On August 12, 2014, after 16 months off the track, it seemed as though Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly Ann Baptiste would finally be allowed to compete again after the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) disciplinary panel lifted her ban for an anti-doping rule violation during the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last year.

However, last week, the NAAA received notification that the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) intended to appeal the decision of the disciplinary panel to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and in so doing, reinstated Baptiste’s ban.

Baptiste had reportedly tested positive for a banned substance and voluntarily withdrew from the competition in Moscow. The NAAA disciplinary panel, comprising Attorney-at-Law, J Tyrone Marcus as chairman, Brigadier General Anthony Phillips-Spencer of the Defence Force, sports medicine specialist Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, NAAA public relations officer, Peter Samuel, and NAAA general secretary Allan Baboolal, reconvened earlier this month to issue its final ruling on Baptiste’s case having first met on June 6.

According to the NAAA release, the second meeting was necessary due to the prevailing anti-doping rules of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which stipulated that in cases like that of Baptiste, where Substantial Assistance was provided, the matter needed to be referred to the Doping Review Board of the IAAF before being remitted to the Disciplinary Panel.

According to the NAAA press release, “The substantial assistance provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code and related rules globally are aimed at encouraging openness and full disclosure but have rarely been invoked.

“The most recent substantial assistance case involved US sprinter Tyson Gay, who served a one-year suspension having cooperated with the United States Anti-Doping Agency USADA) and the IAAF. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) acknowledged Gay’s help and did not appeal his one-year suspension.”

Normally, athletes receive a two-year suspension for their first major doping offense but under anti-doping rules the ban can be reduced for substantial co-operation.

The NAAA explained that due to the sensitivity of the information provided by Baptiste, who was co-operating with various anti-doping regulators, her hearing was conducted in strict confidence because of the potential impact her disclosures could have on revealing past or current doping offenses by third parties.

In justifying their decision to lift the ban, the NAAA stated: “The Disciplinary Panel decided on August 12, 2014, that in view of the applicable regulations regarding substantial assistance, Baptiste’s general conduct and co-operation, the decisions in previous anti-doping case law and the fact that she had served a 16-month period of ineligibility (already four months longer than Gay) since the collection of her urine sample, her ban would be lifted with immediate effect, with the panel having the power to reinstate the ban subsequently, if the circumstances so required.”

Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thompson celebrated Trinidad and Tobago’s 52nd Independence Anniversary with victory at the ISTAF Berlin IAAF World Challenge meet, in Germany, yesterday. Thompson clocked 10.15 seconds to grab top spot in the men’s 100 metres dash, the triple Olympic medallist forcing American Dentarius Locke to settle for silver in 10.16. Another T&T sprinter, Keston Bledman got to the line in 10.23 seconds to secure bronze.

For Thompson, the golden run was a return to winning ways. In May and June this year, the US-based athlete was unbeaten in 100m finals, his best run coming at the NGC/Sagicor National Open Championships, where he captured the century title with a 9.82 seconds scorcher – a new national record and the second fastest time in the world this year, behind American Justin Gatlin’s 9.80.

Thompson was winless in July. That month’s campaign included participation at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Though among the favourites for gold in Glasgow, the 29-year-old sprinter was eliminated in the semi-final round.

After a month away from competition, Thompson was back on the track last Thursday, at the Weltklasse IAAF Diamond League finals in Zurich, Switzerland. He finished seventh in the Weltklasse 100m event in 10.26 seconds. Three days later, Thompson regained his golden form with the T&T Independence Day victory in the German capital.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Cleopatra Borel continued her fine run of form with bronze in the ISTAF Berlin women’s shot put. The T&T field athlete threw the iron ball 18.53 metres. Germany’s Christina Schwanitz won in front of her home crowd, the 2014 European champion landing the shot 19.53m. The runner-up spot went to Russia’s Evgeniia Kolodko (19.43m).

France-based Rheann Chung led Trinidad and Tobago’s-women’s table-tennis team to a semi-final spot at the Qualifying Event for the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games which ends tomorrow in El Salvador. However, T&T’s men were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by the home team El Salvador.
Nevertheless, both teams have qualified for the CAC Games to be held in Veracruz, Mexico from November 14-30.
The T&T women’s team consisting of Chung, Catherine Spicer and Ashley Quashie, are due to meet Venezuela in one semi-final today, while Cuba take on Guatemala in the other.
T&T fended off strong challenges from Jamaica (3-2) and Guatemala (3-1), before sweeping past Guyana (3-0). Caribbean rivals Jamaica provided the toughest opposition, taking T&T to a five-match marathon in the opening tie. Chung gave T&T a 1-0 lead, with a straight sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory over Jamaican Dardrian Lewis, before Yvonne Foster beat Trinidad and Tobago’s Spicer 3-2 to level the tie at 1-1.
The Jamaicans took a 2-1 lead after winning the doubles, before Chung beat Foster to level the series 2-2. It was then left to Spicer to beat Lewis to give T&T the match by a 3-2 margin. Spicer won the first two sets 11-9, 12-10 and Lewis won the third 13-11, before the T&T woman won the third at 11-7.
Meanwhile, France-based Dexter St Louis, Curtis Humphreys and Aaron Wilson formed the T&T men’s team, which also won three preliminary round matches against St Kitts-Nevis (3-0), Guyana (3-0) and St Vincent & the Grenadines (3-0). But hosts El Salvador were more difficult opponents at the quarter-final stage. The home team won 3-1 to eliminate T&T.
El Salvador’s Jose Donedo beat both St Louis and Humphreys. First, Donedo took a three-set victory over St Louis 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, but had a tougher fight against Humphreys, who took two sets off the El Salvador number one, before losing by a 3-2 margin. Humphreys went down 3-2 to Eric Alves, while Wilson won the only match for T&T, when defeating Davi Diaz 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8.


George Bovell III’s timing was impeccable in Dubai yesterday. Trinidad and Tobago’s most decorated swimmer, competing on the 52nd anniversary of the country’s independence at the second leg of the FIN/Mastbank World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, grabbed gold again in the 100 metres individual medley (IM).

The win was Bovell’s second of the 2014 World Cup series, following his victory last Wednesday in the same event at the first leg in Doha, Qatar. Yesterday’s triumph, however, was of a shade higher quality.

Swimming out of lane four, Bovell touched the wall in 51.79 seconds, which was enough to push American Thomas Shields (52.14) into second and another American, Cody Miller (52.46) into third. Again as last week in Doha, Bovell owed his win to a strong finish, the T&T swimmer making up ground on Shields, the half-way leader, to grab the gold in a time that was just over a second faster than his winning 52.80 last week.

Earlier, Bovell had underlined his credentials by being the fastest qualifier out of the heats. He won heat four in 53.36 to beat Serbia’s Boris Stojanovic (54.09) and German Marco Koch (54.18). In the final Stojanovic was sixth in 53.86, while Koch did not compete.

And to complete what was a virtual repeat of his efforts in these events in Doha last week, Bovell once more failed to get into the final of the 50m breaststroke yesterday.

Swimming in heat four, he was fifth in 27.61 behind Italian Fabio Scozzoli (26.57), American Miller (27.16), Marek Botik of Slovakia (27.28) and Jorge Valdez Murillo of Colombia (27.34). However, while it was a slower swim for Bovell than last week’s effort of 27.51, it still placed him tenth overall, just as he had been in Doha.

This morning, Bovell will attempt to at least match last week’s effort in the 50m freestyle. He got joint silver in Doha with Poland’s Konrad Czerniak in 21.43 as they both finished behind the USA’s Josh Schneider (21.07).

Today Bovell will begin his quest for a fourth medal in the series competing in heat eight, which will also include Czerniak. Schneider swims in heat seven. The World Cup series will be on a break after today until the third leg in Hong Kong from September 29-30.

When a relationship is defined by mistrust, don’t expect significant progress.

After emerging as Caribbean champions without conceding a goal and advancing to the final round of CONCACAF qualification for next year’s senior World Cup, the national women footballers barely had time to savour Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Jamaica in the final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium before they were pleading for corporate Trinidad and Tobago to support their bid to make it to Canada in 2015.

That they actually finished top of the tree without having the sort of intended preparation—due to the inevitable financial constraints—says a lot for the talent, teamwork and determination of the squad led by Maylee Attin-Johnson and now coached by American Randy Waldrum.

Unfortunately, these players are merely the latest collateral damage in the credibility gap between the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and any potential long-term financiers or short-term sponsors, whether in the public or private sector.

Raymond Tim Kee has given the undertaking that everything possible will be done to ensure the team is well prepared for next month’s final hurdle in the United States. However the TTFA president must appreciate that the organisation he heads suffers from a chronic lack of goodwill that goes across the board.

Yes, it must also be acknowledged that we are a nation of bandwagonnists, showing no real interest at the turnstiles or in sponsorship dollars until the team in question is almost on the verge of making history. Yet for all that, other sporting organisations are still able to attract financial support to varying degrees when their representative teams are taking the early steps on the road to qualification or are looking for funding to stage a training camp. It doesn’t take any deep analysis to work out just why there is such widespread reluctance to bankroll the various age-group and senior national team programmes of the TTFA, even when they have enjoyed a measure of success as they are doing now. One is a personality—Jack Warner. The other is an event— the 1989 World Cup qualifying campaign for Italia ’90.Both are intertwined, and only those who just come or are being deliberately disingenuous will suggest that Warner’s absence from football administration for three years now and the fact that the qualifying bid of the “Strike Squad” was all of 25 years ago mean that we should all be able to put that in the past and move forward now with full and complete confidence in the present administration of the game.

Look, Warner’s mercurial manner and tendency to attract controversy continue to impact negatively on broad perceptions of the football administration in this country. And it has to be said that Tim Kee’s haughty and dismissive tone in his interactions with the media have hardly been helpful. Whether he realises it or not, the TTFA boss comes across as someone who detests being questioned, who seems barely capable of retaining his composure when his perspective on some aspect of football is openly contradicted.

Maybe it’s a legacy of the Warner years, of which he was a part, but if the TTFA is really serious about making a meaningful transformation and being more accountable to the public, then that change has to begin with the man at the top. Of course, in this highly-charged political environment, it doesn’t help that Tim Kee is also an opposition politician.

In a society where political opponents are mature enough to put that to-ing and fro-ing aside when it comes to other issues, like the administration and financing of football, it really shouldn’t matter that he is not only a member of the People’s National Movement, but also the Mayor of Port of Spain. All that should be of concern from the point of view of the country’s most popular sport is whether or not he is doing a good job at the helm of the TTFA.

We have to be real though, and accept that almost everything is viewed through a political lens, and unless he wants to go down the “yesterday was yesterday, today is today” road of Warner, Tim Kee needs to step forward and show that he is capable of communicating honestly and sincerely, via the media, with the football fans and potential sponsors of Trinidad and Tobago.

There are many, many people who absolutely love the game and wish to be more supportive, financially and otherwise, if only they could believe an organisation that was happy to benefit from Warner’s influence yet at the same time pleaded innocence over controversies ranging from the “Road to Italy” campaign to the blacklisted members of the 2006 World Cup finals squad.

Our national women’s team needs the support. But first, the TTFA must show itself deserving of our trust.


For the second time in little over a month, T&T’s sole reigning Olympic gold medalist Keshorn Walcott broke his national record in men’s javelin by nearly half a metre with a second placed finish in the penultimate leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday.

Walcott threw the spear 85.77m on his first attempt, which was 0.49m greater than the effort in the Commonwealth Games javelin qualifying event late last month. The 21-year-old, who took the world by storm in 2012 after becoming the youngest javelin gold medallist at the Olympic Games and the first from the region, was beaten by number-one ranked Diamond League thrower Thomas Rohler of Germany. Rohler also threw his best mark, 87.63m, on the first attempt.

Walcott was unsuccessful on his second throw but landed 81.11m, 77.38m and 83.99m on his subsequent three attempts.

Finishing third was Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki (85.12m).

T&T athlete, Richard Thompson, was also in action yesterday in the men’s 100m. He placed seventh in 10.26 seconds. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole claimed a season best 9.96 to win the race, while Michael Rodgers (USA) and James Dasaolu (Britain) finished second and third in 10.05 and 10.06 seconds, respectively. Thompson is one of only two T&T athletes to have won a leg in the Diamond League this year.

He opened his account with a 10.02 finish in the first leg in Oslo, which was the fastest time. Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women’s 100m event in Lausanne (10.98) and Glasgow (11.01).

Jamaica then claimed the 100m double, with Veronica Campbell-Brown stealing the women’s race in 11.04 seconds in a photo finish edging of Ivory Coast superstar Murielle Ahoure, who clocked the same time.

Finally for T&T, in the men’s 400m hurdles, Jehue Gordon, who is ranked fourth in the Diamond League, clocked 48.91 seconds to finish fifth. Cornel Fredericks of South Africa won it in a season-best 48.25.

World record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida could only finish third in the 800 metres, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.

Amos, who beat Rushida to gold at the Commonwealth Games last month, won the event in 1 minute, 43.77 seconds.

Souleiman finished in 1:43.93, edging out Rushida on the line by three hundredths of a second.

Elsewhere, world champion LaShawn Merritt comfortably won the 400 with a time of 44.36, beating fellow American Gil Roberts in 44.96. Isaac Makwala of Botswana was third in 45.03.

In the women's events, Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States beat Olympic champion Sally Pearson and European champion Tiffany Porter in the 100 hurdle.

The Zurich leg of the Diamond League will be followed by the final event in Brussels next Thursday.



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