December 18, 2009
Nicol- Samuel is Athlete of the Year

Team Athletics SVG’s choice of teenaged middle distance runner Delhonni Nicol- Samuel as its 2009 Athlete of the Year must have been a unanimous one.{{more}}

Having not much else to shout about in returns from athletics, Team Athletics awarded Nicol- Samuel with the top prize last Saturday afternoon at the association’s yearly recognition ceremony.

En route to capturing the most prestigious award for TASVG, he was also the Junior Male Athlete of the Year.

Nicol-Samuel, a Canadian based athlete, is the son of former national long distance athlete Dane Samuel of Sion Hill.

A resident of Manitoba, Nicol-Samuel ended St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ drought of medals at the Junior Carifta Championships at the George Odlum Stadium in north St. Lucia last April when he copped Silver in the Men’s Under-20 5000 metres.

Nichol-Samuel was the stand out performer for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as he also was in the final of the 1500m, after successfully getting past the elimination phase, but had to settle for sixth spot in the medal race.

It was his second medal at the regional athletic showpiece for Juniors. In 2007, at the Under-17 level, he gained a third place in the 3000 m race when it was staged in the Turks and Caicos Islands. There again, he was the lone medallist for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In late October this year, the 18-year-old Nicol-Samuel took the 12th spot in the Atlantic Sun Cross County Championships, held at the Sperling De Land in Florida. This earned him a second team all star accolade, as well as being named to the A sun All Freshman Team.

Nicol- Samuel beat off Lisa Daniel, the Senior Female Athlete of the Year, Pamenos Ballantyne, the Senior Male Athlete of the Year and Nadia Delpesche, the Junior Female Athlete of the Year.

Currently on vacation in Aruba with one of his grandmothers, Nicol- Samuel, when SEARCHLIGHT broke the news to him last Sunday afternoon, expressed elation.

“I heard I was going to get some award, but I did not know it was that,” Nicol- Samuel told SEARCHLIGHT by telephone.

Reflecting on his first semester at University in the United States, where he is pursuing a four-year degree course in Accounting, Nicol- Samuel said it has been difficult “because I had to run distances that I am unaccustomed”.

“Also the competition there is stiffer,” he added.

Looking ahead to 2009, he projected: “My focus will be on Carifta, as it will be my last year.”

Wary of Jamaican Kenroy Campbell, the record holder in the 5000 m, Nicol- Samuel said: “I will just try to run him down.”

However, very early next year, Nicol- Samuel will have his first indoor meet on January 22, then his programme will go outdoors.

Nicol-Samuel wants to bring gold for St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the Easter weekend.