Unmatched in his division, Dunross Prep standout athlete Ethan Forde deservedly picked up the Port-of-Spain and Environs Sports Council boys' athlete of the year award, when the most celebrated district held its annual awards ceremony at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.Forde, who was named Victor Ludorum at the Atlantic National Primary Schools' Track and Field Championships, in May, easily fended off any competition for the award after he won every Under-13 race in which he participated in this year. Among his most notable performances of the season was a 11.98 finish in the 100m dash at the same event. He is one of only three athletes to dip under the 12-second mark in the Under-13 100m dash for the past decade.
The girls' awardee was not as easy to call, according to Kelvin Nancoo, chairman of the Port-of-Spain and Environs Sports Council. In the end, Melissa Boxhill, a multi-talented athlete, who was a multiple medalist in field events at the recent National Juvenile Championships, won the accolade. The 13-year-old Petit Valley RC starlet was not present to receive her trophy as she was busy in action with the Port-of-Spain netball team, which narrowly lost the national final simultaneously with the awards function. One of Boxhill's top attributes is her sharp shooting, which also earned her the award for Champion Goal Shooter. She was instrumental for Petit Valley, which captured its first ever Port-of-Spain and Environs Netball League crown just over a month ago.Boxhill also deservedly won her award, but faced a challenge by Diamond Vale Government's Caliyah Wallace, who was also a standout performer at the National Primary Schools' Track and Field Championships, where she dominated the Under-13 division to win the 100m, 200m and 400m races. Wallace was also Victrix Ludorum at that event, as well as the Milo Games and Rotary Games.
In his chairman's address, Nancoo lauded those past and present who contributed to Port-of-Spain and Environs' claim as the most consistent and best performing district in the country. He used the world's leading runner for 2014, Michelle-Lee Ahye, as an example of the those who have brought pride to this country after passing through the PoS Sports Council system.Nancoo urged the aspring athletes to "look at substance" from the top athletes as he recalled a moment when Ahye won a race and was flanked by those who "focused on her bright orange shoes and disregarded her time and training methods". He said too, that while there must be a balance between studies and extra-curricular activities, the format of the current Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) "is destroying our children and turning them into robots".Meanwhile, Cheryl Ann Wilkinson, one of those awarded for her contributions to the district also spoke to the contingent of students, parents and teachers. She said she could not understand why some administrators were opposed to children playing sports in their last years in primary school."I cannot understand the shortsightedness of some principals who do not want students to engage in sports in standards four and five," she said. Wilkinson said it was particularly strange as the principals would want their charges to pass for prestige schools, such as St Mary's College, QRC and Fatima College, all of which are performers in sport.Wilkinson, who said she rarely left her house in Morvant, said that those living in so-called hot-spot areas should not prevent themselves from excelling, but should practice discipline and courage to pursue important challenges in life.