Keeping in mind that the 2024 Olympic Games is some eight years away, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) is wasting no time in preparing the future Olympians for the journey to get to ten golds by that year.
The 14th Olympic youth camp came to a close on Friday with a number of fun activities for the participants, aged from 11 to 16 at Olympic House on Abercromby Street in Port-of-Spain.
“Because we are targeting 10golds24, the athletes at this point in time were from as young as 11 with oldest being 16,” said camp facilitator Kwanieze John.
“We wanted to open their minds to the possibility that once they remain focus and have those pursuit of excellence in their respective sport and school, they will be able to achieve whatever goals they wanted to achieve.”
The aim of the annual camp, which was over two weeks with first leg taking place in Tobago and the other in Trinidad, remained the same as over the pass years, to encourage the youngsters to strive for excellence in their sporting disciplines.
“In the Trinidad leg, we focused on rugby, as a new Olympic sport and it being played in T&T, we were able to expose them to it.
“The Tobago leg was the same model. They also did rugby and they did a trail, a walk through the rainforest. The reason why we incorporated that was because we wanted them to know Olympism is a way of life. We needed them to understand the importance of the environment and the importance of keeping the environment clean. It was also an opportunity for them to forget their phones,” said John with a laugh.
Each day the athletes were exposed to the Olympic principles of fair play, respect for others, joy of effort and pursuit of excellence for which a number of individuals were awarded at the closing ceremony.
“They were awarded according to the Olympic principles so we had athletes who won hampers for being the most responsible, another for fair play and also respect, etc.”
Guest facilitators made presentations on sports psychology and media and the campers got a chance to mingle with some of T&T athletes, who will be competing in next month’s Rio Olympics, mainly those in track and field, who assisted with the fashion show like hurdler Janiel Bellille and sprinters Reyare Thomas and Marcus Duncan. They moonlighted as models to display the Rio2016 kits. The trio was part of a group that departed yesterday for the pre Olympic camp in Braganca, Sao Paolo, Brazil.
“The campers were exposed to sport psychology and interacted with Kent Fuentes from CNMG and learned the importance of the relationship between media and the athlete.
“The sport psychology presentation was on goal-setting so they were able to learn how to set goals and they did set some goals and shared them with each other.
“So it was really about bringing the different athletes together from different sports to understand that one athlete may have to get up at 4.30 am to train and can’t go to the movies at 9 pm because they have to get up early to train. So it’s good for them to interact with other athletes, for them to know that they are not alone.”
The youngsters also received advice from athletes in other sports like beach volleyballer Rheeza Grant.
“She spoke on the life of an athlete and her experience on working with the Olympic Committee. She was able to give them a bigger perspective on the life of an athlete and the support that administrators give.
“Stuff that the average man would take for granted, their perspective was widen on it.”
The focus was also on the balance between body, mind so some of their presentations on Friday were reflections on the weeks’ activities.
“We had some skits, had a poem and then they sang the Olympic theme song by Erphaan Alves which was really good as well,” said John.
The three values of Olympism which are excellence, respect and friendship and they had to portray what they learned.
“So now they have friendships with other athletes so that is one of the other objectives of the camp.”