The Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT ) has thrown a $195,000 lifeline to 12 Olympic cycling hopefuls towards their participation in next month’s Pan American Cycling Championships in Santiago, Chile.

After being told by officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TT CF) last week, that they would have to foot their own bill to the Championships due to financial constraints at SporTT , the organisation’s sport development manager, Anthony Creed, stepped in to quell the uneasiness among the cyclists and their respective managerial teams. Creed revealed yesterday that SporTT was able to source these much needed funds which will be used for the athletes’ airfare and accommodation in the South American continent from September 1-6.

Speaking to TT CF president, Robert Farrier, after the welcomed revelation, he was in an obvious buoyant mood and pleased to know that the fraternity’s representatives would now be funded on their competitive journey.

Farrier also commended the speedy resolution by SporTT .

“We have always been working closely with the Sport Company,” said Farrier yesterday.

“We understand their position and the funding that is given to them. We try to work together with them. We never pressured them, we actually tried to resolve it in an amicable way where all parties can agree to and work with.” However, the former national rider pleaded with corporate Trinidad and Tobago to show more interest in the nation’s developing athletes. The TT CF boss stated that this nation’s cycling prospects have been working diligently on both the local and international circuit, and are indeed deserving of assistance and support from the business community.

“Our issue is that we are still trying to brand our athletes as a product so we can attract more corporate sponsorship.

But really and truly, corporate sponsors should come on board. These athletes are dedicated to the sport and we can’t expect the Government to do everything all the time. There is only so much funding available,” he continued.

Farrier also questioned whether the tax incentives allotted to local businesses in TT with regards to sponsorship, played any motivational factor.

“This year alone, every Championships that the Government has invested in us, we have proved that we add value to the funds allocated to us. The Government has set a tax break that no one seems to be interested in. The $3 million with 150 percent tax break, it doesn’t seem to attract corporate sponsors so we have to find another way to get sponsors on board,” Farrier concluded. The 12 cyclists selected to fly the red, white and black in Chile are London Olympic Men’s Sprint fourth-placed Njisane Phillip, Quincy Alexander, Kwesi Browne, Jude Codrington, Justin Roberts, Varun Maharajh, Akil Campbell, Gavyn Nero, Jovian Gomez and females Jodi Goodridge, Aziza Browne and Teneil Campbell.


Shot putter Cleopatra Borel, will begin T&T’s bid for medals at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, when she competes in the qualifying round of her event  tonight at 10.10 pm (T&T time).

It will mark Borel’s sixth appearance at the World Championships. Her best performance to date came in Daegu, South Korea in 2011 when she finished 13th overall. That year was her best ever as she improved her national outdoor record to 19.42m at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris, France. In Berlin, Germany in 2009, she narrowly missed the finals by 11 cm. Annie Alexander was T&T’s second representative in the event when she joined Borel in Berlin and placed 27th in the qualifying round with a mark of 16.01m. 

At 35, Borel is the oldest of the eight female and 11 male competitors for team T&T and will be competing against 68 other international athletes. No male athlete has yet competed for T&T at the World Champs in the shot put.

This year has been a stellar year for Borel as she won gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada after bronze in 2007 (Rio de Janeiro) and silver in 2011(Guadalajara). Of all the athletes registered to compete in Beijing, Borel has the fourth best throw this year (19.26m) so the prospect of a medal is real. The NAAA wishes Borel and the team all the best on their quest for precious metal.

T&T suffered a major blow to its medal chances when Pan American bronze medallists Rondell Sorrillo and Dan-Neil Telesford were both forced out of the Championships, after coming down with injuries. With less than 36 hours before the start, team doctor Anyl Goopesingh indicated that Sorrillo had suffered a grade two strain of the quadriceps, a re-injury of the quads that first occurred during the IAAF World Relays in Bahamas three months ago, while Telesford had a loose body in his left knee.

Sorrillo was scheduled to run in tomorrow's 100m heats, while Telesford was part of the Men’s 4x100m relay pool. Both athletes were part of T&T’s Pan Am 4x100m bronze medal winning team in Toronto last month. With their departure, the team has been depleted to a bare four (Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Kyle Greaux, Mikel Thomas).

2013 World 400m hurdles champion Jehue Gordon will start the defense of his title at 6:35am (T&T time) tomorrow morning. The event is one of two in which T&T has medaled in both the male and female categories with the 100m being the other. The semifinals are set for Sunday at 6.40 am with the finals carded for Tuesday at 8.25 am.

Team T&T has earned one gold medal through Gordon, who won the one lap hurdles title in Moscow, Russia in a national record of 47.69 seconds two years ago. He became the second senior World Champion for T&T following Ato Boldon’s success in the 200m in 1997 in Athens, Greece. It also marked his second global title after capturing the 2010 World Junior crown in Moncton, Canada.

With his victory in Moscow, Gordon became the youngest ever winner of the Men’s 400m hurdles at 21 years, 243 days. He also set the record as the youngest finalist when he was fourth in the event in 2009, Berlin, Germany at 17 years, 246 days with a time of 48.26 (a then national record and the fastest ever time by a 17-year-old). He improved on the 48.66 set in the heats. 

It will mark Gordon’s fourth World Championships. Following his stunning performance in Berlin, much was expected two years later in Daegu, South Korea but he bowed out in the semifinals, missing the final by 0.01 seconds.

As the reigning champion, he received an automatic spot into the championships though his 2015 season has been interrupted with injuries, which prevented him from competing at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July. He also had a spill on the IAAF Diamond League circuit, which slowed down his progress. His season’s best of 49.22 ranks him at 23rd among the athletes entered to compete. However, the UWI, QRC and Belmont Boys Secondary graduate will be determined to put in a good fight to defend his title.


Power Rangers Super Mega Force star Azim Rizk will be the guest of honour when the North American Federation of Martial Artists stages its World Martial Arts Festival and Championships at the Hyatt Regency on Wrightson Road this weekend. This was revealed during a press conference at the T&T Olympic Committee House on Abercrombie Street yesterday.

The 24-year-old American actor, who plays the Green Power Ranger on the popular Nickelodeon series, will take part in a VIP meet and greet in full costume at the hotel from 8-10 pm tonight and will later attend an after party following the tournament on Saturday. An avid martial artist, he will be imparting his years of knowledge with the competitors and will also spend quality time with fans.

“I love T&T. I’m really glad to be a part of this,” he said yesterday. Over 300 athletes from Mexico, USA, Canada, St Lucia, Guyana, Suriname and T&T will take part in the tournament, which is being held at the Hyatt from 9 am to 5 pm tomorrow. It will mark the second time the event is being held in T&T after a successful staging in 2013.

Tournament director Master Jose Torres said he was expecting some exciting competition over the weekend. “The event was a great success two years ago and that’s why we’re back in T&T,” he said. The NAFMA Worlds Martial Arts Festival and Championships will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and will move on to St Lucia for its next staging.

The 25 members of the American team were present at yesterday’s launch, including 11-year-old prodigy AJ Torres. “I’m grateful to be here. I’ve always dreamed to be a Power Ranger so getting to meet Azim is really cool,” he said.


Cleopatra Borel will throw second in Group “A” in the women's shot put qualifying competition, at the IAAF World Championships here in Beijing, China tonight (TT time). The Trinidad and Tobago field athlete will see action shortly after the event begins at 10.10.

Borel's first target is 18.30 metres, the automatic qualifying distance for tomorrow's 8.05am final. She has bettered that mark 10 times in 11 outings this season, and should have no problems doing it again and advancing to her second final at the global outdoor meet.

On her only previous appearance in a World Championship final, at the 2011 edition in Daegu, Korea, Borel finished 13th with a 17.62 metres effort. She currently holds fourth spot on the 2015 world outdoor performance list at 19.26m, and will go into the competition as a genuine medal contender.

Germany's Christina Schwanitz is the world leader at 20.77m, and will carry the favourite's mantle. China's Lijiao Gong and American Michelle Carter are also challengers for the title.

Borel enjoyed a rest day yesterday, and seemed at peace with herself during an interview with the Express at the team hotel.

“I feel as though I've done everything I could possibly do. I feel relaxed because I'm going to do my best. That's all I can do. My confidence is in the knowledge that I've done the work.”

The 36-year-old field athlete said she is not focused on any particular distance, nor is she thinking about the colour of precious metal she would like to wear around her neck.

“I'm not chasing medals or anything like that because I've done that in the past and it has really stressed me out and put me in a bad position. All I can do is my very best. I can't affect how my competitors compete. If I have a good performance and it leads to a medal, I'd be grateful for that. But if I have a good performance and it doesn't lead to a medal, I'd be grateful for that as well.

“I'm taking things one step at a time. I'm looking at the qualifying, then getting into the top eight. When I start thinking about distance, that stuff just stresses me out. I'm focused on my technique, and just being relaxed and executing.”

In 28 of her 30 outings over the past two seasons, Borel has bettered the 18-metre mark, and in five of those competitions she has thrown more than 19 metres. The 2015 Pan American Games champion said the chemistry she enjoys with her Cuban coach, Ismael Lopez Mastrapa has a lot to do with her level of consistency.

“He's a good coach for me. He has a lot of knowledge, but he also respects the experience that I have. He allows me to incorporate what I know with what his training philosophy is. We can both find a happy place in the middle.”

Borel and Coach Ismael would be extremely happy if the veteran thrower is able to produce a podium finish in her sixth World Championship appearance.


Fifa has said football clubs will have to meet minimum standards and principles in areas such as infrastructure and financial affairs in order to compete in certain competitions, as it unveiled plans to roll out a global club licensing framework by the end of 2016.

World football’s governing body today (Thursday) said the Fifa Club Licensing system will see it work together with the six regional confederations to improve club football by setting minimum standards in key areas such as stadium safety, fan experience and youth football development.

The Fifa Club Licensing principles are designed to form the basis for the confederations’ own club licensing principles, taking into account the regional specificity of club football. Clubs then need to meet these principles to be eligible for certain competitions, adhering to international statutes, investing in training facilities and agreeing to the independent auditing of finances and greater transparency of ownership.

Fifa director of member associations and development, Thierry Regenass, said: “Stronger clubs mean a stronger foundation for global football. Club licensing is a priority for Fifa’s investment in the game and a crucial part of raising professional standards. We are now working hand-in-hand with the six confederations and our member associations worldwide to implement this blueprint for the future of football.”

The Fifa Club Licensing system requires clubs to commit to minimum standards and principles in five key areas of criteria defined as ‘sporting’, ‘infrastructure’, ‘personnel and administrative’, ‘legal’ and ‘financial’.

Uefa and the AFC have established club licensing programmes in Europe and Asia, while Fifa is working with Concacaf and CAF to develop and implement systems in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, along with Africa. The OFC and Conmebol are scheduled to adopt regional standards in Oceania and South America before the end of 2016.


IF EVENTS in international track and field competition this year are anything to go by, Trinidad and Tobago can justifiably expect to pick up a few medals at the 15th IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships, opening in Beijing, China on Saturday. The nation’s athletes have made their mark this year in various disciplines and on diverse occasions- notably at the Pan Am Games, the Junior World Championships and even in the IAAF Diamond League.

The National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) came up with a national team of 21 athletes for the nine-day fiesta in the Chinese capital; 21 men and eight women will represent the red, white and black, in sprinting, hurdling, the shot put and the javelin.

The last multiple medal return for TT at the World Championships came in Berlin, 2009 when TT earned silver in the Men’s 4 x 100 metre Relay and picked up bronze medals in the Men’s 400m and the Women’s 400m Hurdles.

Significantly, most of the personnel at the heart of those successes are out of the reckoning, at least for now. Of the men’s sprint relay squad that clocked 37.62 seconds to finish behind winners Jamaica in Berlin, only Emmanuel Callendar and Keston Bledman are now in Beijing. Richard Thompson is injured, while elder statesmen Marc Burns and Darryl Brown have both been affected by time and lack of form.

Josanne Lucas, who claimed women’s 400m hurdles bronze in 53.20 seconds, later suffered a serious injury, and some would argue that she has never been the same.

Renny Quow won bronze in the men’s 400 in 45.02; six years on, he remains an important and experienced member of the TT men’s mile relay squad.

For most local track and field enthusiasts, that group represents TT ’s best podium chance in China.

Headed by the outstanding Deon Lendore and World Youth champion Machel Cedenio, the squad is further strengthened by the return to form of Lalonde Gordon, who won two Olympic bronze medals in London 2012- in the 400 and as a member of the mile relay quartet.

Add to that his fellow-Tobagonian Quow and the consistent Jarrin Solomon, and something would have to go very wrong for TT not to finish among the medals in the relay.

There are also high expectations for Olympic Javelin champion Keshorn Walcott, who keeps improving on his national record and has now joined the ranks of the 90 metre- plus throwers. Troubled by an ankle injury, the Toco-born athlete has not let that deter his performances.

No one would count out Cleopatra Borel in the Women’s Shot Put, and her confidence would have been given a great boost by her gold medal performance at the Pan Am Games. Borel’s chances are boosted by the absence of two-time Olympic gold medallist and fourtime World and reigning champ Valerie Adams of New Zealand who recently had surgery.

Of TT ’s other female athletes, it is the wealth of sprinters on hand that suggests a medal can be in the offing- the return of Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett, coinciding with the rise of teenager Khalifa St Fort and the return of Michelle- Lee Ahye gives rise to hope for the 4 x 100m relay. It remains to be seen, however, how well Ahye has recovered from the injuries that have setback her promising career; her speed when fully fit can make the difference between a podium position and an “also ran” tagline to the relay effort.

There have been other performers- Bledman, Mikel Thomas and Sparkle Mc Knight come to mind, and there is the matter of an out-ofform Jehue Gordon looking to defend his 400m title; but fans need to remember they will be competing against the world’s best.

Many a dream has been broken by the reality of world athletics.

TT came away from Osaka 2007 without a medal; two years later, they had three in Berlin, then came a solitary bronze in Daegu 2011 before Gordon’s gold in Moscow 2013.

There have been no large hauls, suggesting it would be wise to wait, watch, listen and hope. Newsday wishes our athletes good hunting!