Sports minister salutes champion cricketers
Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sports Olivia Grange describes the West Indies men's team as "true and worthy champions" after they became the first team to win the ICC T20 World Cup twice.
Grange also congratulated the women's team for winning their first-ever ICC T20 Women's World Cup, calling it "a giant step forward for women in sport".
"It is really a historic occasion and I'm really happy that I'm the minister at this time. We won the Under-19 World Cup and now added the men's and women's ICC T20 World titles," said Grange.
The Caribbean men edged a pulsating four-wicket win over England in the grand showdown at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India, with Carlos Brathwaite smashing four mighty sixes in the final over.
"Like every West Indian, I was nervous, too, with 19 runs required from the final over. But Carlos Brathwaite showed that he has a big, big heart. He believes in himself, and his calmness under such immense pressure is indicative of his quality and sheer class. Marlon Samuels was outstanding as well. It was his innings that was pivotal in making this victory possible.
But overall, this team has proven throughout the tournament that they are true and worthy champions and it's a victory most deserving for the entire region and all West Indians around the world," said Grange.
West Indies Women defeated their Australian counterparts by eight wickets in the earlier final.
"Today is another giant step forward and a great moment for women in sports, especially for those of us from the Caribbean," the minister said.
"I must reserve special praise, though, for women's team captain Stafanie Taylor, who I know personally as a little girl growing up in Gordon Pen in my constituency.
"As the first woman to lead the West Indies ladies to their first-ever world title, she's now a part of history that can never be eclipsed."
Grange added: "I am also pleased to tell the country that I will be resuscitating and fast-tracking plans for the Stafanie Taylor Oval at Eltham High School."
Continuing, she said: "We must not overlook the contributions of the West Indies Cricket Board, the coaching and management staff, the sponsors and ardent fans. They have all played their part in this momentous occasion for West Indies cricket, which, undoubtedly, remains an emblem of regional integration, pride and joy."