Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Shamfa Cujoe presents a cheque to boxer Michael Alexander.

“Athletes of the Year” cycling duo Nicholas Paul and Teneil Campbell were among 16 athletes across six sporting disciplines receiving cheques as part of the Rewards and Incentives Programme for their outstanding performances.

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe presented some $915,625 in a brief ceremony at the Ministry’s head office in St Clair, Port-of-Spain on Wednesday.

In her address to the gathering which was small due to social distancing guidelines, saw only a quarter of the athletes present to personally receive their cheque.

“The Rewards and Incentives Programme provides an avenue for us to recognise our local sports icons and encourage our upcoming sports stars to go the full distance and keep reaching for the skies,” said Minister Cudjoe, who went on to urge athletes adding that everyone is in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and they should stay focused, find creative ways to keep their fitness levels up, and of course, improve their skills.

Paul and Campbell, who is currently in Italy, have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics Games and were honoured as the Sportsman and women of the Year at the First Citizens Sports Foundation awards ceremony, recently.

Track and field had the lion share of recipients with 11 athletes including javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, sprinters Jereem Richards, Kyle Greaux, Keston Bledman, Akanni Hislop, Dwight St Hillaire, Jerod Elcock, quartermilers Machel Cedenio, Deon Lendore and para-athletes field specialist Akeem Stewart and runner Nyoshia Cain.

Boxing, swimming and rowing each had one recipient in Michael Alexander, Dylan Carter and Felice Chow, respectively.

To date, some $7 million has been distributed to athletes who medalled at major international and regional competitions covered under the Ministry’s current policy since it was established in 2018.