President of the National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette, said that the performances of sprinters Aaron Armstrong and Emmanuel Callender in yesterday’s 100 metres final should help them to get funding from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs’ Elite Athletes Assistance Programme (EAAP). Armstrong won the bronze medal in a time of 10.24 while Callendar placed fourth. The race was won by Jamaican Lerone Clarke (10.12) with England’s Mark Lewis-Francis (10.20) finishing second. The EAAP assists in covering athletes’ expenses as they relate to travel, accommodation, nutritional supplies and medical care for international competition.
Serrette pointed out that since the event was relatively low keyed (the Commonwealth’s top 11 sprinters of 2010 declined to participate), it opened up the chance for Armstrong and Callendar to boost their status.
“I told them before they departed that it was an opportunity for them to get recognition,” he said. “The funding they get is based on their placings at international events so they should be joining the EAAP.”It was T&T’s fourth 100m bronze medal at the Games. Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford twice finished third (in 1970 in Edinburgh and 1978 in Edmonton), while Marc Burns was second runner up in Melbourne in 2006.
Ato Boldon won the 100m gold in Kula Lampur in 1998. Serrette added that the results reinforced his belief that athletics is the country’s strongest sport. “Track and field continues to bring T&T results and we are maintaining that presence on the world stage,” he said. “I’m glad to see that we are recognised as a sport that brings glory to T&T, be it at regional or international meets.” He went on to predict that more medals were coming for T&T via its 4x100m team, Cleopatra Borel-Browne (shot put) and Rhonda Watkins (long jump).