Comeback victory for Baptiste

While many of their compatriots were enjoying the build-up to Carnival 2015, last weekend, Trinidad and Tobago track stars Deon Lendore and Michelle-Lee Ahye were busy producing world-class performances at indoor meets in the United States.

In New York, on Saturday, Ahye clocked a fast 7.11 seconds—just one-hundredth of a second slower than her 7.10 national record--to finish second in the Millrose Games women’s 60 metres dash. Ivory Coast sprinter Murielle Ahoure won in a world-leading 7.05.

Ahye is third on the 2015 world indoor list with her 7.11 run, one spot behind Dafne Schippers (7.09) of the Netherlands.

In Arkansas, on Friday, Lendore topped the Tyson Invitational men’s 400m field. The Texas A&M University senior stopped the clock at 45.38 seconds to move into second spot on the 2015 world indoor list, behind American Najee Glass (45.34).

Pennsylvania State University student Steve Waithe finished seventh in the men’s triple jump with a 15.73 metres effort. University of Arkansas senior Sparkle McKnight was 17th overall in the women’s 400m in 53.76 seconds, while South Plains College student Domonique Williams (53.82) was 18th.

Another T&T/South Plains athlete, Aaliyah Telesford clocked 7.50 seconds for 19th spot in the women’s 60m. In the women’s 200m, Telesford (24.23) and McKnight (24.41) were 39th and 47th, respectively. And in the women’s 60m hurdles, Baylor University’s Dannielle Davis was 40th in 8.68 seconds.

Competing for the first time since her ban for using steroids was lifted last month, Kelly-Ann Baptiste was in winners’ row at the LSU High Performance Meet, in Louisiana. Baptiste clocked 7.24 seconds to lead all qualifiers into the women’s 60m final. And in the championship race, the 2011 World Championship 100m bronze medallist got home first in 7.28.

At the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, in Boston, double Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon finished first in section one and second overall in the men’s 200m in 20.71 seconds--good enough for seventh spot on the 2015 world indoor list.

Temple University’s Kiersten LaRoche finished fifth in the women’s long jump with a 5.69m leap, 14th in the high jump (1.65m), and 35th in the shot put (10.69m).

In New Mexico, Jarrin Solomon was the class of the Don Kirby Elite and Open men’s 400m field, the T&T athlete winning in 47.06 seconds.

Central Arizona College student, Ruebin Walters clocked a personal best 7.88 seconds to secure silver in the men’s 60m hurdles. Walters also competed in the men’s 200m event, finishing 21st overall in 21.82.

Western Texas College sprinter, John Mark Constantine bagged men’s 60m bronze with a personal best clocking of 6.74 seconds. Central Arizona College field athlete, Hezekiel Romeo threw 17.33m to finish ninth in the men’s shot put. Constantine’s Western Texas teammate, Marissa Gale finished 10th overall in the women’s 400m in 56.85 seconds. New Mexico Junior College sprinter, Kayelle Clarke was 11th in the women’s 60m dash in 7.75 and 21st in the 200m in 24.45. And in the women’s 60m hurdles, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) student, Aeisha McDavid clocked 8.85 seconds for 24th spot.

In Maryland, Deandra Daniel retained her Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Indoor Track and Field Championship women’s high jump title when she cleared the bar at 1.85m--a meet record and new personal best. In the women’s long jump, the Coppin State University junior produced a 5.63m leap to finish fourth.

Coppin State’s Mark London returned a time of one minute, 56.75 seconds for 15th spot overall in the men’s 800m. And Coppin State sprinter Haysean Cowie-Clarke was 25th in the men’s 60m in 7.04 seconds.

At the Adams State University (ASU) NCAA Qualifier, in Colorado, Adams State freshman Micah Ballantyne finished second in the men’s 200m in 22.46 seconds.

In Alabama, Western Kentucky University sprinter Peli Alzola was eighth in the Samford Invitational women’s 200m in 24.97 seconds.

At the Fred Wilt Invitational, in Indiana, Missouri State University freshman Kadisha Francois got to the line in 25.58 seconds for 11th spot in the women’s 200m.

Osei Alleyne-Forte finished 20th overall in the men’s 400m, at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships, in Alabama. The Abilene Christian University (ACU) student got home in 50.01 seconds. Another T&T/ACU athlete, Jessica James clocked 55.95 to qualify second fastest for the women’s 400m finals. However, she was disqualified in the championship race for a false start.

At the Battle of the Regions outdoor meet, in California, Ayodele Taffe topped the men’s 200m field in 21.52 seconds, beating his College of the Sequoias teammate and fellow T&T sprinter, Holland Cabara (21.57) into second spot. Another T&T/Sequoias athlete, Ohdel James clocked 48.89 seconds to win the men’s 400m.


The United States has been named as the host of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) qualifying tournament for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The under-23 competition, which is due to take place from October 1 to 13 this year, will see eight nations battling for the two tops spots that will automatically grant places at Rio 2016, where they will be hoping to repeat the success of CONCACAF nation Mexico, who claimed the gold medal at London 2012.

The third placed country will also earn the right to face South American Olympic qualifying runner-up Colombia in a playoff for one additional spot at the Games in Brazil.

"The Olympic Qualifying Championship provides an ideal stage for CONCACAF nations to demonstrate the bright future the Confederation holds on the field," Jeffrey Webb, President of CONCACAF, said.

"We look forward to some great soccer as the competing nations strive to match our historic Olympic performances three years ago in England, from Honduras and, of course, Mexico 2012 Olympic champion."

The tournament will divide the teams, which comprise hosts the US, Canada, Mexico, three nations from the Central American region and two from the Caribbean - to be decided in the coming months, into two groups of four, with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play advancing to the semi-finals.

"We are looking forward to hosting the Olympic Qualifying Championship and showcasing the quality of soccer in the region," said US Soccer President Sunil Gulati.

"The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes from across North, Central America and the Caribbean compete for the opportunity to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games."

Details of host venues, ticketing information and the competition schedule will be announced following the qualifying tournaments in Central America and the Caribbean.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC) vision is for two Trinidad and Tobago team sports to qualifying for the Olympic Games by the year 2024.

To date no Trinidad and Tobago national team has ever qualified for a Summer Olympic Games.

The TTOC intends to convince  national sport organizations (NSOs) responsible for team sports to include Olympic qualification as a critical aspect of their (NSOs) long term strategic and development  plan.

A sport on the TTOC's Olympic qualification radar is football.

The TTOC believes that a serious effort by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association(TTFA)  to qualify a national football team for the Olympic Games  can only benefit  T&T football .

In respect of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games three national team sports in contention for possible Olympic qualification are football, hockey and rugby 7s.

Photo caption: TTOC President Brian Lewis and Hazel Mootoo, Human Resource Manager Deloitte Touche  (T&T) at a recent #10golds24 cheque presentation

We as Trinbagonians don’t understand and appreciate the power of Carnival, and sport. Our Carnival history, traditions and heritage make Trinidad and Tobago Carnival unique and authentic.

The longtime brass melody that Machel Montano used in his runaway smash hit Like Ah Boss marries the old and the new in an infectious Carnival 2015 soca smash hit.

It is a powerful example of the positive results that can occur with the marriage between the traditional and contemporary. The old need not be discarded and can be relevant to contemporary Trinidad and Tobago society.

Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as I understood it growing up in Belmont—or Freetown—for those with a historical reference point has deep historical and cultural significance.

Prior to emancipation slaves were forbidden from participating in carnival celebrations. When slavery came to an end, the liberated slaves took their mas to the streets to celebrate their freedom. Carnival was used to make subtle and not so subtle statements. So there was an element of cultural and artistic tension between the bourgeoisie—the word now used in the contemporary Trinidad and Tobago is stoosh—and the grassroots.

Carnival is in danger of becoming a means to an end and the divide grows between the traditional and pretty mas, the cultural entrepreneurs and the profit seekers.

The challenge we face is embracing the tension between tradition and contemporary. In the sport space the country is facing the very same issues and challenges.

That we don’t seem to be able to harness the diverse energies is part of our learning and evolution as a people, nation and society.

People get defensive and take things personal when you ask the questions that need to be asked.

One such question is why must our elite athletes leave home during Carnival so as not to negatively impact their training programme?

Today I will walk around Port-of-Spain and take in the celebrations. Last year I was out of the country at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre to finalise aspects of their high performance partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. It was my intention this year to make up and play mas.

But that was before the 10 Olympic or more Olympic gold medals by 2024 #10golds24 campaign got going in earnest.

The opportunity to promote #10golds24 during carnival is one that I will embrace. Trinidad and Tobago is a world class centre for Carnival. #10golds24 mission is for Trinidad and Tobago to become a world class centre for Olympic sports.

Like Carnival and the respective Carnival monarch winners. The athletes may be on the front line but achieving Olympic success is very much a team effort.

Each athlete or team is supported by a multi-disciplinary team.

Preparing takes many years and planning and it’s the attention to detail that produces the excellence and puts our athletes and teams in a position to compete for Olympic medals.

Olympic sports are a people business and the relationships are important. In a fraction of second results are determined. Everyone is under pressure.

There is a lot of adrenalin flowing. Keeping a cool head is vital when the heat is on.

There is an army of people who work behind the scenes to produce the moment when our athletes and teams mount the podium.

Sport is no different to Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. We have world class talent and potential. Like Carnival sport can put Trinidad and Tobago on the world map in a positive way.

Support the Olympic dream. Make your donations to the #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund at any branch of Scotia Bank Ac# 171188.


One must acknowledge and congratulate the efforts of the Queens Park Cricket Club and their sponsors for hosting the Sporting Heroes Reunion Brunch Lime.

First held in 2011 the  annual reunion brings together current and former sportsmen and sports women and is held on Carnival Sunday at the Queens Park Oval.

It was fantastic to see current sporting heroes such as Roger Daniel and Keiron Pollard taking  timeout from their busy schedule to attend.

Its a great idea and gesture and  an event that all national sport organizations and national governing bodies should support.

I thank Queens Park Cricket Club President Deryck Murray for his invitation and consider it a privilege and an honour  to be in the presence of so many past greats of Trinidad and Tobago Sport including Olympians and Olympic , CAC and Commonwealth medalists.

Time well spent. Thank you Queens Park Cricket Club. Well done.

Azim Bassarath, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) believes their will be no tangible benefit to local cricket from this country hosting seven matches in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

In a media release, Bassarath also argued that the US $4.2 million gifted to the foreign owners of the regional competition could be better spent on supporting home grown talent.

Bassarath also expressed his displeasure at the treatment meted out by the CPL organisers who last week launched the 2015 edition of the tournament in Port-of-Spain but left out the local board.

“It was yet another demonstration of the lack of respect that the CPL has for regional cricket boards who are responsible for the growth and development of the local game yet are locked out of all that they have to offer,” said Bassarath.

He said over the past four years, the TTCB faced an uphill battle to access funds earmarked by the Government for cricket development and assistance of the national senior team.

Bassarath said the TTCB recently met with new Minister of Sport Brent Sancho and was pleased with the way the discussions went insisting that the national cricket organisation has not been going to Government “cap in hand”.

“We have a track record of accountability and transparency and won the ‘Best Sports Administration of the Year’ award on several occasions. What we have been making representation for is what was promised us and which we believe we deserve,” said Bassarath. He said that over the past several years TT cricket has put the country on the international map as local players have excelled on the international stage for both their country and overseas franchises.

Bassarath said this has been achieved while more than TT $24 million in funds due to the organisation for national development and preparation of the TT Red Force for the Champions League T20 tournament for four years has as yet remained unpaid.

He said that it was a slap in the face of the local game and its administrators for taxpayers’ money to be funnelled to foreign investors who are exploiting the skills and talent of a legion of local cricketers nurtured and cultivated by the TTCB.

Bassarath said he remembered clearly at the launch of the CPL that the investors publicly stated that they would not be approaching regional governments for funding to stage their competition.

“It was stated then that their sponsors for the six teams will come from India and we were all persuaded that this would be the case which has turned out to be not true at all. Regional cricket boards are the ones being done a great disservice,” Bassarath fumed.

He also made reference to a proposal that the TTCB made to the previous Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith requesting assistance for 191 clubs who participate at all levels of the local game.

The expected cost of the exercise was close to TT $5 million per season and this would have covered the most important aspects of enabling the teams to participate in competitions and help strengthen the clubs at the grassroots level.

“We are hoping that the new Minister will take up this initiative as it will impact 191 communities in Trinidad and Tobago and the benefits will be innumerable not transient and miniscule like what the CPL promises,” said Bassarath.