The TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) is currently finalising the criteria needed for athletes to benefit from its upcoming covid19 relief programme.

Due to the widespread impact of the global pandemic on national athletes over the past three months, the TTOC, in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee and Panam Sports, have been working assiduously to help address struggling athletes.

According to TTOC president Brian Lewis, athletes who have already qualified for Tokyo 2020 and those on the verge of securing qualification must meet stipulated criteria to access the relief grant.

This initiative is expected to get underway within the next 14 days.

The Athlete Welfare and Services Commission is comprised of Chair (TTOC Vice President) Ephraim Serrette, TTOC Vice President Diane Henderson, Executive Member Reyah Richardson and TTOC Project Officer athlete services and programmes Rheeza Grant.

“The criteria are being finalised. The executive will meet within the coming days, review the recommendations and approve it. In the time being, urgent and emergency cases will be considered. We want to ensure it’s readily available and not kept back while we go through the administrative processes,” said Lewis.

He was pleased to reveal the TTOC’s extension of its scholarship courtesies for 12 national athletes until 2021.

The IOC, through its Olympic Solidarity programme and Panam Sports, has also prioritised covid19 related instances and will primarily focus on athletes who would have been preparing for the Games and have found themselves in unpredicted distress.

“We have an upcoming meeting and I expect that it shouldn’t be longer than two weeks. Discussions have been ongoing for the past couple weeks and the subcommittee wanted to ensure that criteria was transparent and accountable. The IOC and Panam Sports have indicated that funding be prioritised in that direction. TTOC will extend the scholarships and have already gotten approval from the IOC’s Olympic solidarity programme,” Lewis added.

In 2013, Lewis launched the Athlete and Welfare Preparation to aid confirmed and potential Olympic athletes throughout their Olympic journey. His administration also rolled out the 10 Gold Medals by 2024 initiative which also focuses on providing financial assistance to needy athletes.

“We’ve had a number of initiatives in terms of the athlete welfare approach and criteria. One of the things we continue to try to put together is a health and accident insurance plan among other things. We are doing our best locally, regionally and internationally to ease the strain on our elite athletes. It had been a rough couple months for a lot of them,” he closed.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday