PRESIDENT OF the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis took a personal stance for all national athletes yesterday when he completed the gruelling 26.2 mile Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) distance in an effort to raise a nationwide awareness for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

The main aim of this newly established fund is to assist athletes with their preparations towards achieving the TTOC’s ultimate goal of achieving “10 Olympic gold medals by 2024”.

Lewis, who opted to grab the bull by the horns in his open plight, walked the entire distance in an estimated six hours and 50 minutes.

He was joined by a contingent of approximately 25 which comprised of several sporting personalities and athletes including Andre Errol Baptiste, Tony Lee, Olympic shooter Roger Daniel and youth swimmer Christian Marsden.

After his challenging trod from St Mary’s Junction to the Queen’s Park Savannah, Lewis took time out to ice his feet while taking a well deserved rest. Speaking to the TTOC president, he admitted that the journey was vigourous, but remained optimistic about the benefits derived from his initiative.

“It was tough but very good because I had a lot of support,” said Lewis. “Tony Lee did a really strong ten miles in the beginning and that sort of set the stage for me. Because if we did not have such a good pace in the early parts of the walk when I had some difficulties, I would have lost some ground. Fortunately we were able to finish five minutes less that the seven-hour target that I set. I think I have succeeded in raising the awareness about achieving ten Olympic gold medals by 2024 and athlete welfare and preparations.”

Lewis also revealed that he will have some resting up to do before he even considers attempting another feat such as yesterday. Having completed his target, Lewis directed all focus on TT’s athletes, all of whom his actions were centred around during the long walk.

“It signals a new mindset, a new attitude and a new approach where we target a big goal and a big dream of ten Olympic gold medals by 2024. What is most important in this situation is putting the athletes first, second and third because it is all about the athletes,” he added.

Prior to the TTIM, Lewis projected a $500,000 target and will confirm the Fund’s earnings later this week, all of which will be injected into the Fund for national athletes.

“I think I need a long rest after this before I even consider taking on a marathon. But it was worth it because it was all for the athletes. We will see how much we raised going forward and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee is intent on putting the athletes and their welfare at the centre of our focus. I would expect that we would be doing a lot of things that would be beneficial to the athletes,” Lewis closed.