PORT OF SPAIN – Cricketer Chadwick Walton and badminton player Katherine Wynter, both from Jamaica, were named as the inaugural UWI (University of the West Indies) Vice Chancellor’s Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year 2015, at a ceremony on Wednesday evening at the UWI St Augustine Campus.
Walton, a student of the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, got the nod ahead of Fallon Forde of Cave Hill (athletics), Ravmon Powell of Mona Campus in Jamaica (cricket) and Edson Breedy of St Augustine (taekwondo) while Wynter defeated the challenges of Open Campus students Nerissa Augustin and Abigail Fedee (both netball) and Avoni Seymour of St Augustine (volleyball).
The 30-year-old Walton, who has played two Tests, five One Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals for the West Indies, spoke on the issue of time management as a professional player.
“It’s difficult but I’ve done it. It’s a very difficult task but once you put your mind to it, you will achieve,” he said.
He added: “You should also take the opportunity that the University has created to get an education because the way sports is going, it’s not just about talent, it’s about (how you) think on your feet. Sports is an integral part of the region.”
Wynter, who was unable to attend the function since she was competing in an event in Brazil, said in a video message: “I want to be the best big thing.” She stated, “females have come a far way (in sports) but I still feel we have a long way to go because males get more prize money than females. Little things like that I feel should be changed.”
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of UWI, who delivered the feature address, said: “We have decided after consultations that we will pursue the establishment of a Faculty of Sport in UWI.” Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Clement Sankat, principal of the UWI St Augustine Campus, commented: “Excellence in sports ignites passion in our regional communities, and participants have the possibilities of reaching an international audience.
“It is important that the UWI embraces our athletes and nurture them sufficiently, so they may achieve regional and international prominence.
“This will, in itself, extend our global reach and recognition, in keeping with our strategic direction to be an internationally well-recognised university.”
Former Trinidad and Tobago cricket captain and West Indies opening batsman Daren Ganga, who spoke on the topic: “Reflection on the Life of a Student Athlete and Beyond”, said he recalled vividly that on his second tour to South Africa (in 2003-2004), he had a hard time playing Test cricket and trying to retain content and law cases from his module.
“It takes persistence and a strong desire to keep focused to your goals to rise to the top,” added the 37-year-old, who is currently the senior manager, sport and recreation at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).
Also speaking at the event was Darryl White, managing director of RBC Royal Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited, who noted: “We talk about sports in the Caribbean but it could be a mega business earner. We cannot leave excellence to chance.”