West Indies captains Shai Hope and Hayley Matthews, as well as star athlete Sada Williams, were among the highlights, as the National Sports Council recognized a number of Barbados standout athletes from a range of disciplines at the 39th staging of its awards ceremony on Friday.

The event staged at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex was flocked by the country’s finest, who were rightly celebrated for their dedication to achieving sporting excellence.

Williams, who enjoyed a stellar year capped by her bronze medal performance in the 400m at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, received the much-deserved nod for the coveted Minister’s Award and the National Sports Personality Award for 2023.

Matthews and Hope stood out in their respective categories, winning that award in the senior division. Claiming the school awards were St Gabriel’s School and Harrison College, while Esther Maynard was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her committed service in the athletic community.

Diminutive golfer Ashton O’Kola Physically topped his peers in the Junior Outstanding Sportsperson category, as Chess phenom Hannah Wilson won the honours in the female side.

The Wesley Worrell Award was presented to table tennis player Chad Doughty. Signia Finance and the Barbados Bottling Company received the Sponsors Award for their continued support, while well-known sports journalist Kenmore Bynoe secured the Media Award.

In the Team Award category, the Barbados Women’s Squash team reigned supreme. Emerging Athlete awardees were Desean Boyce in athletics and rising tennis star Hannah Chambers.

Kofi Hinds received the Alvin Burgess Award for Sports Administrator, recognizing his excellent work in the hockey arena, and The Coach-of-the-Year award went to Jesse King in athletics.

Youth Awards were distributed to Rejada Hinds, Scott Galbraith, Shakobi Gittens, Sarama James, Zachary Maynard, Laila McIntyre, and Chaz Reifer-Belle. Special awards were given to Paul Bernstein, Dorian Best, Michelle Elliot, Roberta Foster, and Akeem Rudder.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Charles Griffith in his remarks called for greater support from the private sector.

“From the time I took up this role as Minister of Sports I have been asking the private sector to come on board because it is impossible for government to fund all of the programs that we think are necessary to move our athletes to the next level,” Griffiths said.

“The onus is on us to ensure that every single playing field on this island is active with youngsters engaging in sporting disciplines and we have started the process of lighting all of those playing fields across the island. It is an ongoing project, but we expect to see the finishing line at some point in time,” he added.

Barbados is to get a new national stadium following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Caribbean nation and China on Friday.

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