Success at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, which ended at the weekend, should not be used to mask the failing systems that exist in sports, says Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC).

T&T secured eight medals, three gold; three silver and two bronze but Lewis said the country should not be conned.

Lewis said: “I don’t want us to use that to cover the shortcomings and gaps that exist in the sports system in T&T. Much more have to be done. I do believe the best is yet to come.”

While medals were being won at the Pan American Games, said Lewis, many sporting disciplines in T&T, still did not have access to the country’s sporting facilities. Further, so-called sport fans were not committed to their preferred sport and the athletes that specialise in it, until the athletes were engaged in a do or die contest.

“We are building a lot of facilities, but there has to be a stadium use policy because as much as we are doing, a number of sportsmen and women and a number of national teams don’t have access to the facilities in the volume and times that they need,” he said.

Lewis described as “interesting” recent developments in the sports sector related to public/private partnerships. He has been paying particular attention to remarks by sports minister Brent Sancho who was on record declaring that sporting facilities must earn revenue and ultimately pay their way.

The TTOC officials and the line minister were at odds on this issue, however.

“I don’t know what the context of that is, but that needs to be very carefully thought through and discussed. If it is a Government policy and they make sport one of the key pillars of national development, then they will see the investment in sport as just that, an investment rather than as expenditure. From a policy perspective, I don’t see anybody saying that schools must be revenue earners; that health facilities must be revenue earners; that the national security facilities–the fire stations and the police stations–must be revenue earners,” said Lewis.

He added: “I am saying if sports facilities must be revenue earners in and of their own right, you are really telling me that you are not giving sport the same consideration and prioritisation that you are giving health, education and national security. I firmly believe that sport is an important aspect of national development.

“We see countries such as Singapore and Qatar and Brazil that have made sports a key part of whatever big vision they have for their sustainable development. We really need to get the policy makers and the politicians into that head space where sport is concern.”

But despite those issues, Lewis said the TTOC remained athlete focused and described the efforts of his executive and the initiatives to be achieved, as work in progress.

“As far as I am concerned, there is much more that the Olympic Committee can do and must do and I also think that the Olympic Committee cannot do it alone. Even in the context of ten or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024, it must become more than a TTOC goal. It must become a national goal.

“There are gaps, there are weaknesses, there and short comings and short falls in the sports system in T&T and we need to address them, because if we don’t address them we are not going to be able to help our athletes push on to their full potential.” Lewis said.

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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis described the country’s best ever medal haul at a Pan Am Games as “significant and encouraging” but added that there is no room for complacency as the TTOC continues to encourage systems and infrastructure for future success at the other multi-discipline Games like the 2016 Rio Olympics and beyond.

Team TTO picked up eight medals including three gold, Men’s 4 x 400 relay (Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Emanuel Mayers, Machel Cedenio) Cleopatra Borel; and Keshorn Walcott), three silver (Mickel Thomas, Njisane Phillip, Machel Cedenio) and two bronze (George Bovell & Men’s 4x1 relay), a new record haul for the country, bettering the returns from the Winnipeg 1967 edition (two gold, two silver, three bronze) and the Santo Domingo 2003 edition (two gold, four silver, one bronze)

“For the country yet again sports continues to bring a positive image to Trinidad and Tobago. The performances of the contingent at the Pan Am Games were significant and encouraging,” Lewis said, adding that the TTOC had set a goal of eight medals for these Games.

Lewis said some of the incentives and systems—the number of athletes on Olympic Solidarity, PASO scholarships, the ten or more golds by 2024 athlete welfare and preparation programme, the introduction of the medal bonuses, had helped.

“We are starting to put into place the infrastructure and systems at the level of the TTOC and we will be continuing to work with stakeholders like the NSOs, SPORTT and the Ministry of Sport to improve the process for our athletes to succeed,” Lewis said.

Lewis said this country’s results at the Toronto 2015 was a clear signal of the talent existing in the country and the TTOC would continue now to focus on Rio 2016 to ensure that athletes who have qualified or are likely to qualify for those quadrennial Games receive the needed assistance.

Lewis believed the athletes showed the talent and the desire to achieve a success, revelling in the performance of T&T’s 4 x 400m gold medal performance but also noting the performances of some who didn’t medal.

“When we look at young(Christian) Marsden, (Dylan) Carter, the more experienced ones got the job done. When you look at Sparkle Mc Knight Mc Knight, Semoy Hackett and Kelly Ann Baptiste, coming back after a long lay off, it is really important that we look past these Games now and start taking it up to the next level, because while Pan Am medals are a good indicator, both the Worlds and Olympic standards are going to be higher and we must encourage and facilitate our athletes moving up to that level,” Lewis said.

Lewis believed the introduction of the medal bonus created a positive vibe and the TTOC will continue to bring on new corporate partners. “The athlete welfare and support is going to be heightened by TTOC. We will focus even more and dedicate some attention to athlete and welfare services,” Lewis said.

“That’s what I would like to work on now. I think one of the pluses coming out of to 2015 more people may now believe in the potential of the athletes. A lot of people were sceptical before about the whole ten golds by 2024, saying there lacked systems and policies in place, there were gaps. I think that the buy-in is coming. There are some gaps, targets we need to set incrementally, some systemic issues that need to be addressed including the use of facilities and access to them by the NSOs,” he added.

“We need to look at whether we do more in support, from the sport science aspect. So there is a lot that still needs to be done but I genuinely and sincerely believe we can build from here and I call on stakeholders to let’s use the Pan Am as a platform to move forward in a real powerful and significant way.” Lewis concluded.

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Sunday July 26th, Toronto, Canada– Trinidad and Tobago added two medals to its Pan Am total last night, claiming gold and bronze in the men’s 4x400 and 4x100 metre relays.

In the Men’s 4x400 relay, the quartet of Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Emmanuel Mayers and Machel Cedenio came together to produce a blistering season’s best time of 2.59.60 to take first place and the gold medal.  Quow ran an excellent first leg handing off to Solomon with a slight lead. Solomon maintained the pace and handed off to Mayers in second who briefly fell to third before Cedenio on anchor picked off the competitors from Cuba and the United States.

 

Following the race Solomon said, “This feels real good. After all the races this week, gold and a medal bonus is nice way to top it off.” Solomon, Cedenio, Quow and Mayers will receive US$9000 from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) 10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation fund.

 

In the men’s 4 x100 relay the sprint quartet of Rondel Sorillo, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callendar and Dan-Neil Telesford finished 3rd to claim the bronze in a time of 38.69. The race was not without controversy as Canada originally claimed victory. A protest was launched by the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil however claiming a lane violation by Canada in the third leg handover. The challenge proved to be successful and Canada was eventually disqualified.

 

Speaking after the race, Callendar said, “There are rules in every sport and we have to abide by it. It’s not the way we expected to win but but we’ll take this bronze; and continue moving forward to every meet, trying to perfect our chemistry so by the time world championships comes around we can get the gold.” Callendar also expressed joy about the medal bonus that they successful relay team members will receive from the TTOC.

 

In the Women’s 4x400 final, the relay quartet of Janeil Belille, Romona Modeste, Alena Brooks and Sparkle McKnight finished 7th in a time of 3:33:31.  Out on the road, 2007 Pan Am silver medallist, Emile Abraham placed 8th out of thirty competitors in the men’s cycling road race with a time of 3:46:35. It was an extremely competitive race with Venezuelan Miguel Ubeto claiming the gold in 3:46:26 and Eric Marcotte of the United States and Boivin Guillame of Canada claiming the silver and bronze in the same time.

 

Finally, in field hockey Trinidad and Tobago defeated Cuba 13-0 to end the tournament ranked 7th.

 

Trinidad and Tobago ends this year’s Pan Am Games ranked 15th with eight medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze), one more than it’s highest ever Pan Am medal haul.

The National Association of Athletics Administration of T&T (NAAA) has extended congratulations to T&T’s successful track and field team which competed at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada during the week.

In a media release yesterday, the NAAA said: “We would like to congratulate Cleopatra Borel, Keshorn Walcott, Machel Cedenio and Mikel Thomas on their latest achievements and wish them all the best as they continue to prepare for the World Championships being held in Beijing, China from August 22-30, and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Borel is the very first woman and only the sixth T&T athlete in history to win Gold at the Pan American Games. Borel’s winning throw of 18.67m came in the second round of competition. With this Gold, Borel now has a complete set of Pan American Games medals, as she won Silver in 2011, and Bronze in 2007.

Keshorn, won the men’s javelin throw, with a throw of 83.27 and became the seventh athlete in history with a Pan Am Gold, he can now add this Gold medal to his many Carifta and CAC, World Jr Championship, Continental Cup and Olympic medals What most of you do not know is that Mr Walcott injured his ankle a week ago while competing in Monaco and had to wear a soft cast for about four days while in Toronto.

Yet he was able to show the heart, determination and temperament of a true champion to go out there and perform with this injury and still bring home the Gold. The winning throw came in his second round, he fouled the third and the passed on his last three throws, protecting the ankle from any further injury, with Worlds just one month away.

Nineteen-year-old Machel Cedenio, the 2014 World Jr Champion, won Silver in the men’s 400m dash in a time of 44.70, and became only the fourth quarter miler in the history of the Pan Am Games to win a medal over this distance. Ian Morris who also won silver was the last athlete to do this way back in 1991.

Not only did Mikel Thomas win a Silver medal at the games, he also ran his personal best 13.17 setting a New National Record in the process and became the first male T&T hurdler ever, to medal at the Pan Am Games. Well done ladies and gents, you have made us proud.”

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A storming finish from Machel Cedenio in Toronto, Canada, late on Saturday night, propelled Trinidad and Tobago to men's 4x400 metres gold and the country's best-ever Pan American Games performance.

Renny Quow ran the leadoff leg for Team T&T, handing the baton to Jarrin Solomon. Hurdler Emanuel Mayers performed third leg duties. The three T&T athletes battled hard, but there was still a lot to do on the anchor leg.

Cedenio, the 400m silver medallist, was equal to the task, the 19-year-old quartermiler surging past the Bahamian and Cuban anchormen to snatch gold for T&T in two minutes, 59.60 seconds. Cuba claimed silver in 2:59.84, while United States clocked 3:00.21 to grab the bronze, ahead of Bahamas (3:00.34).

Saturday's 4x400m victory handed T&T a Pan Am Games relay title for the very first time.

The incredible run from Cedenio capped off a superb showing from Team T&T at Toronto 2015. The reigning world junior 400m champion's never-say-die attitude carried the country to three gold medals, three silver and two bronze, bettering the country's previous best Pan Am performance of two gold, four silver, one bronze at the 2003 Games in Dominican Republic.

T&T ended the 2015 Games in 15th spot on the medal table, just one rung below Jamaica (three gold, four silver, two bronze). United States topped the table with 103 gold medals, 81 silver and 81 bronze. Canada (78 gold, 69 silver, 70 bronze) and Brazil (41 gold 40 silver, 60 bronze) were second and third, respectively.

“This feels real good,” said Solomon. “After all the races this week, gold and a medal bonus is a nice way to top it off.”

Quow, Solomon, Mayers and Cedenio will get a US$9,000 payout from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee's (TTOC) 10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation fund.

T&T also medalled in Saturday's men's 4x100m relay, Rondel Sorrillo, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Dan-Neil Telesford combining for bronze, albeit belated.

Anchorman Telesford crossed the line fourth, but a protest was filed against Canada by United States, Brazil and T&T for a lane violation. According to the information coming out of Toronto, the protest was initially thrown out, and Canada got gold.

However, about two hours after the 8.05pm race, there was news that the Canadians were in fact disqualified, and bronze was awarded to Sorrillo, Bledman, Callender and Telesford.

T&T clocked 38.69 seconds to finish just behind silver medallists Brazil (38.68). Canada's disqualification handed gold to United States in 38.27.

And in the women's 4x400m relay, Janeil Bellille, Romona Modeste, Alena Brooks and Sparkle McKnight combined for seventh spot in 3:33.31. United States struck gold with a 3:25.68 clocking, finishing ahead of Jamaica (3:27.27) and Canada (3:27.74).

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Hockey men hammer depleted Cuba 13-0

Trinidad and Tobago secured a medal--a belated bronze--in the men's 4x100 metres relay, at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.

Rondel Sorrillo, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Dan-Neil Telesford finished fourth in the final in 38.69 seconds. But the Canadians, the first team home in 38.06, were disqualified for a lane violation, and T&T were promoted to third.

United States, originally second in 38.27, were upgraded to gold, with the silver going to Brazil. The Brazilians got the baton round the track in 38.68 to edge out T&T by a hair's breadth.

At first, the protest against the Canadians was thrown out. But that decision was subsequently overturned, and T&T's precious metal count at the Games went up to seven--two gold medals, three silver, and two bronze.

After press time, last night, the T&T men's and women's 4x400m teams battled for precious metal.

T&T took advantage of a depleted Cuba outfit, yesterday, whipping the northern Caribbean team 13-0 to finish seventh in the men's hockey competition.

In a Pool "A" match, two Thursdays ago, the teams battled to a two-all draw. But the Cubans only fielded eight players in the seventh-place playoff, and T&T capitalised on the three-man advantage.

At the halftime interval, 11-man T&T led 6-0. Seven more goals were added in the second period of play.

For T&T, midfielder Mickell Pierre and forward Kiel Murray scored three goals apiece, and Jordan Reynos and Dillet Gilkes added two each. The other three items were notched by Kristien Emmanuel, Ishmael Campbell, and Stefan Mouttet.

Cyclist Emile Abraham finished eighth in the men's road race. The veteran wheelman completed the 165-kilometre event in three hours, 46 minutes, 35 seconds. Abraham was a silver medallist in the road race at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Venezuela's Miguel Ubeto Aponte struck gold in the 2015 road race, forcing American Eric Marcotte and Canadian Guillaume Boivin to settle for silver and bronze, respectively. All three cyclists clocked 3:46:26.

Pan Am Games women's shot put champion Cleopatra Borel continued her fine run of form, picking up from where she left off in Toronto with a third-place finish at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games IAAF Diamond League meet, in London, England, yesterday.

Borel threw the iron ball 18.53 metres, while the winner, American Michelle Carter produced a 19.74m effort. New Zealand's two-time Olympic champion, Valerie Adams was second with an 18.59m throw.

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