, Community Achievement Award — Athlete, Coach/Administrator, District, Posthumous Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Media Awards.
Last year saw world-ranked high jumper Levern Spencer, former West Indies ODI/T20 opening batsman Johnson Charles, swimmer Katie Kyle and youth cricketer Johnnel Eugene walking away with the top honours.