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Bovell satisfied ...but still a lot of work to be done

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Top T&T swimmer George Bovell is content with his performances at the recently-concluded Belgian Open Swimming Championships at the Olympic Swimming Pool, Wezenberg, Antwerp.

But the 2004 Athens Olympic bronze medallist, who secured a second silver in the Men's 50m backstroke on the final day of the three-day meet on Sunday, admitted there is more fine-tuning to be done.

Contacted yesterday, Bovell said: "I am content with the results, however they show that there is a lot of work still to do. The good news is that there is plenty of time".

The 31-year-old Bovell, who moved his base from the University of Michigan to the ADN Swim Project in Italy in February, clocked 25.70 seconds, coming in behind ADN clubmate Francois Heersbrandt who won in 25.50 seconds with Greece's Michail Kondizas securing bronze in 25.81.

It was the second silver medal for Bovell after he also gained silver in the Men's 50-metre breaststroke in a new national record on Friday.

The others in the final were Nils Van Audekerke (26.64), Sjobbe Luyten (26.89), Maxime Andrien (26.98), Lander Hendrickx (27.18) and Michele Ratti (27.27)

The 2013 Barcelona FINA World Long Course Men's 50m free bronze medallist also placed fifth in the Men's 50-metre free. Bovell, the four-time T&T First Citizens Sportsman of the Year, was also listed to swim the 100-metre freestyle Sunday, but withdrew to focus on the backstroke.

Bovell was pleased overall with the performances in Belgium. "This last weekend was a good indicator of where I am in my season. I went seeking to find out my faults, which will be the road map to achieving my goals this summer, and now getting there lies in overcoming them. My details were good, my stroke tempo was slow however, which I believe is due to not being as explosive, as I (will) need to be later this summer. (This) probably in part due to my current workload," Bovell assessed.

Bovell continued, "The next time I compete at the beginning and middle of June, I intend to chip away at the tenths of a second to get down to 21 (seconds) by the Pan Am Games and then even faster to peak for (FINA) World Champs the first week of August".

Next up for Bovell, the 2013 FINA World Short Course Men's 100-metre IM bronze medallist, is the Tropheo Citta in Rome, Italy (June 1-3); followed by the Sette Colli, also in Rome (June 12-14); Trofeo Rossini (June 19-21); Treviso Swim Cup (June 26-27) and French Open Championship in Vichy, July 4-5.

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Flow rugby caravan lights up Sobo Village

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Sobo Village. Where is it? First left turn just after you pass the Pitch Lake. Last Saturday, the Sobo Village Recreation Ground was the venue for the Flow sponsored Rainbow Sport and Cultural Club community rugby caravan, a programme that targets communities primarily in the south of the twin Island Republic, areas that would not have seen organised rugby before.

The weekend before, the Fanny Village Recreation Ground was the setting and stage for the Flow caravan. The enthusiasm shown by the youths in Sobo Village to sign up for rugby coaching after seeing rugby live for the first time may have come as a surprise even to the always optimistic Rudolph Jack, president of Rainbow Sport and Cultural Club and the architect of the community caravan.

To say that the Sobo Village recreation ground is ideally placed within the community is an understatement. It’s well located. The only negative was the inadequate lighting system. A circumstance the Sobo Village Council needs to address with some urgency. The interest shown by Sobo Village for the Flow sponsored caravan highlighted yet again the importance of the Ministry of Sport, Sport Company and the TTOC continuing to support the geographic spread of sport.

In many ways it would be fair to say that the children and youths of Sobo Village are undeserved by national sport organisations. One can well understand the challenges national sport organisations face. The main one being human and financial resource limitations. But the time has come to critically examine the easy excuse.

Is the lack of financial and human resource the only barrier to the structured and systemic geographic spread of organised sporting activity? Again I must refer to, or reflect on if you prefer, the enthusiastic response by Sobo Village to the Flow and Rainbow Sport and Culture Club community rugby caravan.

Sport leaders need to get out and about. Yes it can be time consuming. To understand both the opportunities and problems facing communities such as Sobo Village and other Villages those who make decisions need to go see for themselves.

It’s not so much about talent identification and long term athlete development. It’s simply about seeing first-hand the pure joy of children and youth at play. It matters not the sport. To see children and youth playing sport for the pure joy of playing is well worth the drive, time and energy. The challenge facing programmes such as the Flow caravan is one of continuity and sustainability.

How do national sport organisations provide children and youths in the villages and communities through the length and breadth of T&T with the access and chance to participate in safe, secure and well organised sporting activity? Driving through Sobo Village on the way to the Sobo Village recreation ground may be a revelation.

To all those dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly in the various villages and communities through this twin island republic... be encouraged. Yours may be a thankless and frustrating endeavour, but making a positive difference in the lives of the nation’s children is priceless. Even as I wrote the previous sentence I felt a sense of frustration even hopelessness because the first hand reality is stark.

More must be done. Where there is a will there is a way. Let’s not lose hope even though it may seem that it is getting harder and harder every day.

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Serrette impressed by TT athletes’ form

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EPHRAIM SERRETTE, president of the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA), is impressed by the recent form of Trinidad and Tobago athletes at the international circuit.

On Saturday, national 400-metre runners Machel Cedenio and Deon Lendore set two of the fastest times in 2015, with respective times of 44.36 seconds (at the Cayman Invitational) and 44.41 seconds (at the South Eastern Championships in Mississippi, United States.

On Sunday, sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye ran 11.13 seconds to finish third in the women’s 100 metres at the Shanghai Diamond League in China.

And, in the first Diamond League meet for 2015, in Doha, Qatar on Friday, Keston Bledman clocked 10.01 seconds to gain bronze in the men’s 100m.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Serrette admitted that he was in Doha to witness the opening leg of the Diamond League.

“Actually I witnessed Bledman’s performance,” said Serrette. “I returned from Dubai (on Sunday). It was a credible performance. He didn’t get out but he was (focussed) on the times he have been doing.

“Michelle-Lee, on the other hand, continues to prove herself with the best of the female sprinters in the world,” continued the NAAA president. “She just needs to understand the whole (process) so that she’ll be ready for our Championships and the World Championships later in August.”

Focussing on Saturday’s displays by the quarter-mile pair of Cedenio and Lendore, Serrette said, “with Lendore (running) 44.41, and 44.36 by Cedenio, I think these performances augur well for our Championships this year.

“It’s showing that we will have some great match-ups in the case of the 400 (metres), it’s not just one person, the 100 for women (and) men, the 110 hurdles we have both Mikel Thomas and Wayne Davis performing, and also Ruben Walters. We have Emmanuel Mayers who is the defending 400-metre hurdles champion, and Jehue (Gordon). We have young Shakeil Waithe coming up in the javelin and he’ll be in competition with Keshorn (Walcott). So all these performances are assisting the Association in developing a very good product for our Championships in June.”

The National Championships will be staged at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo from June 26-28.

Serrette stressed, “the Championships is a requirement for anybody who want to represent Trinidad and Tobago. We have everyone showing that they’re prepared to wear the red, white and black.”

Commenting on Trinidad and Tobago’s disappointing showing at the IAAF World Relays on May 2-3 in Bahamas, Serrette noted “at the inaugural World Relays (last year), we had three medals, the men 4x100m, the women’s 4x100 and the (men) 4x400m. I think it’s early days yet and we have some work to do.

“The plan is for the relay team to get some more work together, which will be most likely after the (National) Championships, leading up to the World Championships in August (in Beijing, China). So we have all of July and August to (get) some sort of competition that our relay teams can get ready to get some fast times,” he ended.

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Like Ah Boss. Marvellous Machel clocks 44.36

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Machel Cedenio marked his admission to the sub-45 club with a tremendous display of one-lap sprinting at the Cayman Invitational, in George Town, Grand Cayman, on Saturday night.

Cedenio produced a jaw-dropping 44.36 seconds run for a commanding victory in the men's 400 metres event. With that clocking, the 19-year-old quartermiler joined Deon Lendore in second spot on the all-time Trinidad and Tobago list.

Only national record holder Ian Morris has run faster. But with Lendore running 44.41 on Saturday afternoon, and Cedenio going five-hundredths of a second faster less than four hours later, Morris' 23-year-old T&T standard of 44.21 seconds could be under serious threat this season.

Cedenio, the 11th T&T athlete to join the sub-45 club, is now second on the 2015 world performance list, behind Grenadian world-leader Kirani James (44.22). Lendore is in third spot.

Ahead of the Cayman Invitational, Cedenio was 12th on the all-time T&T men's 400m list at 45.09. In 44.36 seconds, the Florida-based athlete leapfrogged nine quality quartermilers, including 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon (44.52), who slips to fourth, and 1964 Olympic silver medallist Wendell Mottley (44.82), who is down to seventh.

On Saturday, Cedenio successfully defended his Cayman Invitational title, breaking his 45.23 seconds meet record in the process. The 2014 world junior champion was unchallenged for gold, Jamaican Javon Francis finishing a distant second in 45.54 seconds. Bronze went to American Aldrich Bailey in 45.63.

T&T's Josanne Lucas was fifth in the women's 100m hurdles in 13.76 seconds. Romona Modeste clocked 54.47 for sixth spot in the women's 400m. And Jonathan Farinha, competing on his 19th birthday, finished seventh in the men's 200m in 21.21.

In Florida, Kelly-Ann Baptiste was the fastest sprinter on show in the Pure Athletics Sprint Elite Meet 2 women's 100m preliminaries. The 2011 World Championship bronze medallist topped heat one in 11 seconds flat, but did not face the starter in the final.

In the 200m event, Baptiste earned bronze in a wind-assisted 23.05 seconds.

Deborah John won the women's 100m hurdles "B" final in a wind-aided 13.56 seconds. Her 13.52 preliminary round run was also windy.

And Mikel Thomas clocked 13.50 seconds to secure fourth spot in the men's 110m hurdles final.

At yesterday's Shanghai Diamond League meet, in China, T&T track star Michelle-Lee Ahye finished third in the women's 100m dash in 11.13 seconds. Among the sprinters Ahye beat to the line were Jamaican Olympic champions, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Campbell-Brown was fourth in 11.22, while Fraser-Pryce was fifth in 11.25.

Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare won in 10.98 seconds, while second spot went to American Tori Bowie (11.07).

T&T thrower Cleopatra Borel produced an 18.32 metres effort to finish sixth in the women's shot put. China's Gong Lijiao topped the field with a world-leading 20.23m throw.

Renny Quow finished eighth in the men's 400m, the T&T quartermiler getting home in 46.65 seconds. James emerged victorious in the one-lap race, the Grenadian world-leader stopping the clock at 44.66. Americans Tony McQuay (45.54) and LaShawn Merritt (45.58) were second and third, respectively.

Late on Saturday, Kayelle Clarke earned more precious metal at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Kansas, USA.

Clarke, who won the women's 100m title earlier in the day, added 200m bronze. The New Mexico Junior College sprinter produced a wind-assisted 24.30 seconds run. Western Texas College student, Marissa Gale was seventh in 24.76.

South Plains College athlete, Jereem Richards, winner of the men's 400m title, finished fourth in the 200m final in 21.16 seconds.

South Plains won the men's and women's team titles.

Theon Lewis claimed bronze in the California Community College State Championship men's 400m event. Lewis clocked 47.67 seconds, while his College of the Sequoias teammate and fellow-T&T athlete, Ohdel James got home in 47.78 to finish fourth. In the 200m, Lewis was fifth in 21.68 seconds.

In Texas, Reyare Thomas grabbed gold in the Hardin-Simmons Twilight meet women's 200m event. The T&T sprinter completed the half-lap race in 23.92 seconds.

At the Hoka One One Distance Classic, in California, Jamaal James finished seventh in the men's 800m "B" race in one minute, 52.83 seconds.

And two Saturdays ago, at the Occidental Invitational, in California, Magnolia Howell clocked 54.37 seconds for fifth spot in the women's 400m.

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HISTORIC VICTORY FOR SELECTION WOMEN HANDBALL GUADELOUPE, PAN AMERICAN CHAMPION

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GUADELOUPE 37  MEXICO 3

The president of the CROS of Guadeloupe, on behalf of the whole sports movement Guadeloupe, welcomes the historical performance of the female handball team of Guadeloupe.

This is the first team sport that offers Guadeloupe international title: The selection is Pan American champion in its class, and as such will represent the area in the intercontinental tournament.

This performance rewards the strategy of integration supported by the leaders of the handball league Guadeloupe, understood, supported and accompanied by the French Handball Federation.

This performance reward the exceptional work conducted by the technical department at young people and the pole.

This performance, achieved in Colombie , must be an example to all sports in Guadeloupe, engaged with the CROS of Guadeloupe in a process of international integration, and to a first participation in the Central American and Caribean Games 2018 in Colombie.

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