Singapore were given a lesson in Calypso as the Trinidad and Tobago netballers played all over them yesterday in the Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia. On their return to the Allphones Arena, the Calypso Girls recorded their highest goal total so far in this year's competition as they strolled unchallenged to a 75-32 victory against Singapore.

T&T wasted no time in establishing the status quo, as they raced to a 21-8 lead after the end of the first quarter. Despite being a crowd favourite down under, the Calypso Girls were playing in front of a half-empty arena, as they were playing in the early match, and the big draw; Australia and South Africa were on the cards later.

That didn't deter T&T, who were determined to keep the wins going. Samantha Wallace was at it again as her conversion rate continued to impress onlookers; she would go on to score 27 goals from 31 attempts. During the contest, she outmatched her opponents physically, which was a recurring theme during the match.

T&T made wholesale changes at the start of the second half, Kalifa McCollin, who started the second half at goal attack, had an impressive third quarter shooting 15/15, and missing just one goal overall for the match T&T continued to dominate all areas of the court. The score was 58-24 after the third quarter.

The rest of the match played out to the same script, as Kielle Connelly, Daystar Swift and Onella Jack marshalled an uncompromising defence throughout which pressed on the Singaporeans throughout the entire match.

In attack, T&T showed their superior athleticism, physicality and flair commonly associated with Caribbean teams. Wallace, who features for UTT in the Courts All Sectors Netball League led the scoring for T&T with 27—she also top scored in all the previous matches.

McColling scored a massive 26 goals of her own, while skipper Joelisa Cooper also put in a strong shift with 14 goals. Veteran centre Rhonda John-Davis proved once again to be the backbone, as she assisted 24 of the goals on the day.

Goal-attack McCollin acknowledged that their next match would be a tougher encounter.

“I think that Samoa is a little bit more physical than the other team so from the start we need to be physical with them and get the game going," she said.

Rhonda John-Davis, a veteran of four previous Netball World Championships and over 150 appearances for T&T, and a leader in her own right in this World Cup campaign so far, echoed the sentiments for her teammates to be cautious.

“Last time we played Samoa, we won by one… it’s good to know we will be meeting them again and we can measure ourselves for the future," she said.

The win means T&T need to beat Samoa in their last encounter of the second eight group to give them a favourable draw in the play-off. The Samoans also defeated Zambia (55-53) and Singapore (46-39), and would be hoping for an upset win today. T&T were scheduled on the court early-morning (6.20am T&T time).


The Ministry of Sport (MoS) announced a major new sports programme called ‘Podium Push’, which officials say is designed to supplement the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) drive to 10 golds by the 2024 Olympics goal. But officials failed to disclose the amount budgeted for the initiative.

At an Achievers’ Luncheon hosted by the MoS at the grand ballroom of the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, yesterday, MoS director of sport Gabre Mc Tair, speaking on behalf of the absent Minister of Sport Brent Sancho, said the Ministry had created this initiative called ‘Podium Push’ to further enhance top local athletes’ chances of securing podium performances at the Rio 2016 Olympics next year.

“Our Elite Athlete Assistant Programme needed some refocusing to ensure that our sporting elite received proper funding, I recognised that even more was needed to help Brian Lewis and his team at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee achieve their aim of ten gold medals by the year 2024. Providing funding to take our top athletes to the Olympics is not enough. I realise that getting there is not the challenge but finishing in the top three requires additional commitment and effort from the athletes, coaches support teams and the Ministry of Sport,” Mc Tair said, without disclosing any budgeted figures for the initiative.

Mc Tair said the various national sporting bodies will have to recommend to the Ministry of Sport the athletes who they feel are podium ready, not athletes who would just compete but those who are in the top 20 in the world in their discipline.

“These are the athletes who we feel have a real chance of finishing in the gold, silver or bronze positions,” Mc Tair added. Mc Tair said that medals are separated by fractions of a second, metre or kilogramme.

Mc Tair vowed that T&T Olympic athletes will receive the best possible preparation for the Rio Olympics so that Lewis and TTOC can have a realistic chance of achieving the 10 golds by 2024 objective. Mc Tair added the expenses to be covered include travel to competitions, overseas training camps, sessions with a nutritionist, sports psychologist or specialist trainer.

Earlier, members of the Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago team received plaques for their 48-medal haul (15 gold, 9 silver and 24 bronze) at the Special Olympics World Games that concluded in Los Angeles, California, USA, earlier this month.

Also receiving plaques were medallists of the Pan Am Junior Championship athletics team and medallist at the Pan American Games in Toronto that concluded on July 27. None of the Pan AM Games medallists was present because they were either outside the country or on their way to the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing that commences from August 22. Other members of the Pan Am Games team including swimmer Dylan Carter, T&T men’s hockey captain Darren Cowie, and shooter Roger Daniel, were also present.

Also recognised were members of the Red Steel team who won the Caribbean Premier League championship title last month and members of the Trinidad and Tobago Blind and Visually Impaired cricket team, which clinched the T-20 and 40-overs Caribbean titles in St Lucia over the weekend.


Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott heads a list of 21 athletes who will represent T&T at the 15th IAAF World Championships which will be held in Beijing, China, from August 22-30.

 Approximately 2,000 athletes from more than 200 nations are expected to take part during the nine days of competition. The final entry deadline for the Championships was at midnight on Monday. 

The National Association of Athletics Administrations of T&T (NAAA), gave their athletes the full opportunity to achieve the qualifying standards. Taking advantage of this was 400m hurdler Sparkle McKnight, who not only won silver on the last evening  of competition at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Senior Championships in Costa Rica, on Sunday, but ran her personal best 55.41 which was good enough to qualify (56.20).

 Walcott, who injured his ankle about three weeks ago while competing in Monaco prior to the Pan American Games, has been undergoing therapy while training and is hoping to be 100 percent ready to make it to the top of the podium on August 26 when the javellin finals will be held. Included in the team are 19-year old Machel Cedenio, recent double Pan Am medallist, Lalonde Gordon, double Olympic medallist; Commonwealth; Pan Am and NACAC medalist, Mikel Thomas national record holder (110m hurdles) Pan Am silver/bronze and NACAC gold medalist, and defending World Champion and Commonwealth silver medallist Jehue Gordon, who will also be trying to make it back onto the podium after dealing with some minor injuries.

On the ladies side,  Commonwealth silver and Pan Am gold medalist Cleopatra Borel, will be the first athlete in action at the Championships on the opening day. 17-year-old Pan Am Junior 100m Champion and World Youth silver medallist Khalifa St. Fort will be making her first appearance at a senior level. NACAC silver medallists Semoy Hackett (200m) who broke her own national record  two days ago and Sparkle McKnight (400mH) both seem to be peaking at the right time. Most of the locally based athletes fly out today. The remainder of the team will arrive in China over the next two days where they will set up a training camp  which is being sponsored by NGC.


Keston Bledman, Rondell Sorillo, Dan- Neil Telesford, Emmanuel Carter, Kyle Geaux, Mikel Thomas, Machel Cedenio, Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Lalonde Gordon, Deon Lendore, Jehue Gordon, Keshorn Walcott, Cleopatra Borel, Kelly-Anne Baptiste, Khalifa St Fort, Michelle Lee Ahye, Semoy Hackett, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant, Sparkle McKnight.

Officials; Dexter Voison (manager), Dr. Ian Hypolite (head coach), Edwin Skinner, Charles Joseph, Gunness Persad, Ato Boldon  (sprint & hurdles/relays coach),  Ismael Lopez Mastsrapa (throws coach), Dr Anyl Gopeesing, Dr. Verne Alleyne, Ian Sharpe, Zephrinus Nicholas, Nicole Fuentes (medical).


President of the National Athletics Association of T&T Ephraim Serrette has praised the performances of the national squad after it returned with ten medals from the NACAC Senior Championships in Costa Rica. 

The team won two gold medals, three silver and five bronze and is looking in solid form ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing from August 22-30.  

Serrette said it was a convincing follow-up to last month’s Pan American Games, where T&T won six track and field medals. 

“I think it was exceptional to get ten medals and finish third on the table. That was great,” he said. 

“Sparkle McKnight ran a personal best in the 400 metre Hurdles. Semoy Hackett broke the national 200m record. They are peaking at the right time.”

He added that based on the team’s current form, he was expecting a strong showing in Beijing. 

He said: “The World Championships is a different level than the Pan American Games and NACAC but if they are at their best then they should be competitive… I think that the female sprint relay team is poised to be on the podium with Semoy Hacket and Kelly Ann Baptiste back on the team.”

The squad will next embark on a training camp in Beijing from August 12-21 sponsored by the National Gas Company. 

Serrette said it would give the athletes adequate time to prepare and get settled. “Acclimatising to the time zone and shaking off the jet lag is very critical,” he said. “It takes three to four days before they can have a good workout.” 

Meanwhile, team manager Durley Lucas was also pleased with the athletes’ showing in Costa Rica. 

He said: “I’m satisfied with performance. Not only did we win ten medals, but a lot of the athletes got to the finals and there were lot of fourth place and fifth place finishes. In an overall sense, it was an above average performance.”


Boldon named among six coaches in T&T contingent

Jehue Gordon is among 21 athletes selected on the Trinidad and Tobago team for the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. Gordon will defend his men’s 400 metres hurdles title in Beijing, and is also part of the 4x400m squad.

Another global senior champion, Keshorn Walcott is one of 13 men who will fly the Red, White and Black at Worlds. Walcott is the reigning Olympic men’s javelin champion, and recently added the Pan Am title to his list of accolades.

With triple Olympic silver medallist Richard “Torpedo” Thompson out for the rest of the season with an injury, Keston Bledman leads the charge for T&T in the men’s 100m dash.

The country will have strong representation in the men’s 400m. Four quartermilers have dived under 45 seconds this season. Machel Cedenio is the fastest of the lot at 44.36 seconds, followed by Deon Lendore (44.41), Lalonde Gordon (44.64) and Renny Quow (44.72). A fifth T&T quartermiler, Jarrin Solomon has a 45.15 seconds season’s best to his name.

The three T&T athletes for the men’s one-lap will be chosen from Cedenio, Gordon, Quow and Solomon. Lendore is coming back from injury, and will run only in the 4x400m relay.

Sprint hurdler Mikel Thomas is enjoying a fruitful campaign this year, and would be keen to continue his fine run of form at the 2015 Worlds.

Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Michelle-Lee Ahye will challenge for honours in the women’s 100m. The sprint brigade also includes Semoy Hackett, world youth 100m silver medallist Khalifa St Fort, Reyare Thomas and Kamaria Durant.

T&T will also be represented by Cleopatra Borel in the women’s shot put and Sparkle McKnight in the women’s 400m hurdles.

Quadruple Olympic medallist Ato Boldon, who guided St Fort to World Youth silver, will be part of the T&T coaching staff in Beijing. Team T&T athletes left yesterday for China, where they will attend an NGC-sponsored pre-Worlds training camp.


Men—Keston Bledman (100, 4x100), Rondel Sorrillo (100, 4x100), Kyle Greaux (200, 4x100), Machel Cedenio (400, 4x400), Lalonde Gordon (400, 4x400), Renny Quow (400, 4x400), Jarrin Solomon (400, 4x400), Mikel Thomas (110 hurdles, 4x100), Jehue Gordon (400 hurdles, 4x400), Keshorn Walcott (javelin), Emmanuel Callender (4x100), Dan-Neil Telesford (4x100), Deon Lendore (4x400).

Women—Kelly-Ann Baptiste (100, 4x100), Michelle-Lee Ahye (100, 4x100), Semoy Hackett (100, 200, 4x100), Khalifa St Fort (100, 4x100), Reyare Thomas (200, 4x100), Kamaria Durant (200, 4x100), Sparkle McKnight (400 hurdles), Cleopatra Borel (shot put).

Officials—Dexter Voisin (manager), Dr Ian Hypolite (head coach), Edwin Skinner (coach), Charlie Joseph (coach), Gunness Persad (coach), Ato Boldon (coach), Ismael Lopez Mastrapa (coach).

Medical—Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, Dr Verne Alleyne, Ian Sharpe, Zephyrinus Nicholas, Nicole Fuentes.


Calypso Girls win two on the trot

The Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Girls turned on the style at the ongoing Netball World Cup as they beat Zambia 66-39 in an exciting contest, yesterday. The combined experience of captain Joelisa Cooper and veteran Rhonda John-Davis helped T&T to their second win in a row on day five at the World Cup.

Despite the match being played around midday Sydney time, local netball enthusiasts had to ready the coffee and wait till late yesterday to see the match which started 10.20pm T&T time, on Monday.

The team did not disappoint, however, as Cooper led the assists count with 14, while centre John-Davis, a veteran of five Netball World Cups in her 152nd appearance in the red, white and black, had 13 assists of her own.

At spanking-new Netball Central Arena, both teams set out to impose themselves on the match early. Zambia was the first to get on the scoreboard, using patient play to get the first goal courtesy of Lucy Jere. But it was the slicker connections in the T&T forward line which allowed the Calypso Girls to pull ahead.

T&T burst out of the blocks in the second quarter. Goal attack Joelisa Cooper, who scored seven goals out of eight attempts overall, worked hard up the court playing as a wing-attack, finding the holding goal shooter Samantha Wallace, who was bombing them in from range.

A solid defensive effort from T&T, particularly wing defence Onella Jack, wreaked havoc in the Zambian attacking third. Two injury time-outs in quick succession saw T&T forced to make changes at centre and goal-defence, but didn’t disrupt their flow as they continued to add to their tally.

The introduction of Zambian goal attack Elizabeth Bwalya at half-time created one of the shortest shooting line-ups of the tournament, though adding pace and ball speed to the Zambian attack line.

After running goal-for-goal for most of the quarter, T&T eventually pulled away again, with goal defence Candice Guerero beginning to create turnovers and shooter Afeisha Noel mixing it up under the post with strong holds and even a lay-up.

Calypso Girls coach Wesley Gomes made a number of changes for the last quarter as they continued to push out the margin. Cooper returned to the match in wing-attack, showing good vision to feed her shooters. Screens set by Noel created plenty of opportunity for the speedy goal-attack Kalifa McCollin, who scored seven goals, while the long arms of keeper Daystar Swift created uncertainty for the Zambian feeders.

Cooper was elated with the win, which has helped T&T to finally gain momentum in the tournament. “We are trying to do everything we have been taught in training to move from this game onto the next and go from strength to strength,” Cooper said.

“We still have a lot of unforced errors, a lot of drop catches and a lot of turnovers from the defence straight back so we need to work on that stuff. “We just need to relax and play our brand of netball. There is no need to force the ball or do anything fancy; we just need to relax and play our game.” she added.