Premier Craig Cannonier with all f the night's winners. *Photo by James Burton
Premier Craig Cannonier with all f the night's winners. *Photo by James Burton

Tyler Butterfield and Ashley Yearwood scooped the top awards as the great and good of Bermuda sports were honoured on Saturday night at the Government’s 33rd Annual Sports Awards at the Fairmont Southampton.

Triathlete Butterfield was rewarded for the best year of his career, which included seventh placed finish at the Ironman World Championships in Hawai’i and a win in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon just last weekend.

He held off the challenge of striker Nahki Wells, who had to settle for being nominated despite an incredible 12 months that saw him help Bradford City to promotion and become Huddersfield Town’s record signing.

Speaking via Skype from his home in Colorado, Butterfield, 31, said: “The Athlete of the Year award is a true honour. Just to be nominated is an honour in itself and to actually come away with it and, out of all athletes in Bermuda in one year, to be nominated as the one athlete is incredible. I just want to thank everyone for the support and for believing in me.”

For the popular Wells, 23, he said the recognition he has received and his move up to the Championship with the Terriers showed that hard work can pay off.

He said: “If you put the best into everything you do, if you train hard and have a positive outlook on life, not just in football but outside of football, that will have a massive effect on what you want to achieve in life.

“I just think you have to take every step as it comes and be focused on what you want to achieve. It feels great to be nominated for any award back at home. It just shows the hard work that Bermudian athletes put in abroad is noticed and I’m very grateful.”

In the women’s category, it was the battle of the Island Games stars, with swimmer Ashley Yearwood being recognized for her gold glut ahead of fellow swimmer Lisa Blackburn and multi-discipline athlete Shianne Smith, who is based in France.

Yearwood said: “It feels really great to be recognized for everything I have been doing over the past year. It’s a really surreal feeling to have won this award, two years ago I won the Junior Athlete of the year award so it’s really great to come back and win this one, so thank you so much.”

In the highly-competitive junior categories, athletes Justin Donowa and Kyrah Scraders won the male and female categories respectively.

One of the highlights of the evening was the huge cheer that greeted a Special Achievement Award for Winston JR Jones, the man who coached the famous Big Blue Machine women’s softball team that went 14 games unbeatean and won the 1978 CAC Games gold medal in Colombia.

A select number of that team were in the audience to support Jones and the crowd gave the women their own rapturous round of applause.

In receiving his award Jones told all the island’s top athletes to use their standing to inspire the island’s next generation. “Do more than score a goal or hit a six,” he said. “ Go out and see the younger members of our community and help them. You have the keys to our future.”

In closing, the Minister of Community, Culture and Sports Wayne Scott said: "Tonight, we have seen that Bermuda has an abundance of talent that we must develop and nurture so that they continue to do us proud.  And who knows, in 2016 we may witness one of our athletes standing on the podium at the Brazil Olympics.

"The Awards are also a special night because it allows Bermuda to not only celebrate our Athletes but also our Administrators, National Sports Government Bodies, Coaches and volunteers, without whose support this industry would not attain the standards of excellence which we all hope to maintain.

"I congratulate all of the nominees, as, in your own right, and in the eyes of the entire Bermudian community, you are all winners. On behalf of the Government of Bermuda I salute all of you and encourage you to continue with your endeavours!"  

For more on the 33rd Annual Sports Awards, don't miss Wednesday's copy of the Bermuda Sun.

 

 

Awards winners

 

Athlete of the Year

Male

Tyler Butterfield

Nominated: Nahki Wells, Tyrone Smith

 

Female

Ashley Yearwood

Nominated: Lisa Blackburn, Shianne Smith

 

Junior Athlete of the Year

Male

Justin Donowa

Nominated: Chase Cooper, Dage Minors

 

Female

Kyrah Scraders

Nominated: Ceci Wollmann, Aaliyah Nolan

 

Special Recognition Award

Bermuda Girls Under-17 football team

Bermuda Boys’ Under 15 Boys football team

Devonshire Recreational Club

2013 Natwest Island Games

 

Sports Citation Award

Anthony Mouchette (netball)

Dennis Raynor (cricket)

Steve Bean (tennis and football)

Wayne Raynor (sports official, athletics)

Stanfield Smith (football and tennis)

 

Special Achievement Award

Winston Jones (softball)

Kenneth Perinchief (football)

Diane Hunt (softball)

 

Appreciation Award

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Committee

Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association

Appleby (football)

 

Minister’s Awards

Football, men: Nahki Wells

Football, women: Aaliyah Nolan

Cricket: Janeiro Tucker

 

Senior Achievement Award

Tyler Butterfield (triathlon)

Ashley Yearwood (swimming)

Nahki Wells (football)

Shaquille Dill (track and field)

Janeiro Tucker (cricket)

Lisa Blackburn (swimming)

Tyrone Smith (track and field)

 

Junior Achievement Awards

Justin Donowa (track and field)

Kyrah Scarders (track and field)

Ceci Wollmann (sailing)

Aaliyah Nolan (football)

Chase Cooper (sailing)