Wednesday, April 3, 2013



By Andre E Baptiste


              -------  SPORTS FOUNDATION AWARDS CAN IMPROVE -----



The First Citizens Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year awards were predictable, not only in the mere results (Keshorn Walcott and Kelly Ann Baptiste, the two respective winners) but also in the presentation. There will have to be new ideas for 2013 if this event is not again to lose too much of his glamour. The prestige will remain because of the historical nature of this event, but it is the interest that is clearly waning, as evidence by the low numbers that told me, they were not interested enough to either view the Awards on television or listen on the radio.

Firstly something has to be done to ensure the actual attendance on the night is better , year after year , it appears as if it is a case of diminishing returns with less and less persons on seats. This method seating by special codes is the reason for this, and this separation should be postponed until, a proper solution is found. In the meantime, all of the spectators should be brought to the front end. This would present a much better image for all concerned.

While, I understand that there must be some theatre, I believe that it was far too abstract to ever enquire an understanding of purpose. As Spartacus would say –“Absent expression “. There needs to be some high points filled with applicable music and if possible adopt some mystery, especially in a year when the winners were as predictable, as the fact that the sun will shine in March.

The speeches were generally short and to the point , although it was clear that the Chairman of the First Citizen Sports Fountain – Dr Keith Clifford- was prepared and had not only practiced his speech , but was determined to live by it , to ensure some of the wonderful programmes could be completed sooner rather than later. It was generally accepted by even those that listened via the radio that Dr Clifford’s tone and his way with words assisted greatly in lifting the tone and clarity of the event. Some even suggested, he should have spoken louder as his delivery was succinct and audible.

Also critical and perhaps lacking on the night was the disclosure when nominees were being announced of their presence or absence and who is representing them if they are absent. What we found is that in some cases, the nominees were not there, and while the information was given, there was no one present on the stage. This is an inexcusable failing, unless the Sports Foundation was not notified in advance of the nonappearance of the nominee. If the Sports Foundation knew of this, then alternative arrangements should have been made to have a representative of the nominee or the respective association on the stage to acknowledge his or her performance.

Several leading sporting personalities were missing among them the eventual winner – Keshorn Walcott - , Sunil Narine and Njisane Phillips. It is revealing that only Walcott had a representative in his Manager, Sean Roach. Better efforts should have been made for both Narine and Phillips to be represented. This is an area that needs to be improved on in the future.

One also has to appreciate that this ceremony is live on the television and in a competitive Television market; it needs to set itself apart with some pleasurable moments. For that reason, as this is a sports award, the tone of the presenters of the various profiles should be of a certain spirit and excitement to emphasize it is about sports.

I believe as well, that one if not both of the presenters needs to have knowledge of sports, as this is integral in the credibility of the venture as a true sporting test of time venture. In the past, Ato Boldon and Ian Bishop have both successfully managed this venture with skill and aplomb. Even Anthony Dennison would be a welcome voice based on his pedigree background in sports announcing.

There is also a case to announce the names and qualifications , one by one to all of the public of all of those involved in the decision making process for the four awards on the night. This would help in alleviating the growing concern in this country, that sports administration is losing many of its transparency values.

Let me emphasize, that I thought that Jennifer Lander and her team at First Citizen, did an excellent job in the processing and facilitating of all of the invited guests on the night. The transition was generally smooth and efficient.

Other winners on the night were for the Jeffrey Stollymeyer Award (Best Sporting Organization), were the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation, and for the Lystra Lewis Award (Best team of the year), the 4x400 metres London Olympics Relay team.

Overall if, I had to grade the Sports Foundation awards on the night, I would probably have to determine several categories and give points based on those. Maybe next year, I can do that, that is, if I am still invited after these notations and suggestions.


:: AB

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