Local sports pioneer Hon. Rita Gardiner was bestowed with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th Annual Women In Sports Gala Awards, held on Friday, December 16, at the Governor’s House in the country’s capital Grand Turk.
Gardiner’s latest awards came on the heels of her recently being awarded with the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees CANOC) Pioneering Award. Gardiner is a founding member of that regional sporting body. She is also responsible for the formation and longevity of many local sporting bodies.
She has been credited with ensuring that Delano Williams, the country’s first Olympian Delano Williams, receiving a scholarship to attend high school in Jamaica, where he became the first non-national to win that country’s mega Boys and Girls Championships in the 100m and 200m for his school Munro College. He later went on to become World Junior Champions in the 200m, beating an overly tough field.
The Awards to Gardiner were presented by Godfrey Been, President of the Commonwealth Games, and Rosalie Ingham-Hall, Secretary General. She received the official signed document along with a plaque.
The President, in delivering his remarks on Gardiner’s recent CANOC Pioneering Award, which was revealed in Trinidad last month, surprised Gardiner with an unannounced guest appearance by the Immediate Past President of that body, Mr. Brian Lewis.
Gardiner, who was at one point speechless at the gesture, deemed it a truly a great moment, since she had no idea that the former President would travel all the way from Trinidad and Tobago to present the prestigious award to her.
The event also saw many other persons collecting awards for their roles in the various sporting disciplines, being recognized by the President of Women in Sports, Ms. Sharon Simons.
Among those honored were Nicoda Fulford and Natalie Sweeting in the field of Basketball. Sarah Noyes and Keith Malcolm in the field of Darts, Olivia Gravely Paula Garland for Soccer, Rosalie Ingham Hall, Rosanna Henry, Brenda Lightbourne and Thelma Vanalstine in the area of Athletics, Shalwan Delancy and Santana Rigby for Softball, and Edith Cox Cheryl Ann Francis Foreman and from the Commonwealth Games Association.