European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Patrick Hickey has fiercely condemned what he describes as the "hypocritical" interference from Western Europe in sporting events, including last month's inaugural European Games in Baku.

The Irishman, who also claimed three cities are being considered to host the second European Games in 2019, insisted how countries "cannot have it both ways" and if they are not bidding and not hosting major events then they are in no position to criticise.

"We are sick to death of being lectured by the countries of Western Europe on the values of Olympism and what to do," he said here on the eve of the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session.

"Western Europe think that it’s the European Union of 28 countries.

"I'm President of 50 countries of Europe.

"Any one of those 50 countries has the right to host a Games without having to answer questions to the rest of Europe.

“Western Europe doesn’t stand up to the plate.

“They don’t have any Games.

“They don’t bid for anything."

Hickey, also President of the Olympic Council of Ireland and a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board, clarified that serious human rights allegations do deserve criticism.

He also expressed his delight that at least four European cities are planning to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, emphasising that his concerns lie with continental events.

Hickey bemoaned the fact that, with the exception of IOC members Prince Albert of Monaco and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, no Western European leaders attended the Opening Ceremony in Baku despite visiting the country on other occasion when there were political or commercial reasons for doing so.

"We are being used by the politicians to play their game," he added.

"They want us to do the dirty politics but that is not our job.

"We want to focus on sport."

Hickey, like other stakeholders, was forced to deal with much criticism from human rights groups and other organisations in the build-up to the Games, particularly after a journalist from a British newspaper was denied accreditation in the country after having written critical articles on a past visit.

The withdrawal of The Netherlands on the eve of Baku 2015 has left the EOC searching for a host for the 2019 European Games.

Hickey, though, is confident they will be able to announce one soon.

“We’re on target and contrary to what everyone thinks that there might never be a second edition of the European Games, let me tell you very clearly that there will be," he said.

"We’ll make the announcement of the city towards the end of the year.

"We are negotiating at the moment for three key cities.

"It was six but we’ve already whittled it down to three."

He did not confirm that his criticism of Western Europe means no cities from that region was among the three, answering only that "the three bidders are all from Europe".

A debrief meeting in Rome from September 9 to 11 is due to be the next key staging post before a report is given at the EOC Executive Committee meeting in Albanian capital Tirana on September 17, he revealed.

They hope to then make a final decision at the General Assembly in Prague on November 20 and 21.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) concluded the second leg of its 13th Annual Olympic Youth Camp at Guardian Holdings Limited, Westmoorings, on the weekend.

This marked the end of a two-week camp from July 6-11 (Tobago) and 20–25 (Trinidad) that targeted athletes in the 11-14 age groups.

The theme this year ‘10Golds2024’ or “10G24” encouraged young athletes to strive for excellence in their sporting discipline and also exemplified the Olympic principles of fair play, respect for others, joy of effort and balance between body, will and mind. Youth facilitators (past campers) explained these principles through drama and team building exercises.

Life skill sessions focused on media interview training, athlete welfare, setting goals (Donald La Guerre, sport psychologist), anti–doping (Andre Collins, Caribbean Sport and Development Agency), critical thinking (Save our Children Foundation) sport for development and peace (Janine Thornhill, Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group member) and HIV-AIDS awareness (Youth Department, THA).

The closing of the camp was fashioned after the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games, with Trinidad and Tobago as the host country.

Campers paraded flags from Tokyo 1964 to London 2012 Olympics. In addition, the campers wore decorated face masks showcasing the Olympic flag, Olympic flame, peace and Trinidad and Tobago that were created for their art project during the camp.

In Trinidad, campers presented their art pieces on the 10Golds24 vision which highlighted aspects they believe are essential to achieving a gold medal. They emphasised sound morals and values, self-confidence, enjoyment of their sport, balance between school and training, respect for their competitors and support from family, friends, coaches, medical personnel and sponsors.

The campers also highlighted the significance of inclusion of the differently abled in sport, and the need to stay away from crime, violence and drugs in order to achieve their goals.

The participants were able to learn new sports from their fellow campers such as cycling, badminton, archery, triathlon, hockey, volleyball, badminton, chess, basketball, football and netball. They were also exposed to jump rope (Thandiwe Prescott).

Most impactful for the young participants was the athlete mentors; Mark Anthony Honore (Volleyball), Kieron Pollard (Cricket), Akanni Hislop (Track and Field, Youth Olympian), Pietra Gay (Basketball, Women’s NBA) Sherridan Kirk (Olympian) and Jeannette Small and Kwanieze John (Young Ambassadors Nanjing 2014 and Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics).

The TTOC will like to encourage athletes and mentors interested in the Olympic Youth Camp to send their profiles to the TTOC at


JOANNA PIANGO claimed a gold medal in the equestrian yesterday as Trinidad and Tobago collected six more medals (one gold, one silver and three bronze) at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, California, United States.

Up to press time last evening, the Trinidad and Tobago contingent had a haul of 32 medals - 16 gold, six silver and ten bronze.

Piango triumphed in the EQ Equestrian English Equitation Division Two with a score of 53.00.

Nicholas McKnight was the most successful TT performer on the day, as he collected four medals — one silver and three bronze medals in powerlifting.

He placed second in the PL Male Bench Press Division M6 with a best effort of 67.50 kilogrammes. And he finished third in three categories — PL Male Squat Lift Division M6 (67.50 kg), PL Male Combination All Lifts Division M6 (240.0 kg) and PL Male Dead Lift Division M6 (105.0 kg).

Trinidad and Tobago a team of 65 athletes and officials at the Games, and they are seeking to better their achievement at the last Games, which took place in 2011 at Athens, Greece.

Four years ago, the TT participants returned home with a tally of 39 medals - 12 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze.

The entire Special Olympics contingent comprised of athletes in eight disciplines — aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football, powerlifting and volleyball.

The national swim team are yet to feature at the Games, but veteran disability swim coach Stephen Telfer is confident that his charges will reap rewards, in terms of medals.

“I am constantly amazed at the effort the athletes give at each training session,” he said, before the team left Trinidad. I’ve been coaching for years and my athletes never let me down. I expect we’ll be returning home with a lot of precious metal!”

In related news, Digicel showed its appreciation to hundreds of families, volunteers and Local Organising Committees from 23 countries in a celebration event in Los Angeles, California, at the Westin Bonavenure Hotel on Friday last.


Over the next five years, Toyota Trinidad and Tobago will inject a total of $750,000 into the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) 10 or more gold medals by 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

This announcement was made at Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, where TTOC president Brian Lewis and Toyota’s local marketing manager Sean Shaffie, elaborated on the partnership. Toyota TT’s inclination to get on board and heavily involved with the developments of the TTOC will see the major multi-national corporation invest $150,000 per annum into the Fund, until the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Toyota TT’s most recent venture has now made them the official vehicle and mobility partner for the TTOC. In addition to financial aid, the motor corporation will provide transport for the local Olympic fraternity, along with advertising and promotional support, internship to selected athlete/s undergoing educational and training programmes, Toyota branded merchandise and other all-round support.

“Why we consider this a landmark initiative is because it is not customary for a national domestic arm to partner with the local Olympic organisation. Having taken this approach, Toyota TT has set an example. I would like to again invite the other top partners and locally-based entities to come in and be a part of our Athlete Preparation Fund,” Lewis declared.

On his company’s latest partnership, Shaffie lauded the TTOC’s hands-on development initiative and expressed great pleasure combining forces towards a patriotic objective of attaining Olympic glory.

“We have come together to support our nation’s efforts of medal accomplishments for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Our monetary and other investments into the TTOC is solely intended on helping the athletes develop and perform well at the Tokyo Games. We believe in the TTOC’s professionalism in making this happen,” said Shaffie. So far, the TTOC has aligned itself with bpTT, Guardian Group, Adidas, Lisa Communications, Scotiabank, National Lotteries Control Board and most recently, Toyota TT.

With more and more corporations coming on board, the TTOC president concluded, “We have been receiving great support from our sponsors. We have at this point, one more major announcement to make, that is in the hands of the major partner and is very significant.”


Following T&T’s best ever medal haul in the history of the Pan Amercian Games, the national track and field athletes received an added boost as Toyota has agreed to contribute $750,000 towards the T&T Olympic Committee’s Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

The announcement was made yesterday at the T&T Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.

Toyota T&T Limited will contribute $150,000 per year for the next five years leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis said Toyota’s involvement is timely after T&T won eight medals (three gold, three silver and two bronze) at the recently concluded Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. Speaking about Toyota’s sponsorship, Lewis said, “In March this year Toyota Motor Corporation signed a historic agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to become a top partner. Toyota Motor Corporation is now a top partner of the IOC in the vehicle and mobility category.

“In T&T, Toyota has made a specific contribution to the ten or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund during the course of the five-year partnership. In addition Toyota will become the official vehicle and mobility partner of the TTOC, supporting our transport needs where needed and within certain constraints.”

Sean Shaffie, marketing manager at Toyota, said the president and CEO of Toyota signed on as an official Olympic sponsor for the 2020 Games, a deal reportedly valued at $835,000,000 US dollars. Shaffie stated this was one of the reasons Toyota T&T Limited decided to get involved.

Shaffie said: “Toyota T&T Limited is proud to announce this morning that for the next five years, starting today, we will be supporting our Olympic contingent via the T&T Olympic Committee to help them prepare for the 2020 Olympics. Not only because our parent company is an official Olympic sponsor, but because it is part of our burning desire to coordinate and contribute to Olympic success for our athletes.”

Toyota’s marketing manager said: “Achieving success has become a symbolic part of Toyota in T&T and in the rest of the world. We have been the number one selling branch for many years across the region and connecting our success with our Olympic athletes came naturally.”

Shaffie said Toyota has always been a supporter of local athletes and culture. “Toyota T&T Limited has always been an advocate for sport and local culture. We have been supporting sporting initiatives and the arts since inception and continue to do so without hesitation.

“Our athletes are our pride and joy and we (corporate T&T) need to show our love and support to these young men and women. Give them the encouragement to make us all proud. Their committment gives us great pleasure.”


Toyota Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TTTL) will invest at least $750,000 over the next five years into the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

The local branch of the world renowned automotive company will also pair with the TTOC to provide internships in human resources, public relations, communications and sales for athletes, ongoing training and education and will be the official vehicle and mobility partner of the TTOC. Toyota is also expected to assist with certain TTOC promotional and advertising initiatives.

TTOC president Brian Lewis and TTTL marketing manager Sean Shaffie made the announcement of the five-year deal that will extend to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at Olympic House on Abercromby Street yesterday. Toyota also presented the first cheque of $150,000 to #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

Lewis revealed that in March this year, the Japan-based Toyota Motor Corporation, the parent company signed an historic US$835 million agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to become a top partner with the IOC until 2024. The deal gives Toyota rights in Japan until the end of 2016 but then exclusive worldwide rights with the IOC starting from 2017.

Lewis described that the IOC usually return 90 % of the revenue generated back to sport development and NOCs across the globe. “What would usually happen is even though you may have a worldwide partner it doesn’t necessarily mean in the domestic market there is a sign-on market. It usually happens in bigger NOCs, not usually in smaller NOCs, so Toyota T&T signing on to be a partner complements, so to speak, what is happening on worldwide basis but is a landmark deal for the TTOC and we would like to congratulate and welcome them on board,” he said.

Besides the $150,000 contribution to the Fund, Toyota has also agreed to offer internships to suitable athletes selected by TTOC and to offer ongoing training and education opportunities.

“To be fair to our other corporate sponsors, there is an ongoing emphasis in all our negotiations now in terms of actioning our athlete-centred approach from a strategic perspective. That component is very important and I acknowledge Toyota for agreeing to that,” Lewis said.

Shaffie said TTTL was forward-thinking and thus decided to jump in on Olympic support 12 months ahead of their parent company.

“Starting today, we will be supporting our local Olympic contingent via the TTOC in readiness for the Olympic Games in 2020, not only because our parent company is an official Olympic sponsor but it is part of our burning desire to coordinate and contribute to Olympic success for our very own athletes,” Shaffie stated.

Lewis underlined the importance of brand recognition and value to wooing corporate sponsors. Saying that the TTOC benefited from association with the iconic brand of the IOC, he said national sporting organisations (NSOs) also had to improve their brand to attract commercial investment and to show they can reciprocate in the relationship.

“It is also about the ability of the brand you are associating with to drive sales,” Lewis commented, “I am saying this because we hear a lot from NSOs about why corporate T&T is not coming on board. Maybe it is because the brand needs to be looked at, maybe we are unable to convince corporate T&T that we can help create a win-win, not only help them meet their corporate social responsibility ambitions but to drive sales.”

Lewis added that NSOs needed to get accustomed to that reality as he recognised the timely intervention of TTTL’s investment following T&T’s record Pan Am Games medal haul of three gold, three silver and two bronze.