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Cycling seeks change fortunes
A total of 54 athletes (29 men and 25 women) have been nominated as hopefuls by their respective sporting association to contest in the 2015 First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards.
The First Citizens Sports Foundation, under the Distinguished Patronage of His Excellency, President of the Republic of T&T, Dr Anthony Carmona. The annual sports awards ceremony will take place on March 13, at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain.
A game changer for his teams at different levels during 2015, Darren Bravo consistently rose to the fore in the top order with a series of spectacular and trophy-winning displays.
Last April-May, he came to the fore during the home test series against England by hitting 237 runs. His knocks of 69 and 82 against the tourists at St George’s and Bridgetown, respectively, were all part of a surprising 1-1 draw earned by West Indies. Bravo also enjoyed a brief but solid ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand where he scored an unbeaten 49 in a 150-run victory over Pakistan at Christchurch.
Bravo also played major roles in T&T’s Nagico Super50 tournament triumph on home soil—scoring 109 runs, including 55 in a 17-run first round victory versus Jamaica—as well as hitting 291 runs during the T&T Red Steel’s capture of the Caribbean Premier League title.
One of the more crucial elements of competitive sport is managing to follow-up a great year or season with an equally or even more fruitful escapade during the subsequent term.
That is exactly what Britney Cooper was able to pull off in 2015 when she was selected to six one-day internationals and six Twenty20 games for the West Indies women’s team. In her second ODI appearance against Sri Lanka in Colombo, last May, Cooper earned a Player of the Match award after scoring 46 and helping West Indies to a 31-run victory. It was all a just reward for another solid season in the T&T Women’s Premiership, in which she led the way for her team, Phoenix, by scoring a competition-high 434 runs, posting the league’s highest individual score (191 not out) and topping the batting averages (108.50).
Cooper also represented T&T at the WICB Regional Women’s Championship at home and led the home team to third-place.
In a similar vein to track legends such as France’s Daniel Morelon and Pierre Trentin, Niels Fredborg of Denmark and the German, Jens Fiedler, Njisane Phillip has consistently singled himself out as a cut above most of his competition.
Just one season after enduring a kidney ailment, Phillip demonstrated his single-mindedness in returning to the top by earning a silver medal in the men’s sprint at the Pan American Games in Toronto, after finishing runner-up to Hugo Barrette (Canada). Phillip also placed second in the same event at the Pan American Elite Track Championships in Santiago, Chile, where he finished behind rival, Colombia’s Fabian Puerta. Phillip did find himself in winner’s row at the inaugural Caribbean Track Championships in Havana, Cuba, where he captured the gold medal ahead of Puerta and another familiar foe in the notable Venezuelan, Hersony Canelon.
At home, Phillip reigned supreme at the TTCF Track Championships with title victories in both the sprint and keirin.
Another member of T&T’s exciting young cycling generation, Jodi Goodridge wasted little time in making a regular impact at the senior level.
The 21-year old from Malabar made her presence felt during the Caribbean Track Championships in Havana, Cuba, last May, when she earned silver medals in the women’s keirin and team sprint —with T&T cycling mate, Aziza Browne—as well as bronze medals in the individual sprint and the 500 metres time trial. Goodridge also achieved some fair results during her debut appearance at the Pan Am Championships in Santiago, Chile with a personal best time of 12.200 seconds in the flying 200. She also participated in the women’s team sprint final and earned ninth spot in the 500 metres time trial.
Goodridge also dominated her peers at the TTCF Championships at the Arima Velodrome: she captured national women’s titles in both the sprint—defeating Browne in the final—and the keirin.
With ten minutes to go and T&T leading its host 1-0, full back Joevin Jones launched in a long ball from the left and Kenwyne Jones made an exquisitely timed run to hit a first-time, right-footed volley past Guatemalan goalie, Paulo Cesar Motta, to extend Trinidad and Tobago’s lead and pave the way for an eventual 2-1 victory in the teams’ opening CONCACAF semi-final round World Cup qualifying game.
Jones, who also scored in an epic 4-4 draw with Mexico during Trinidad and Tobago’s run to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA and Canada, as well as in a 2-1 friendly victory over Panama, also bagged four goals for Cardiff City in January 2015, one strike while on loan at Bournemouth—whom he helped to win the English Championship division and earn promotion to the Premier League—and five more back at Cardiff City up to December.
As she led the way from the back, once again, Arin King continued to be a difference maker for both country and club.
The defender helped the Soca Princesses to win the Caribbean leg of the Olympic Games qualifying competition at home. This competition included 6-0 and 8-1 play-off thrashings of St Lucia, a 2-1 extra time semifinal victory over Jamaica and a 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the final at Ato Boldon Stadium. King also played her role in a very respectable showing at the Pan American Games in Toronto: a 2-2 with Argentina and a 1-1 tie with Colombia were followed by a 3-1 loss to eventual bronze medalist, Mexico.
King also had the distinction of being the first draft selection of the inaugural Women’s Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago. She would go on to help her team, Dragons, to a third-place finish in the WPL behind Fuego and Angels.