Michelle-Lee Ahye and Kelly-Ann Baptiste will square off for Ahye's women's 100 metres title, at this weekend's NGC-Sagicor NAAA (National Association of Athletics Administrations) Open Track and Field Championships.

Though she was not the first sprinter to cross the finish line at the 2013 edition of the meet, Ahye is actually chasing a hat-trick of national 100m titles.

Two years ago, it was Baptiste who got home first. However, she subsequently received a doping ban, and many of her 2013 performances were scratched from the books, including the 10.83 seconds national record run that earned her gold at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships.

Ahye finished second to Baptiste in that race in 11.06, and was promoted to the top spot following her rival's disqualification.

Last year, Ahye enjoyed a conventional triumph, striking gold in 10.88 seconds. On Saturday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, she will bid for her third century title on the trot.

Based on her early-season form, Ahye will go into the Championships as the favourite. On March 28, the Texas-based sprinter won the Texas Relays women's invitational 100m dash in a wind-assisted 10.87 seconds.

But the performance that signalled a warning to the world's sprint elite came five days later, at the Florida Relays, where Ahye won in 10.97, in spite of a 2.5 metres per second headwind. There's a question mark, however, over her fitness. On May 30, at the Prefontaine Classic IAAF Diamond League meet, in Oregon, USA, the 23-year-old athlete was injured during the 100m event, and finished eighth in 11.90 seconds. She has not competed since. Baptiste was sixth in that race in 11.08.

If there is anyone who can capitalise on a chink in Ahye's armour, it is Baptiste. This weekend, the 2011 World Championship 100m bronze medallist will compete on home soil for the first time since completing her 21-month drug ban on January 23. All eyes at the Crawford Stadium will be on Baptiste, who clocked an impressive 10.98 seconds in her 100m season-opener on April 24. In mid-May, she produced an 11-flat run. And 12 days ago, the 28-year-old track star finished third at the adidas Grand Prix IAAF Diamond League meet in New York, USA in 11.19.

The T&T Championship women's century will feature another athlete on the comeback trail following a doping ban. Semoy Hackett's 28-month suspension ended on April 30. Based on her 22.81 seconds 200m run in Florida on June 6, Hackett will challenge for honours this weekend.

Like Baptiste, a drug ban cost Hackett a national 100m title. Back in 2011, she grabbed gold in a wind-aided 11 seconds flat. However, Hackett tested positive for Methylhexaneamine at the T&T Championships, and was handed a six-month ban. Methylhexaneamine was also the illegal stimulant that led to Hackett's more recent suspension.

Kai Selvon, the 2011 women's 100m runner-up, was upgraded to gold. Selvon is not expected to make a bid for the title in 2015. She is recovering from an injury, and has requested an exemption from the NAAA. Selvon has to prove her fitness before being considered for selection on the national teams for the July 10-26 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada and the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

In addition to Ahye, Baptiste and Hackett, Saturday's NGC-Sagicor NAAA Open Track and Field Championship women's 100m final is likely to feature Kamaria Durant and Reyare Thomas.


CHANGE IS coming to the way sport is introduced and developed in the country, and the key element will not be the Sports Ministry, but rather the Ministry of Education. Speaking with Newsday yesterday afternoon, Minister of Sport Brent Sancho confirmed that there is to be a new approach in seeking sporting excellence from the country’s talented athletes in every sport, but he also emphasised that most of what is being contemplated is still in the early stages of planning.

It was previously reported that Sport Ministry personnel, including coaches and sport officers had already been transferred to the Ministry of Education, and that morale was low as a result. Minister Sancho admitted changes were in the making, but he denied any major move had yet been made, saying plans were still being discussed and formulated. “That is not yet decided, but logistically, we would want that (coaches etc going to the Education Ministry),” he said.

“Everything is still at the embryonic stage. Sometimes change would bring fears, anxieties... but we have to start somewhere.”

Sancho said the concept of Education taking over certain aspects of operations that normally fall under the purview of the Sports ministry was born out of the need to meet the country’s athletic talent at an earlier age. “We are on the cusp of a ground-breaking formula. Our objective is to get closer contact with primary school students to play more sport,” he said, adding that as a result, the youngsters would benefit from advanced training in their chosen disciplines.

Among the initiatives would be the development of coaching programmes that would take young athletes from primary to secondary school. “We are not catching the athletes at a young enough age, before they develop bad habits,” the minister explained. Sancho confirmed that as a result, there would eventually be a transfer of personnel to the Education Ministry, but the method was a long way from being worked out. “We got Cabinet approval to set up a steering committee to guide us through the process.” He also confirmed that a sporting academy was to be established; asked whether the University of Trinidad and Tobago would be involved, he answered, “It definitely won’t be part of UTT; it would be something separate and apart. How I envisage it, we would start at a very young age.” Sancho expressed his personal conviction that this is the way forward for the country’s sporting future. “We have to recognise that sport is now a legitimate career path,” he concluded.

Each year on June 23rd, over 200 National Olympic Committees from around the world join together to celebrate the birth of the Modern Olympic Games. This year, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) commemorates the Olympic Movement at Olympic House from the 23rd to 26th June 2015.


Today (23rd June 2015), the TTOC will open its doors to the public to come learn more about the Olympic Movement and Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic history.


From the 24th to 26th June, the TTOC will host Preschool and Primary School children from Trinidad and Tobago with the aim to promote fitness, well being, culture and education, while promoting the Olympic values – excellence, friendship and respect – and the three Olympic Day pillars – move, learn and discover.


The children will engage in playground games, learn about the Olympic Movement and T&T’s Olympic History and discover our Elite Athletes and the vision of achieving #10Golds24 (10 or more Gold medals by the year 2024).


This year’s celebration will also have the inclusion of the Drama Making A Difference (DMAD) Company who will use the medium of drama and theatre arts to educate the children about the Olympic Movement and the values.


The tradition of the Olympic Day has a long history. This event was timed to coincide with the date of June 23, 1894, when Pierre de Coubertin and his supporters have revived the Olympic Games and created the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  The First World Olympic Day was celebrated on June 23, 1948.


The TTOC expresses thanks to Guardian Group, Lisa Communications, BPTT, Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago House of Assembly, Columbus Communications, Flavourite Ice Cream, Blue Waters and Bermudez for being apart of Olympic Day 2015.

The trio of Mc Leod brothers, Olympian David, Joshua and Abraham along with USA-based Alexandria Donahue will spear-head this country’s medal hopes, when the 2015 edition of the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships splashes off at the National Aquatic Centre, Wildey, Christ Church, Barbados from today until Saturday.

Two years ago when the event was held in San Jose, Costa Rica, Joshua Mc Leod and Florida-based Christian Homer both won three individual gold medals while Donahue took home two, in helping T&T to a tally of 34 medals overall (16 gold, seven silver and 11 bronze) and the highest place on the table of any English-speaking country, seventh and with 433 points for sixth.

Venezuela emerged as champions with 1, 067 points well clear of Costa Rica (711) and Guatemala (497), while Honduras was fourth with 473 and Aruba fifth (450). T&T was next ahead of Barbados (362) and Bahamas (292). In terms of medals, the Venezuela won a whopping 94 (42 gold, 27 silver and 25 bronze), while T&T followed by Hoduras with 35 (11 gold, 12 silver, 12 bronze), Aruba with 37 (ten gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze) and Guatemala with 26 (ten gold, nine silver and seven bronze).

Other medal winners from two years back to bolster the T&T swim squad, which has Paul Newallo as head coach, are Abraham Mc Leod and Kael Yorke who had one golden swim each.

However, this time around, Homer is not part of the T&T squad along with Kristien Julien (two gold) and Cherelle Thompson, another individual gold winner from 2013. But the T&T squad will benefit from the inclusion of Donahue’s younger sister  Gabriela who will compete in the 11 to 12 age-group  This year’s event will be void of swimmers from Venezuela and Mexico.

When swimming gets going from 9 am today, Yorke and Gabriela will be first in action in the 100m backstroke heats followed by Graham Chatoor in the 800m freestyle. Gabriela also swims in the 200m breaststroke while her elder sister Alexandria goes in the 100m breaststroke with Abraham Mc Leod.

Yorke will return to the pool for the 50m freestyle heats with Jeron Thompson while the trio of Alexandria, Vrisnelit Faure and Thompson face the starter in their respective age-group 200m individual medley events ahead of the medley relays. The Open Water competition comes off from June 27 to 30 and the seven-member T&T squad for the 5K and  events will depart T&T on Friday along with coach Hazel Haynes at the helm.

But, they will be without top medal hope in Christian Marsden as he focuses on his preparations for next month’s Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. In addition to host Barbados and T&T, the other countries listed to compete from today are Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Panama, Suriname, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Honduras, US Virgin Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada and Aruba.

T&T CCCAN swim team

• 11-12: Jada Chatoor, Gabriela Donahue
• 13-14: Vrisnelit Faure, Racine Ross
• 15-17: Amira Pilgrim, Ariel Cape
•18 & over: Alexandria “Allie” Donahue

•11-12: Aqeel Joseph
• 13-14: Kael Yorke, Graham Chatoor, Luke Gillette, Jeron Thompson 
• 15-17: Bradley Thomas, Justin Samlalsingh
• 18 & over: Strasser Sankar, Christian Awah, Joshua Mc Leod, Abraham Mc Leod, David Mc Leod

Technical Staff: 
• Paul Newallo (coach), Brian Wickham (assistant coach), Shastri Sankar (manager), Lyder George (chaperone).

Open Water team
• Girls 14-17: Sabrina David, Briana Patterson, Chisara Santana
• Boys 14-17: Gabriel Bynoe, Sebastian Marchand
• Boys 18 & over: Aleem Mohammed, Keanu Otero

Technical staff: 
• Hazel Haynes (coach), Bertram Blackman (chaperone)


Cabinet has given approval for major changes at the Ministry of Sport, including replacing Permanent Secretary Richard Oliver with Gillian Mc Intyre and transferring some departments to the Ministry of Education. The Physical Education and Sport Division, with all its all coaches and sport officers has been transferred to the Ministry of Education, while facilities, indoor arenas, pools and district offices will now be under the purview of the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT).

Staff at the ministry told the T&T Guardian they are baffled at the changes. “The entire ministry is in a mess because staff from the other sections have no idea as to what they are supposed to do. The major department that they support is no longer a part of the ministry,” a member of staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

“We have not been told about these changes and we find it distasteful and unfair by the minister himself. We wondering now what is next to go. Morale within the ministry is very low. Some of us don’t even feel like reporting to work anymore,” the staff member said. T&T Guardian obtained a copy of the Cabinet Minute No 1049 of May 7, 2015, which confirmed the transfer of positions from the staff establishment of the Ministry of Sport (Physical Education and Sport Division) to the staff establishment of the Ministry of Education.

Cabinet subsequently agreed to the transfer with immediate effect of a director of Physical Education and Sport, an assistant director, a physical education and sport officer II; seven physical education and sport officers I, two games coaches and several other members of staff.

Cabinet also agreed that the Ministry of Sport be the sole source for disbursement of grant funds to national sporting organisations, sport serving bodies and individuals. All requests for financial assistance for overseas travel in respect to sporting events must be submitted for the approval of Cabinet.

The note stated: “Cabinet is advised that the NPI Vote is budgeted to be $57 million for the current financial year. Approximately 70 per cent is expended on overseas travel, which is not related to international tournaments. The majority of requests are last minute submissions.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Sport proposes that all requests for grant funding should be submitted at least three months in advance of the event and that overseas travel must receive the approval of Cabinet. The Cabinet is also asked to note that a list of recipients and amounts received from the grant fund would be published annually,.”

The Ministry of Sport will be responsible for payment of salaries and related costs for permanent, temporary, and contract staff transferred to the Ministry of Education and the SporTT for the remainder of the 2014/2015 financial year. A framework of rules to guide the decision making of the Grant Fund Committee is being finalised and will be presented to Cabinet in the revised National Sports Policy

Contacted yesterday for comment, Minister of Sport Brent Sancho said the changes, although approved by Cabinet, are currently on hold. “We are going to head there but we will need to have proper dialogue because we are looking to revamp and relook at sport policies and structure. We are still sculpting what the ministry will look like. We have to find a way to generate an income through sports as well,” he said.

Sancho said the changes are necessary because a Sporting Academy is to be established under the Ministry of Education. He said the replacement of Richard Oliver as Permanent Secretary was done through the Office of the Prime Minister. “Mr Oliver has served his time as PS and we thank him for that but now Gillian has started off and she has already hit the ground running,” he said.

Coaches needed in schools

The Ministry of Sport has reported the success of the sporting coaching programme in schools to which coaches are assigned. It was determined that there would be a greater impact if there was more direct access to children in primary and secondary schools. These programmes can be better monitored by the Ministry of Education where principals and administrators can have an input into management, supervision and evaluation.

There is an increasing demand for coaching services outside the more popular sporting disciplines, which can be better introduced in the school system. In addition, foreign coaches would be better utilised in unearthing and developing talent in the school system.

At present, the Ministry of Education has requested coaches in 11 sporting disciplines to facilitate programmes in 139 secondary schools and 468 primary Schools. It is estimated that a minimum of 30 additional coaches would be required for a start-up of the additional planned programmes
The Ministry of Sport proposes to partner with the SporTT to design and implement programmes to develop coaches to a certified standard.


#10golds24 has set clear performance targets for Trinidad and Tobago’s high performance system. These targets are challenging and will require new and innovative approaches in order to achieve them. One area that #10golds24 can make the largest gains to meet and sustain these targets is to lead the development of a system that can deliver improved results over the longer term.

Many countries have tried and failed to initiate and implement successful High Performance systems. This failure has been largely due to a “one size fits all” approach with the application of models that are often ignoring critical cultural and environmental factors.

The success of #10golds24 approach to high performance system building will be centered on the alignment and better use of existing structures in conjunction with the integration of new and innovative approaches. To this end, #10golds24 will play a greater role in the development of athletes, coaches and technical leaders.

What is System Excellence?

It is an evidence-based approach centered on creating sustainable and repeatable podium performances by:

• Fostering the systematic development of world class athletes, coaches and technical leaders;

• Ensuring we have the right athletes in the right sports and that they are given the right support at the right time; and

• Ensuring we use our resources in the most efficient and effective manner for the best performance gains.

What is the scope of #10golds24?

It is defined by a three-pronged approach in the areas of:

• High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership;

• High Performance Athlete Development; and

• High Performance Strategy.   

What does it mean for sports?

• #10golds24 will be working with national sport organisations to create High Performance Coaching and athlete development and Technical Leadership plans.

• High Performance Athlete Development plan will initially focus on Podium Pathway and Gold Medal Profile components.

• Coaching and Technical Leadership plan will initially focus on succession through alignment with the Podium Pathway.

• National Sport System partnership

Integrated Sport Science

Integrated sport sciences can be defined as sports medicine and other team management professionals that support coaches and athletes/teams.  These may include a physiologist, sport psychologist, biomechanist, nutritionist, physical therapists/athletic therapist, and a physician. Additionally, a performance analyst may be part #10golds24 to support the use of various new innovations in video and technology for the purpose of performance enhancement. Other professionals (including sport administrators) may be included depending on the nature of the sport and the specific needs of the coaches and athletes.

#10golds24 works regularly with the coaches and athletes to ensure athletes receive world-class care and support for their training, recovery and competition programs.  
The goal of #10golds24 is to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago athletes are healthy, fit and psychologically ready for optimal performance.

The delivery of sport sciences and sport medicine services is always athlete-centered, and coach driven, thus requiring continuous communication and integration between the coach and the team of experts that support the athlete and/or team.

#10golds24 pursues excellence and facilitates a sport innovation and applied sport research program. The overall goal of this approach is to increase the frequency of Trinidad and Tobago’s podium appearances at Olympic Games through strategically designed programmes.