‘Calypso Spikers’ snare sixth Cazova title

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France-based Darlene Ramdin led three players in double-figures as T&T’s “Calypso Spikers” crushed Jamaica in three sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) in the Women’s Division final of the 15th Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (Cazova) Championship at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, on Sunday.

The win for T&T led by first year head coach Nicholson Drakes was a historic one in many ways. It was achieved on home soil and led by captain Kelly-Anne Billingy after finishing third in 1993 and second in 2002 in tournaments won by Barbados.

In addition, the victory which came in 72 minutes was a record fifth straight (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014) to go past Barbados which won in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 as the teams with the most wins on the trot, while both teams now have the same amount of titles overall as well, six.

Barbados was also crowned champions in 1993 and 1994 while T&T got its first in 1996.

Bahamas with its victories in 1992 and 1995, and the now defunct Netherlands Antilles, which won the inaugural title in 1991 are the only other teams to have won.

For T&T, Ramdin who copped one of the “Best Spiker” awards had nine kills, three blocks and three kills in her 15 points output and she was well supported by fellow France-based starlet and ‘Best Spiker” awardee Channon Thompson with 12, inclusive of ten kills while Marisha Herbert added ten.

Thompson also collected the “Best Server” and “Most Valuable Player” of the tournament

The 31st world ranked “Calypso Spikers” dominated the Jamaica “Riddim Girlz” to lead 35-14 on spikes, 10-2 on blocks and 6-1 on service aces while committing only 20 errors to their opponent’s 24.

Chicago-born Jamaican captain, Simone Asque who has played professionally in Cyprus and Denmark had six points and Karenza Beckford, four in the loss.

The second placed finish was the third for Jamaica, having done so in a 1996 loss to T&T, and in 2004 to Barbados.

An elated Billingy speaking after yet another triumph for her team which is now unbeaten at the Cazova level since losing in the 2004 semifinals, said her team was happy to accomplish its goal of a record fifth straight title to equal Barbados with six titles overall.

“During the tournament I don’t think we played our best volleyball and tonight the girls really stepped it up a bit by saving their best for last.

Billingy also praised for the crowd support saying, “We are thankful for the extra energy they brought.

Drakes after capturing his maiden crown as coach said he was happy to see the improvement of the team from the first match to the final.

“As the tournament went along we had to make adjustments and tonight our serving, passing and blocking was at a level that we have come to expect, which made it difficult for Jamaica.”

Honour roll:

Best Spiker: Channon Thompson (T&T)

Best Spiker: Darlene Ramdin (T&T)

Best Opposite: Sandrina Hunsel (Suriname)

Best Receiver: Rheeza Grant (T&T)

Best Digger: Farahnaz Levens (Suriname)

Best Blocker: Shani Leacock (Barbados)

Best Blocker: Thonya Joseph (Barbados)

Best Setter: Cheryl Brunnings (Suriname)

Best Libero: Farahnaz Levens (Suriname)

Best Server: Channon Thompson (T&T)

Best Scorer: Sandrina Hunsel (Suriname)

Most Valuable Player: Channon Thompson (T&T)

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Indians upset by mystery woman marching alongside them in Opening Ceremony

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India have complained to London 2012 over an apparent security lapse during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics last night when an unidentified woman walked alongside flag-bearer Sushil Kumar during the athletes' parade.

The young woman, dressed in a red shirt and blue trousers, marched next to the weightlifter, a bronze medallist at Beijing four years ago, despite having no visible accreditation.

India's Chef de Mission P K Muralidharan Raja has now complained to London 2012 about the incident which has become the main talking point in India about the much-praised Opening Ceremony.

"She had no business to walk in with the Indian contingent and we are taking up the issue with the organisers," he said.

"We don't know who she is and why she was allowed to walk in.

"It is a shame that she was with the athletes in the march past.

"We were initially told that she would accompany the contingent till the track but she went on to take the entire lap.

"There was another man also but he stayed back and did not enter the Stadium.

"We have taken strong exception to this.

"The march past is for the athletes and officials attached to the contingent.

"We are totally taken by surprise how a person could just intrude into the track."

A total of 40 Indian athletes and 11 officials dressed in traditional blazers and Rajasthani yellow turbans or yellow sarees marched in the Opening Ceremony, earning one of the biggest cheers of the evening.

"The Indian contingent was shown for hardly ten seconds in the television coverage and the entire focus sadly was on this lady, instead of the athletes," said Raja.

It is a major issue for Raja to take over having only been promoted to the role of Chef de Mission on the eve of the Opening Ceremony after Ajitpal Singh, the original choice, was unable to travel here due to a serious back problem.

By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park in London

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

London Olympics 2012, here we are

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Is it the tension which precedes the entry to our Olympic challenge, or are you mesmerised by the spectacular dressings of that great city called London where the Bridge, The Palace, the river Thames, and the bustling old-fashioned taxis which mix with buses, trains, subway and overhead, all fitting snugly into space that often appear insufficient on a normal day. And while the athletes from almost every country (204) in the world have presented an enthusiastic, scintillating and colourful entry into the Olympic stadium, the fans of every sporting discipline will be present to ensure that Olympic history in brought to life four years after Beijing 2008. In open bars, around the parks of central London, Hyde Park, St James Park, the so called soap box Parliament at Hyde Park Corner, human voices using various languages, each representing a nation with obvious dialect, come together to create an atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival without bacchanal, surrounded by an unassuming, but alert police presence. With the brilliant start which saw a brazilian dominace on the football field, where flair and creativity mesmerised the Cameroun Women and the following day, the pain of the Egyptian politics was not spared by the men’s version of football’s ingenuity when the enthusiastic Egyptians chased around a plush field for forty-five minutes in search of a ball that seemed harder for them to find than a needle in a haystack.
The resilience of the Mubarak stained country’s youth showed their fight and surprised south Americans with speed and lethal finishing which led us to believe that the commitment to the sport has surpassed the turmoil of the past year in Cairo. The enjoyment gained from such an exercise was enough for the fans to take a deep breath on the opening day and await more excitement in the days to come. Ironically enough, the chosen Olympic City is clustered with international Cricket, super exciting football from various parts of the world live on TV with teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, AC Milan, Manchester city and many other world Class teams. It appears contrary to what the British was trying to market and one day the financial statistics may reveal the details of the end result. Then there is the constant hum coming from the Jamaicans and fans as to which of their world Class sprinters will earn the gold medals in the sprints. All interpretations echoed different formulas as to Bolt’s fitness. Some claimed that he is now fit and ready to take on all comers, including Yohan Blake, and will keep his success trail as he did between London and Beijing. But, hold a minute! The people friendly triple Gold medallist of the Beijing Olympics, may well be jolted over the new of his close friend and schoolmate will not make the trip to London because of a charge of double murder which has been laid against him recently. If the reports are true about the closeness of these two individuals are correct, Usain may have a serious bug to remove from his mental frame.
Others silently saw his recent withdrawal from what would have been his final preparation before the start of his Olympic Gold chase as a significant piece of evidence that all is still not well and may be just hoping to devise a method of pacing himself from the first round to the final. Possible, but we all have to wait and see. Our women athletes keep sending us some positive messages, not only in Cardiff last week, but for the past three months, and it will be unwise to ignore them. Their opponents are concerned over the recent improvement of Kerry Ann Baptiste , Cleopatra Borell and others, because of the times and distances which are alongside their names at every event. The men’s optimism should not be underestimated although statistics do not quite reflect any level of exuberance other patriotism. The build leading up to the present time, exposes keston bledman and Ronerl Sorillo as the ones leading towards a well judged peaktime, while we all have to await the arrival of the Richard Thompson when he leaves his final technical training before arriving in London. Trinis who have made the trip to provide patriotic support for the Red/white. And black of T&T will hope to erupt and bring London to a liveliness which only exists at Nottinghill carnival.
A Few whispers are about our young and exciting sailor Andrew Lewis, our cycling medal contender Njisane Phillips , together our marksman Roger Daniel. The twin Island state has much to which we can look forward. The atmosphere is electrifying in the Land that was once associated with us. We treasured their guidance then, and we even offered our Olympic gem of that era McDonald Bailey to them. His success was our way of showing the extra ordinary talent of our people. Today, there are many ageing athletes of yesteryear from this blessed country who are eagerly awaiting those who will add to the medal cabinet. Oh, how will Lennox Kilgour, Rodney Wilkes, Wendell Mottley, Edwain Roberts, Kent Bernard, Ed Skinner, ( who is actually present in London), our Olympic Gold medallist Hasely Crawford , and Ato Boldon feel  if Richard Thompson can inspire the group of contenders to another glorious moment to make this a wonderful gift to celebrate our fiftieth Anniversary of Independence. And if, like myself, you will be there to show support and allegiance to our country, our own Caribbean Airlines is ready to take you safely to the destination.
-Alvin Corneal
Source: www.guardian.co.tt

Sports and athletes the big losers again - Things that Matter column

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Pressure...real pressure and stress. I’m blindsided by the scale and enormity of what is unfolding in the public domain.

Many people involved in sport in T&T are feeling uncertain; some despondent, with their trust betrayed.

Two years away from the Rio Olympics—new Minister, new Permanent Secretary, new deputy Permanent Secretary, new SportTT CEO and Board.

The saving grace is that national sport organisations (NSOs) charged with governing, managing and administrating their respective sports are still fairly stable and must now step up to the plate and ensure that the negative aspects are calmly navigated.

The current debacle highlights the importance of the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of T&T understanding that their role and responsibility isn’t to run sport and assume the role and responsibility of the national sport organisations.

The NSOs are the sport leaders and sport managers. Many have asked, “Where do we go from here?”

There is no choice but to face the pain, difficulties and hardships. Cast aside all the hindrances and the past imperfections.

The beauty and power of sport as a force for good will live on after the trouble and distress; the difficulty and pain of betrayed trust.

We need a fresh start for sport. Clipped wings can grow again.

It is always darkest before daylight. There is a silver lining behind every gray cloud.

On the grayest of days there is the gleam of sunlight.

To overcome shame and remorse requires courage and rebuilding of trust.

Cast aside all regret, trials and tribulations and press on to the summit.

Sport is a positive force for good.

No weapon formed against sport will prosper.

Our youth and young people who possess God given athletic talent and potential must have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

The positive power of sport will not be defeated. A fresh start for sport in T&T is imperative, because in adversity, failure and disappointment can be found the seed of opportunity and progress.

The clouds will clear.

Be resilient, persistent; be of good courage.

The power of international achievement on the Olympic and world stage is respected and recognised. T&T benefits from the positive global publicity it receives from the sporting achievement of our athletes and national teams.

Sport can make a positive and transformational contribution to the sustainable social and economic development of T&T.

Temporary setbacks don’t define the true potential; the positive, progressive and constructive reality of sport in T&T.

Integrity, honesty, fair play, courage and determination are essential and core values of sport.

Stem the tide. Be a part of the solution. Live those values. Rise up and move forward.

Don’t evade responsibility for what we do, protecting ourselves from being held accountable for the consequences of our behaviour by deflecting attention onto others.

As we walk in the dark valley fear no evil. Positive actions will change the headlines.

Leaders entrusted with the responsibility of stewardship and service in difficult times must have the answers and the action plan to navigate rough seas and danger.

Fortitude, perseverance and an indomitable spirit are the qualities required to overcome adversity.

Fear not! T&T sport shall overcome. God bless.

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Borel strikes gold in Brazil

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National female shot putter Cleopatra Borel continued her medal winning performances, striking gold at the World Challenge Meet in Brazil on Sunday.

Borel, who has been consistent this year, threw the shot put 18.29 metres to snatch the glory despite arriving at the hotel only 10 hours before the start of the meet.

Last month she secured silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland with a 18.52m throw.

Meanwhile last Friday, Deandra Daniel was fourth in the women’s high jump, clearing 1.73m at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships held in Kamloops, Canada. Alyxandria Treasure of Canada was first with 1.85m followed by American Shanay Briscoe (1.76) and Rebecca Haworth (1.76) of Canada. Also, Moriba Morian failed to qualify for the finals of the men 100m, finishing third in his heat in 10.57 seconds. Steve Waithe and Akeem Stewart captured silver and bronze respectively, though, Waithe was second in the triple jump with a distance of 15.94m behind Eric Sloan (16.20) of United States, Lathone Collie Minns of Bahamas was third with 15.86m.

Stewart settled for third place in the shot put with a 17.76m throw while Americans Willy Irwin (19.44) and Darrell Hill (18.85) were first and second respectively.

Mark London failed to secure a medal in the men’s 800 event, finishing seventh in the final after crossing the line in one minute 52.87 seconds. Mexican Bryan Martinez Sanchez won with a time of one minute 47.90 followed by Thomas Riva (1:48.19) of Canada and American Christopher Low (1:48.19) who were second and third respectively.

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