For the third time in the past four years, Albert Reynolds is Saint Lucia’s male track and field Athlete Of The Year. The 27-year-old from Babonneau set the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) record for men’s Javelin Throw in 2015, on his way to capturing a bronze medal at the North and Central American and Caribbean Athletics Confederation (NACAC) Championships.
With that, Albert is firmly seated as the front runner for Sportsman Of The Year in February.
If Albert is becoming used to being a front runner, imagine how Levern Spencer must feel. The 31-year-old – also from Babonneau – copped her 13th Athlete of the Year title, just desserts after winning the 2015 national championship, Saint Lucia’s first-ever Pan Am Games gold, and a repeat gold at NACAC Champs. Levern has never been beaten for Sportswoman Of The Year, and is unlikely to be beaten this year.
The awards were presented at the Saint Lucia Athletics Association’s gala awards ceremony last Saturday night. Reynolds held off long distance runner Michael Biscette, whilst Spencer won her award over fellow high jumper Jeannelle Scheper. Both women are qualified for the High Jump event at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Beazil. They are the island’s only qualifiers to date.
Also earning accolades on the weekend were Julien Alfred and Ace Louis. Julien, who is presently attending high school in Jamaica, established a new National Record for the under-20 girls 200m in 2015, this even before she attained the age of 14. She also set more records on the way to the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) Age Group title, and was unbeaten in the sprints on local soil. Julien dethroned Rochelle Etienne as Junior Female Athlete Of The Year.
The only athlete of the top four present to accept his award was Ace Louis, though he is hoping to follow the likes of Levern, Jeannelle and Julien in earning an overseas scholarship. Ace, yet another high jumper, held off javelin thrower Denzel St Marthe for his award. Both young men copped medals at the CARIFTA Games in St Kitts-Nevis, as field events athletes continued to dominate.
Whereas Albert and Levern are clear-cut favourites for Sportsman and Sportswoman Of The Year, competition will certainly be tighter in the junior divisions, though it remains entirely possible that athletics could sweep the four prestigious individual awards, as last happened in 1999. On that occasion, the winners were Dominic Johnson (Pole Vault), Verneta Lesporis (400m), Damian Henville (100m) and Levern Spencer (High Jump).