Ivorn McKnee (Image: www.nationnews.com)

Barbados’ Sports Personality for 2008 is Ivorn McKnee, a gold medalist at last year’s Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships.

Chairman of the National Sports Council (NSC), Henry Inniss, today announced that after much deliberation, Mr. McKnee, who had an outstanding year which culminated with a gold medal winning performance in Cyprus in December, had been selected.

“What made Ivorn’s performance even more outstanding were the conditions under which weightlifting has struggled over the years in Barbados. Against the odds, Ivorn prevailed and has given hope to athletes from minor sports that through commitment and hard work they can excel,” he said.

While addressing a press conference at the NSC headquarters, Mr. Inniss revealed that the 27-year-old weightlifter, who also won a silver medal last October at the Criollo Championships in Puerto Rico, will receive a motor car for his outstanding achievements during the annual awards ceremony.

Chairman of the NSC’s Awards Committee, Andrew Sealy, said several discussions involving many individuals, were held to ensure the process was democratic.

"Obviously the Sports Personality of the Year is the major award to be announced, but on the night (of the awards) you will see many other individuals being awarded for their performances during 2008.

“I think it is critical that people understand that this National Sports Council … can think outside the box and look at individuals who in other circumstances might not have reached the level that they have attained,” Mr. Sealy told reporters.

He pointed out that the Board was very pleased with Mr. McKnee’s performance, especially since weightlifting had operated under difficult circumstances over the years. “In fact, the board has taken a decision that we are going to work very closely with the Amateur Weightlifting Association over the next few years, because we feel that the Barbados Amateur Weightlifting Association has a particularly good product and some good athletes that can take Barbados forward,” Mr. Sealy stated.

World Junior Champion in the heptathlon, Shane Brathwaite, won the Sports Personality of the Year title for 2007, but could not accept his prize of a car because he was leaving the island on a scholarship to the United States. Under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), accepting such gifts would endanger the amateur status of athletes. 

Mr. Inniss noted that it would be problematic if a student who was studying under the NCAA rules were to receive that car.

But, the Chairman explained that a car was given to the Sports Personality of the Year because “we really wanted to give the award prominence”.

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