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Blackburn, Smith voted Bermuda’s top athletes

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Veteran swimmer Lisa Blackburn and long jumper Tyrone Smith have been crowned Male and Female Athletes of the Year Smith for the second year running.

With both winners preparing overseas for the London Olympics, neither were able to attend Saturday night's significantly scaled-back awards ceremony at Camden House in the Botanical Gardens.

There had been fears this year's Annual Sports Awards would be scrapped due to budget cutbacks brought on by the credit crunch, but the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports decided best to stage a watered-down event, albeit without citations, special achievement and appreciation awards.

Smith's award was accepted on his behalf by Dr Freddie Evans, the father of the Island's top 800 metre runner Aaron Evans, while Blackburn's sister, Lesley Blackburn-Colette, picked up the Female Athlete of the Year's award. Triathlete

Tyler Butterfield and swimmer Roy-Allan Burch were the other nominees for the male award, while Blackburn beat off challenges from triathlete Flora Duffy and swimmer Keira Aitken.

Blackburn won two golds and a silver at the Caribbean Swimming Championships, held in Puerto Rico last year.

The Bermuda-born swimmer also set ten national records and holds unofficial world records in both the 35 to 39 masters age group and in the 40 to 44 age category following her impressive display at the 2011 USA Winter National Swim Championship.

Reading an email on her sister's behalf, Blackburn-Colette said: “I would like to thank my mother who drove me to swimming practice in the cold Canadian winters for years and years.

“As female athletes we have an important role to play in setting an example for Bermuda's youth and must always be role models. We are always pushing the limits of our training, in our jobs and with our thought process of 'I can always do better'.

“There is nothing more gratifying than working at your craft for years, improving your skills and achieving your goals.

“Bermuda is my home, my family and the place that I love. I'm honoured to receive this award and I promise to try and inspire Bermuda's youth to strive for greatness in all that they pursue.”

It was also a fruitful 2011 for long jumper Smith who won gold in the CAC Championships in Puerto Rico with a leap of 8.06 metres, and placed first at the Rice University All-Comers Track and Field meet in Houston, Texas.

Rising cyclist Dominique Mayho won the Young Male Athlete of the Year Award. The 18-year-old Winner's Edge rider took gold in the road race event at the Junior Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico. Mayho also represented Bermuda at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man last year.

He said: “I was totally shocked, it's one of the best things to happen to me. I've been training really hard, about six days a week, and it's really paying off for me.

“My main goal last year was to win the Caribbean Championships and it was a great feeling to achieve it.”

Promising swimmer Ashley Yearwood claimed the Young Female Athlete of the Year Award in recognition of her sporting exploits in 2011, which saw her represent the Island at the Youth World Championships in Peru.

Yearwood, who also won a bronze in the 50 metres freestyle at last year's Carifta Games said: “I didn't even know I was nominated until yesterday so I'm delighted.”

Other athletes recognised on the night included sprinter Tre Houston and show jumper Jillian Teceira.

Runner Kyrah Scraders and motorcyclist Bruce DeGrilla were both mentioned for their performances in 2011, while boxer Teresa Perozzi received a special achievement award for retaining her WBA world middleweight belt.

Dr. Freddie Evans (right) receives the Male Athlete of the Year Award from Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney on behalf of long jumper Tyrone Smith. It was the second successive year that Smith, currently overseas, had won the award.
Lesley Blackburn-Colette, sister of Female Athlete of the Year Lisa Blackburn, receives the award from Premier Paula Cox. Swimmer Blackburn is currenty training overseas.Photo by Mark Tatem

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Published March 19, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 19, 2012 at 9:23 am)

Blackburn, Smith voted Bermuda’s top athletes

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