The mother of national gymnast Thema Williams is concerned about her daughter’s participation at the Rio Olympics, stating that the T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) is not following the selection policy that was set. On Thursday, on the popular Isports programme (i95.5fm) hosted by Andre Errol Baptiste, a lot of concerns were raised by Williams’ mother Helen Adams.

Adams is claiming that her daughter should be the one selected to represent T&T at the Olympic Test Event in Rio, Brazil in April 2016 as she currently has a higher ranking than fellow national gymnast Marisa Dick. Williams and Dick both competed in the artistic women’s individual qualification at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, with Williams finishing 59th and Dick ending 77th overall.  

Adams stated the selection policy of the TTGF states, “The WAG (Women’s Artistic Gymnastics) gymnast who scores the highest all-around score at the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow 2015 will be the athlete selected by the TTGF Selection Committee to move forward to represent T&T at the Olympic Test Event in Rio, Brazil in April 2016 once her scores allow her selection by the International Federation of Gymnastics to this event.”

On the radio show Adams said, “A selection policy was established by the T&T Gymnastics Federation as it relates to the Rio Olympics, and this was given to everyone, and so after the last event, the rankings read Thema (Williams) in 59th position and Marisa (Dick) in 77th position. If there is only one spot, Thema, based on this should be the automatic choice.”

Adams added: “Instead, we are now being told, that the two girls (Williams and Dick) will have to compete in two more events, and then they will decide again who is representing T&T, but this is not right, it is not fair.”

“At this time, Thema should be preparing for the Olympic Trials in 2016, but instead, this is happening, which cannot be good for her mind, and even though we are asking questions, as to what is causing this, we are not getting much answers from anyone in the Association.”

The T&T Guardian has also learnt, that John Geddert, the coach of Thema Williams, has since sent two emails to the president of the T&T Gymnastics Federation David Marquez, and has not received a reply to date. The first email was sent on Monday and the second was sent on Thursday.

Sport Minister gets involved

Also appearing on Isports was the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Daryl Smith, who admitted, that he had heard some of this before but needed to listen to the two sides. Smith said: “We have only heard one (side), but if this is happening, we will check and get the full details. I have not seen any correspondence as yet to the Ministry of Sports, but it is something that we are going to examine as we believe in placing the athletes first and ensuring that all sporting organisations operate transparently and fairly.”

Adams planned to hand deliver all the relevant documents to the Minister of Sports yesterday in the hope that this matter could be quickly resolved through the intervention of the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.


The Cabinet yesterday fired the board of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT), which is chaired by Sebastien Paddington.

Cabinet’s action follows the SporTT’s decision to pay off a $34 million contract to educator Adolphus Daniell’s EBeam Interact for work he did not do in the now defunct LifeSport programme.

The board of directors of SporTT were Reynold Bala, Norris Blanc, Nisa Dass, Anyl Gopeesingh, Sabrenah Khayyam, Matthew Quamina, Annan Ramnanansingh, Kent Samlal, Milson Siboo and Harnarine Singh.

Cabinet’s decision was taken on a day the Express’ editorial called for the board to be dismissed and for action to be taken by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan against the directors for breach of fiduciary duties.

Contacted yesterday, Ramlogan said that he had already indicated to the Express that the audit report was under active consideration with a view to restitution of public funds.

“I’ve retained the services of Deborah Peake SC to deal with the matter and rest assured that any claims or recovery of public funds will be vigorously pursued,” he said.

“I was disappointed in the Express’ editorial because I had already indicated my intention which was published in your newspaper but I anxiously await the findings and advice so I can proceed,” he added.

Cabinet’s decision to fire the SporTT board comes one week after former sport minister Anil Roberts  resigned following the public furore over the LifeSport scandal.

Roberts had told the Express he felt the EBeam payment was the tipping point for his exit from politics.

The EBeam contract was highlighted in the Ministry of Finance’s Central Audit Committee’s audit report into LifeSport which has now been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Integrity Commission, the Commissioner of Police and the head of the Public Service.

In his resignation letter to House Speaker Wade Mark, Roberts has criticised the audit report into LifeSport, claiming it was flawed, especially with regard to the EBeam contract.

The audit revealed Daniell was paid $34 million by SporTT although no work was done. His $34 million payment was the single biggest payment in the programme.

Daniell has said he has no intention of returning the money.

“The thing about it is, it is a non-issue because the only way under a contract anything is recoverable is if the other party is in default. There was never a single letter of complaint that I was in default of this contract. Not even a phone call,” Daniell has said.

The role of the SporTT board has come under scrutiny for not only its decision and defence in awarding the multi-million payment to Daniell but for making the second payment although no work was executed.

The Express has reported that six days before SporTT received legal advice to pay an outstanding $17 million payment to Daniell’s EBeam Interact, a cheque had already been made out to him.

Daniell’s cheque for $17 million—the second half of a $34 million payment   to teach maths and English—was dated February 11, 2014.

SporTT received legal advice from attorney Anja Dass from JD Sellier on February 17 that it “is legally obligated under the contract to issue the remaining balance of the TT$17 million to EBeam”.

The Express reported it was former chief executive John Mollenthiel who drafted a note for the board of SporTT to approve the final payment based on his recommendation. He resigned from SporTT a few weeks ago.

The board has refused to answer questions from the Express on the contract because it was seeking legal advice.


Larry Probst, chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, has praised the progress being made by Rio 2016 following celebrations to mark two years to go until the Olympics and Paralympics begin.

Although organisers faced an avalanche of concerns in recent months, including over the construction of venues and high levels of pollution at venues for water sports, they have been using the milestone to showcase the progress they claim is being made.

This was something acknowledged by Probst who, as well as his role in overseeing preparations for the US team at the Olympics and Paralympics, will no doubt have an eye on gaining insights which could prove helpful for a bid from his nation for the 2024 edition of the Games.

"This trip has afforded me the opportunity to view the commendable progress that has been made in Rio," said Probst, who was visiting the Brazilian city to attend the World Press Briefing in his role as chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Press Commission

"While there is still work to be done, the Rio 2016 leadership team and the people of Brazil are 100 per cent focused on delivering a great Games and a memorable celebration of the world's best athletes.

"I've been equally impressed by Rio's landscape and its people, while experiencing the excitement as the venues take shape.

"I visited the sailing venue on Tuesday (August 5) and was impressed with the quality of the marina and the excellent organisation of the test event.

"Led by [President] Carlos Nuzman and [chief executive] Sidney Levy, and with support from Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee is working diligently to create a unique and festive Games unlike anything the Olympic and Paralympic Movements have experienced before."​

Although the criticism of preparations reached fever pitch earlier this year, with IOC  vice-president John Coates slamming them as "the worst he has experienced" in his long association with the Games, there have been various signs of improvement in recent weeks.

Two tenders have been signed and construction has begun on the second major Games hub at Deodoro, where much of the criticism was focused.

The sailing test event on Guanabara Bay, meanwhile, is currently progressing well, with worries over participants becoming ill due to the high pollution levels yet to materialise.

Mayor Paes has emphasised how he hopes Brazil will "remain marked in Olympic history as a nation that has the best Games, leaving the best legacy and being the best example of transformation in the lives of its people".

"Barcelona [1992] inspired us and was an excellent example of change, but Rio will overcome the challenges," he said.

"We are using the Games as an 'excuse' to do many things in the city, how to get financial loans and funds to carry out the works.

"This is an opportunity to expand the infrastructure in the city.

"The Games will take place for a month, but the legacy they will leave will last a lifetime."


Port. of. Spain- Friday 8th August.

The Adidas outfitted Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) Youth Olympic team will leave for Nanjing, China on Sunday.

Leading the  Team TTO delegation is chef de mission Kwanieze John, T&T’s young ambassador at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) held in Singapore in 2010.

25 year old John, a resident of St Barbs, Belmont, is  a national women's rugby player and the first active athlete to be selected as  chef de mission by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC ).

The  final year  University of Trinidad and Tobago( UTT) sport for development student said the athletes are  motivated to do their best.

"Its a huge honour for the entire delegation . We are looking forward to doing our best for Trinidad and Tobago."

World Junior silver medallist Dylan Carter is included in the 11 athlete Trinidad and Tobago Youth Olympic team that will participate in Nanjing- August 16 to 28 .

Carter, who placed fifth  in the men’s 100 metres freestyle at the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is one of three swimmers the others  are  David Mc Leod and Johnya Ferdinand.

Athletics - Jeminise Parris (100m Hurdles), Kasheif King (400m) and Akanni Hilltop (200m), Chelsea James (Shot Put) and Andwuelle Wright (Long Jump).

Malika Davidson and Chelsi Ward will represent T&T in beach volleyball. And Abigail Affoo is the  representative in sailing.

John thanked  TTOC corporate partners Scotia Bank, Guardian Group, Bptt, Lisa communications ,Adidas and the respective national sport organisations  for their support and help .

" Its not an easy or simple undertaking. The guidance , mentoring and support is appreciated. Jeannette, the young athletes - we treasure the confidence and trust placed in us. Its an honour and an experience  we will cherish. We have  to be positive role models for young people here in Trinidad and Tobago " said John.

TTO  Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic  team:

Chef de mission-Kwanieze John

Young Ambassador -Jeannette Small


Manager /head coach ​ Mark Pouchet

Dylan Carter -50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m back stroke Johnya Ferdinand - 50 m free David McLeod - 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke.



coach - Nadine Hamid​

Jeminise Parris - 100m Hurdles

Kasheif King- 400m

Akanni Hislop - 200m

Chelsea James - Shot Put

Andwuelle Wright - Long Jump​

Beach Volleyball

Manager : Jason Dennis

Coach: Sean Morrison

Malika Davidson

Chelsi Ward


Coach/Manager: Stephen Affoo

Abigail Affoo

Medical Team - Dr. Israel Dowlat, June Durham - massage therapist.

Not unexpectedly, the public statements of officials connected to Trinidad and Tobago’s Commonwealth Games effort has accentuated the positive.

The National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) wasted little time in hailing the athletes who earned medals in Glasgow—Keshorn Walcott, Ayanna Alexander, Cleopatra Borel, Jehue Gordon, Lalonde Gordon  and the men’s 4x100 and 4x400 metres relay teams. That was quite within their rights and appropriate.

Track and field yet again was the principal medal-bearer for these islands at a major multi-sport games. Only boxer Michael Alexander with his lightweight division bronze medal contributed hardware from the other disciplines. But it just seems that in the public assessments so far of T&T’s Commonwealth Games showing, too much focus has been on what track and field did or did not do.

A bigger, more important concern should be those six other disciplines from which no medals came. In most of those cases, the T&T teams also struggled to even be competitive.

At the Central American and Pan American level, the national hockey teams have performed creditably over the years, winning medals here and there, but both the men and women struggled in Scotland. Badly.

The T&T women managed just one goal in their four Pool matches, but conceded 48. The individual results make no less painful reading: 16-0 against South Africa, 14-0 v New Zealand, 14-0 against India and a “respectable” 4-2 defeat against Malaysia.

After the second beating, the 14-0 drubbing against New Zealand, coach Albert Marcano told reporter Kwame Laurence that his team had gone into that game with a plan, “not to concede more than we conceded the first time. They achieved that goal today, so it was a plus for them”.

A plus? To lose “only” 14-0? I shook my head when I read that. It seemed a clutching at straws. But clearly the T&T women were out of their depth in this level of competition which pitted them against some of the strongest teams in the hockey world.

The men’s team did not lose in double digits, and to their credit came away with a 4-2 victory over Malaysia. But they also had difficult days, losing 6-1 to England, 8-0 to New Zealand and 3-1 to Canada.

In Rugby Sevens, the T&T men lost all three of their matches against the Cook Islands, Kenya and Canada in the Pool stage but managed a win over Malaysia in a consolation Shield game, before losing heavily to Sri Lanka in their final match.

Meanwhile, the netballers went into the Commonwealth competition as the tenth ranked team and left it, having kept their status. At least no ground was lost. But for a team that was once the best in the world and among the top five in the Commonwealth, winning one match out of six cannot be satisfactory.

I therefore read with interest the newspaper comments yesterday of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis on the Commonwealth effort. He sought to focus attention on what the Glasgow effort should mean for the athletes moving forward to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Essentially, the TTOC president encouraged the sporting fraternity to use the good and the bad from Glasgow to gauge what needs to be done for the next Olympics.

There was also a plea for equitable treatment for athletes across all sports when it came to the distribution of Elite funding. Implied, was the suggestion that some national competitors have not yet got funding for the year.

This is an area that ought to demand the attention of the new Minister of Sport, Dr Rupert Griffith. As has become more clear in recent weeks, all is not right in the ministry. As such, paying outstanding money to athletes may not be so high on the minister’s list of priorities.

But even taking into consideration the relevance of the comments by the TTOC boss, and the issues of funding that all sporting associations face, those bodies also have to look themselves in the mirror.

Some of those results in Glasgow did not justify the presence of national teams there; specifically the manner of the defeats. If regional Games provide the opportunity to test where countries are in relation to the highest levels of competition in their respective sports, then T&T are not measuring up, and local sporting bodies have to look not only at how they prepare teams but at how effectively they are running their competitions and training their players, from youth level upwards.

Otherwise, these T&T games contingents will continue to be more padding than substance.


Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis was full of praise for the T&T athletes as they returned home following a good showing at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, but at the same time he told them that they needed to raise the bar higher.

Lewis, speaking at a welcome reception for the athletes at the Piarco International Airport VIP Lounge yesterday, told the contingent “As much as we all may feel we have done our very best, we can do better.”

“As we pay recognition on the medallists it is always tempting to look down at who have not achieved but it is imperative as we focus on Rio 2016, the CAC games in Vera Cruz in November, the Youth Olympic Games and the Pan Am Games in Toronto next year, that we recognise that Glasgow 2014 is now history,” said Lewis.

“We need to take on board the lessons, the disappointments, the successes, and all work together to ensure our athletes build from this experience,” he added. T&T won eight medals at the games and among those who returned home yesterday was men’s javelin silver medallist Keshorn Walcott and boxing bronze medallist Michael Alexander.

Walcott said he is looking for more personal best as he tries to improve on his performances. “Each medal for me is a great achievement but winning my second medal internationally as a senior athlete and getting a personal best, I think that was the best aspect of the games for me,” Walcott told the media.

“I know the winner from Kenya, I know him from before, from Olympics, from Worlds so I knew he was my major competition and I did not underestimate him for anything, but I guess the better guy won on the day,” he added.

Looking ahead the Olympic gold medallist said: “I am just working toward betterment. Each and every time I just want to improve and hopefully in the near future I will have more personal bests. I had a lot of problems, I had a lot of injuries, so I am just trying to get back to where I want to be. My season is not over yet,” Walcott added.

Alexander also dreams of Olympic gold and is also motivated to improve after surprising himself in Glasgow on his way to securing bronze in his appearance at an international games. “It feels great knowing it was (my) first major competition and I came out with a medal. Seeing the other styles of boxing of other countries,” he said of the experience, before thanking his coaches for helping him along the way.

“If it was not for the coaches I would not have been so successful, so I would like to thank Mr Reynold Cox and Mr Floyd Trumpet,” said the southpaw. New Minister of Sport Rupert Griffith was also on hand to welcome home the athletes and noted that he will have to talk to the prime minister to see if she has any specific plans to honour the athletes.


World Junior silver medallist Dylan Carter will lead an 11-member Trinidad and Tobago contingent to the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games (YOG) that will run from August 16 to 28 in the Chinese city. Carter, coached by one of the top US coaches Dave Salo at the University of Southern California, is one of three swimmers on the team.
Carter, who placed fifth in a new PB in the men’s 100 metres freestyle at the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is accompanied by Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) gold medallists, David Mc Leod and Johnya Ferdinand.
Swimming is one of four disciplines being represented at the quadrennial Games, whose inaugural event was in Singapore in 2010. Athletics has five representatives in Jeminise Parris (100m Hurdles), Kasheif King (400m) and Akanni Hilltop (200m), Chelsea James (Shot Put) and Andwuelle Wright (Long Jump). The pair of Malika Davidson and Chelsi Ward will represent T&T in beach volleyball. And Abigail Affoo is the lone representative in sailing.
According to Iinternational Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, “Participating in the Youth Olympic Games is not simply about sport and performance. It is also about meeting people of other cultures and backgrounds, learning about important skills in an athlete’s career and about experiencing the Olympic Values”
At the Games, the athletes will participate in the Nanjing Culture and Education Programme (CEP), an integral part of the Youth Olympic games. It aims to inspire participants to become champions of life, ambassadors of their sport and advocates of the Olympic Values of excellence, respect and friendship,” a release from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee stated.
Activities will be organised in and outside of the Youth Olympic Village (YOV) for athletes and other young participants. The programme is expected to inspire the athletes to become part of the Olympic movement, embrace Olympic values and carry forward the Olympic spirit.
T&T’s Young Ambassador Jeannette Small’s role is to promote the Cultural and Education Programme and assist the T&T athletes maximise the YOG experience. Head of the delegation is chef de mission Kwanieze John, T&T’s young ambassador at the 2010 YOG.

Complete T&T YOG team
Chef de mission-Kwanieze John
Young Ambassador -Jeannette Small

Manager /head coach ​ Mark Pouchet
Dylan Carter -50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m back stroke
Johnya Ferdinand - 50 m free
David McLeod - 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke.

coach - Nadine Hamid​
Jeminise Parris - 100m Hurdles
Kasheif King- 400m
Akanni Hislop - 200m
Chelsea James - Shot Put
Andwuelle Wright - Long Jump​

Beach Volleyball
Manager : Jason Dennis
Coach: Sean Morrison
Malika Davidson
Chelsi Ward

One Dingy
Coach/Manager: Stephen Affoo
Abigail Affoo
Medical Team - Dr. Israel Dowlat, June Durham


Special advisor to the T&T Boxing Board of Control Boxu Potts says Commonwealth bronze medallist Michael Alexander will need to attend foreign training camps if he is to win gold medals at international competitions. Speaking to the Guardian yesterday, the former promoter said that Alexander, 21, had to follow in the footsteps of track stars Hasely Crawford and Ato Boldon, both of whom benefitted from foreign training, in order to become a world class boxer.

“For a long time now boxers from T&T have been returning with silver and bronze medals from international events,” he said. “We need to get some gold medals and in order to get gold medals we must now develop a new cutting edge mentality. Athletes like Crawford and Boldon in the past have spent time training in foreign countries and I think Michael should be no different.”

He added that the country’s coaches could also develop their craft by spending time abroad.

“Some of our coaches can go and learn the science of boxing and then impart knowledge to our local athletes.”

Potts said that such initiatives would be difficult as funding from the Ministry of Sports had dried up in recent times. However, he expressed optimism at the appointment of Dr. Rupert Griffith as the new Minister of Sport following the resignation of Anil Roberts.

“I trust that Dr. Griffith, who has come in without baggage, will be good for the Ministry and will deal with sports in a fair manner and get the personality out the way,” he said. “He is a former sportsman himself and a man of action. He hits the ground running and likes to make things happen. I think he will do an excellent job.”

Without funding from the Ministry, Alexander relied on contributions from local companies Capital City and Caribbean Facilities Corporation Limited (CFCL) Construction for his preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

Potts believes that if the Ministry had provided adequate support for the sport, as many as seven fighters could have represented T&T at the Games.


The T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) will retain 15 players in time for the regional First Class cricket series which gets underway in November.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) revealed recently that the First Class tournament will now take the franchise route, with players from across the region, allowed free movement to play with any team they wish.

Players will be paid a monthly salary, in addition to match fees for the tournament which takes place over ten rounds.

Chief executive officer of the T&TCB, Suruj Ragoonath told T&T Guardian yesterday that the local board would retain a total of 15 players and they would be under this programme for a year.

“Initially the board will retain 15 players for a period of one year and those currently retained by the WICB would not be retained by the local board,” Ragoonath said.

“We will retain a total of 15 players but not those that are already retained by the board. They will, however, be available for play for T&T. As an example, we will not retain players like Dwayne Bravo, Keiron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin and Sunil Narine but the others that are not retained by the regional board.

“These players who are retained by the WICB will get match fees based on their retainer condition with the WICB. The others will be paid a monthly salary by the TTCB for one year in the first instance. They will also get match fees in accordance with their retainers.”

The WICB will be subsidising the league and hence players will get a monthly salary in the range of US$1,500 (TT$9,500) to US$2,500 (TT15,507). A player’s salary will be matched to his seniority.

In addition to this monthly salary, each player that makes the final 11 for any match will be paid in the region of US$1,500 (TT$$9,500).

Ragoonath, the former Test opener said that the players who are retained by the TTCB will have to actually “go to work” for the period of one year.

He said: “When I say ‘go to work’, I mean they will have to make a certain amount of hours in training and will be required to do mentorship, coaching and other civic duties. They will be available to promote sport and a healthy lifestyle as well, for example they can join in the march for breast cancer and Aids that is kept at the Queen’s Park Savannah.”

Players who have regular jobs will then have to make a choice between keeping their jobs, or taking a retainer.

“These guys would have the weigh their options and if they decide against taking a retainer to keep their regular jobs, they would be offered what is called a pay for play contract,” Ragoonath said.

“They will be required to get time-off from their employers to train and play matches and will get just match fees, when they represent the country.

“If the players take up their retainers then they don’t have to worry about getting time off to train and play matches, because they willbe full time cricketers.”

This arrangement is already in place in the major cricketing nations such as England, South Africa and Australia.


The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, is over but the resulting eight medals, while much appreciated, should not be the only area of introspection for those interested in progressing our sport.

It is obvious, that the T&T contingent could have done better and achieved more medals, if George Bovell III had produced a medal as expected. He and his team will have to examine his future in light of the fact, that without any European swimmers or American swimmers, he was only able to achieve fifth place in his preferred final, and therefore serious doubts must be raised on his credible chances in 2016 in Brazil.

Perhaps though, this is where we need to start, with questions being raised to the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), on both the selection process going forward for international events, and also team guidelines before any major event.

There must exist rules of participation, rules of eligibility and generally guidance rules for events which must be adhered to, otherwise, there will be anarchy and problems.

Bovell qualified for the 100 metres backstroke final, after entering the event of his own free will, but while he had the seventh fastest time heading into the final and did not look like he would medal, he opted to not swim the final.

Clearly it was not injury, as he swam the following day in his pet event the 50m freestyle and it was reported that his decision was based on him, wanting to not exert himself and be at his best for the 50m freestyle. It was a report that he and his team never refuted.

My problem is that, how can someone qualify for a final at a major meeting and drop out and the governing body, the TTOC has no say or no opinion. So is it that they are afraid of Bovell? And if so, that is absolute rubbish and speaks volumes on their management style.

Please do not tell me also that this has been done before by him and therefore it is acceptable, if that be the case, then every team member can behave similarly, wake up one morning and decide not to race or swim or play a final because they do not want to, and we all must accept it gracefully with a big broad smile and move on. Who paid for their training? Who paid for their support? Who ensured that the Olympic body would sponsor their Games? In particular, Bovell is obtaining elite funding from this country and this is not money to be easily ignored, as it is estimated at around $250,000 a year at least.

But it is the principle of the matter and the way, it was done, with callous disregard for the people of T&T, who were all happy to watch one of our own in a first final, it meant a lot. It was not surprising to listen to some of the dismaying comments from the public on Bovell’s errant choice, as it was one of disgust, dissatisfaction and left a sour taste. In fact, sadly, the population turned against him, but he has himself to blame for this.

As for the TTOC, they need to put their house in order in ensuring that the information from the camp is relayed properly. There is an urgent need for the TTOC to hire a working professional press officer or Press attache, similar to how it works all over the world. In the past, Brian Lewis used to do this job himself tirelessly but now that he is president and the Olympic framework is growing, a working full-time journalist should be hired.

This would enhance the TTOC’s image and ensure that all the media houses in this country could direct their enquiries to one constant reliable source. While there may be some that would be upset with this, the TTOC needs to stand alone and be decisive. New leadership may not always mean a change in direction but as we as a sporting world evolve, the price for lack of timely information is failure and abuse.

Lewis needs to immediately hire a press officer, so that our Olympic and related teams in the future can have their views aired properly. This sort of media coverage would not only assist our athletes in getting their opinions out on one platform but would ensure consistency and trust.

Who knows if this existed, then Bovell would not have received the amount of abuse he has had to since his withdrawal from the swimming final. Maybe anyway?

However, it is clear, that policy needs to be established with set guidelines on entering and participating in events, this is not only about the athletes pride in finishing unplaced in a final, but it must be about the country and the need to ensure that our name is not tarnished as quitters or cowards who do not like to lose or be defeated.

As to the selection policy, questions continue to be asked about the idea to use a slow Zwede Hewitt (split of 45.9) to run the anchor leg in the 4x400m relay team which won a bronze medal when gold seemed theirs for the taking.

Of concern will also be the number of injuries we continue to suffer before events, even though the athletes are supposed to have been tested before and their fitness assured this however is not the case. And the sad part is that this is not the first time we have witnessed this.

There are several young journalists, who would be interested in this job, and with the Olympics in 2016 a mere two years away, the TTOC must act now in order to be ready to deliver. This would be a great sign of progressiveness and establish the TTOC as an organisation well ahead of the others.

So let us hope the lessons from the Commonwealth Games will not only be from the field of play but also from the offices and those involved in administration of the sports that the need for proper and trustworthy communication must be first and foremost in the minds of those that want sports to succeed in this country.


COMMONWEALTH GAMES Men’s javelin silver medallist Keshorn Walcott blasted his critics at the VIP Lounge of the Piarco International Airport yesterday, as he along with a Trinidad and Tobago athletic contingent of approximately 50, returned home from national duty after a lengthy flight from Glasgow, Scotland.

Walcott, who grabbed one of this nation’s three silver medals at the just concluded Games, silenced pundits when he took the international podium once more, after launching the spear to a personal best distance of 85.32 metres in the semi-finals and then grabbing runner-up spot with a 82.67m haul.

The Toco-born athlete was responding to questions from the media based on his most recent achievement as compared to several challenging performances following his historic golden Olympic showing in 2012.

“There was not really any pressure, as I said before, people will talk and they don’t know what I’m doing behind the doors. I had a lot of problems and injuries so I’m just trying to get myself back to where I want to be,” said a relieved Walcott.

The robust athlete admitted that eventual Commonwealth javelin winner, Kenyan Julius Yego, was always going to be a tricky opponent, even though the pair know each other very well from past global tourneys.

“There athlete competition was good. The guy from Kenya, I know him from previous tournaments such as Olympics and World Championships. I knew he was my major competition and going in there I didn’t underestimate him. I guess the better guy won on the day,” he added.

Also touching down from a hectic and historic campaign at the Games was Men’s lightweight bronze medallist, Michael Alexander. The reserved young man still beamed with delight having bagged his first international boxing medal at his inaugural global meet. In his short address to the welcoming reception, Alexander heaped praises on coaches Reynold Cox and Floyd Trumpet for giving him the required artillery to attain a coveted podium spot. He was also the only athlete to medal outside of the athletics discipline. Both Walcott and Alexander also received celebratory plaques from the Ministry of Sport.

Also present yesterday were several members of the Men and Women’s national hockey teams and athletics camps, who all brought home great experience from the acclaimed competition. Additionally, male hockey players Akim Toussaint and Solomon Eccles were also presented with miniature trophies for attaining their 100th country appearance in the sport.

Other delegates attending yesterday’s function were freshly appointed Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette, special adviser to the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board Boxu Potts and various members of TT’s Commonwealth managerial staff.

In Griffith’s first ever address to the public as Minister of Sport, he showered praises on the returning outfit and admitted that their performances auger well for the future of national sporting development.

When asked if the medalling athletes would be rewarded from the Government, Dr Griffith stated that he has been in talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on this matter. He also indicated that the Prime Minster sent her regards to the contingent and that today would be his first full day in office as Sport Minister.

When asked as to what his agenda may look like today, he responded, “I have a lot of plans but won’t reveal them just yet. On my first full day (today), I will be talking with all the heads of the respective departments.

“I want to first get a feel of the Ministry as to where they are now. I want to look at the projects and where they’re going and see which direction we will go in, and put our priorities.”


Glasgow 2014 is over. Elite level sport is publicly measured. Opinions and perspectives are as diverse as the various people expressing their point of view.

In the context of the Olympic Games and Rio 2016 in particular, Glasgow 2014 provided an important yardstick for the athletes and team sports hoping to qualify and be selected in two years’ time for Rio 2016.

The Commonwealth Games is an important barometer. It is to the credit of this country’s athletes that they understand the importance of attending and participating.

While most people focus on the medal tally of eight medals—three silver and five bronze—and the fact that gold is missing, those tuned in to Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 will keep the results and performances in the appropriate context and perspective.

The public profile of events such as the Commonwealth Games is important as it provides scrutiny and a transparency that can only propel athletes, coaches and administrators to higher heights.

It is necessary for athletes, coaches and administrators to embrace the scrutiny but in doing so don’t be distracted or angered by what may seem at times as unfair or misinformed criticism. On the other hand, it also works the other way. Enjoy the praise and adulation but don’t be similarly distracted or seduced by the celebration and back slapping.

Sport on the whole and elite sport in particular is no faithful sycophant. You are king or queen of the hill one day and the next you are a close confidante to the agony of defeat, injury or lost of form.

Invariably, the extremes of emotions, while polar opposites, can be an unnecessary obstacle to continued improvement and achievement.

Glasgow 2014 highlighted the need to improve on critical details that are fundamental to elite sport.

In the customary rush to celebrate and congratulate or criticise aspects such as athletes not getting their funding, based on the Cabinet-approved elite athlete assistance programme, guidelines are lost. The end result is that some athletes may quite correctly feel that they are being treated in a cynical and hypocritical manner and that the system is not just, fair and equitable.

Celebrate, laud, meet and greet while at the same time do not turn a blind eye to basic needs.

Let’s make sure athletes who have not received their Elite Athlete Assistance funding for the year do so.

Sometimes things need to be said and fights need to be fought even if they are unpopular or uncomfortable.

It’s the role, responsibility and duty of sport administrators to make sure that as far as possible everything is done and put in place to support those athletes who meet the requirements.

Important support systems are in place to support elite level athletes. Much has been done and most are beneficiaries of what is available.

But the process and systems aren’t in perfect working order and need to be fixed. Decisions must be made as to where investments should be made and where they may not make sense.

If this country wants to achieve its full medal potential on the Olympic, Commonwealth, World, Pan Am, CAC multi-sport stage, funding support for our athletes in both individual and team sports must be ring fenced.

The uncertainty is unhelpful and can cause underachievement. It is also unfair.

No athlete deserving of support must be left behind.


Tired bodies but even tougher minds departed from Glasgow, Scotland, over the past two days, as T&T athletes bid farewell to the Commonwealth Games which closed on Sunday with a gala ceremony. After 12 days of intense competition T&T emerged with eight medals—three silver and five bronze—to improve T&T’s overall medal count at the event to 52 (eight gold, 20 silver, 24 bronze).

T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis, is encouraged by the effort of all the athletes and applauded their successes. “I am proud of our medallists and those, who made the finals and did their season’s best,” said Lewis in his first major competition as the head of the TTOC. “It augurs well for Pan Am in Toronto next year and Rio Olympics (2016),” he said.

It was slow start to the 20th edition of the event but Ayanna Alexander sparked some life into the T&T camp on the seventh day, by winning this country’s first medal, a bronze in the women’s triple jump event, leaping to a distance of 14.01 metres at Hampden Park Stadium.

A day later, it was Cleopatra Borel and Lalonde Gordon making it three for T&T as the duo went on to nab a silver and bronze, respectively. Borel’s toss of 18.57m earned her a third Commonwealth medal, bagging bronze at the 2006 Melbourne Games and a silver at the Delhi Games in 2010.

Gordon’s battle-to-the-end attitude saw him cross third in the men’s 400m. It was the first of two bronze medals he secured, leading the 4x400m team that also included Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow and Zwede Hewitt, two days later. Jehue Gordon ran a season’s best 48.75 to win a silver medal in the 400m hurdles final, which made it four for T&T last Tuesday.

On Saturday, the final day of track and field, the expectations were high for T&T to make it unto the podium. Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott and both the 4x100 relay team of Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Keston Bledman and the 4x400m did just that.

Walcott, only the previous day, had broken his own national record throwing 85.28 in the opening round to better the 84.58m standard he had set in winning gold in 2012, had his best throw on the sixth and final round of 82.67, to capture the second major title of his career, a silver medal.

Earlier the week, both Thompson and Bledman, both Olympic silver medallists, missed out on qualifying for the 100m final while Sorrillo was eliminated in the 200m event. Failures that left a sour feeling with the trio, however, they did well to bounce back and placed third in 38.10 with the help of Burns. Lalonde, Solomon, Quow and Hewitt combined to clock 3:01.51 in the 4x400m final to seize a bronze.

The night before though, at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Michael Alexander nabbed a bronze medal also. Despite being defeated by Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzgerald in the semifinals of the men’s lightweight division, Alexander was guaranteed a medal even before entering the ring as losing semifinalists are awarded bronze medals.

Lewis, who got a chance to see the local athletes in action, said, evaluating some of their performances, that he saw promise which was good for the future.

He said: “Dylan Carter showed his potential as did Michael Alexander and Judo's Christopher George.

“George Bovell showed he is still a world class swimmer.”

Both Bovell and Carter missed out on medals in the 50m freestyle and the 100m freestyle finals, respectively.

Bovell (22.31), who also reached the final of the 50m backstroke but chose not to compete, and Carter (49.56) placed fifth in their respective races.

T&T’s team sports were totally outclassed. The national netball team placing tenth from 12 teams, winning only one match over Barbados (38–37). The “Calypso Girls” suffered losses to South Africa (56–40), Wales (50–31), Australia (69–34) and England (70–24). In their classification match against host Scotland, they lost 46–28.

The men’s rugby sevens team lost all of its pool matches to South Africa (36–0), Kenya (35–5) and Cook Islands (33–10), to be relegated to the bowl competition and lost to Canada, 33–0.

Down in the Shield contest, the local did manage to win a match against Malaysia, 15–10 in the semifinals but fell to Sri Lanka (43–7) in that finale.

“At times I must admit it has been a difficult Games in that sense because it is never easy watching younger athletes get a baptism of fire,” said Lewis.

Both men’s and women’s hockey teams were also outplayed by their opponents to place tenth in the respective divisions.

The local stickmen though, did create history, by winning its first ever match at a Commonwealth Games, beating Malaysia 4–2 in the final preliminary match.

“We don’t afford our team sports the competitive programme that they need and it makes no sense stopping and starting is either we committed to it or we not we can’t be halfway committed then complain about the cost. If we want our teams to perform well and build and develop we have to invest the money in terms of the high level competitions.”

“The people that are making these decisions need to face reality International sports at this level have changed. We have a lot to improve.

Roger Daniel, who thrived in the last two Commonwealth Games, with two silver (2010) and a bronze (2006), left empty-handed. Daniel best showing was in the 50m Pistol event, where he placed seventh.

With competitions like the World Championships, Pan American Games and even the Olympics quickly approaching, T&T athletes will look to recuperate and dive back into preparations.

“The TTOC have to do a comprehensive review of everything we do because there are a lot of things that other countries are doing and if we have to compete we must do.”


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. The United States Olympic Committee joins the global Olympic Movement in celebrating the two-year countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Tuesday, Aug. 5. To commemorate the two-year milestone, the USOC is sharing thoughts from some of its top 2016 Olympic hopefuls, distributing sport storylines and qualification procedures, launching a video and online feature series dubbed “Ready for Rio” on, and promoting #ReadyForRio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Additionally, and per tradition, OMEGA’s Olympic Games Countdown Clock will launch Aug. 5 on the homepage of, alerting fans on a continual basis to the remaining days, hours and minutes until the start of the 2016 Games.

With the Opening Ceremony to be held Aug. 5, 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will become the first South American city to host an Olympic Games. More than 10,500 athletes from 204 nations are expected to participate in 28 sports and 41 disciplines, including the highly anticipated reinstatement of golf and rugby.


A robust guide of athlete and sport storylines likely to unfold over the next two years, as well as qualification and selection procedures and key dates for each sport are available at Below is a sampling of Team USA’s top storylines heading into Rio.

Olympic Inclusion: Previously contested at just two Olympic Games in 1900 and 1904, golf will be played for the first time in 112 years at the 2016 Games. Featuring men’s and women’s individual events as announced by the International Olympic Committee in 2009, both events will have 60 players competing in a 72-hole stroke play tournament. Rugby joins golf in making an Olympic comeback in 2016, although this will mark the first time the rugby sevens format will be contested at an Olympic Games. The sevens format is a smaller, faster-paced game than the more common 15-a-side rugby tournament, which was last featured at the 1924 Games, in which the U.S. defended its gold medal from 1920. The 2016 rugby sevens competition will feature both men’s and women’s tournaments.

New Partnership: All eyes will be on Kerri Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.) as she aims to make her fifth Olympic appearance – her fourth on the sand and first without long-time partner Misty May-Treanor by her side. With May-Treanor’s exit from the sport after the duo’s remarkable three consecutive Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012), Walsh Jennings has switched partners to 2012 silver medalist April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.). A strong partnership that has yielded multiple medals on the international circuit in 2014, the duo is still navigating the waters to find a consistent rhythm. Now a mother of three, Walsh Jennings has moved to the right side of the sand, which has been a challenge as she heads into unchartered territory in search of her fourth Olympic title.

Mix for Six: Five-time U.S. Olympic shot gun athlete Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.), who owns a U.S. Olympic record five medals in five consecutive Games, and is also the first Olympic shooter –  male or female – to compete in all three shotgun events, now has her sights set on Rio. Since giving birth to her son, Carter, in May 2013, Rhode has won three world cup medals.

Streaking: Team USA has historically shown strength in team sports at the Olympic Games, and at the 2016 Games, there is potential for several teams to continue impressive medal runs. For instance, the U.S. women’s basketball team will look to capture its sixth straight – and eighth overall – gold medal at the 2016 Games. Men’s basketball will also look to expand a highly successful legacy, seeking its third consecutive gold medal in 2016. Undefeated on the world stage for eight straight years, the U.S. women’s eight rowing team – which has not lost an Olympic or world championship title since 2006 – will go for its third consecutive Olympic gold medal in Rio. Additionally, the U.S. women’s soccer and water polo teams have medaled at every Olympic Games since the debut of their sports in 1996 and 2000.


Journalists are welcome to use the following quotes from Team USA athletes for coverage of the two-year countdown:

“This year has been an eye-opening experience in the sense that I see untapped potential in multiple events as we approach two crucial years in our sport,” said David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind.), 2012 Olympic gold and bronze medalist in diving. “Our whole team needs to continue to keep perspective and take it one year at a time, which will set us up to reach our greatest potential.”

“After wrestling at the London Games and having the experience of competing for my country, I have wanted to return,” said two-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling Jordan Burroughs (Sicklerville, N.J.) whose current senior-level record is 88-1. “Each world championship, U.S. open and world cup since London have been stepping stones in my preparation for Rio, and I’d like to once again be at the top of my game while representing my country at the Olympics."

"Since London, I have been training and focused on Rio 2016,” said 2012 Olympic triathlete Gwen Jorgensen (Waukesha, Wis.), who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world as a result of a historic season on the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Series circuit in which she has become the only athlete to capture four consecutive ITU series titles in one season. “I'm fortunate to have a support crew that is helping me on my journey, and I’d be proud to wear the red, white and blue again in 2016."

“Obviously, the focus right now is on the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, but as soon as that journey is over, we have the Olympics to look forward to, and it’s always great to have a big event on the horizon as it keeps us sharp and focused,” said midfielder Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), who scored the game-winning goal in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold-medal games. “We’ve done really well in past Olympic tournaments and we want to continue that streak. It’s always an honor to represent the USA and be a part of the Games, so we are really looking forward to qualifying for Rio and being in and around Brazil at all the soccer venues, especially after seeing all the great crowds at the men’s world cup.”

"My focus right now is competing at the 2014 world championship, but my long-term goal is to represent the United States in Rio in 2016,” said Kyla Ross (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), 2012 Olympic gymnastics team champion and 2013 world all-around, uneven bars and balance beam silver medalist. “In some ways, it’s hard to believe London was two years ago because I didn’t take a break from competition after the Games. And, I know the next two years are going to pass even more quickly, so my coaches and I are working hard every day to have the opportunity to represent Team USA again."

“With the Olympics only two years away I am training harder than ever,” said Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.), who became the first U.S. man in 48 years to medal in the Olympic 10,000-meter when he won silver at the 2012 Games, running his last lap in 53.8 seconds. “Success at the Olympics is what drives me day in and day out to push myself harder and strive for excellence. I am excited to get the chance to represent my country for a third time on the world's biggest stage.”

“Being a part of Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games was an amazing experience, and it would be an honor to represent the United States again in 2016,” said Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.), six-time Olympic medalist in swimming. “I’m fortunate to swim with such a tight-knit and talented group at North Baltimore Aquatic Club that pushes me to be my best. Training is going well heading into the most important stretch of the 2014 season, and I’m focused on taking it one day at a time and improving with each workout.”


U.S. Olympic media rights holder NBCUniversal will help commemorate the two-year countdown to the 2016 Olympic Games through various promotions across NBC, NBCSN, the NBC Sports Regional Networks, select NBCU channels, NBC owned-and-operated stations, NBC affiliates and Telemundo. will feature a Bob Costas-narrated short-form video, while will examine the state of the Games two years from the Opening Ceremony. Additionally, NBC’s Today will celebrate in style by bringing some Brazilian flair to Rockefeller Plaza as well as 2012 Olympian in trampoline Steven Gluckstein (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) and his brother, Jeffrey Gluckstein (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.), who are both top U.S. hopefuls for the 2016 Games. Meanwhile, Golf Channel and will air a spot to remind and excite viewers about golf’s return to the Olympic Games.


Aquece Rio – the test event program of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will test competition operations and fields of play at 45 international and national championship events in Rio de Janeiro through May 2016 – kick offs Aug. 2-9 with an International Sailing Regatta at Marina da Glória on Guanabara Bay. At the regatta, Team USA will field a team of 25 sailors in nine classes, including 2012 Olympians Stuart McNay (Providence, R.I.) and Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.). US Sailing will provide live Twitter coverage of the event.

Also, the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee’s website – – will be re-launched Aug. 5 with a new design reflecting Rio 2016’s “Look of the Games.”


On Oct. 1, 2014, the USOC will begin accepting requests from U.S. media organizations for accreditation to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The accreditation process will be open to print, online and photographic media organizations based in the United States. More information will be distributed in the coming months.

All non-rights holding broadcasters will be accredited by the International Olympic Committee. That form will be available Feb. 5-April 1, 2015 on


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is delighted to join with the Global Olympic Movement in commemorating and noting that on Friday 5th August 2016 the Opening Ceremony for Rio Olympics will take place.

Today 5th August- two years- to go is a special milestone.

Twenty four months  is not a long time in the world of sport.

The TTOC, athletes, coaches and Olympic sport organizations must at this point intensify efforts in respect of preparations for Rio.

Its an exciting time and the next phase in the build up to Rio 2016.

There is no  time to lose. Paying attention to the smallest detail is important.

Did we overachieve or underachieve in Glasgow?
A tally of eight medals (three silvers and five bronzes) and 22nd position in the final standings represent the bare facts of Trinidad and Tobago’s presence at the 20th Commonwealth Games. As with almost anything else though, those numbers have to be placed in context.
That medal haul is just one short of the nine brought home by the squad that competed at the 1966 Games in Kingston. However, the performances then were certainly much more praiseworthy as there were five gold medals (two by cyclist Roger Gibbon and one each by weightlifter Hugo Gittens, quarter-miler Wendell Mottley and the mile relay quartet of Edwin Roberts, Kent Bernard, Lennox Yearwood and Mottley) along with two silvers and two bronzes to be celebrated by a nation in only its fifth year of independence.
Incidentally, hosts Jamaica, who were just a few days ahead of T&T in declaring their independence in 1962, did not have a single gold medal moment to enjoy, although their competitors claimed four silver and eight bronze medals. They had to settle for 16th spot in the final standings while their arch-rivals at the other end of the Caribbean chain shared fifth place with Ghana.
Of course it was very different in Glasgow with the Jamaicans underlining their status as the pre-eminent nation in sprint events with an overall tally of 22 medals, including ten gold, four silver and eight bronze. They were by far the top Caribbean nation in a table headed by England who have made the short journey across the border with 174 medals (58 gold, 59 silver, 57 bronze) in their possession.
Let’s look at the numbers from another angle – per capita.
We know it’s not accurate but let’s go with the official Trinidad and Tobago population of 1.3 million and acknowledge that eight medals for such a small country is very good indeed. Yet, as was just mentioned, Jamaica are coming back with 22 and their population is 2.7 million. Hosts Scotland, a nation of 5.3 million people, racked up 53 medals, including 19 golds. New Zealand, population 4.4 million, are on their way back to the South Pacific with 14 gold medals in their tally of 45.
So on a medal-to-population basis, we aren’t the phenomenal overachievers that we may like to think we are.
Comparing this effort with what transpired in Delhi at the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2010, Trinidad and Tobago obviously fared better four years later as the contingent returned from India with six medals (four silvers and two bronzes).
One consistent element though across all editions of the Commonwealth, Olympics and other multi-sport events is the dominance of track and field athletics in bringing success to the twin-island state. Other sports – notably cycling, swimming, weightlifting, shooting and boxing - have churned out the occasional outstanding representative, but it’s invariably at the athletics venue where the red, white and black has had its greatest successes.
Here we’re seeing a shift as well. We remain a force to reckon with in the sprints in both male and female competition, although the disappointing returns in the men’s 100 metres especially, when there was no Trinidad and Tobago representative in the final despite the pre-Games form of Richard Thompson and Keston Bledman especially, was more than a little puzzling.
But it’s in the field events where the country is going from strength to strength. Keshorn Walcott in the javelin and shot putter Cleopatra Borel accounted for two of the three silvers in Scotland. Jehue Gordon, whose success in the 400-metre hurdles will surely inspire more than a few to take up the challenging discipline, claimed the other.
In the cases of Walcott and Gordon, the reigning Olympic and world champions respectively, gold medals would have been in their sights at Hampden Park. However in such elite-level competition, we should have come to the realisation by now that all it takes is a minimal deviation from the highest standard for the top prize to be left dangling tantalisingly out of reach.
Someone was asking on Friday afternoon if Walcott’s national record throw of 85.28 metres in qualifying would have been carried forward as the mark to beat in Saturday’s final. Clearly on the basis of that effort he had the form to take gold 24 hours later. But that’s what makes these events such a test of temperament as well as skill.
As in London two years ago, when our boy from Toco was the unsung and unheralded man of the moment, Kenya’s Julius Yego stepped up to take the Commonwealth crown.
It goes without saying that you can’t win them all. Still, it’s important after events like these to get a better understanding of what the final numbers mean.


...But eight-medal haul quite good, says Hypolite

Trinidad and Tobago’s haul of eight medals here in Glasgow, Scotland has only been bettered by one Commonwealth Games team in the country’s history—the 1966 outfit that left Kingston, Jamaica with nine medals, five of them gold.

Chef de mission of the 2014 team, Dr Ian Hypolite told the Express he expects the Glasgow experience to hold T&T in good stead on the Road to Rio 2016. “My expectation is that we would have benefitted immensely. It was a natural stepping stone for many teams.

“Before the Rio Olympics, we have the 2014 CAC (Central American and Caribbean) Games in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Pan Am Games 2015 in Toronto, the Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships for track and field--clear stepping stones to Rio. The Commonwealth experience will do us well as we progress along the way.”

T&T ended the Games with three silver medals and five bronze. Olympic men’s javelin champion Keshorn Walcott, 400 metres hurdles world champion Jehue Gordon and shot putter Cleopatra Borel were the silver medallists. Bronze went to triple jumper Ayanna Alexander, quartermiler Lalonde Gordon, lightweight boxer Michael Alexander, and the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams.

Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Richard “Torpedo” Thompson combined for the sprint relay medal. And in the 4x400m final, Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow and Zwede Hewitt wore T&T colours. Quow sat out the qualifying round, and third leg duties were performed by Jehue Gordon.

Hypolite, an executive member of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), described the eight-medal haul as “quite a good performance”.

“Overall, everyone was expecting a bit more,” the leader of the T&T delegation continued. “I was too, even though it was never verbalised. But people need to appreciate we are dealing with a very high level of competition. Therefore, eight medals is good. I expected some of them to be gold, and that’s my only regret.”

Hypolite is Jehue Gordon’s personal coach, and said that his 22-year-old charge was one of the athletes with the potential to strike Commonwealth Games gold here in Glasgow.

“Unfortunately, (sprinter) Michelle-Lee Ahye had to withdraw with injury. Richard Thompson’s chances were also particularly good, and Jehue and Keshorn as well as the men’s relays. But as I said, the competition was always going to be tough, so it’s no shame coming out with a medal nonetheless. Even Kenya’s (800 metres) world record holder and Olympic champion David Rudisha had to settle for silver.

“We had a great performance,” Hypolite declared, “and athletes enjoyed and reveled in their performances.”

Seven of the eight medals bagged by Team T&T went to track and field athletes.

“I want to view us as going through a growing process. Track and field has a pathway that allows it to perform well at this stage. Some of the other sports do not yet have that pathway of exposure to a high level of competition regularly. Track and field has it from the junior level, and you can proceed as a senior all the way to the world level. A lot of other sports need to find a pathway.”

The team sports found the going particularly tough here in Glasgow, T&T finishing low down in rugby 7s, netball and men’s and women’s hockey. Hypolite made the point, however, that the Commonwealth Games is a virtual world championship in these sports, citing rugby 7s as an example.

“Rugby Sevens is going to happen in Rio, and this is essentially the Olympic level here. The top countries are from the Commonwealth.

“In some of the team sports,” he continued, “there are opportunities to graduate to another level through the collegiate system and clubs in the English leagues. They need exposure to higher levels than we have in the region, and exposure also influences approach to fitness--a very important component.

“We need to get a lot fitter to compete at international level. At the TTOC we emphasise beep testing, which is not popular with every sport,” Hypolite ended. “But they need to understand the importance of fitness.”

T&T 22nd on final medals table

Richard “Torpedo” Thompson believes the showing of Trinidad and Tobago’s track and field team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, here in Glasgow, Scotland, is an indication that the country is progressing well in the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“We’re on the right track,” Thompson told the Express. “We’re definitely improving, not just on the track but in the field as well. I still feel as though the team could have done a little better, but we’re grateful for where we’re at right now, and we’re showing signs of improvement every year representing Trinidad and Tobago on the world stage.

“We’re on the right path. We just have to continue to work and work hard, and hopefully by Rio we’ll be able to produce nine medals at the Olympic Games, which is a step up from Commonwealth.”

In Glasgow, seven of T&T’s eight medals were captured by track and field athletes. The country’s very last podium finish at the Games came on Saturday night, from the men’s 4x100m combination of Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Thompson.

Bledman and Thompson exited the individual 100m event at the semifinal stage, while Sorrillo suffered the same fate in the 200m.

“Especially after a disappointment in the individual event, with Bledman and myself not making the final—that was really gut-wrenching—we are thankful for that (relay) medal. We’re also thankful to be able to come out healthy. It was cold, it was raining, and those are conditions where people easily get injured, so we just give thanks.”

Thompson went into the 2014 Commonwealth Games as the men’s 100m favourite, following his victory at the T&T Championships in a national record time of 9.82 seconds—a clocking that placed him ninth on the all-time world performance list.

The 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallist said that falling short of expectations here in Glasgow will make him a better athlete.

“Every time you fail you have to use it as a learning experience. If you don’t take anything from a failed experience, then you’re not coming off any wiser. I’ve definitely learned from this experience, and I just have to go into next year learning from the mistakes that I made this year.

“After my Senior Championships, I felt as though there were a few things I could have done differently in between then and now. I know what to do, my coach (Dennis Shaver) knows what to do, and we’ll get it right in the years to come.”

Running in lane one in his 200m semi-final heat, Sorrillo finished third in 20.57 seconds—too slow for a “fastest loser” berth in the final. The T&T sprinter had taken the “faster loser” route to the semis after finishing third in his opening round heat, the “back door” qualification resulting in his bad lane draw in the penultimate round of the event.

“In the first round it was cold,” Sorrillo told the Express. “I tried to come off the turn as hard as possible, but then my hamstring started getting tight on the left side. I really wanted to run in the other round so I had to try and save..hope that I didn’t exert too much and pull up. That’s the reason that I looked like I shut off in the first round, but it’s just the coldness I was getting accustomed to.”

Burns has been part of the T&T men’s sprint relay set-up since 2000, when he represented T&T at the Sydney Olympics as a 17-year-old. He’s 31 now, and plans to continue doing yeoman service for the country for at least another three years.

A Commonwealth Games 100m bronze medallist at the 2006 Melbourne Games, Burns told the Express he is also keen to challenge for selection on T&T teams in the individual sprint events in the years ahead.

“I’m now finding my form after all these years of injuries. Most people don’t know that’s what kept me out over the years. But it’s track and field and that comes with it, so you just have to put that behind you and try to perform at a high level.

“All the tweaks have been fixed with my foot injuries. I thank all those who helped me get back to where I need to be, and I look forward to some big years.”

Burns is a true patriot. In recognition of his selfless commitment to T&T sport, he was given the honour of carrying the Red, White and Black at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Swimmer George Bovell was the flag-bearer at the London Games closing ceremony.

At the opening ceremony here in Glasgow, Olympic men’s javelin champion Keshorn Walcott performed flag-bearing duties.

And for last night’s closing ceremony, three-time Commonwealth Games women’s shot put medallist Cleopatra Borel did the honours, carrying the T&T flag with pride.

Both Borel and Walcott earned silver at Glasgow 2014 as Team T&T finished with eight medals in total—three silver and five bronze.

“Any time we come to a major championship,” said Burns, “we try to fly the T&T flag high and give our best at all times. A medal count of that number we’re most grateful for.”

T&T finished 22nd out of 71 countries at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. England emerged as the top team with 58 gold medals, 59 silver and 57 bronze.

Gold Coast, Australia will host the 2018 Games.


Already without the services of regular setter Renele Forde, T&T senior women volleyballers will have to make do with the unavailability of former captain, Romanian-based, Krystle Esdelle for the 15th Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (Cazova) Championship. The left-handed opposite, who turned 30 on Emancipation Day (Friday last) and also played professionally in Germany and France decided to retire from the national team after almost nine years with the senior squad, paving the way for Afeisha Olton to be drafted into the 12-member squad for the premier Caribbean tournament which serves off tomorrow (Monday August 4) until Sunday August 10 at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo.

Contacted for comment, recently appointed head coach Nicholson Drakes hailed Esdelle’s impact over the years with the team and noted she would be a hard act to follow. Drakes, who has been part of the team as an assistant to former Cuban-born coach Francisco “Panchee” Cruz’ for eight years said the South-born Esdelle was already expected to miss the tournament as she was expected to undergo surgery for an injured left shoulder. The injury hampered her effectiveness greatly during the just concluded  FIVB Women’s World Championship Final Round qualifiers in which T&T fell to Mexico in the decider with a spot in Italy up for grabs at the University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Educational Centre, St Augustine.
Two years ago in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, Esdelle was voted as the Cazova Championship “Most Valuable Player” after she led T&T to its fifth overall crown and fourth straight, 25-16, 25-19, 25-12 over Barbados.

With regards to the void left by Esdelle and the absence of Forde, who is still some two weeks away from returning to training from her injured leg, Drakes said: “There are one or two players who will have to step up and may be able to do a decent enough job as we know we will have to make a few adjustments. He added, “We have two youngsters in Marisha Herbert and Makila York who I know are eager to get a chance at this level to show their worth while we also have the versatile and experienced Darlene Ramdin as another option in Esdelle’s position. Asked the team’s state of mind after losing out to Mexico with a historic spot in Italy as stake, the T&T coach admitted that not all the players had gotten over the disappointment. “There are a few players who took the loss more than some, but at the same time Cazova is another tournament all by itself and as a team we all have to move forward. We cannot dwell on the past, said Drakes.

Drakes, who will be in charge of the team for the first time at Cazova level will also be eager to improve on T&T’s record of finishing second at home in 2002 after losing to Barbados in the final, and third in 1993 as well, with Barbados again the winners at the Jean Pierre Complex, The local women dubbed the “Calypso Spikers”, will enter the five-team tournament as the four-time defending champions and five-time winners overall, the first being in 1996 in St Croix under the leadership of deceased Maria Lera. The last four titles won by T&T were claimed under the guidance of Cruz, who resigned last month on the eve of the World qualifiers at UWI SPEC. Also in the mix will be six-time champion Barbados (1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000 & 2002), Bahamas, Jamaica and Suriname.

The five teams wil compete  in a round-robin series at the end of which the top two teams will contest the final while the third and four placed teams, battle for bronze. Missing out on the women’s tournament for various reasons are US Virgin Islands (USVI), the beaten finalist on home soil in 2012, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti. Today, the local women’s team will holding a  training session from 6 am to 9 am at the tournament venue ahead of the start of its title defence against rivals Barbados tomorrow from 6 pm. The winner of the women’s competition will qualify to the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (Norceca) Continental Championships next year as well as Pan American Cup events. T&T senior women’s team: Jalicia Ross-Kydd, Channon Thompson, Kelly-Anne Billingy, Sinead Jack, Marisha Herbert, Darlene Ramdin, Rheeza Grant (libero), Courtnee-mae Clifford, Makila York, Aisha Sealy-Morrison, Abby Blackman, Afeisha Olton,

Tournament groups:
Women: T&T, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname

Today (Sunday August 3rd):
8 am - 11am: Preliminary Inquiry - Cascadia Hotel
6 pm - Welcome reception - Cascadia Hotel
8pm - Technical Meeting - Cascadia Hotel

Women’s Cazova fixtures:
Tomorrow (Monday August 4):
Women: Jamaica vs Suriname, 3 pm
Opening Ceremony, 5pm
Women: T&T vs Barbados, 6pm

Tuesday August 5:
Women: T&T vs Suriname, 8 pm

Wednesday August 6:
Women: Barbados vs Jamaica, 4 pm

Thursday August 7:
Women: Bahamas vs Barbados, 6pm
Women: T&T vs Jamaica, 8pm

Friday August 8:
Women: Barbados vs Jamaica, 2 pm
Women: T&T vs Bahamas, 8pm

Saturday August 9:
Women: Barbados vs Jamaica, 2 pm
Women: Bahamas vs Suriname, 4pm

Sunday August 10:
Women: Third place playoff, 12 noon
Women: Final, 6 pm