Organisers of athletic events in T&T such as the UWI Spec International Half Marathon and the T&T International Marathon are being heavily being criticised by locals and other Caribbean athletes for the standard of international runners being invited for these events.

However Diane Henderson, a chief organiser of the T&T International Marathon is instead calling on local and regional runners to embrace efforts being made to improve their times at races and do their part. Yesterday Guyana’s Kevin Johnson and Lionel Dandrade who are resident runners here in T&T have expressed the view that consideration must be made for the caliber of international runners who are invited here for major road race events, to be dropped.

They feel the standard of international runners being invited is preventing local runners from capitalising on the prizes available. In fact Johnson whose best finish at the UWI half marathon was sixth in 2011, said he considers it a major disrespect to local runners.

“If they want to bring in competition for the local runners then organisers need to look for runners whose times are between one hour and 14 minutes to one hour and 15 minutes. Instead they have been bringing in athletes clocking times like one hour and two minutes etc which has been more demoralising for the T&T runners” Johnson said.

For many years international runners have dominated events such as the then Clico International Marathon to the T&T international marathon to the UWI Spec Half marathon to all other small events such as the Butler Classic, Ventures Credit Union 5k, Bankers Insurance 20k to the Air Bon Sonics 5k among many other events.

For these events runners such as Kenyan Kennedy Rotich and Philip Lagat, Brazil’s Chavez Da Silva, Mary Akor (Nigeria), Caroline Kiptoo (Kenya), Cruz Nonata Da Silva (Brazil) and Lineita Madeus Rojas (Colombia) have not only made their mark on local soil but have won some of the main cash prizes available.

Johnson, who now admits that he does not really look forward to the UWI Spec International Half Marathon or the T&T Marathon told Guardian yesterday “Once the local runners see a foreign runner who clocks 1:02 minutes then they tell themselves they have to try and settle for the best position after them. We have been seeing it for years now” Johnson said.

He added “In fact I feel sorry for the T&T runners because the prizes available become out of their reach with the class of the international runners that have been invited. And to make my point, at the Bankers Insurance event that was held recently, I finished sixth behind the international runners and all the other local runners finished after me, so I felt bad for them” Johnson explained.

His country man Dandrade said it is difficult to win the UWI half marathon or the T&T International marathon or any other race with the type of international runners they are bring here. Meanwhile Johnson and Dandrade also took a swipe at the prize structure for the UWI half marathon and called on organisers to increase the prize monies if the event is to survive. The outspoken Johnson said the prize monies have been the same from since inception and people who participate in road race event for a living could be turned off by that.

Johnson said “the cost of living has been going up each year but the prizes for the uwi half marathon has remained the same.

This is the reason why I do not focus on that race because I would usually go abroad which cash incentives are more attractive but I think organisers of the uwi event should consider increasing their prizes for all categories.”

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A four-man cycling team led by Njisane Phillip will represent T&T at the first leg of the UCI (International Cycling Union) Cycling World Cup in Cali, Colombia, from October 30-November 1.

The second leg of the World Cup will pedal off in Cambridge, New Zealand on December 5 and 6, while the third and final leg is scheduled to take place in Hong Kong on January 16 and 17. This is the first time Hong Kong will host a round of the Cycling World Cup. The World Cup is one of the qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Phillip will compete in the sprint event and will be joined by Kwesi Browne, Justin Roberts and Jude Codrington. Browne will compete in the keirin, while Roberts and Codrington will join Browne in the men’s team sprint.

Browne, Phillip and Codrington were in top form at the UCI sanctioned Keirin Revenge event in Pennsylvania, USA, in August. The trio swept the keirin final with Browne winning gold ahead of Phillip (silver) and Codrington (bronze).

After a difficult 2014, Phillip is seeking another UCI World Cup medal. At the first leg of the 2013/2014 UCI World Cup in England, Phillip became the first T&T cyclist to win a World Cup medal. Phillip finished second in the sprint behind Germany’s Robert Forstemann.

In early 2014, Phillip suffered kidney problems which affected his performances last year. Phillip has been performing at a high level of late. At the Pan American Games in Canada in July, Phillip won silver in the sprint, and followed up with another sprint silver at the Elite Pan American Cycling Championships in Chile, last month.

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US-born coach Randy Waldrum had his fourth session with the Women Soca Warriors at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, yesterday since returning to T&T on Thursday last ahead of their Group Two Caribbean Football Union Women’s Olympic Qualifiers and Final Round series next month.

The Women Soca Warriors were due to host Group Two qualifiers against  St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda and Cayman Islands, however, the latter two have pulled out, leaving T&T and St Lucia to contest a two-leg playoff series on November 13 and 15, to be played here in T&T.

The winner of the T&T/St Lucia tie will then qualify to the four-team CFU playoffs for which Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guyana.

At the end of that four-team tournament, which is also set for T&T from November 18-20, the top three teams will advance to the eight-team Concacaf final round event from February 10-21 in Houston, USA next year, from which the top two finishers will qualify for the 2016 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, August 3-20,

Waldrum, who coaches the Houston Dash in the US Women’s Professional League was last in charge of the women's team which came within a win of appearing at a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada earlier this year, but fell at the last hurdle, 1-0 on aggregate to Ecuador in a continental playoff.

During his absence, the Women Soca Warriors who competed at the Pan American Games under coach Ross Russell who has since been appointed coach of Pro League champions Central FC have been under the supervision of assistant coach, Anthony Creece, a former national Olympic team midfielder and USA-based women’s coach,

During the preliminary Group One series, Puerto Rico earned nine points from three games, Haiti six , Grenada three and Aruba nil.

Puerto Rico blasted Grenada 12-0; Aruba 9-0 and edged Haiti 3-2. Haiti hammered Aruba 14-0 and Grenada 13-0 in their other matches, while Grenada blanked Aruba 2-0

In Group Three, Jamaica gained six points from two games, trouncing Dominican Republic 6-0 and Dominica 12-0 while in the other match, Dominican Republic clobbered Dominica 11-0.

And in Group Four, Guyana and Cuba ended up with four points each after they both swept aside St Kitts/Nevis (8-0) and (6-0) respectively, but Guyana had a better goal-difference than Cuba hence they advance to the final round while St Kitts/Nevis ended without a point.

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World Rugby sevens operations manager Beth Coalter has passed away following a short illness, the sport’s governing body has announced.

Coalter was considered as one of the driving forces behind rugby sevens getting onto the Olympic Programme for Rio 2016 and had held her role since November 2005.

The International Olympic Committee added the sport, along with golf, to the Olympics at its Session in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.

She had previously worked for the Hong Kong Rugby Union for 18 years, helping to develop and promote rugby throughout the Asian Region.

Coalter co-ordinated all areas of the annual Hong Kong Sevens, one of the standout events on the rugby sevens calendar.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the news that World Rugby sevens operations manager Beth Coalter passed away peacefully yesterday following a short illness,” World Rugby said in a statement.

“Beth was a much-loved and highly-valued member of the World Rugby team.

“Beth's passion and professionalism during 10 years with the International Federation was a major driving force behind rugby sevens'  successful campaign for Olympic Games inclusion and the growth and ongoing success of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

“Beth will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of working with her during her time on the global rugby sevens circuit, both with World Rugby and with the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.

“The thoughts and prayers of the global rugby family are with Beth's family at this very difficult time.”

All officials involved with this weekend’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals between South Africa and New Zealand and Argentina and Australia at Twickenham Stadium will wear black armbands as a mark of respect, World Rugby have confirmed.

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AFTER SUFFERING severe leg cramps during his final representation of the red, white and black as a National cyclist throughout the early stages of the 117km Caribbean Elite Road Championships Men’s Road Race in Barbados on Sunday, Emile Abraham expressed some regret at the disappointing way in which it ended, but still held his head high as he rode off into the sunset culminating an illustrious 30-year career.

Speaking after the challenging race, the 41-year old endurance specialist admitted that sweltering heat along the course did in fact play a part in his exit. Riding alongside compatriots Joshua Alexander, Sheldon Ramjit and Akil Campbell, Abraham looked good in the opening rounds and was among the five leading riders approaching the seventh lap. However, the experienced but weary muscles of the multiple National champion soon began to rebel, which forced the 2013 and 2014 Caribbean Road Race runner-up to pull out the race.

“It was very hot but I started off in the front group,” explained the former Rossetti Devo Cycling Team manager and cyclist.

“Joshua Alexander made the first break for the first couple laps and that put me in a good position, because I didn’t have to do the work and was able to just sit back and stay with the leaders. I stayed with the front group for a couple laps and I started to get into a little bit of difficulty with the heat and so forth and I lost the front group and had to chase back on, which I did.” He continued, “Then the following lap after that, I ended up going on the offence and I attacked. With a small group of four, and 30 seconds up, that really put me in the gutter. The next lap around I started cramping and that was the end of my day,” said a clearly upset Abraham.

Abraham has now stood down from all further major international competition, but will still get some race time along the American circuit. He is also currently working with an Under-25 team in the US, and is deeply intent on getting them to the Tour de France within the coming years.

“Maybe I’ll do some Masters (events) but nothing at the high level that I have been doing for the last 30 years,” he added.

“This is my fourth Caribbean Road Championships and I had a fourth and two silvers. It’s really disappointing with this being my last time here that I was unable to finish. But, I know I had a good reign over the last 20 years and I represented Trinidad and Tobago for 23 of the 30 years I competed.

I’ve always been proud of representing red, white and black wherever I went, and I’m really happy that everyone gave me the support in what I have done and now it’s just on to another chapter.” After a tough UCI Tour of Tobago and a similar Caribbean Road Championships, Abraham held in high regard the competitive progression of the region’s endurance riders.

He concluded, “Caribbean cycling has come a long way with respect to the riders and their abilities to be able to compete against each other and the rest of the world. I’m really happy to see the Caribbean and all the officials who have contributed towards the Caribbean Championships to make this what it is.

We need these kind of competition and games so the riders are able to race against themselves without outside interference. I’m also happy to see the UCI (International Cycling Union) is fully on board to support Caribbean cycling. This is why it has grown.”

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...it’s all politics says general secretary