July 11th, Toronto, Canada – In the first official day of competition, the women warriors fought to a well-deserved 2-2 draw against Argentina in their opening match at the Hamilton Soccer Stadium. Argentina drew first blood in the 52nd minute, but Trinidad and Tobago proved up to the challenge with Mariah Shade equalizing in the 59th minute. Shade’s equalizer sent the small but vocal group of fans into ecstasy, chanting “Trinidad we ready for it. We want a goal” while drumming on the backs of their seats.


The chants and cheers seemed to inspire a sense of urgency in the team, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Kennya Cordner coming close to scoring on two occasions. Moments of silence were punctuated with shouts of “Let’s go Trinidad and Tobago, Nice, Well Done and Let’s Go!!”


Argentina regained the lead in the 88th minute but the warriors never wavered, and were rewarded for their industriousness on the ball when substitute Maylee Attin Johnson scored the equalizer. Her goal sparked another wave of loud and raucous celebrations by the Trini fans in attendance, showing a clear understanding the significance of this draw.


Following the game, defender Ayana Russell said “We were going for the win from the start. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but to come back and equalize in the 90th. I’m very proud of the team. We’re going back to the drawing board and hopefully we get the win in the next game.” Trinidad and Tobago will next face Columbia on Tuesday July 14th.


In the days other events, national badminton Champ Nicholas Bonkowsky lost his first round match against American #4 seed Sattawat Pongnairat at the Markham Pan Am Centre in straight sets (2-0). While Pongnairat was the more skilful player, Bonkowsky showed great promise with some classy shots in the second set.  Artistic gymnast William Albert, competing on the rings ended the day with a score of 13.050. He is currently ranked 55.


Today Trinidad and Tobago will face competition in the men’s 10m Air Pistol (Roger Daniel), Sailing (Kelly Ann Arrindell and Andrew Lewis), Artistic Gymnastics (Marisa Dick) and Open Water 10K Swimming (Christian Marsden). Marsden is the reigning Carifta Champion, and at 16 is one of the youngest qualifiers for this year’s games.



July 10th, 2015, Toronto, Canada – Trinidad and Tobago will kick off its medal hunt at the 2015 Pan AM games today Saturday July 11th with men’s Badminton and Women’s football. National men’s badminton champ Nicolas Bonkowsky will face American, Sattawat Pongnairat, the #4 seed at the Markham Pan AM Centre at 12:30PM, while the women warriors will face Argentina at 2:05PM in their opening game at Hamilton Pan Am Soccer stadium.


Bonkowsky enters this year’s tournament ranked as the reigning national men’s badminton champion, having placed second in both the doubles and mixed doubles event. Writing on his badminton blog, Bonkowsky credits former national badminton champ Anil Seepaul as one of the most influential people in his career, despite defeating the veteran singles player to win his first national title.


While Bonkowsky expects a stern test from the #4 seeded Pongnairat, Manager Ronald Clarke says he remains undaunted and plans to give it his all, as he hopes to one day represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympics.


Despite a threatned boycott from the women warriors prior to this year’s games, the team will be keen to do well having just missed out on qualifying for the women’s world cup in December last year. Defender Arin King tweeted early on Friday that “Practice was bess” suggesting the team is in good spirits ahead of tomorrow’s opener.


Prior to the teams departure, Coach Ross Russell was quoted saying, “The confidence level of our girls is high because they want to play these kind of teams.”

July 11th, Toronto, Canada – Trinidad and Tobago brought the warmth of our islands and joy to the opening ceremony of the 17th Pan American Games. While following the team’s entrance on TV, Soca artiste Fay-Ann Lyons tweeted, “Leave it to Trinidad and Tobago to make the best entrance…See men jumping like is fete!!! #GoTnT.”


Lyons couldn’t have known that the feting had started since the team began lining up in the tunnel. Chanting “Sweet, Sweet T&T, Oh how I love up meh country,” and the chorus for the Soca Warriors chant, Trinidad and Tobago was locked in a sound clash with Uruguay to see which nation would be louder. When a video of the team jumping, waving and chanting emerged on social media, Julie Wright, a Canadian remarked “I SERIOUSLY want to hang out with these guys! #PanAM2015.”


The festive atmosphere and the excitement did not however diminish the importance of the occasion for members of the team. Marlon Moses, a member of the shooting team said, “It’s a huge honour to represent your country at this level. Some may not take it to heart, but I take this really seriously.” Swimmer Christian Marsden who at 16 is one of the youngest members of the team echoed his sentiments.


Following the parade of national teams, Cirque du Soleil enchanted everyone in attendance with gravity defying acrobatics, dances to pulsating rhythms reflecting the Pan American region, flying somersaults, BMX riders and fire.


CEO of the Organizing Committee, Saäd Rafi, then urged the athletes to embody the values of the Pan Am Games before the games were officially declared open saying, “To be an athlete is to believe in the power of possibility…to try is worthy, to be hopeful is right and to be idealistic is wise.”


Trinidad and Tobago begins its medal hunt at the games on Saturday with men’s Badminton and Women’s football.

Keshorn Walcott joined the elite 90-metre club, at the Athletissima IAAF Diamond League meet, in Lausanne, Switzerland, yesterday.

In the very first round of the men's javelin competition, Walcott landed the spear 90.16 metres to smash his own national record, jumping from 59th to 14th on the world all-time list in the process. He also broke the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) record, bettering the 87.20m standard set by Cuba's Guillermo Martinez in 2011.

Walcott had established the previous Trinidad and Tobago record of 86.43m at the Sainsbury's Birmingham Grand Prix IAAF Diamond League meet, in England, on June 7. The 2012 Olympic champion finished third on that occasion.

There was no beating Walcott, yesterday, the 22-year-old field athlete securing his first Diamond League victory with his first-ever 90-metre effort. When the distance was posted on the scoreboard, an exultant Walcott triumphantly raised both arms. The 90.16m monster throw is a new meet record, bettering the 89.94m standard established by world record holder Jan Zelezny, of the Czech Republic, back in 2001.

Silver yesterday went to another Czech Republic thrower, Vitezslav Vesely, the reigning world champion producing an 87.97m effort. And Finland's Tero Pitkamaki bagged bronze at the Athletissima meet with an 87.44m throw. Pitkamaki is seventh on the world all-time list at 91.53m. Three-time Olympic champion Zelezny heads the list with his world record throw of 98.48m.

Walcott is only the 14th thrower to join the exclusive 90-metre club. Understandably satisfied with his superb opening round effort, the Toco athlete only took one more throw in the competition, a third round foul.

Meanwhile, Keston Bledman finished fifth in the Athletissima men's 100 metres dash, the T&T sprinter getting to the line in 10.03 seconds, the same time clocked by fourth-placed Michael Rodgers of the United States.

Another American, Justin Gatlin won in a very fast 9.75 seconds. It was the third time this season he had produced a sub-9.80 run. Jamaican Asafa Powell seized silver in 9.92 seconds, while bronze went to American Tyson Gay, who also clocked 9.92.

T&T's Jehue Gordon finished eighth and last in the men's 400m hurdles in 50.07 seconds. American Bershawn Jackson clocked 48.71 to strike gold, ahead of South Africa's LJ van Zyl (48.92) and Russia's Denis Kudryavtsev (49.01).

Gordon, who will defend his IAAF World Championship title in Beijing, China next month, was disappointed with his performance.

?Terrible race for me. The race got away from me on the backstretch. Running from lane two was not easy and it was cold temperature, but I'm not making excuses. I have to go back to training and work hard. I am the defending champion,? Gordon ended, ?and I intend to do well in Beijing.?

At the World University Games, in Gwangju, Korea, yesterday, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) athlete, LeSean Noel competed in the semi-final round of the men's 100m event. The T&T sprinter finished sixth in heat two in 10.54 seconds. The top four in each heat advanced to the final. South Africa's Akani Simbine clocked 9.97 to grab gold in the championship race.

On Wednesday, Noel was third in his first round heat in 10.65 seconds, and third in his quarterfinal heat in 10.74. He was eliminated in the opening round of the 200m, after finishing sixth in his first round heat, yesterday, in 21.81.

Another T&T/UTT athlete, Kyle Stanley was fifth in his men's 400m first round heat, on Wednesday, in 51.57 seconds and did not progress to the semis.


THE teams will play twice today when the CAZOVA (Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association) Youth Girls’ Championships continues today at Sentro Deportivo Korsou, Curacao.

Action gets going at 9 a.m. with defending champions Trinidad and Tobago opposing Curacao and this contest will be followed by the clash between Bonaire and Barbados.

The night session starts with the T&T/Bonaire encounter at six o’clock and the busiest of the four-day tournament will conclude with Barbados tackling Curacao in the final match of the round-robin phase.

The tournament served off after press time last night with a double-header featuring Barbados against T&T and Bonaire versus Curacao.

The T&T girls have won all three editions of the Under-18 tournament, but coach Idalmis Gato Moya believes that it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the domination will continue.

The Cuban, who was a member of the team in 1992, 1996 and 2000 when her country became the only one to ever complete a hat-trick of volleyball gold medals in the Olympic Games, pointed out that there is potential in the squad, but just two of the players (skipper Nicolette De Mille and Jordyn Ali) have experience at this level.

However T&T and hosts Curacao were the most impressive during a practice session on Wednesday night.

Curacao captured the gold medal in the boys’ edition of this tournament at home in’10 and picked up the silver in the following edition two years later, but this is their first outing in the girls event.

Bonaire has played in neither, while Barbados trailed a field of three and of four in their two appearances.

The winner of the round-robin phase will tackle the fourth-placed team in tomorrow’s first semifinal at 5 p.m. and two hours later the second and third-placed team clash for the other place in Sunday’s gold-medal encounter.

This match is scheduled for 6 p.m., two hours after the bronze-medal match.


July 10th, Toronto, Canada – Multiple Commonwealth and Pan American Games medallist, shooter and two-time Sportsman of the Year awardee, Roger Daniel has been chosen to be Trinidad and Tobago’s flag bearer when the 2015 PanAM games open today.


The soldier will be aiming for his third Pan Am Games medal following his podium finishes at the 2007 and 2011 editions of the hemispheric meet, where he won bronze and silver medals respectively.


Daniel is coming into this years competition in fine form having led Trinidad and Tobago’s shooting team to five (5) medals at the recently held 38th Copa del Caribe/Caribbean Cup Shooting Championships in Salinas, Puerto Rico. He won four (4) of Trinidad and Tobago’s five (5)-medal haul, including the lone gold medal in the 50m-pistol event.  He also secured silver medals in the 25m-centre fire and 10m air pistol events and bronze in the 25m-air pistol discipline.


Shooting action for Trinidad and Tobago begins on Sunday July 12th.  Daniel and compatriot Marlon Moses will see action in the men’s 10m Air Pistol, 50m Pistol and 50m Rifle Prone events. Anthony Maraj, who will compete in the Trap shotgun event, joins them. The 2015 edition of the games has the potential to hold special significance for Daniel, as his son Shaquille Daniel will be representing Trinidad & Tobago when men’s field hockey action commences on Tuesday July 14th.


Trinidad and Tobago has appeared at every edition of the Pan Am Games, with our best performances coming at Winnipeg 1967, Cali 1971 and Santo Domingo 2003, where the team won seven medals. Trinidad and Tobago is currently ranked sixteenth on the all-time Pan Am Games medals list with 54 medals including eight gold.