THE Trinidad and Tobago Olympic contingent will leave their camp in Wales tomorrow for the Olympic Village in London as the countdown to Friday’s opening of sports’ biggest stage continues.

Chef de Mission, Annette Knott, has already arrived at the Village and is ensuring everything is in place for when this country’s athletes decamp.

Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Dexter Voisin, manager, TT athletics team, revealed that the athletes’ preparations have intensified even further. He noted that although the opening ceremony for the London Games is less than a week away, the athletes are focussed primarily on their training.

“In terms of training, they are still in their final preparation and placing emphasis on their events. The mood will change when we go to the Village but for now they’re just focussed on their preparation,” Voisin said.

While in their downtime, however, Voisin revealed that a room has been set aside at the Vale Hotel in Wales for the athletes to relax. There are pool tables, video games and other forms of entertainment available for the athletes to unwind and enjoy themselves.

Meanwhile, Voisin expressed satisfaction with what he has seen from the TT relay teams at their training sessions at the Wales Track and Field Stadium. This country 4x100 men picked up silver at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the World Championships a year later and expectations are high for the Women’s 4x100m and Men’s 4x400m teams to pick up a medal.

“They practiced yesterday (Sunday) and will practice again today (Monday). This is the first time in a major tournament really that we’ve got to do baton practice.

“Usually the focus is on preparing for your individual event first but this is the benefit of having a camp,” the manager declared.

Citing the disastrous efforts by the US men and women’s 4x100m teams at the 2008 Olympics where the baton was dropped in each race, Voisin argued that one can not take anything for granted when it comes to relays. He noted that TT have improved significantly in their transition of the baton especially the 4x100m men who have gotten ample time to practice.

Commenting on the efforts of our athletes at the Welsh Athletics International last week, Voisin was delighted that they were able to get some competitive action under their belt but noted that the conditions were quite unfriendly.

“The weather condition was terrible. It was windy and very cold, it wasn’t the best for performing,” he said, “It has changed, though, and the sun is out. It hasn’t rained for the week and you can go to practice in sleeveless jerseys,” he revealed.

Asked to comment on whether this country can improve on their medal count of two from 2008, Voisin was unwilling to make any predictions.

“I don’t ever make predictions because what is important is making your way through the (early) rounds (of competition). The focus is on reaching the finals,” he pointed out.

-Stephon Nicholas