Nineteen-year-old Dominica State College national cricketer, Gian Benjamin, copped the prestigious Sportsman of the Year (2013) Award when the Ministry of Sports held its eighth annual national sports awards ceremony at the Fort Young Hotel on Wednesday evening under the theme "Believe, Dream, Inspire".

Benjamin of the Kalinago Territory, captured the almost equally prestigious Male Youth Athlete of the Year as well as the Dominica Cricket Association's (DCA) nomination as Cricketer of the Year to walk away with the most valuable player (MVP) cricket award. Benjamin led the State College to the United Insurance Secondary Schools Under-20 cricket championship and the Eastern District to the DCA Nagico Under-20 cricket title, leading by example with a century for a one-sided victory. He went on to make the Windward Islands Under-20 team as the only Dominican and scored the only century in the West Indies Cricket Board Under-20 competitions for the Windwards.

The honour of Sportswoman of the Year went to United States-based triple jumper and high jumper Thea Lafond. She represented Dominica in Central American and Caribbean events with some success.

Lafond was the female track and field MVP and nominee of the Dominica Amateur Athletics Association.

Speaking at the function, Sports Coordinator Trevor Shillingford noted that given the amateur status of sports in Dominica, it was imperative that those who excelled should be recognised. He highlighted some of the outstanding events in 2013 including cricketer Shane Shillingford's exploits for West Indies included his record-breaking 10-wicket haul at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium and his rapid achievement of 50 test wickets; and Pierre Charles Secondary School's Shanee Angol who rewrote the CARIFTA Junior Games female Under-17 javelin throw. And of course there was the championship winning Under-15 cricket team.

Shillingford said he was satisfied with successes in 2014 so far, such as Dominica beating Trinidad & Tobago in a netball match at the Under-16 age level, the first conquest of T&T by a Dominica team in any level of netball in the region; and the two gold medals that Dominica won at the 43rd Junior CARIFTA Games in Martinique by Chelsey Linton and Shanee Angol, both setting new marks in their respective events.

In her speech, Minister for Sports, Justina Charles, told the sportsmen and sportswomen that their watch-word should be discipline: discipline in practice; discipline in punctuality; discipline in abstaining from use or abuse of drugs; and discipline in abiding with officials' decisions.

Awards were also presented to MVPs for the various sports. They were: athletics (male) Yordanys Garcia; basketball – Thomas Felix and Shernel St Rose; boxing – Miguel Greenaway; bridge – Albert Astaphan; cricket- Pearl Etienne; domino – Augustus Parker; football – Hugo Riley and Kasika Samuel; netball – Stacey Fontaine; rounders – Marilyn Auguiste; softball cricket – Kershaski Jno Lewis; tennis – Mauricio Burton; and volleyball – Lincoln Riviere and Anna Maria Xavier.

Other award winners for 2013 were: Special Olympics Athlete – Andriana Aaron; Sporting Community – Marigot; grounds man – Isaac Andre; PE/Sports Teacher-(primary) – Delvin Esprit, Goodwill Primary and secondary – Walson Pacquette, Pierre Charles SS; School in Sports-(primary) – Wesley and secondary – Portsmouth SS; Sports Commentator – Ossie Lewis; Sports Reporter – Garvin Richards, Marpin; official – Lennox Abraham, cricket; coach – Thomas Kentish, Sports Officer; club – Aithon Athletics Club; Sports Committee – Marigot Sports Council; sponsor – LIME Dominica; and Association – Dominica Football Association.