Trinidad and Tobago capped off their inaugural International Badminton Tournament campaign by capturing two bronze medals in the Men’s and Women’s Doubles events on the penultimate night of action at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sporting Arena, Tacarigua, on Saturday.

And even though both local teams were on the losing end of their respective semi-final match-ups, they still emerged joint third along with other losing semi-finalists.

In the male semifinal, an experienced Alistair Espinoza teamed with the youthful Will Lee to face Mexicans Luis Ramon Garrido/ Lino Munoz. The TT duo tried valiantly to stay within contention but was dominated by the visitors losing out 10-21, 9-21. Espinoza and Lee shared the bronze with William Cabrera/ Nelson Javier (Dominican Republic), who lost the other semi-final 8-21, 19-21 to second seeded Mexican team, Job Castillo/ Antonio Ocegueda.

In the women’s equivalent, Trinidad and Tobago Squash Association (TTSA) public relations officer Kamasha Robertson joined forces with Avril Plaza Marcelle to duel with Mexicans Haramara Gaitan/ Sabrina Solis.

Like the men, the local women did not match-up well with their rivals and were eventually conquered 9-21, 11-21 by the in-form Mexican pair. Robertson/ Marcelle split their third place finish with Chileans Tingting Chou/ Camila Macaya, who went down 11-21, 12-21 at the hands of female second seeds, Cynthia Gonzalez/ Mariana Ugalde (Mexico).

Meanwhile, Men’s Singles fifth seed Martin Giuffre (Canada) may have caused the upset of the tournament of Saturday night as he eliminated current Pan American champion and the division’s second ranked player, Osleni Guerrero (Cuba), in a tightly contested encounter. Guerrero won the opening game 19-21 and seemed set for the victory.

However, Giuffre had other plans and levelled with a 21-19 win in the second. Into the third and decisive game, the Canadian showed his promise against the ace Cuban by producing a 21-16 victory to advance to last night’s coveted finals. Additionally, up to press time last night the championship matches in all categories got underway. However, there were no local representatives vying for gold.

Other Results:

Men Singles Semi-Finals

Luis Ramon Garrido (Mexico) bt Rosario Maddaloni (Mexico) 21-15, 21-17; Martin Giuffre (Canada) bt Osleni Guerrero (Cuba) 19-21, 21-19, 21-16.

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

Jeanine Cicognini (Italy) bt Camilla Garcia (Canada) 21-15, 21-14; Elisabeth Baldauf (Austria) bt Haramara Gaitan (Mexico) 21-18, 21-18.

Mixed Doubles

Lino Munoz/ Cynthia Gonzalez (Mexico) bt Ivan Leon/ Camilla Macaya (Chile) 21-11, 21-15; David Obernosterer/ Elisabeth Baldauf (Austria) bt Job Castillo/ Sabrina Solis 21-12, 21-14.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has indicated that the matter involving the stripping of USA’s 2012 Olympic 4x100m relay silver medal is still ongoing and yet to reach a conclusion.

Speaking to Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president, Brian Lewis, yesterday, he revealed that the IOC has finally responded to an email of enquiry which he sent to the governing body last week.

“What the IOC has said categorically to us is that the process is still ongoing,” remarked Lewis. “The US Olympic Committee athletes, having been notified, now have 21 days to respond. If they don’t object (to the decision), the IOC will now meet to consider, and they will take on board a number of factors including the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) reclassification recommendation.”

Lewis is unsure though when the US Olympic Committee was officially notified. International reports on May 13 revealed that the entire USA 4x100m relay team was stripped of their London 2012 Olympic silver medals as a consequence of a positive test of US sprinter Tyson Gay. The former 100m and 200m world champion Gay was suspended for a year after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid. The 32-year-old returned his London 2012 medal when his suspension was announced in May 2014. Now the IOC later indicated to US Olympic authorities that the whole team (Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey, Jeffery Demps, Darvis Patton) must return their medals.

Lewis added: “Whatever decision the IOC comes to, it is at that point that they will notify the National Olympic Committee concerned, which in this case is ours. At this particular point in time, no decision has been made with regards to the reclassification or the reallocation. With the IOC having confirmed that the process is still ongoing, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee has to await the results of that particular process that is ongoing.”

If reports are confirmed by the IOC, TT’s bronze medal quartet of Keston Bledman, Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender and Marc Burns will be bumped up into silver medal position, while fourth placed France will be elevated to third. It would be a remarkable ending for the TT men who initially finished fourth in the final but fortune favoured them as Canada — who placed third — were disqualified for a lane violation.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) informed the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) yesterday that it had officially begun the process that could lead to reallocation of medals from the London 2012 Games.

TTOC president Brian Lewis said that the IOC had confirmed to the TTOC yesterday that the IOC had officially written the United States Olympic athletes stripping United States of their London 2012 silver medal.

"They now have 21 days to respond. If there is no objection within the 21 days, then the IOC will consider re-allocation," TTOC president Brian Lewis said.

Lewis said the IOC had advised there were a number of factors to consider, including the re-classification under the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

"Once these (factors) have been considered, a recommendation for re-allocation will be made. And it is at that point only that the national Olympic committee involved, in this case us (TTOC) will be officially notified," Lewis said.

Lewis added that the IOC had indicated that the process is "a bit drawn out" but that the process had to be followed.

"(For me) to say anything outside of that, it would be inappropriate and premature to speculate on the re-classification or if there is to be a reallocation" Lewis said.

"So no decision has been made as yet about reclassifying T&T pending the response of the US Olympic athletes," Lewis concluded.

If Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard "Torpedo" Thompson are upgraded to Olympic Games men's 4x100 metres silver, it would be the quartet's second promotion. Thompson was actually the fourth man to cross the finish line in the London sprint relay final, anchoring T&T to a 38.12 seconds clocking. A lane violation, however, led to the disqualification of third-placed Canada, and T&T moved into the bronze position.

American track star Tyson Gay received a one-year doping ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2013, and his results, starting from July 15, 2012, were annulled. Included on that list of disqualified results was the August 11 Olympic 4x100m final, United States having finished second to Jamaica.

Gay returned his silver medal, last year. And now, his teammates in the championship race-Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin and Ryan Bailey-have been asked to do the same. Jeffery Demps and Darvis Patton, who ran in the qualifying round, will also have to hand in their medals.

If the medals are reallocated, T&T will be promoted from bronze to silver, and France, from fourth to bronze.

If London 2012 men's 4x100m silver is awarded to T&T, the country's best ever Olympic performance would get even better-one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.


T&T teams invited for Rio Test event

Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) president Douglas Camacho says his board is aiming for three other locations for artificial hockey turfs as the TTHB pushes for the further development of the sport.

Camacho and the TTHB is being supported in this development thrust by the FIH, the world governing body for the sport, and the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) both of whose presidents were also present yesterday at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (T&TOC) House in Port of Spain.

And Camacho announced that T&T hockey teams have been chosen to participate the Rio 2016 Test event in the popular Brazilian city in November.

FIH president Leandro Negre and PAHF president Alberto "Coco" Budeisky yesterday pledged their support to the development of hockey in T&T and throughout the region.

During their visit, Negre and Budeisky along with Camacho and some of the TTHB executive met with officials from the Ministry of Sport, the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee to discuss issues, concerns and opportunities for the sport here.

Camacho said the TTHB had identified and lobbied for more hockey locations throughout the country as part of its strategic plan moving forward, to grow participation. It wants the laying of artificial turfs at traditional venues like Pointe-a-Pierre and the Police Barracks in St James and another in Tobago to supplement the National Hockey Centre in Tacarigua.

"We believe we need at least four turfs , four turfs minimum, to encourage growth of hockey and ensure the proper development of the sport," Camacho said.

Camacho added that a new artificial surface had been approved but the TTHB was still in discussions with SPORTT as to where it will be laid.

Camacho also revealed that T&T will host two tournaments next year-the Female Pan American Junior Championships and the Pan American Cup-and that the FIH will be back in T&T next year to announce T&T's hosting of the FIH World League Round Five in 2016.

Camacho added that the Ministry of Tourism had also shown keen interest in the hosting of international tournaments as another opportunity to push sports tourism.

The former TTOC boss noted that T&T's success in the last nine months had seen the country taking part in more international engagements than in the whole of the previous quadrennial.

Negre announced that one of his goals as FIH head was to really push development in this region.

"It is a key region and a lot of people don't think about the Caribbean area. But we are engaging this (area)," he said.

Negre also added that T&T would need to drive development for the youth game, organise and host tournaments and compete in high level competition against top countries to sustain development.

Negre said further that the FIH runs programmes for high performance and umpires all around the world to facilitate the growth of the game.

The FIH he said, is especially proud of the attraction of the Hockey Five format which he compared to the T20 format in cricket and which he said is " a beautiful tool to promote the game."

Budeisky said: "T&T has a big, nice history with hockey...and T&T hockey has a big contribution to make as one of the top hockey nations in the region with a lot of experience to guide the younger hockey nations in the region."


HOME court advantage meant nothing, as all 11 local players exited at the first hurdle in singles when the Trinidad and Tobago International Badminton Tournament served off yesterday at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Tacarigua.

But there is still hope as Solangel Guzman is also flying the red, white and black flag. The Cuban whipped Mexican Mariana Ugalde 21-14, 21-16 to cruise into the "round of 16." However, Guzman is not expected to progress any further.

The player who was once ranked as high as No. 151 in the world but is now listed at No. 461 will come up against 86th-ranked Kate Foo Koon, the No. 3 seed from Mauritius, at 11.30 a.m. for a place in tonight's quarterfinals.

Nicholas Bonkowksy, the other player born elsewhere who is representing T&T, may have nightmares for a long time after squandering a golden opportunity to reach the last 16.

The Canadian of local roots was eventually upset 23-21, 21-18 by Soren Opti of Suriname. But Bonkowsky, who was crowned national champion in only his third local tournament two months ago, had blown six straight game points with a 20-14 lead in the first set and had won five straight from 11-6 down in the second.

The other four T&T males in the draw had qualified the day before and none was able to win a set.

Anil Seepaul had the toughest draw of them all as the five-time national champ came up against No. 3 seed Luka Wraber, and the Austrian, ranked 56th in the world, prevailed 21-8, 21-14.

National Under-19 champ Will Lee was overwhelmed 21-7, 21-3 by Maxime Moreels of Belgium, Chilean Ivan Leon defeated Alistair Espinoza 21-16, 21-16 and under-17 player Ihsaan Furlonge was beaten 21-11, 21-13 by fellow qualifier Dakeil Thorpe of Barbados.

Kerian Quan Chee, recently back after a four-year absence, was the only legitimate player from the host country to win a set yesterday. But after cruising through the first 21-12, the former national junior champ lost a heart-breaking second set 25-23 and was then edged 21-17 in the decider by Niria Baeza of Chile.

Tingting Chou, also of Chile, accounted for Avril Plaza Marcelle 21-12, 21-6; Reba Fleary was beaten 21-15, 21-15 by Barbadian Tamisha Williams; Bermary Munoz of Dominican Republic was a 21-10, 21-9 winner over Arielle Gomez; Jamaican Katherine Winter of Jamaica halted Kamasha Robertson and Leanna Castanada went under 21-12, 21-5 against Mexican Haramara Gaitan.

The top seed is Italian Jeanine Cicognini, who is ranked No. 59 in the world.

The men's draw received a tremendous shake up when top-seeded Israeli Misha Zilberman, ranked No. 43 in the world, was stunned 21-18, 21-19 in the first round yesterday by Mexican teenager Luis Ramon Garrido.

Second-round and quarter-finals matches are on today's schedule. The action gets going at 10 a.m. with the start of the men's and women's doubles draws.


Trinidad and Tobago athletes will be compensated if they win a medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

That's because the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is introducing a cash for medals initiative starting with the Pan Am Games in July.

Contacted yesterday, TTOC president Brian Lewis says the exact amount corresponding to each type of medal is still being worked out by the TTOC executive. He added the level of Games --Olympic Games medals will be awarded more than Pan Am Games medals-- will also be considered and determined.

But Lewis said the idea behind the introduction of the medal bonus is to encourage local athletes to raise their game.

"The thinking is to create the kind of environment needed to drive performance. One has to strive to high performance and performance based systems and one of the ways we want to do that is to introduce the medal bonus starting at the 2015 Pan Am Games," Lewis said. "It's a commitment I intend to honour while we continue to work on other elements

The former Harvard rugby player said for now the bonus will be strictly for medals and will include individual, relays and team sports.

"It is a starting position and we will review the quantum as we go along...I can say already say that the Olympics will definitely have a medal bonus higher than Pan Ams," he said.

Lewis added the incentive is part of the 10 Olympic golds by 2024 initiative. "I think it is very exciting in the context of what it does it signals to the athlete we are serious about creating a high performance environment," Lewis said.

Lewis added it is part of a number of other initiatives the TTOC is currently undertaking or discussing to undertake including another developing Sports Science and Sports Medicine Service network of sports medicine people, athletic trainers, physiotherapists, and a bio mechanic; the pursuit of a local Olympic Training Centre (discussions ongoing with the SPORTT company, UTT etc) in consultation with a high performance centre like the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in Texas; and internships and career placement programmes for athletes modelled after the IOC Athlete Career Programme.

"Obviously we can't solve all the problems immediately but we want to move the bar higher and what we are saying to the athlete is we are creating an incentive, To me the most important resource is the T&T athlete, at this particular point, and we are very much focused on high performance and creating that environment and opportunities for the athletes," Lewis said.

Lewis added it is all part of a "strategic, structured and systemic approach" the TTOC is adopting as the TTOC looks "to impact the athletes in a very tangible way"

"We can't continue to put so much burden on athletes, If we cannot be totally professional, we still have the facilities and resources where we can provide the athletes with support services they need and if we can create performance based incentives, create the opportunities for the athletes, it will be developing a win-win for the country, for the IOC, the NSO and corporate Trinidad and Tobago. With the Rio Olympics 14 months away, it is also important we need a sense of urgency to continue to push for these initiatives to come on stream as we look to Rio, Tokyo 2020 and beyond," Lewis concluded.