ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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T&T's Olympic box­er Nigel Paul is among four fight­ers of the elite box­ing team to have qual­i­fied for the 2019 Pan Amer­i­can Games in Li­ma, Pe­ru, in Ju­ly-Au­gust.

The T&T Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion con­firmed this re­cent­ly, not­ing it is the first time the coun­try has qual­i­fied so many box­ers for any of the ma­jor qua­dren­ni­al games.

The quar­tet, Paul, Aaron Prince, Ty­ron Thomas and Michael Alexan­der all won their pre­lim­i­nary bouts at the qual­i­fiers in Nicaragua last week, with Alexan­der mov­ing on to earn a bronze medal in his di­vi­sion.

Mean­while, Ty­ron Thomas, who re­cent­ly made the tran­si­tion from youth to the elite, came in for spe­cial men­tion. Af­ter a cred­i­ble per­for­mance at the AM­BC Youth Con­ti­nen­tal Cham­pi­onships last year, Thomas went on to win gold at the Caribbean Cham­pi­onships in De­cem­ber and is now con­sid­ered one of the coun­try's ris­ing tal­ent.

Ce­cil Forde, pres­i­dent of the TT­BA, was ec­sta­t­ic with the re­sults but said he was not sur­prised.

“The en­tire team has put in a lot of work for this event. Prepa­ra­tion start­ed months ago with train­ing camps and com­pe­ti­tions, with our box­ers train­ing dili­gent­ly and all our coach­es com­ing to­geth­er to work as a col­lec­tive unit. They all con­tributed in one way or the oth­er and we thank our coach­es who gave their time with­out pay to make sure we were pre­pared," Forde said.

Ac­cord­ing to Forde, al­though the oth­er box­ers on the team didn’t qual­i­fy, they have a very good ac­count of them­selves against much more ex­pe­ri­enced coun­ter­parts. “This qual­i­fi­er was just half of the jour­ney. The train­ing and prepa­ra­tion that nec­es­sary to medal at the games lie ahead. In or­der to pre­pare prop­er­ly, we must get these ath­letes to camps, both lo­cal­ly and for­eign, since our box­ing pool is rather small."

"We are plead­ing with the Min­istry of Sport and Youth Af­fairs, SporTT and the Min­istry of Fi­nance, to not wait un­til the 11th hour. Give us a lit­tle space, we are well aware of the present eco­nom­ic sit­u­a­tion, but we ask that what­ev­er is af­ford­ed if giv­en ear­ly, we would be able to achieve much more.”

The TT­BA is al­so call­ing on the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty to come for­ward and part­ner with the team so that they can be as pre­pared as their for­eign op­po­nents.

Prepa­ra­tion and fundrais­ing con­tin­ue to­mor­row April 13 at the Cos­mic Box­ing Gym, Mara­bel­la from 7 pm.

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