The trinidad Guardian / T&T sprinters Jeremy Richards and Khalifa St Fort have been nominated for awards at the upcoming North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) “Athletes of the Year” end of year ceremony.
A date and host country for the event is yet to be announced.
Richards, the World Championships gold and bronze medallist, was named on the list of men’s “Rising Star” nominees. He is up against Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner, Kyron McMaster of British Virgin Islands (IVB) and Americans Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley and Noah Lyles.
St Fort is among the nominees for the Under-20 Women’s athlete award against Jamaicans Rushelle Burton and Kevona Davis along with USA duo Vashti Cunningham (USA) and Sydney McLaughlin (USA) and Cuba’s Marisleisys Duarthe.
Sprint sensation Richards race to third place in the 200 metres final in his first appearance at the IAAF World Championships in London, England, following in the footsteps of his illustrious compatriot Ato Boldon, who was the last sprinter from the Caribbean island to win a 200m medal, gold in Athens 20 years ago.
Richards of Point Fortin crossed in the same time of 20.11 seconds with Olympic and double 400m world champion Wayde van Niekerk behind Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev back in August.
On the final night of the Championships, the 23-year-old student at the University of Alabama ran the second leg on T&T’s gold medal-winning 4x400m relay at London’s Olympic Stadium. Richard’s split was the fastest of the four relay legs in the final to help give T&T the victory in a world-best 2:58.12 to beat favourite USA (2:58.61) and Great Britain (season-best 2:59.00) into second and third, respectively St Fort, who is coached by Boldon, was magnificent at the Carifta Games held in Curacao winning the 100m dash in 11.56 to earn her second straight championship in the event in April.
Some three months later St Fort repeated as the 100m champion at the Pan American Junior Championship held in Trujillo, Peru. The sprinter, who lives and trains in South Florida crossed the line in 11.32.
In other awards, World 100m champion Justin Gatlin is one of three Americans (Sam Kendricks and Christian Taylor) nominees for the top men’s honours. Reigning Olympic and World 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica is the other athlete on the list.
In the women’s version of the top award, four American athletes – Tori Bowie, Kori Carter, Phyllis Francis and Brittney Reece and Bahamian Shaunae Miller have been nominated. The NACAC Media Commission coordinated the selection of the nominees and the NACAC Council will vote to determine the finalists.
Men’s athlete (in alphabetical order): Justin Gatlin (USA) Sam Kendricks (USA) Omar Mcleod (Jamaica) Christian Taylor (USA)
Women’s athlete Tori Bowie (USA) Kori Carter (USA) Phyllis Francis (USA) Shaunae Miller (Bahamas) Brittney Reece (USA)
U-20 Men’s Athlete Jordan Diaz (Cuba) Maykel Masso (Cuba) Kyron McMaster (IVB) Dejour Russell (Jamaica)
U-20 Women’s athlete: Rushelle Burton (Jamaica) Vashti Cunningham (USA) Kevona Davis (Jamaica) Marisleisys Duarthe (Cuba) Sydney McLaughlin (USA) Khalifa St Fort (T&T)
Rising Star Men Christian Coleman (USA) Steven Gardiner (Bahamas) Fred Kerley (USA) Noah Lyles (USA) Kyron McMaster (IVB) Jeremy Richards (T&T)
Rising Star Women Rushelle Burton (Jamaica) Vashti Cunningham (USA) Kevona Davis (Jamaica) Sydney McLaughlin (USA)