Impact: Nahki Wells in action for Bradford City against Swansea in the League Cup final. *AFP photo
Impact: Nahki Wells in action for Bradford City against Swansea in the League Cup final. *AFP photo

This island has always had pride in its sport.

For its size, Bermuda is constantly batting above its average — and 2013 was no different.

Whether it’s domestically or internationally, our athletes have produced some stirring and memorable performances.

A look back at the year always prompts healthy discussion about those included in shortlists and those who didn’t quite make it.

This vote does not proclaim to be an all-encompassing review but simply a chance to celebrate some of the athletes who have left an indelible mark. No-one will dispute that Nahki Wells is one name on everyone’s lips for the impact he had on the calendar year.

The former Dandy Town man truly established himself in the English game, played at Wembley twice, became the first Bermudian to score at the home of football, helped get Bradford City promoted and continued his goal spree in League One.

Another athlete to marvel at was Tyler Butterfield, competing in the ultimate endurance event — the Ironman triathlon.

Hours of training and  dedication paid off handsomely with a seventh place at the World Championship in Kona, Hawai’i.

In truth it was the culmination of a year of excellent performances, which also saw him win the May 24 Half-Marathon.

He’s vowed to return next year and beat his Kona finish — so watch out for Tyler pounding the streets of Bermuda in the new year as he bids to carry on his extraordinary career.

The cricket team battled unsuccessfully for World T20 qualification overseas and the husband and wife team of Chris and Ashley Estwanik were just two of the Bermuda runners caught up in the aftermath of Boston Marathon bombings. 

Our sailors were regular competitors around the globe, while the island’s swimmers and athletes shone consistently at international meets.

However, you also didn’t have to look too far for excitement.

At the centre of the sporting year was the Island Games — a wonderfully-staged event that proved the island could stage a genuine multi-national sporting festival.

One thing this writer will always remember is the relentless racing down at the pool in the evenings. I can only tip my hat to the Bermuda team, their fitness and impressive medal haul.

Cricket’s Cup Match lived up to its annual billing as the biggest sporting carnival, while the World Rugby Classic and May 24 Half-Marathon once again attracted thousands of vociferous spectators to the sidelines.

The eight voting categories provide a glance back but not everyone was able to be included and some will feel rightly aggrieved at missing out.

The likes Paul DeCouto, who won the Pro Expert Superstock USA Grand National motorbike series, deserves recognition for a wonderful achievement, while Flora Duffy continues to prove why she’s our leading female triathlete despite injury ruling her out of the ITU Age Group World Championships in London.

The island was blessed with some marvellous events and it was arguably the most competitive category. 

Bermuda Marathon (Race) Weekend, the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament and the Saracens’ tour were all superb.

Roy Allan-Burch broke national records in the pool, while Bermuda Gymnastics and Under-15 boys football team also just missed out on the shortlist.

Before 2014 kicks off  now’s a great time to pause  and remember the best of 2013. 

1: Best sportsman

a. Nahki Wells

Goals propelled Bradford City to promotion and League Cup final.

b. Tyler Butterfield (pictured)

Seventh at Ironman Worlds in Kona, Hawai’i. Won May 24 half-marathon.

c. Janeiro Tucker

Broke all-time Cup Match runs record. Led his country in World T20 qualifiers.

d. Domico Coddington

Starred for Triple Crown-winning  Cougars. League’s player of the year.

e. Chris Estwanik

Second at Race Weekend and a superb Bermuda-record run at Boston Marathon.

2: Best sportswoman

a. Shianne Smith (pictured)

Five golds and a bronze at the Island Games was an eye-catching return, silver and Bda heptathlon record at CAC Seniors.

b. Lisa Blackburn

Total of eight medals (three gold) in fine effort in the pool at Island Games.

c. Teresa Perozzi

Boxer’s two feisty draws with Tori Nelson captured public’s imagination.

d. Rose-Anna Hoey

Excellent domestic running season capped with May 24 half-marathon title.

e. Ashley Estwanik

New national 10,000 record and second on May 24 and Race Weekend.

3: Best young sportsman

a. Jesse Washington

Bagged national records and medal haul at Carifta Games at CCCAN.

b. Rai Simons

Young footballer sparkled in the FA Youth Cup with Ilkeston FC.

c. Tre Manders (pictured)

Sublime Cup Match century and showed promise on international scene.

d. Chae Brangman

Young player of the year helped Cougars to an historic Triple Crown.

e. Chase Cooper

Sailor fifth overall at the IODA North American Championships.

4: Best young sportswoman

a. Ashley Yearwood (pictured)

Ten medals in the pool at the Island Games made her a standout performer.

b. Kyrah Scraders

 PB at World Youth Championships in Ukraine, broke Bermuda junior 800m record, gold and silver at Carifta Games, won Front Street Mile.

c. Tyler Smith

Three golds for tennis player in dominant performance at the Island Games.

d. Aaliyah Nolan

Red hot striker scored for Bermuda’s Under-15s, Under-17s and Under-20s. 

e. Ceci Wollmann

Signed off from the Optis with the national title. Now for the Lasers.

5: Best sporting event

a. Cup Match

Somerset dominated the draw but  atmosphere at St George’s was special.

b. Island Games (pictured)

Superbly run, Bermuda staged wide-reaching international event with a smile.

c. Dockyard Grand Prix

Successful inaugural event. Did you honestly know karts went that fast?

d. May 24 Half Marathon

From Somerset all the way to town — a true community occasion.

e. World Rugby Classic

Where champagne and rugby combined to produce…one big party. 

6: Best team

a. Somerset (Cup Match)

They retained the trophy and are streets ahead of St George’s at present.

b. St David’s (cricket, pictured)

Premier League champions and Eastern Counties champions.

c. Devonshire Cougars

FA Cup, Friendship Trophy and Premier League winners.

d. Bermuda Women’s Under-17s

Did country proud by reaching semis of the CFU World Cup qualifiers.

e. Swimming team (Island Games)

A stack of medals, with relay performances really standing out.

7: Best one-off performance

a. Tre Manders

Amid the chaos of Cup Match drama made a ton that belied his tender years.

b. Tyler Butterfield

Equalled dad Jim’s seventh at iconic Kona Ironman. Race splits amazed.

c. Dage Minors (pictured)

Young athlete won 1,500m, 800m, 400m and 4x400m at same State meet.

d. Chris Estwanik

Broke the Bermuda marathon record in Boston. Dignified in wake of tragedy.

e. Nahki Wells

Became first Bermudian to  score at Wembley in League Two play-off win.

8: Best coach

a. Wendall Smith

St David’s cricket coach’s effect was undeniable for the champions.

b. Dennis Brown (pictured)

Assistant national team coach and  driving force behind Cougars’ success.

c. Ben Smith

The man who guides island’s top swimmers. Hugely dedicated.

d. Patrick Calow

At the heart of great work being done by BRU and Beyond Rugby programme.

e. Duke Nelligan

Developing fine group of gymnasts at St David’s. Unbounded enthusiasm.