President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis was not in a race against the clock at the T&T International Marathon on Sunday, but wanted to raise awareness and funding for the T&T Olympic athletes.
Lewis and the TTOC created the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund last year, a fund created to support T&T’s athletes. The fund is expected to provide health and financial support for Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth athletes. Dressed in national colours, Lewis and a number of sport officials, soca artistes and judiciary members walked and ran the marathon in an effort to continue building Olympic interest among the local community. The ultimate goal of the TTOC is to win ten or more Olympic gold medals by the 2024 Olympic Games.
Among those who walked alongside Lewis were T&T Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene and sport journalist/radio show host Andre Errol Baptiste. Others showed their support by participating in the Marathon Relay. Participating in the Marathon Relay were a team of entertainers led by soca artiste Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez, while Chief Justice Ivor Archie and his family also competed.
After the race, an exhausted Lewis thanked everyone for the support. Lewis said, “It was nice to have the Chief Justice and his family pulling for the TTOC ten or more Olympic medals by 2024 and Fay Ann Lyons. We had a lot of encouragement out on the road. I knew that there are a lot of expectations for me to finish.”
Lewis, who credited his medical team for helping him prepare for the race, said the journey was difficult but he kept the athletes in mind. “There was a point in the race I was struggling and I questioned myself why I was doing this. At that point I was frustrated, I thought is this worth it. But I remembered the athletes and this is to raise awareness and funding.”
Chief Justice Archie, who completed the last of four legs with his family said T&T must support the nation’s athletes. Archie said, “I got involved because I really think it is important to support our athletes. We can’t all be Olympic athletes but we can all emulate the dedication, the commitment and discipline that is involved in competing at that level.” Archie said athletes need moral and tangible support and hopes the rest of T&T will support tangibly to the cause. “The investment in sport is a way of getting rid of crime.”
Archie said he ran and walked from San Juan to the end of the race at White Hall around the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.