Sterling and Stewart shine at The UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year Awards 2020
The strategic decision by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) to establish a Faculty of Sport is bearing fruit. The University’s decision, led by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, to bring sport into the Triple A paradigm of its 2017-2022 strategic plan, has brought the rich in talent youth of the region to the fore. Following the still memorable Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) regional Super 50 tournament win, the latest grand display of student athlete talent came on Wednesday, November 4, as the Vice-Chancellor’s Sports Awards celebrated the region’s youth in multiple sport disciplines.
Shamera Sterling, a star netballer from the Mona Campus and Emmanuel Stewart, an excellent cricketer who studies at the Cave Hill Campus, emerged Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year 2020.
The virtual presentation ceremony aired live on UWItv, hosted by the University’s Director of Alumni Relations, Mrs Celia Davidson Francis and featured remarks from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Dean of the Faculty of Sport, Dr Akshai Mansingh and High Performance Sports Expert, Mrs Amanda Reifer. World renowned cricketers, Mr Courtney Walsh OJ, Mr Michael Holding, and President of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations, Mrs Marva Bernard OD, made special appearances delivering congratulations to the students.
In extending his congratulations to the two winners, as well as the other seven nominees, Vice-Chancellor Beckles noted, “The list of nominees and the awardees are very impressive. Examining their performance records is a journey to recognition of excellence.”
Vice-Chancellor Beckles established the Awards programme with the aim of developing and identifying exemplary student athletes. He spoke also of the University’s commitment to advancing the Caribbean’s sport industry. “We have a Caribbean brand for excellence” he said. “We are a sporting culture that is rich in first class global results. But is it enough? Is it sufficient? Do we not have to transition into other areas of sport? Not only manufacturing and industrialization, but global sport management. Do we have representation that is commensurate with our field performance? The UWI is invested in all of these conversations.”
Dr Mansingh, explained that since its establishment, the Faculty of Sport has put a lot more emphasis in the academics and all the support that goes behind sports in the region. “The University is relied upon to provide sport policy, facilities for the top sportspersons in the region, it possesses the top sports labs, sport medicine clinic and was consulted in this unique year for new areas such as sports bubbles—how to create, manage and execute them.” He added “The UWI is well known for academics being the top university in the Caribbean and ranked among the best in the world, but what is probably not as well known outside of the region is how we are also the top sports university in the region.”
Mrs Amanda Reifer also expounded on The UWI’s vision for sport, stating, “As we celebrate the Vice-Chancellor’s Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, it is done in the framework of seeing high performance in sport as critical to a modern thinking university.” She added however, “For high performance in the Caribbean to be sustained, good governance must be applied.” She then urged the students to get involved in their sporting clubs and national federations to make positive change and improve these entities across the region.
Mrs Davidson Francis acknowledged that sport adds great value to the UWI student experience and that this year the Awards selection panel had a slate of truly world class nominees. “I know our esteemed Vice-Chancellor is pleased to have had such an awesome pool of talent to select from.”
The other awards finalists included Esther Ward from the Open Campus (football); Amir Jangoo from the St. Augustine Campus (cricket); Dillon Johnson from the Open Campus (basketball); Nicholas Kirton from the Cave Hill Campus (cricket); Ryi Maryat from Cave Hill Campus (football); Romaine Morris from the Mona Campus (cricket) and Khesean Ottley from the St Augustine Campus (cricket).