media_artricles :: 2017
St Fort, Kallicharan claim top awardsRachael Thomspon-King :: Trinidad Guardian :: 29.01.2017
Khalifa St Fort beamed on Friday night as she collected the grand trophy for again emerging the top girls' athlete at the First Citizens Sports Foundation Youth Awards held at the Trinidad Hilton in Port-of-Spain.
The boys "Athlete of the Year" award went to cricketer Kirstan Ajay Kallicharan, who unfortunately was absent due to him being away with the West Indies Under-19 team that is currently in Antigua, competing in the NAGICO Regional Super 50 Tournament. His older brother Hance Kallicharan received the award on his behalf.
The awards were presented by Dr Keith Clifford, chairman of the Foundation and Karen Darbassie, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Citizens Bank Limited.
Sprinter St Fort had another banner year last season and that is reflected in her being voted as the best among a host of talented young women at the gala ceremony.
She mounted the podium at the IAAF World U-20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland where she bagged a bronze medal in the women's 100 metres in a time of 11.18 seconds. This followed up her gold medal winning performance at the CARIFTA Games in St George's, Grenada in the same event in 11.40.
"It's all worth it," said St Fort flashing one of her brilliant smiles, when asked how it feels to collect the top youth award for the second straight year. St Fort came into local spotlight in 2015 when she captured gold in the women 100m at the 2015 Pan American Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada. She also got silver in the 100m at the IAAF Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia and bronze with the women 4x100m relay team at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
"This is just as sweet receiving the award for representing your country," said the American-born sprinter. "It's a great feeling." Although Kallicharan wasn't there in person, he certainly was quite aware of all the happenings on the evening. "He knew he was a nominee so when they called us on stage he asked if we could FaceTime him so he could see what his position is," said Hance, understanding fully well the importance of the award he was accepting for his brother, who was probably recuperating from his team second loss in the Super 50 to the Hurricanes earlier that day.
Speaking on behalf of Kirstan, he said, "I know he was quite surprised and honoured to be the winner of this accomplishment."
Kallicharan helped the WI team cop the title at the ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. The 16-year-old had also contributed 244 runs (including knocks of 110 and 91) in helping T&T capture the three-day competition trophy at the Regional U-19 Championships in St Vincent and the Grenadines and captained this country to its first ever WI U-17 Championship trophy at home, where he posted two half-centuries.
Of the top 11 present to share in the moment were swimmer Jeron Thompson, last year's men's winner, Tyriq Horsford (athletics), Chelsea Mofford (taekwondo), table tennis player Brittany Joseph, Kate Gordon (karate) and cyclist Nicholas Paul.
For those who were unable to be there in person, family members and love ones collected on their behalf. The remaining top recipients were table tennis player Aaron Wilson, whose coach Dennis La Rose received for him, Anand Kumar was presented the award for his son golfer Sachin Kumar and swimmer Gabriela Donahue. Her prize was received by Danielle Dieffenthaller. Former national rugby player Kwanieze John gave the feature address encouraging the youngsters to responsibility for themselves to order to achieve the success they desired.
Chairman of the Sports Company of T&T, Michael Phillips, also gave a heart warming speech applauding the performances of the special group of junior sportsmen and women.
Dr Clifford, in his address to the gathering, expressed that the Foundation is inspired by the exploits of the young athletes of T&T.
"At the end of our evaluations, we selected the young athletes, who not only excelled in 2016, but paid careful attention to the prospects for the future," said Dr Clifford, who worked with Dr Terry Ali, Douglas Barzey, Ann Browne-John, Alexander Chapman, Catherine Forde, Kwame Lawrence, Mark Mungal, Sherril Peters, Candice Scott, Edwin Skinner and Wayne Smart in a panel to select the elite group of athletes.
Kalifa St Fort