National endurance riders, Varun Maharajh and Akil Campbell, concluded Trinidad and Tobago’s 2015 Elite Pan American Cycling Championship campaign with a fifth place finish in the Madison event as the curtains fell at the Parque Penalolen Velodrome in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday night.

Both Maharajh and Campbell were debutants at this year’s regional meet and together closed off TT ’s account with a commendable showing.

The returning 17-member cycling contingent is expected to arrive at the Piarco International Airport today after five days of tough competition.

Olympic rider, Njisane Phillip, was the only local athlete to medal at this year’s Championships as he captured silver in the Men Sprint event on the final day of competition.

International Cycling Union (UCI) points attained here will now significantly assist Phillip towards his World Cup and World Championship qualification.

Meanwhile, Maharajh’s seventh place finish in the Men’s Omnium event has opened up a possibility of TT being represented at a World Cup by an endurance cyclist for the first time in this nation’s history.

However, confirmation of a spot for TT at the coming three World Cups will only be made public when the sport’s governing body (UCI) releases their official point standings on September 15.

The World Cups will be held in Cali, Colombia (November 10-11), Cambridge, New Zealand (December 5-6) and Hong Kong, China (January 16-17, 2016).

Phillip was also just short of a medal in the Keirin when he was pipped on the line into fourth position. But, the 24-year-old sprinter was still able to gain valuable UCI points.

The Male Team Sprint fell just nine hundredths of a second from earning TT ’s first Team Sprint medal since 2010. The trio of Jude Codrington, Kwesi Browne and Phillip qualified third fastest to meet Brasil in the bronze medal rideoff but were unable to step onto the podium.

TT also featured several debutants at the Championships inclusive of the Campbell siblings Akil and Teniel, Aziza Browne, Jodi Goodridge and Gavyn Nero. The Campbells displayed good endurance to finish within the top 10 in their respective events with Teniel setting a new National Record in the 3km Individual Pursuit for women.

Maharajh last push in the Omnium VI – Points Race saw him falling a mere 10 points from a medal position.

Following their recent performances, the Trinidad & Tobago Cycling Federation sees this event as a dual pathway to Rio2016 Olympic qualification, and for TT ’s top tier male sprint cyclists to build a solid foundation towards their drive to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

This was the first time that TT took part in the Team Pursuit at Elite Pan Am Championships where they shattered the previous National Record by 15 seconds. Though this may not have placed them into a medal position, the experience gained and the quality of Junior endurance cyclists within TT ’s ranks raises hopes of a potential Team Pursuit qualification for the XXXII Olympiad in Japan.


IN REVIEWING Trinidad and Tobago’s performance at the IAAF World Championships in China, one TT team official is suggesting that the country’s track and field athletes are subjected to more pressure than those in other sports.

Dexter Voisin, manager of the 21-member squad in Beijing also took aim at those who might wish to match TT to Jamaica in terms of performance.

Voisin was speaking about the fact that several leading TT athletes either failed to qualify for their finals or simply never competed, due to injury.

“I don’t know that track and field was given a mandate to be the number one sport in TT ,” he told Newsday.

“I don’t know who gave us that mandate. But what I know is that each sport in TT should be striving to be number one. I am hearing people comparing us to Jamaica, I am hearing people also suggesting that the standard must be raised so that the athletes who travel will be medallists, and that is an unrealistic goal. I’m not seeing other sports being pressured to perform at the international level.” TT returned last week with two medals- bronze for the 4x100m women and silver for the 4x400m men.

“Track and Field has been qualifying at all the international meets...

and we have been performing,” Voisin continued.

“We are not like Jamaica who have X amount of athletes winning on the podium consistently. But Jamaica is ahead of TT in netball, they’re ahead in football; I saw a Jamaican win a gold medal at the World Swimming Championships; so I’m trying to figure out why Track and Field is always being pressured to lead the way in sport in TT .

We are not getting the majority of the funding, we don’t have the majority of the facilities, we are doing our best from our part.

“We could never be compared to Jamaica; Jamaica is a totally different system in sports throughout, not just in track and field,” he maintained.

What appeared to disturb many TT fans was the significant number of athletes who were eliminated by injury even before the start of competition; especially as many of them admitted that they had been “carrying” the injuries while in training.

Voisin said the medical team only “discovered” the injuries when workouts in Beijing began.

“(We) had a plan to examine athletes before Pan Am and Worlds and pick up injuries early and manage injuries which could be managed,” he explained. He recalled that following a medical screening after the National Open Championships, Richard Thompson chose to quit for the rest of the season and Michelle-Lee Ahye was advised to skip the Pan Am Games.

“So we did our part as a federation to ensure that our athletes going on to the World Championships would have been medically fit, and also if there were any injuries that were manageable, that a course of action was being taken from there on to the World Championships.” Voisin described Cleopatra Borel’s injury to her fingers during the warm-up for the shot put final as a “freak accident” that hampered her ability to throw.

He admitted that, having taken Pan Am gold despite competing with a leg injury, Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott’s failure in Beijing to throw the javelin anywhere near his best was not easy to explain.

“Keshorn had a cast on his foot going to Pan Am Games; no complaints when he arrived in Beijing,” Voisin said.

“With regards to his performance, not the coach neither him could explain exactly what went wrong. He just didn’t perform and it was a case where I would imagine it was one of those days.

For anybody to get an explanation with regards to what happened there, that definitely would have to come from the athlete.” Looking toward Rio 2016, Voisin emphasised the need for planning.

The former distance runner said the TT Olympic Committee needs to get involved with all the federations, including the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA).

“Now, when the TTO C said that they have this vision for 2024, I think to get X amount of medals, for some reason everybody thought it’s track and field (alone) that they speaking about. Track and field is not the only Olympic sport in TT , so I think the interest should be across the board,” he said. “We are doing our part, we are trying our best to represent TT at the highest level at all the different age groups, and sometimes I feel the athletes do not get sufficient credit for that, it’s always a criticism.”


Competition kicked off for Team Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) on 7th September at the Tuana’imato Sports Facility in Samoa. The events carded for the day was the swimming events 50m Butterfly and Mixed 200m Medley relay and 100m in athletics.
Jeron Thompson and Amira Pilgrim competed in the 50m Butterfly event. Jeron completed his first heat of the competition earning a time of 26.19. While his teammate Amira finished her heat in 5th position in 29.32. Both swimmers qualified for the B Final later that evening. In the B Final of the 50m fly, Jeron won his race in 26.23, which earned him a 9th place finish out of the 16 fastest swimmers. Amira ranked 5th in her B Final event, finishing 13th overall with a time of 29.49.

Unique to the games is a combined federation 200m mixed medley where team TTO chose to pair with Jamaica. The mixed medley was a display event and did not count as a medal event.  In the end, TTO and Jamaica swam to a 7th place finish.

Manager of the swimming team, Mr. Joseph Mc Leod was pleased with the athletes’ performance. “I’m pleased with their performance since this the first time the athletes have been exposed to an International event and competitors;  prior to this they would have been exposed to regional events such as CCCAN and Carifta. Simple things such as the pool temperature (colder) and smaller starting blocks the athletes must adjust", he stated. He further described the Commonwealth Youth Games as developmental in nature and helps prepare athletes mentally for the senior multi sporting events.
In athletics, Youth Olympic athlete Akanni Hislop placed second in his heat in a time 10.72 seconds and automatically qualified for the semi- finals. Unfortunately, he succumbed to an injury during the race and was unable to start the semi final. The medical team will work with Akanni to ensure that he’s fit to run the 200m race later this evening.

Later today, swimming action takes off again as TTO’s swimmers compete in 100m Freestyle, 100m Breaststroke and 50m Backstroke.

The Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Youth Games contingent arrived safely in Apia, Samoa on Thursday 3rd September 2015. The team was greeted with a warm welcome by liaison Peni and was transported to the Latter Day Saints Church College to get acquainted with the athlete’s village. The team is happy to be in Samoa and have settled into the accommodation quite well.
Later that afternoon was the Chef de Mission’s meeting to discuss details of the Opening Ceremony and other important details. Samoa 2015 Chef, Jeannette Small, expressed that the difference in the culture was apparent from the modes of transport, houses, male clothing and the number of churches. In Samoan culture, family and church play an important role to the people of the small Pacific island.
The following morning (September 4th), training commenced for the athletes with a light one-hour session. After training, the volunteers gave the team a tour of Apia, which is the capital city of Samoa. Everyone shopped around for local items, with Jeron Thompson fully embracing the culture by purchasing one of the traditional male wear called the lava-lava.
On the day of the opening ceremony, the athletes had their last day of training before competition on the 7th September. In addition, the Technical meeting was held for Swimming confirming Jeron's participation in 50m & 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, 50m & 100m butterfly, 50m backstroke and Amira's participation in 50m & 100m Freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke. Unique to the games is a combined federation 200m mixed medley where team TTO chose to pair with Jamaica.
After the days’ activities, everyone waited in anticipation for the Opening of the Games. 2,000 young cast members and teachers from 13 different Samoan schools featured in the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games Ceremonies, which took place on 5th September with an immersive and uniquely Pacific-style Opening event. The Opening Ceremony was split into two main parts; Traditional Samoa with a solemn and more serious re-telling of the Creation Mythology of Samoa with Tagaloalagi and the creation of the nine heavens through traditional dances and songs featuring an array of ma’uluulu, Siva Ti’a and siva afi; and New Contemporary Samoa, a fun setting of Samoa today. The stands were packed to capacity both with teams and spectators.

The team experienced a bit of culture shock as the Chef explained that it’s natural for Samoans to sit on the lawn or in their fale (Samoan word for all types of houses, from small to large). But despite that, Team TTO had the pleasure of sharing their seating area with the Samoan national team and meeting athletes from the other representing countries.

On the final day before competition, the athletes had a rest day in which the team attended church. After church was the Technical meeting for Athletics at the Apia Park Sports Complex where the manager received the numbers and schedule for Akanni Hislop and Akidah Briggs. 


Michelle Lee Ahye’s niggling injury shot back into the spotlight yesterday when she was forced to pull up halfway through the ISTAF Berlin — Internationales Stadionfest Berlin women’s 100m event in Germany.

Running out of lane four, Ahye produced an okay start among the eight other competing sprinters.

However, about 40m in, the 2014 Trinidad and Tobago sprint queen began to look in discomfort as she fell behind and was then forced to limp out the remaining distance to the finish line, placing ninth overall in a time of 17.81 seconds.

Winning gold was American Candyce McGrone in 11.11s while Ivorian sprinter, Marie-Josse Ta Lou (11.21s) grabbed silver and McGrone’s compatriot, Barbara Pierre (11.31s), settled for bronze.

Since July of last year, Ahye has been unable to maintain top form since sustaining a hamstring injury at a meet in Lucerne, Switzerland. The runner was forced to pull out of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and was unable to successfully defend her National women’s sprint title in June this year due to a slight injury even though she still competed.

Ahye has still produced several commendable showings over the past 12 months, with her most recent achievement of women’s 4x100m relay bronze at the World Championships.

Up to press time yesterday, it was still unclear if Ahye was seriously injured or just had a minor problem during the race.

Additionally, the only other TT athlete in IST AF action yesterday was National men’s 110m hurdles record holder, Mikel Thomas, who placed fifth overall in 13.72s.

Vying for honours out of lane four, Thomas had a good start but never seemed to capitalise as he tumbled over all ten hurdles.

Jamaican Andrew Riley (13.40s) captured the gold, followed by Bajan Shane Brathwaite (13.42s), Hungarian Balazs Baji (13.55s) and German Aleander John (13.68s) to complete the top four.


Trinidad and Tobago’s fastest man on two wheels, Njisane Phillip, pedalled to this nation’s first and only medal of the 2015 Elite Pan American Cycling Championships yesterday as he captured Men’s Sprint silver when the curtains fell at the Parque Penalolen Velodrome in Santiago, Chile.

The 24-year old rode valiantly throughout the rounds but was unable to fuel his winning momentum in the gold medal ride-off against hemispheric rival, Colombian Fabian Puerta.

After advancing convincingly out of the opening stages of Sprint competition on Saturday, Phillip lined up along the 250m track for his semi-final meeting against another familiar face, Canadian Hugo Barrette.

Both Phillip and Barrette have a decorated sporting history with the latter most recently pipping the TT cyclist in a sprint final in Ontario, Canada, back in July.

However, Barrette was outdone by the 2012 Olympic Men’s Sprint fourth place rider this time around.

The Canadian sprinter seemed destined to repeat his recent victory after grabbing a hairline win in the opening semi-final ride. In the second ride however, Phillip took to the front with 375m remaining and despite a surge by Barrette in the final 50m, he was unable to trump Phillip, forcing a third and final ride for a shot at gold. Barrette started the third ride with an accelerated pace as he tried to fend off a late rush from Phillip.

The turn of speed from the Trinbagonian was just too much and Phillip was able to nose out Barrette on the line and advance to face Puerta in the championship ride.

In the final, however, the Colombian clinched a narrow win in the first ride to go one up. Phillip was unable to repeat his semi-final heroics in the second ride and had to settle for silver. His runner- up placing now provides the Siparia-bred cyclist with valuable UCI (International Cycling Union) points towards his World Cup and Olympic qualification.

Additionally, endurance rider Varun Maharajh placed seventh overall after completing six gruelling stages of the Men’s Omnium. Following the three opening stages of Omnium competition on Saturday, Maharajh stood in sixth place overall with three events to go. In yesterday’s 1km Time Trial, the TT cyclist placed seventh and then eighth in the Flying Lap to position himself into eighth place overall going into the final event, 40km Points Race.

Maharajh displayed good endurance to finish fourth in the Points Race, compiling an additional 30 points towards his total.

In the end however, his place would see him at seventh overall and finish just a few points short of a podium finish.

His performance here now sees him in line to become TT ’s first ever endurance cyclist at a World Cup.

But, confirmation of his presence at the coming World Cups will only be made when the UCI releases its updated point standings on September 15.

Earlier in the day, Aziza Browne and Jodi Goodridge tried valiantly but couldn’t advance to the semi-final of the Keirin with both finishing fourth in their respective repechage heats.

After press time last night, Maharajh and youngster Akil Campbell were scheduled to become the first national cyclists to compete in the Madison race at an international meet.

The 17-member TT contingent is expected to depart the South American continent today and arrive in Trinidad tomorrow.