Renaud Lavillenie had the perfect end to his "perfect year" here tonight as he received the Men's World Athlete of the Year award at the International Athletics Foundation Gala, with the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Women's award going to New Zealand's shot putter Valerie Adams, unbeaten now in 56 consecutive competitions.

The French pole vaulter acknowledged that his historic feat in beating Sergey Bubka's world record of 6.15 metres just short of 21 years after it was set, with a clearance of 6.16m in Donetsk on February 15, was a big reason for his latest accolade, but not the only one.

"Yes, I think it has certainly contributed but it was not the only thing," he said.

"I lost in one meeting - I was not as strong as Valerie - but 21 out of 22, this is not too bad.

"I also won a fifth Diamond Race trophy, the European title and at the Continental Cup, so it felt quite a regular winning rhythm in an event which is quite unpredictable.

"I am very, very grateful to the world of athletics.

"It is extraordinary what is happening to me this year."

Lavillenie, the reigning Olympic champion, was only the third specialist field eventer to have won the men's award since Carl Lewis took the first one in 1988, and the first since javelin thrower Jan Zelezny's success in 2000.

Adams is the first woman thrower to receive the award.

Never before have two field event athletes swept the board in a single year.

"It's really awesome to be here to represent throwers, and women in sport," said the 30-year-old Adams.

"It is difficult for us to be able to compete against the glamour events on the track, but we train just as hard as anybody else.

"We want to showcase our sport in all areas, because it is not just track, but track and field.

"I have a passion and motivation to be competing, especially when I am wearing the black singlet with the single fern.

"New Zealand has got four million people and 60 million sheep so we punch above our weight!

"To compete against the rest of the world and come out on top, we've got to be proud of that.

"This is definitely the icing on my cake for 2014, which has been a physically challenging one for me with injuries."

Asked what it took to maintain her winning run this year, she responded: "It takes a lot of guts, four operations, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering.

"But if you've still got the passion firing within it makes all the difference.

"If you love something it's not a chore, it's what you want to do, so it becomes easier for you.

"I'm not 21 any more, you have to manage these things.

"But my pain threshold is very high, and my goal is to stay unbeaten for as long as possible."

Looking ahead to next year's IAAF World Championships in Bejing, Adams commented: "Going back to the Birds Nest stadium will be amazing.

"I won my first Olympic title there in 2008 so it will be great to re-live that moment and to try and win the title for a fifth successive time, which I believe has never been done by a female athlete."

For Lavillennie, Beijing has a different resonance.

"For me it will be interesting in Beijing because I don't have the gold medal for the worlds, so that will be the only thing I want for the next year," he said.

"But for me the most important thing is to be ready for Rio 2016 - I want to be world champion to be sure to be ready for the Olympic season."


T&T finish last at CAC Games volleyball

KELLY BILLINGY was among four players who said goodbye to the competitive game when the Central American and the Caribbean (CAC) Games Women’s Volleyball Championships concluded Thursday night in Mexico.
The skipper was on the losing side of the net as Costa Rica defeated Trinidad and Tobago 25-19, 25-13, 17-25, 25-18 to avoid the cellar place in the eight-nation tournament.
T&T had failed to win a set when the two teams had met three days earlier in the round-robin group stage and the third set of this match was the only one they managed to win from their five matches.
The 28-year-old Billingy, who scored nine points, two less than T&T’s top-scorer in the match Darlene Ramdin, has been a member of the national team since she was 16 years old and was one of the most dangerous attacking players in the Caribbean for most of her career.
Teammate Jalicia Ross-Kydd, whose contribution was seven points, also threw in the towel along with the Willis sisters of Costa Rica, Angela and Verania.
Skipper Angela was the leading scorer in the 92-minute contest with 15 points, six more than her younger sibling.
The CAC Games are staged every four years and Dominican Republic captured their four successive gold medal when they whipped Puerto Rico 25-19, 25-19, 25-19 in 82 minutes. Cuba took the bronze by nosing out Mexico 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13 and Venezuela edged out Colombia 36-34, 21-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-13 for fifth place.
The men’s tournament will serve off on Tuesday and T&T will be among the eight participants.


Trinidad and Tobago’s top swimmer George Bovell splashed to this country’s first gold medal on the final day of the swimming competition at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games Thursday night in Veracruz, Mexico.
It was the 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medallist’s third consecutive gold medal in the Men’s 50m freestyle at the regional Games, dating back to his first at the 2006 CAC in Cartagenas, Colombia and the 2010 CAC event in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Bovell who swam out of lane one, splashed to a 22.30 second clocking for the one-lap blue riband event to easily defeat the rest of the field including Suriname’s Tjon-a-Joe Rezo (22.63) and Hansir Garcia of Cuba (22.69).
Bovell added to his bronze medal he won on the previous night in the Men’s 50m backstroke.
Elsewhere, the Trinidad and Tobago women’s hockey team can only hope for bronze after they lost their semi-final match against Cuba 4-2.
Blair Wynne scored a double for this country but it proved insufficient, especially against Cuba Marisel Sierra’s game-winning hat-trick effort.
There was better news for the female basketballers in their group B preliminary match against Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago emerging 59-50 winners at the Benito Juarez Auditorium.
T&T’s Patrice Edwards sank a game-high 24 points to lead T&T to their first victory of the campaign. Edwards shot 60 per cent from the field (nine of 16) and 83 per cent from the free throw line (5/6).
Teammates Afeisha Noel and Rhea Cordio both scored 11 to assist Edwards as they pulled away from their Caribbean rivals in the third quarter to lead 45-38 after both teams were locked at 24-24 at the halftime interval. A 21-14 run in the third quarter proved crucial and T&T ended with a 14-12 last quarter to ensure the win.
At the University of Hugo Sanchez, the T&T women were hammered 7-0 by Colombia in the Women’s football competition.
In the female 10km Open Water competition at Regata Beach, Shania David placed 16th of 18 swimmers in two hours 23 minutes, 35.40 seconds, while her sister Syriah David did not finish the race which was won by Mexico’s Montserrat Ortuno in one hour, 59 minutes,18.9 seconds
In Men’s Judo in the 80kg division T&T’s Jelanie Boyce lost outright to Haiti’s Jackly Joy to finish seventh, while his countryman Sean Lawrence bowed out of the competition at the preliminary stage to El Salvador’s Gustavo Lopez.
In the Men’s 25m Standard Pistol, T&T’s Roger Daniel finished seventh, Rhodney Allen 22nd and Clement Marshall 29th.
Meanwhile, archer George Vire bowed out at the round of 16 stage in the Men’s compound individual competition. Vire beat his teammate Hasmath Ali 143-140 in their round of 32 matchup but would eventually fall to Mexico’s Julio Fierro, 149-141 to miss out on a quarter-final berth.
Amrit Siew faced Jose Reyes of Puerto Rico but scores were unavailable up to press time, while in ladies’ action, Neela Cezair lost out to Guatemala’s Diana Martinez by a 140-137 scoreline.
In competition in the individual recurve, Jean-Luc Espinet was beaten 7-3 by Ricardo Vasquez of Venezuela. Vasquez captured the two points available on sets one, two and five by posting 24-22, 26-24 and 25-24 victory margins, while Espinet won the third set 27-23 to collect two points. The points were shared one apiece in the fourth set after it ended 28-28.
And Sonia Thompson lost 6-0 to Venezuela’s Mayra Mendez. The Venezuelan took the two points on all three sets for 28-17, 29-23 and 27-16 wins.
Today, the Men’s hockey team has a semi-final encounter against hosts Mexico, while Christian Marsden and Sachin Sankar represent T&T in the Men’s 10k Open Water.


After a persistent struggle for three years the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees have finally scored a major victory for and on behalf of its members who do not yet have a National Olympic Committee and are not members of the International Olympic Committee.

On Wednesday 12 November 2014 while meeting in Vera Cruz, Mexico, the Executive Committee of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) the proprietor of the quadrennial Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, endorsed changes to the organisation’s constitution to facilitate the inclusion of a category of Associate Members. On Thursday 13, one day before the commencement of the 22nd CAC Games, the CACSO General Assembly, meeting in the Fiesta Americana Hotel, Vera Cruz, voted unanimously voted in support of the amendments.

The constitutional changes open the way for Martinique, Guadeloupe, Curacao, St Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Anguilla to become Associate Members if CACSO upon application. They would then be eligible to participate in the quadrennial CAC Games and other activities organised under the CACSO brand.

Chairman of CANOC, Steve Stoute, in making the case over the years insisted that his organisation ‘understands the spirit of Olympism to promote inclusion and not exclusion of the youths of the world in sport for the overall celebration and benefit of humanity’.

The next celebration of the CAC Games is in Barranquilla, Colombia in 2018.

Territories and dependencies not recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), including Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Turks and Caicos Islands, are set to compete at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) following a landmark amendment passed at the CAC General Assembly.

A total of 31 nations are participating in the current edition of the world's oldest still-running regional Games which began in the Mexican city Veracruz last Friday (November 14), including Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana from South America.

All are also members of the IOC.

In contrast, the new amendment means territories that are not "countries" within the meaning of the IOC or do not have a National Olympic Committees recognised by the IOC can become "associate members" and so participate in the CAC Games.

This will be subject to a number of requirements, insidethegames has learned, the primary one being that a country must have at least five National Federations affiliated to their respective International Federation.

But it could potentially mean participation for the first time at the next edition of the Games, due to take place in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 2018.

The amendment was proposed by Haiti following legal studies and backing from the IOC, with support from St. Lucia, Aruba and Suriname, before unanimous support from all delegates present.

Representatives from the two French overseas territories of Guadeloupe  and Martinique were invited to the General Assembly, with Guadeloupe Regional Olympic and Sports Committee (CROS) President Alain Soreze describing the decision as a "historic opportunity" that should pave the way for recognition from other bodies.

"Guadeloupe will follow the formal procedures for this membership, also the CROS of Guadeloupe will have to adapt its operation and management, as well as all the leagues, committees and other sport stakeholders," he said.

"We will have to change software to better train, and better prepare target podiums.

"This inclusion is a historic opportunity for the development of sport in Guadeloupe."

The island, like others set to benefit from the amendment, has already participated in regional competitions in other sports including in football, where the men's national team reached the semi-final of the 2007 CONCACAF Cup in the United States, and finished second in the 2010 Caribbean Cup, the final round of which was held in Martinique.

Others who could potentially benefit from the amendment are Dutch constituents Sint Maarten and Curaçao and British overseas territories Anguilla and Montserrat.

Anguilla and Montserrat already compete in the Commonwealth Games but their athletes have to represent Britain in the Olympics.

The amendment is another boost for new countries and territories seeking recognition within the Olympic Movement, with participation in the Olympic Games a long term and eventual goal.

It follows the decision by the IOC Executive Board last month to provisionally recognise Kosovo subject to ratification by the full membership.


Although FIFA Ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s findings named both former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and former Asian confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam as having contravened rules regarding payments, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has stated that the investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding is closed.

In his findings released last week, Eckert, tasked with reporting on the investigation into those bidding processes conducted by chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, named Warner and Bin Hammam as having contravened rules regarding payments, according to newpaper reports out of the UK.
Warner, a former UNC chairman and minster in various portfolios in the Trinidad and Tobago Government, resigned from FIFA in 2011, while Qatar’s Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA. Both are former FIFA ethics committee members.
But FIFA has lodged a criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general over “suspected unlawful activity” of unnamed individuals connected with the bidding contests despite Blatter’s statement that the investigation is concluded.
The report, handed over to the Swiss prosecutors by Eckert as part of his findings into the Garcia investigation, will not be published, Blatter had said, citing the publication would breach FIFA and state laws.
“The matter will now also be looked at by an independent, state body, which shows that FIFA is not opposed to transparency,” Blatter was reported to have said.
A FIFA statement said: “The subject of the criminal complaint is the possible misconduct of individual persons in connection with the awarding of the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups investigated by Michael Garcia.
“In particular there seem to be grounds for suspicion that, in isolated cases, international transfers of assets with connections to Switzerland took place, which merit examination by the criminal prosecution authorities.”
The identities of the individuals who have been reported to the attorney general have not been disclosed, according to the UK media report.