JOSIAH PATRICE’S athletic potential will never be known.
The 23-year-old Stallions Athletic Club sprinter was shot dead on a Connector Road, Reform Village on Thursday evening. He worked as a bartender at Woodford Café in Chaguanas. For the past few months, he had been staying at Darneaud Street in Gasparillo with friends.
When Newsday visited, people at the house who did not want to be identified said he was originally from Savonetta in Couva. He left the house at around 1.30 pm to go to work.
"A few hours after, we saw a video circulating on social media of the shooting. I initially thought it was a prank and later, the one of the club coaches confirmed the news," said a friend/co-athlete.
Police are yet to determine a motive for the murder.
TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis sent condolences to the athlete’s family, friends and club mates. He was, however, saddened to lose a promising athletic prospect to gun violence.
“It’s terribly unfortunate and a tragedy. He had his future ahead of him. Within recent times we have lost a lot of talented young upcoming athletes to gun violence. It’s a reflection of the times we live in. A great potential lost and gone too soon as a result of gun violence,” said Lewis.
The TTOC president lamented that a number of TT’s athletes are in challenged social circumstances. He believes initiatives such as the TTOC’s Replace Guns with Medals initiative – which was recently revamped to Generation Next Champions – is geared towards providing assistance to athletes in this regard.
“His potential would now never be known. Gun violence is taking out too much of our youths, in particular young Afro-Trinidadians, boys and men. But sport is a way out and can change someone’s life. The TTOC’s programmes are important because it reflects the challenges we face,” he added.
On February 8, Patrice placed seventh in a personal best time of 22.23 seconds in the men’s 200 metres at the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) Track and Field Series 4.
This was the NAAA’s last official meet held at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar, Arima before the nationwide lockdown, in mid-March, owing to the covid19 pandemic.
His 100m personal best time stands at 10.91.
Over the years, the sprinter competed with clubs such as Oasics, Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre and Stallions.
On Friday, a Stallions Athletic Club member said a statement on Patrice’s contribution to local track and field will be released soon.
NAAA president Ephraim Serrette confirmed the sad news but did not wish to comment officially until he had more information