Track and field athlete Jereem "The Dream" Richards and cyclist Teniel Campbell were named as the 2022 T&T Olympic Committee (T&TOC) Sportsman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year award recipients at the 28th annual awards ceremony which took place virtually, for the third consecutive via the Zoom, T&TOC Youtube, Facebook, and teamtto.org websites on Thursday.
The win for the 28-year-old Point Fortin-born Richards was his third in five years after previous triumphs in 2017, and 2018 while Campbell secured her second top TTOC award after her first triumph in 2020.
During his 2022 season, Richards won T&T's first-ever gold medal at the World Athletics Indoor Championships when he powered to victory in the men's 400m final in 45.00 seconds at the Stark Arena in Beorad, Belgrade Serbia, ahead of USA's Trevor Bassitt (45.05), with Sweden's Carl Bengstrom (45.33) in third place in March.
In winning the 400m title in 45.00 seconds, Richards who was also voted at the T&TOC's "Sports Personality of the Year for 2022 broke the national indoor record of 45.03 seconds, which was held by the late Deon Lendore, who died tragically in a car accident in January this year.
He then clocked a personal best 19.83 seconds in winning the National 200m title in June before he lowered that mark and set a new meet record on his way to defending his men's 200m title at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England, in July.
A Point Fortin native, Richards, won the event in 19.80, erasing the previous Commonwealth Games record of 19.97, held by Frankie Fredericks of Namibia since 1994 while at the World Track and Field Championship in Portland, Oregon, he was sixth in the final in 20.08.
Richards also combined with Dwight St Hillaire, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio to capture the 4x400m men's relay gold medal in Birmingham.
Campbell, 25, who grew up in Hardbargain, Village, Williamsville, enjoyed a productive and action-packed season in which she won gold (Points Race), silver (Individual Pursuit), and bronze (Elimination Race) at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Lima, Peru.
She was also sixth at the Birmingham, England-held Commonwealth Games in the Road Race event in a bunch finish, and seventh in the Time Trial while she won double gold at the National Championships, in the Road Race and Time Trial events, as well as gold in the Time Trial at the Elite Caribbean Road Championships in the Dominican Republic before suffering a fall in the women's Road Race.
And as a member of TeamBikeExchange-Jayco Campbell was a tenth-placed finisher in the tenth and final stage of the 2022 Giro d'Italia Donne, the most prestigious stage race in women's road cycling for 83rd spot overall.
Despite being pipped out for the top award, national cyclist Nicholas Paul copped the "People's Choice" award after yet another stellar season.
The 24-year-old Gasparilo-born Paul had his season curtailed in October due to a second shoulder collarbone injury sustained while training at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, which forced him to miss the World Track Cycling Championships and the UCI Track Champions League Saturday.
However, prior to his season-ending injury Paul, the flying 200m world-record holder (9.1 seconds) won the Match Sprint and Keirin gold at the UCI Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia.
He then captured a complete set of Commonwealth Games medals in Birmingham, England by pedalling to gold (keirin), silver (sprint), and bronze (1km time trial) in August, and then added three gold medals in each event at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Lima, Peru.
Last year, Paul won his second such award after his maiden win in 2019 while track and field start Michelle-Lee Ahye landed her fourth such accolade after previously copping the award in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
National swimmer, Nikoli Blackman copped his third straight "Junior Sportsman" award while cyclist Phobe Sandy was voted as the "Junior Sportswoman".
The other awardees included Guardian Media Limited Senior Sports Journalist Rachel Thompson-King (Future is Female), and former T&T Hockey Board President and current FIH Hockey Academy Educator, Maureen Craig-Rousseau (Alexander B Chapman award).
The T&TOC also paid special tribute to a number of former national athletes, and sporting personalities who passed away in 2022 inclusive of Clyde Forde (athletics), Irwin Henry Snr (athletics), Levi Modeste (athletics), Albert King (athletics), Dasrath Maharj (cricket), Ian "Boldface" Lamotte (basketball), Raymond Clyde Rimple (cycling), Jeffery 'Babyface' La Fond (cycling), Gordon Carew (cycling), David John-Williams (football), Glen Sealy (football), Raheem Belgrave (football), Nigel Providence (hockey), Michelle Hing-Reynos (hockey), Paul Mowser (rugby), Warren Solomon (rugby), Eric Albert (rugby), Majorie John (netball), Esmond Farfan (sailing), Michael Rogers (sailing), Anthony Harris (sports photography), Joanna Lewis (surfing), Deon Lendore (athletics).
TTOC 2022 honour roll
Sportsman of Year: Jereem Richards (Athletics)
Sportswoman of the Year: Teniel Campbell (Cycling)
Junior Sportsman: Nikoli Blackman (Swimming)
Junior Sportswoman: Phobe Sandy (Cycling)
Future is Female award: Rachel Thompson-King (Senior Sports Journalist/Guardian Media Limited)
People's Choice Award: Nicholas Paul (Cycling)
Alexander B Chapman Award: Maureen Craig-Rousseau (T&T Hockey Board/Pan American Hockey Board Executive Member)
TTOC Sports Personality of the Year: Jereem Richards (Athletics)