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Kirani James being interviewed trackside

Kirani James being interviewed trackside

ST GEORGE’S, December 24, 2012 – The Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC) will hold the Annual National Sports Awards ceremony on Saturday January 26, 2013 in St George’s but a Grenadian sports website is favouring two athletes to take the top honours.

Grenadian sportsmen and women and officials are expected to grace the island’s biggest sport awards ceremony.

The GOC has not released the list of nominees for the awards but GrenadaSports (www.grenadasports.gd) has chosen the reigning World and Olympic 400 metres champion Kirani James and ace middle distance runner Neisha Bernard-Smith among the front runners for the top awards in 2012.

“There is no doubt that (Kirani) James’ exploits in 2012 surpasses any other local achievement,” said sport journalist Michael Bascombe, writing in GrenadaSports.

“He could easily pick up any and all awards at stake in the annual ceremony held to recognise outstanding sporting achievements,” said Bascombe who interviewed James trackside after he won Grenada’s first Olympic medal in London this summer.

If he takes the sportsman of the year award in January this will be the fourth consecutive year for the 20 year-old who also copped the national award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Bernard-Smith, who will turn 32 the same week of the awards ceremony, defied age and in June, attained a “B” Standard qualifying time of 2:01.21 in the Women’s 800m for the London Olympic Games. She eventually reached the semi-finals of the event with a season’s best 2:00.68.

“Granted her age and demands of the 800m, Neisha surpassed expectations in 2012 to qualify and then progressed to the semis,” according to GrenadaSports.

The website created its own Roll of Honour which also includes Sports Team of the Year, Administrators of the Year, Coaches of the Year, Special Service, Breakthrough of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Outstanding Performance, Lifetime Achievement, Spirit of Sport and Association of the Year.

It also listed the Westerhall Secondary as the Sports Team of the Year for winning the Secondary Schools’ Athletics and Basketball

Neisha Bernard-Smith being interviewed in Mixed Zone

Neisha Bernard-Smith being interviewed in Mixed Zone

Championships; Alleyne Francique and Richie Hughes as joint male Coach of the Year and Special Service Award to Harvey Glance, coach of Kirani James.

According to the website, Richie Hughes and Alleyne Francique are recognised for the impact they have had in their various sporting disciplines. Hughes is the main stay of grassroots tennis in Grenada which involves island wide participation and Francique for his immeasurable contribution to track and field on the college circuit in the United States and to Grenadian athletes. It included Barbara Simpson as female Coach of the Year and Harvey Glance for his stewardship of Kirani James following his departure from Grenada under coach Albert Joseph.

Kurt Felix, who established a new national record in the multi-event Decathlon when he won the NCAA title in June and qualified for his first Olympic Games, is titled with Breakthrough of the Year.

Bernard-Smith is listed for Comeback of the Year while James (Outstanding Performance and Spirit of Sport) for the gold medal in London and his simple yet remarkable gesture to South Africa’s double amputee Oscar Pistorius. After winning a semi-final race, James approached Pistorius, who failed to advance, and swapped nametags with him.

“This was a classy act by a young man who instead celebrated the accomplishment of Pistorius,” said Bascombe.

Other recognitions include Walter St John (cricket) and Ashley “Ram” Folkes (football) for their decades of service to sports in Grenada, both as players and administrators and Lester Smith (football) and Pamela Cherebin (swimming) as Administrators of the Year.

2012 GrenadaSports Roll of Honour

Sportsman of the Year: Kirani James (Athletics)
Sportswoman of the Year: Neisha Bernard-Smith (Athletics)
Sports Team of the Year: Westerhall Secondary School (Athletics & Basketball)

Association of the Year: Swimming & Tennis
Administrator of the Year (men): Lester Smith (Football)
Administrator of the Year (women): Pamela Cherebin (Swimming)

Coach of the Year (men): Richie Hughes (Tennis) & Alleyne Francique (Athletics)

Coach of the Year (women): Barbara Simpson (Netball)

Special Service: Harvey Glance (Athletics)
Comeback of the Year: Neisha Bernard-Smith (Athletics)

Breakthrough of the Year: Kurt Felix (Athletics)
Outstanding Performance: Kirani James (Athletics)
Lifetime Achievement: Walter St John (Cricket) & Ashley “Ram” Folkes (Football)
Spirit of Sport: Kirani James (Olympic Games)

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