Jones on top
Young athlete named sports personality of the year
Whether it be in the long jump pit, on the track, or in the boardrooms, Akela Jones just keeps coming out a winner.
Jones’ already long list of accomplishments got even longer on Saturday night, when she took home the coveted National Sports Personality of the Year award at the 32nd Annual National Sports Award Ceremony which was held the Frank Collymore Hall.
It was a fitting way to celebrate the 19-year-old’s historic and impressive performances of 2014, during which she became the first Barbadian to medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships, when she copped gold in the long jump.
The Kansas State University standout athlete also bid farewell to the CARIFTA Games in sensational fashion, copping three gold medals and the Austin Sealy Award for the Games’ Most Outstanding athlete.
As usual and not surprisingly, she dismissed the challenges of some of the island’s best sportsmen, which included Barbados’ top tennis player, Darian King, and Barbados and West Indies opener, Kraigg Brathwaite, to walk away with the country’s highest sporting honour.
To put the icing on the cake, Jones, who was not present at the ceremony, also walked away two other awards.
Along with also being named the Junior Outstanding Female Sportsperson, she then teamed up with her sister, Irecka Louis, along with brothers Jonathan and John Jones, to win the Family Award.
Louis has represented the island in both netball and basketball, while Jonathan, a footballer, and John, a former national athlete, were also recognized.
Three other athletes were also awarded for their impressive performances on the track.
Sprinter Levi Cadogan, was awarded the Junior Outstanding Male Sportsperson, hurdler Kierre Beckles took home the award for Senior Outstanding Female Sportsperson, while quarter-miler, Rivaldo Leacock shared the Emerging Athlete Award with cricketer Hayley Matthews.
Apart from turning professional and signing a contract with mega sporting brand Adidas, Cadogan also won silver in the 100 metres at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, and placed fourth at the World Juniors.
He also medaled at the CARIFTA Games.
Beckles was awarded for her bronze medal showing at the CAC Games, while Leacock was honoured for his performance at the CAC Juniors where he won gold in the 400 metres.
Matthews stormed onto the international cricket scene during her debut for the West Indies women, while she also won two CARFITA silver medals.
The Minister’s Award went to hurdler Shane Brathwaite, who won Barbados’ only medal at the Commonwealth Games – a bronze in the 100 metre hurdles.
Kraigg Brathwaite wasn’t to be denied though, as he claimed the Senior Outstanding Male Sportsperson award, after a consistent year with the bat.
The Barbados Tennis Association was also a big winner on the night, as they walked away with four awards thanks to the heroics of the Barbados Davis Cup team.
They captured the Association Achievements Award, and Team Award, while president Dr Raymond Forde claimed the highly coveted Alvin Burgess Award for Sports Administrator.
Coach and captain of that successful Davis Cup team, Kevin Yarde was also named Coach of the Year.
Cricket legend, Sir Wes Hall was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant contribution to the sport.
The Empire Cricket Club rounded off a memorable year in which they not only celebrated its 100th year, but also played unbeaten to win the Barbados Cricket Association’s Elite Division, by copping the Club Award.
Visually impaired cricketer, Mark Goddard, who has represented the West Indies Blind Cricket team as well as captained the Barbados Blind Cricket team, copped the Wesley Worrell Award.
The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation’s Shawn Greene won his first ever Media Award and Hallman Selman was named the Groundsman of the Year.