Scholarship winner Nathaniel Kallicharan says sports helped with his studies.

He topped the entire Caribbean in Physical Education last year and now the Shiva Boys Hindu College’s champion Nathaniel Kallicharan has won a Creative and Performance Studies scholarship.

Kallicharan, the lone scholarship recipient at his school this year, said the scholarship was unexpected.

“I’m still in shock it hasn’t sunk in yet. It was not something I fixated on. I just did my work daily and I also religiously did past paper questions,” Kallicharan said, during an exclusive interview with Guardian Media.

He added, “I always felt it was important to have a balance. Being overwhelmed with school work, exams and revision could put stress on you so I was always outside doing physical activity.”

The 19-year-old student who plans to do a Bachelors in Physical Therapy in Jamaica said he was thankful to his parents Joel and Hema Kallicharan and Shiva Boys Hindu College for supporting him.

“ I also want to thank God, my PE teacher Sheldon Maharaj, coach Sharma Maharaj and the Metronomes Sports and Cultural Club and our principal Dexter Sakal who helped me,” he added.

Unlike many other students, Kallicharan said the COVID-19 pandemic provided more time for him to study.

“COVID prevented us from having a regular exam period and our exams got pushed back but everything worked out pretty well. We had more time to study and revise and prepare ourselves so it was a blessing in disguise,” he said.

For those struggling with online school, Kallicharan said sports was the answer.

“Online school is not the same as having physical interaction but take it day by day and everything should work out. Have a balance. I always tell people don’t think two and three steps but take it day by day and everything should work out,” he added.

Because of his love for his country, Kallicharan said he plans to stay in Trinidad and Tobago to help athletes once he becomes qualified.

“I plan to study at the University of Jamaica and do a bachelor in physical therapy and eventually specialize in sports physical therapy. I want to give back to sports and to raise the name of T&T in sports, taking sports to another level,” Kallicharan said.

He added sports had developed him holistically.

“It changed the way I think and it is an avenue that will steer youths in the right direction,” he added.

He said he wanted to be able to help athletes so they can win more medals for T&T.

Meanwhile, principal Sakal said Nathaniel was always a diligent and hardworking student.

“He spent a lot of time in sports, he was our school’s long-distance champion, he represented the school in the 5,000 metres at the District Level of the Secondary Schools Track and Field. He ran in half marathons. This was important because it gave him a lot of drive and motivation,” Sakal said.

He added Nathaniel was always very enthusiastic about helping to organize school events.

“He has a great spirit of volunteerism, and was always very upbeat,” he added.

Teacher Sheldon Maharaj said Nathaniel was an all-rounder who excelled in sports and academics.

“He was a perfect student, very outspoken and all-round because he is a great athlete and was also academically oriented. We are pleased with his success.”

The school is planning to honour Kallicharan soon for his accomplishment.