Olympic 400 metres bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, Pan American Games 110m hurdles silver medallist Mikel Thomas and sprint star Michelle-Lee Ahye are among the 34 athletes who will be on show for Trinidad and Tobago at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Track and Field Championships, in San Jose, Costa Rica, this weekend.

The T&T athletes head to Costa Rica today (Wednesday), and will be in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gordon and Tacuma Sterling are expected to fly the T&T flag in the men’s 400m. Thomas and Ruebin Walters are the country’s representatives in the men’s sprint hurdles. And Ahye, as well as Reyare Thomas, will run in the women’s 100m dash.

Emmanuel Callender faces the starter in the men’s 100m. In the 200m for men, Dan-Neil Telesford and Kyle Greaux will hunt precious metal. The women’s 200m will feature Semoy Hackett and Kamaria Durant.

Jamaal James and Nicholas Landeau have been selected to represent the Red, White and Black in the men’s 800m. Alena Brooks is the lone T&T athlete in the women’s 800m. Three one-lap hurdlers will compete in Costa Rica—Sparkle McKnight and Josanne Lucas in the women’s event, and Emanuel Mayers among the men.

Romona Modeste and Jessica James do battle for T&T in the women’s 400m flat event. And in the women’s 100m hurdles, Deborah John will fly the flag. Ayanna Alexander and Elton Walcott are among the jumpers on the T&T team. Quincy Wilson, Hezekiel Romeo and Shakiel Waithe lead the charge among the throwers.


Men—Emmanuel Callender, Mikel Thomas, Dan-Neil Telesford, Kyle Greaux, Lalonde Gordon, Tacuma Sterling, Deverne Charles, Jamaal James, Nicholas Landeau, Ruebin Walters, Emanuel Mayers, Dwaine Herbert, Kyron Blaise, Elton Walcott, Quincy Wilson, Emmanuel Stewart, Hezekiel Romeo, Shakiel Waithe, Steve Waithe

Women—Semoy Hackett, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant, Romona Modeste, Jessica James, Alena Brooks, Sparkle McKnight, Josanne Lucas, Deborah John, Ayanna Alexander, Deandra Daniel, Jaleesa Williams, Lisa Wickham, Peli Alzola

Officials—Durly Lucas (manager), Lester Osouna (head coach), Arlon Morrison (coach), Ken Barton (coach), Dave Sandy (coach), Paul Voisin (coach), Michelle Alleyne-Pennie (coach), Robin Brereton (coach), Joyce Thomas (coach)

Medical Staff—Anthony Walcott, Jason Pilgrim, Kurlyn Smith-Nicholas


TTOC president urges patience over doping claims

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis has expressed his confidence in the doping status of local athletes. The TTOC's top man also declared his faith that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) would resolve the recent doping allegations now plaguing the organisation. It has been reported that the recent allegations made by German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times newspaper in Britain could lead to a mass reshuffling of results from the Olympics and World Championships for the last decade and more.

Lewis however, has confidence that the IAAF can stay on top of the doping. "We have to wait and see what the investigative process produces," he said. "The IAAF would take the necessary steps, and have a very comprehensive process in place."

According to him, as a part of their push towards 2020, the IAAF has a zero-tolerance policy where doping is concerned. "As difficult as it may seem, it is important in the battle for clean athletes."

The TTOC head was unwilling to see the current situation internationally as a "crisis" however. "I don't see it as a catastrophe. I see it as part of an ongoing effort," he said. "All these matters do, is highlight the efforts to maintain a level playing field. Sports like life, is not immune to negative situations, and the emphasis should be to improve, and to continue to improve."

Local sprinters Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett have both been in the spotlight for doping in the past two years. But Lewis told the Express that there is unlikely to be cases of more doping allegations locally.

"We emphasise the importance of competing clean and we expect that to continue," he said. "I don't expect any local athletes to figure in the scandals. The NAAA have put in the necessary measures to make sure the athletes are clean."

According to the TTOC boss, an Anti-Doping Agency will be soon established in T&T for Olympic-level sport. "The Ministry of Sport have shown great impetus to move the Anti-Doping Agency forward, and I expect to see it established soon."

In a final statement, he reiterated that all of the local athletes currently competing internationally are competing clean and are making every effort to continue to do so.


AN EXHAUSTED but elated group of Trinidad and Tobago athletes returned home from the 14th Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, United States, yesterday, to a cheering group of supporters, including relatives as well as members of the Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago (SOTT).

In total, Trinidad and Tobago amassed 48 medals — 15 gold, nine silver and 24 bronze, at the 2015 edition.

Yesterday afternoon, at the Piarco International Airport, the first of two groups arrived — participants in aquatics, basketball, powerlifting and track and field. One of the athletes who returned home was 18- year-old powerlifter Nicholas McKnight, a resident of San Juan.

McKnight collected four medals at the Games — a silver (male bench press) and three bronze (male dead lift, male combination and male squat lift).

“I gave it my all,” said McKnight yesterday. “I just wanted to come back with something and make my mother proud. And I just went out there and made myself proud, just to do something for mummy.” Admitting it was his first Special Olympic Games, McKnight noted, “I just said to myself I’ll hold my head up, pray to God and go out there and do my best”.

However, he was hard on himself when asked about his overall display.

“The performance was a little low but I made myself do the best that I could,” he said.

Candilla Berment-Harper, head of delegation for the team and the chairperson of the Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago (SOTT), was also pleased with the returns from the TT squad.

“The experience was very good,” she commented. “It was more for the athletes and not for me. This (was) my tenth year taking a team to the World Games. They performed extremely well.” She emphasised,“the experience for them is really something that they will cherish. It helps them to socialise a lot more, it helps them to deal with their peers. They make friends (and) they enjoy themselves.” Asked what memories stood out for her at the Games, Berment-Harper replied, “many moments I would say. You can’t pinpoint one particular (moment). Just the fact that the athletes performed so well, that is our moment.” The TT basketball team finished third at the Games, defeating Japan in the third-place playoff.

Coach Ronald De Silva pointed out, “we came out very successful, (with) the bronze. We could have done better but we had some shooting problems in one of the games, which we lost.

That put us in the bronze medal (match).” But he was satisfied with the efforts shown by his players.

“What I put them through in the last six months, they really delivered and we came out with a medal in the end,” said De Silva. “And they enjoyed it.

“We had a great time. Many of these kids, it’s the first time they have been on a plane, in a different country.” De Silva made a plea for some of his players to be used in either the national men’s league teams or in school teams.

“Many of these athletes we have, they are not included in the ‘normal’ games that we have,” he stated. “I think there are couple of guys on my team that could be put on a second division or a third division, or a school team. Many of them do not get that opportunity, and the ‘normal’ kids really do not understand them.”


President of the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA) Ephraim Serrette said he was disappointed with T&T's showing at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Edmonton, Canada over the weekend. The team won three medals at the meet, including gold for Khalifa St Forte in the Women's 100m, silver for Portious Warren in the Women’s Shot Put and bronze for the Men's 4x100m team of Francis Louis, Joash Huggins, Corey Stewart and Nathan Farinha.

The haul was less than the two golds and three silvers the country picked up during its last appearance at the championships in Miramar, Florida, USA in 2011. Speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Serrette felt the athletes were capable of better.

“The overall performance was mediocre. We had greater expectations from the team,” he said. “It was hindered by the absence of Akanni Hislop, Jonathan Farinha and Joshua St Clair, who were injured but you would hope for athletes to step up their performances when competing internationally. In some cases, they did worse than they did at the National Championships.”

Serrette did credit the medal winners for for their efforts. “The Men's 4x100m relay team did well to win bronze though I felt the female relay team should have medalled as well. Khalifa St Forte continues to prove she is one for future and I was very satisfied by Portious Warren throwing a personal best to win silver.”

T&T's 4x100m quartet of Louis, Huggins, Stewart and Farinha closed the meet on Sunday night with a bronze in its final. The foursome clocked 40.50 to finish behind Jamaica's Seanie Selvin, Shivnarine Smalling, Hujaye Cornwall and Xandre Blake, who took gold in 40.15, while Bahamas's Javan Martin, Janeko Cartwright, Ian Kerr and Kendrick Thompson were runners up in 40.32.

T&T's female 4x100m team narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium when it finished fourth in its final. Jael Fergusson, Jeminise Parris, Jendayi Noel and Khalifa St Forte put together a time of 47.11, which was behind USA (43.79), Jamaica (44.31) and Bahamas (45.96). In other events, Omari Benoit was tenth in the Men’s High Jump after being eliminated at the 1.95 mark. American Randall Cunningham won the event in 2.16m.

Keneja Williams also managed tenth in his event, the Men's Shot Put, with a throw of 16.45m on his first attempt. The field was topped by American John Maurins with a 19.49m effort.

At the 2011 edition in Miramar, Florida, Michelle Lee Ahye (Women’s 100m) and Elton Walcott (Men’s Triple Jump) won their events while Deon Lendore (Men’s 400m), Kai Selvon (Women’s 200m) and the Men’s 4x400m team (Lendore, Machel Cedenio, Jereem Richards and Moriba Morain) bagged silvers.


Nathan Farinha anchored Trinidad and Tobago to bronze in the Pan American Junior Track and Field Championship men's 4x100 metres relay, in Edmonton, Canada, on Sunday night.

Francis Louis, Joash Huggins, Corey Stewart and Farinha combined for a 40.50 seconds clocking. Jamaica produced a 40.15 run to grab gold, while silver was seized by Bahamas in 40.32.

The sprint relay bronze, on the third and final day of the hemispheric Under-20 meet, carried the country's medal tally to three--one gold, one silver, one bronze. Khalifa St Fort earned gold in the women's 100m, while Portious Warren picked up silver in the women's shot put.

On Sunday, Jael Fergusson, Jeminise Parris, Jendayi Noel and St Fort on anchor teamed up for fourth spot in the women's 4x100m relay. The T&T quartet got home in 47.11 seconds. United States won in 43.79, from Jamaica (44.31) and Bahamas (45.96).

T&T's Omari Benoit cleared the bar at 1.90 metres for 10th spot in the men's high jump. Both the gold medallist, American Randall Cunningham, and silver medallist, Cuban Luis Zayas went over at 2.16m. Jamaican Clayton Brown bagged bronze with a 2.13m clearance.

Another T&T athlete, Kenejah Williams finished 10th in the men's shot put. He threw the iron ball 16.45m. United States swept the top two spots, John Maurins getting gold with a 19.49m effort and Ayomidotun Ogundeji claiming silver at 19.20m. Bronze went to Jamaican Demar Gayle (18.56m).


Minister of Sport Brent Sancho said he would continue to help the national men's senior football team to qualify for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, with or without Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (T&TFA) president Raymond Tim Kee.

Sancho was yesterday responding to statements made by Tim Kee in a four-page letter to the media on the weekend, in which the Port of Spain mayor said Sancho had shown “a lack of respect” in dealing with the TTFA.

Tim Kee had also disputed Sancho's public statements about the TTFA on matters of transparency and accountability, the promised Government funding and communication between the TTFA and the Ministry of Sport.

But contacted yesterday, Sancho said: “I have absolutely no interest in Mr Tim Kee's political utterances. I want to make it very clear he (Tim Kee) has a political agenda and he can try to pretend otherwise. My main focus is with or without his inclusion, to chart a course to the national men's senior football team reaching the World Cup and putting things in place necessary for them to attain this goal.

“I will do whatever in my power to make sure. It is my clear goal and focus — the players and coaching staff and football team — as it has always been my focus since my inception (as Minister of Sport),” Sancho told the Express.

The former Soca Warrior said his Ministry continues to pay the coaching staff and players since he claimed the TTFA had reneged on its promise to both parties.

Sancho said the Ministry has contributed 95 per cent of the TTFA's source of funds and has continued to support national football.

“So much so that in the last year, this fiscal year has been a landmark year as it relates to funding to the TTFA. It has been unprecedented funding and a record-breaking year as it relates to funding from the Ministry of Sport towards the TTFA,” he said

Sancho said the Ministry is in the final stages of purchasing the parcel of land for the TTFA GOAL project, a grassroots programme that aims to target all areas in the country.

“While Tim Kee continues or tries to continue to use the players and football as a political pawn, we at the Ministry and this Government has continued to work extremely hard to ensure that football continues to strive, continues to reach all of the goals set,” Sancho said.

On the issue of the ongoing court matter between some of the 2006 Soca Warriors team and the TTFA, Sancho insisted he is no longer part of the litigating team and Tim Kee should have known this since he has had extensive discussions with current Soca Warrior Kenwyne Jones, one oft the litigants in that case.

“ We have made it simple at the Ministry, in what we ask for and continue to ask for...the TTFA to be accountable and transparent. That is crux of the matter,” he said.

Asked if the TTFA had not furnished the Ministry with audited accounts for 2008-2012, Sancho replied: “ We have asked and received information about CONCACAF monies for their (T&T's) participation in the Gold Cup but up to this minute we still have not gotten any official documentation other than what we were told CONCACAF gave them (TTFA). They (TTFA) have said to us they have paid certain bills with this money but lo and behold the Ministry is left with the bill in our hand and we have had to cover again all they have said they had paid. So clearly they have not been transparent and honest in what they have said they have distributed,” Sancho concluded.