Over 500 Student Athletes Gather for celebration of Sports at The UWI

Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Friday, May 26, 2017. Friendly rivalry was the atmosphere at The UWI Cave Hill Campus on May 25, 2017 as hundreds of UWI students gathered for the kick-off of UWI Games 2017 and the presentation of the Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year Awards. Students from all four campuses of The UWI sang loud chants, energising each other and seeking to gain a psychological edge on their competitors before the start of the joint ceremony.

Over the next eight days the teams—comprising over 500 student athletes—will compete for athletic glory in a biennial sporting tradition that is UWI Games. It is one of the few opportunities where the students get together as one University. Addressing the student athletes, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles encouraged them to enjoy the spirited competition. “I urge that you compete with all of the traditional passions that have been identified with these games,” he said, “break records, enjoy yourselves but keep focused on your identity that you are first and foremost UWI students.” “All of us have to engage sports, not only as entertainment but as development, as nation-building and artistic creativity. These games are a vital part of our well-being as a university community.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles also described the Games as “a seminal moment” given that they are being held in the same year in which the new Faculty of Sport was given the nod by the University Council in April. He declared, “It is a celebration of all of you student athletes. The faculty is the way of showing the sports performance excellence of our people…and critically, The UWI showing that it has a role in sustaining the excellence of our civilisation.”

During the lively ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year Awardees for 2017 were announced. Shimona Nelson, a netballer from Mona, is Sportswoman of the Year and Vikash Mohan, a cricketer from St. Augustine is Sportsman of the Year.

Commenting on the celebration of sport at the University, host Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau stated, “Our students’ academic and physical training help them to become productive, well-rounded citizens. The determination and focus of these athletes can prove transformative in the growth and success of many Caribbean business enterprises and public sector institutions.” She urged regional business communities to pay keen attention to the rapid growth and diversification of sport, which adds significant value to Caribbean economies, adding, “so to corporate, governmental and civil society partners, we certainly welcome and thank you for your interest and partnership in these Games and in The UWI activity overall.”