“So far, so good.” This was the assurance given by T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis of the pre Olympic training camp presently unfolding in Braganca Paulista, Sao Paulo in Brazil.
“All the feedback suggests that the athletes are happy,” said Lewis yesterday. “Things are progressing well at the camp. It is achieving its purpose.”
The team has settled in well at the Villa Santa Agostinho Hotel with little distractions and of course with both medical and nutritional support.
Deputy Chef de Mission Lovie Santana along with TTOC secretary general Annette Knott were among the first personnel to arrive, to ensure that all was in order with the T&T Pre Rio camp and from all reports were happy with the facilities provided for housing, dining hall and meals and of course training.
Chef de Mission Dr Ian Hypolite and Chief Medical Officer Dr Terry Ali were next to arrive and only yesterday were welcomed by local media at the Colegio AZ Bilingue in Braganca.
On the panel for the press conference from Team TTO were Dr Hypolite, Knott and George Commissiong, the athletics team manager. They discussed their selection of the venue for the training camp, the local contingent and the Olympic Games.
According to the group, the T&T contingent has been well received by the city, who in turn revealed that they are happy to host T&T.
Taking full advantage of the facilities thus far are reigning Olympic champion javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, shot putter Cleopatra Borel, a four-time Olympian, hurdlers Jehue Gordon and Mikel Thomas, boxer Nigel Paul, Kyle Greaux and gymnast Marisa Dick.
The local athletes are using the camp to get into prime physical condition and training in Sao Paolo will help them to acclimatise ahead of the Games which start on August 5. The camp is scheduled to run until August 4 before they head off to Rio de Janiero to settle into the Olympic Village and prepare for the opening ceremony in the Maracana Stadium, the following day.
The track athletes have access to an eight lane, IAAF certified synthetic track with a grass infield for its training facility. The runways has a synthetic surface and the facility is fully outfitted with pits and hurdles, which makes it an excellent training venue for the local team. The facility also offers a weight room.
On Saturday, another group of athletes will join the camp according to Lewis including national sprint champion Richard Thompson, quartermiler Machel Cedenio and sprinters Keston Bledman and Semoy Hackett.
The facility however, does not cater for swimmers George Bovell III and Dylan Carter, who will be representing T&T in the 50m and 100m freestyle events, respectively. Before his departure, Hypolite had mentioned that the venue only had a 25 metres pool which would not have been sufficient for the swimmers to prepare properly.
“Our swimmers will be going into the village on August 1 (Monday) to train at a separate training camp,” said Lewis, who himself will be departing next week to witness T&T being represented by its largest Olympic contingent in history, as 32 athletes in eight disciplines will compete.