Rio 2016 progress praised by Probst following two years to go anniversary

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Larry Probst, chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, has praised the progress being made by Rio 2016 following celebrations to mark two years to go until the Olympics and Paralympics begin.

Although organisers faced an avalanche of concerns in recent months, including over the construction of venues and high levels of pollution at venues for water sports, they have been using the milestone to showcase the progress they claim is being made.

This was something acknowledged by Probst who, as well as his role in overseeing preparations for the US team at the Olympics and Paralympics, will no doubt have an eye on gaining insights which could prove helpful for a bid from his nation for the 2024 edition of the Games.

"This trip has afforded me the opportunity to view the commendable progress that has been made in Rio," said Probst, who was visiting the Brazilian city to attend the World Press Briefing in his role as chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Press Commission

"While there is still work to be done, the Rio 2016 leadership team and the people of Brazil are 100 per cent focused on delivering a great Games and a memorable celebration of the world's best athletes.

"I've been equally impressed by Rio's landscape and its people, while experiencing the excitement as the venues take shape.

"I visited the sailing venue on Tuesday (August 5) and was impressed with the quality of the marina and the excellent organisation of the test event.

"Led by [President] Carlos Nuzman and [chief executive] Sidney Levy, and with support from Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee is working diligently to create a unique and festive Games unlike anything the Olympic and Paralympic Movements have experienced before."​

Although the criticism of preparations reached fever pitch earlier this year, with IOC  vice-president John Coates slamming them as "the worst he has experienced" in his long association with the Games, there have been various signs of improvement in recent weeks.

Two tenders have been signed and construction has begun on the second major Games hub at Deodoro, where much of the criticism was focused.

The sailing test event on Guanabara Bay, meanwhile, is currently progressing well, with worries over participants becoming ill due to the high pollution levels yet to materialise.

Mayor Paes has emphasised how he hopes Brazil will "remain marked in Olympic history as a nation that has the best Games, leaving the best legacy and being the best example of transformation in the lives of its people".

"Barcelona [1992] inspired us and was an excellent example of change, but Rio will overcome the challenges," he said.

"We are using the Games as an 'excuse' to do many things in the city, how to get financial loans and funds to carry out the works.

"This is an opportunity to expand the infrastructure in the city.

"The Games will take place for a month, but the legacy they will leave will last a lifetime."


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


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

Team TTO ready for Nanjing Youth Olympics

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Port. of. Spain- Friday 8th August.

The Adidas outfitted Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) Youth Olympic team will leave for Nanjing, China on Sunday.

Leading the  Team TTO delegation is chef de mission Kwanieze John, T&T’s young ambassador at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) held in Singapore in 2010.

25 year old John, a resident of St Barbs, Belmont, is  a national women's rugby player and the first active athlete to be selected as  chef de mission by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC ).

The  final year  University of Trinidad and Tobago( UTT) sport for development student said the athletes are  motivated to do their best.

"Its a huge honour for the entire delegation . We are looking forward to doing our best for Trinidad and Tobago."

World Junior silver medallist Dylan Carter is included in the 11 athlete Trinidad and Tobago Youth Olympic team that will participate in Nanjing- August 16 to 28 .

Carter, who placed fifth  in the men’s 100 metres freestyle at the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is one of three swimmers the others  are  David Mc Leod and Johnya Ferdinand.

Athletics - Jeminise Parris (100m Hurdles), Kasheif King (400m) and Akanni Hilltop (200m), Chelsea James (Shot Put) and Andwuelle Wright (Long Jump).

Malika Davidson and Chelsi Ward will represent T&T in beach volleyball. And Abigail Affoo is the  representative in sailing.

John thanked  TTOC corporate partners Scotia Bank, Guardian Group, Bptt, Lisa communications ,Adidas and the respective national sport organisations  for their support and help .

" Its not an easy or simple undertaking. The guidance , mentoring and support is appreciated. Jeannette, the young athletes - we treasure the confidence and trust placed in us. Its an honour and an experience  we will cherish. We have  to be positive role models for young people here in Trinidad and Tobago " said John.

TTO  Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic  team:

Chef de mission-Kwanieze John

Young Ambassador -Jeannette Small


Manager /head coach ​ Mark Pouchet

Dylan Carter -50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 50m back stroke Johnya Ferdinand - 50 m free David McLeod - 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke.



coach - Nadine Hamid​

Jeminise Parris - 100m Hurdles

Kasheif King- 400m

Akanni Hislop - 200m

Chelsea James - Shot Put

Andwuelle Wright - Long Jump​

Beach Volleyball

Manager : Jason Dennis

Coach: Sean Morrison

Malika Davidson

Chelsi Ward


Coach/Manager: Stephen Affoo

Abigail Affoo

Medical Team - Dr. Israel Dowlat, June Durham - massage therapist.


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Not unexpectedly, the public statements of officials connected to Trinidad and Tobago’s Commonwealth Games effort has accentuated the positive.

The National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) wasted little time in hailing the athletes who earned medals in Glasgow—Keshorn Walcott, Ayanna Alexander, Cleopatra Borel, Jehue Gordon, Lalonde Gordon  and the men’s 4x100 and 4x400 metres relay teams. That was quite within their rights and appropriate.

Track and field yet again was the principal medal-bearer for these islands at a major multi-sport games. Only boxer Michael Alexander with his lightweight division bronze medal contributed hardware from the other disciplines. But it just seems that in the public assessments so far of T&T’s Commonwealth Games showing, too much focus has been on what track and field did or did not do.

A bigger, more important concern should be those six other disciplines from which no medals came. In most of those cases, the T&T teams also struggled to even be competitive.

At the Central American and Pan American level, the national hockey teams have performed creditably over the years, winning medals here and there, but both the men and women struggled in Scotland. Badly.

The T&T women managed just one goal in their four Pool matches, but conceded 48. The individual results make no less painful reading: 16-0 against South Africa, 14-0 v New Zealand, 14-0 against India and a “respectable” 4-2 defeat against Malaysia.

After the second beating, the 14-0 drubbing against New Zealand, coach Albert Marcano told reporter Kwame Laurence that his team had gone into that game with a plan, “not to concede more than we conceded the first time. They achieved that goal today, so it was a plus for them”.

A plus? To lose “only” 14-0? I shook my head when I read that. It seemed a clutching at straws. But clearly the T&T women were out of their depth in this level of competition which pitted them against some of the strongest teams in the hockey world.

The men’s team did not lose in double digits, and to their credit came away with a 4-2 victory over Malaysia. But they also had difficult days, losing 6-1 to England, 8-0 to New Zealand and 3-1 to Canada.

In Rugby Sevens, the T&T men lost all three of their matches against the Cook Islands, Kenya and Canada in the Pool stage but managed a win over Malaysia in a consolation Shield game, before losing heavily to Sri Lanka in their final match.

Meanwhile, the netballers went into the Commonwealth competition as the tenth ranked team and left it, having kept their status. At least no ground was lost. But for a team that was once the best in the world and among the top five in the Commonwealth, winning one match out of six cannot be satisfactory.

I therefore read with interest the newspaper comments yesterday of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis on the Commonwealth effort. He sought to focus attention on what the Glasgow effort should mean for the athletes moving forward to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Essentially, the TTOC president encouraged the sporting fraternity to use the good and the bad from Glasgow to gauge what needs to be done for the next Olympics.

There was also a plea for equitable treatment for athletes across all sports when it came to the distribution of Elite funding. Implied, was the suggestion that some national competitors have not yet got funding for the year.

This is an area that ought to demand the attention of the new Minister of Sport, Dr Rupert Griffith. As has become more clear in recent weeks, all is not right in the ministry. As such, paying outstanding money to athletes may not be so high on the minister’s list of priorities.

But even taking into consideration the relevance of the comments by the TTOC boss, and the issues of funding that all sporting associations face, those bodies also have to look themselves in the mirror.

Some of those results in Glasgow did not justify the presence of national teams there; specifically the manner of the defeats. If regional Games provide the opportunity to test where countries are in relation to the highest levels of competition in their respective sports, then T&T are not measuring up, and local sporting bodies have to look not only at how they prepare teams but at how effectively they are running their competitions and training their players, from youth level upwards.

Otherwise, these T&T games contingents will continue to be more padding than substance.