The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has announced that a People’s Choice Award will be added to the list of honours at their annual gala on December 29.
Now in its 18th edition, the gala will now see seven awards presented at the Port of Spain Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.
TTOC President Brian Lewis announced the new award at their Olympic House, with the move aimed at widening public participation in the organisation’s activities.
Digital agency Tribal Worldwide Caribbean were asked by TTOC to create an online campaign to allow the public to boost their favourite athlete’s chances of winning the inaugural honour.
“We devised a strategy with the TTOC marketing team because we know the old adage that perception is reality,” said Dale Lutchman, general manager at Tribal Worldwide Caribbean.
“So we need to create that reality, on social media, as well as off-line media, that the people are aware that these tiny Caribbean islands with just over 1.6 million people are a force to be reckoned with.
“And, in the same way there is a unified front with Team USA and Team Jamaica, there is now Team TTO.
“This is the starting point as we prepare for the annual awards.
"We have done the first part of the strategy where we get the public involved.”
TTOC believe that the People’s Choice Awards scheme is unlike any other, having opted not to shortlist athletes and categories.
In addition, anyone is able to vote from across the world until midnight on December 20.
Fans are able to vote for their favourite here or by accessing links on TTOC’s Facebook page and Twitter feeds.
In addition to the new award, the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year honours will be presented as normal, with the winners determined by the TTOC executive.
The prestigious Alexander B Chapman Award is also set to be presented, to recognise an outstanding contribution to Sport and Olympism.
Lutchman believes the new award will place the athletes at the forefront of the public’s minds and will provide a boost to Trinidad and Tobago's aim of winning ten Olympic gold medals by 2024.
“The public is aware of this goal and we need to make them even more aware and more involved in that process that supports and fuels the athletes, so we don't just see when the athletes come back with a gold medal or two at the airport,” he said.
“They need it on the road to Rio, on the build up to Rio.”