T&T’s senior women’s hockey team have been drawn in a relatively tough Pool B for the FIH World Hockey League Round Two qualifiers set for Montevideo, Uruguay from February 14 to 22.

The local squad which will be without no fewer tha nine key players will meet world 19th ranked Azerbaijan in their opener before on February 14 before facing off with 37th ranked Kenya (February 15) and 24th ranked France on February 17 to end round-robin play. Pool A will feature, Dominican Republic (#52), Italy (#17), Mexico (#28) and Uruguay (#31)

With the tournament being an eight-team affair, all participants have already qualified for the cross-over quarterfinals from which the winners will advance to the semifinals, and then the championship and bronze medal encounters.

From this tournament, the top two teams will qualify automatically for Round 3 which is the Semi-Finals of the FIH Hockey World League, which are due to be played in Valencia, Spain from June 10th to 21st, 2015 and Antwerp, Belgium from June 20th to July 5th, 2015. An additional qualification spot may also be available to the third place finishing team depending on its ranking and the rankings of the other teams that finish 3rd in other Round 2 tournaments being held in Delhi, India and Dublin, Ireland

On a positive note, Marcano will have the services of a few experience heads in Krizia Layne, Petal Derry, Brianna Govia, Brittney Hingh, Oire Trotman, Aime Olton, Kayla Brathwaite, Blair Wynne and co-captains Alanna Lewis and Patricia Wright-Aleixis while the rest of the team will comprise members of the national Under-21 squad who are preparing for the Pan American Junior Championship next year.

Women’s team members

Alanna Lewis (Co-captain), Patricia Wright-Alexis (Co-captain), Savannah De Freitas, Chelsea Dey, Amie Olton, Samantha Olton, Kayla Brathwaite, Brianna Govia, Brittney Hingh, Oire Trotman, Fiona O’Brien, Gabrielle Thompson, Jessica Lee, Lisa Smith, Petal Derry (GK), Arresia Sandy (GK), Blair Wynne and Krizia Layne.

Women’s team technical staff: Anthony Marcano (Head Coach), Valisha Sylvester (Team Manager), Nicholas Baldeosingh (Videographer), Kemba Noel-London (Physiotherapist) and Dr Timothy Hosein (Team Doctor).


As the debate continues over the omission of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the West Indies World Cup squad in Australia and New Zealand, the Express today publishes a letter to the Editor which makes a case for on cricketing grounds, the two players should have been included in the squad.

Dear Editor,
Please allow me to comment on the omission of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the West Indies squad for the World Cup beginning in Australia and New Zealand later this month. Chief selector Clive Lloyd should be ashamed of himself to claim that he has the best interests of the region at heart and pick a side to represent us in this showpiece event that excludes both Bravo and Pollard. The quality of both these players in this format is beyond dispute and I contend that Bravo has claims to being considered the most complete allrounder in West Indies cricket since Gary Sobers and Bernard Julien. So where is the fairness in WI cricket?
Much has been made recently on social and in conventional media of Pollard’s and Bravo’s last 15 or 16 innings.  That commentary, in my view, is quite misleading and I feel compelled to respond with some statistics that paint a more accurate picture of the reality.
Those who seek to justify the omission of the pair have generally omitted, conveniently or perhaps intentionally, both their bowling averages and the fact that both are undoubtedly among the better fieldsmen in world cricket today. But current figures show that Pollard is the only West Indian batsman who has scored three centuries in the One-Day game batting at number six.  He is also a destructive match winner who has scored over 2000 runs and a highly proficient medium pace bowler with 44 wickets to his name. Incidentally, as a far as I am aware, he is the only player who has made four centuries in the regional four-day game but has never been called up for Test duty.
And there are players called up to play in Tests for the West Indies without ever having  made a century in the four-day regional tournament.
Bravo has played 164 matches, capturing 199 wickets at an average of 29.51.  Among present-day players, he is the leading wicket-taker for the WI in ODIs and on the all-time list lies third behind the now retired Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, the two most successful fast bowlers in Tests matches and ODIs in the history of West Indies cricket.
Walsh has played 205 ODIs, 41 more than Bravo and has taken 227 wickets, a mere 28 more than Bravo, at an average of 30.47.  The records show that Ambrose played 176 ODIs, 12 more than Bravo, and took 225 wickets, only 26 more than Bravo, at an average of 24.12. Dares Mr Lloyd tell us that Bravo’s bowling figures are not on par with or, in some respects, better than Walsh’s and Ambrose’s?
In addition, Carlos Braithwaite, who was on the team for South Africa and has been retained for the World Cup, played four matches in South Africa. In his four innings, he averaged 6.75, scoring a grand total of 27 runs. Selected mainly for his bowling,  he got exactly no wickets.  Another fast bowler, Sheldon Cottrell, played two matches and got two wickets at an average of 53 runs per wicket. We shall spare him—and us all—the embarrassment of mentioning his batting.
The now prematurely retired Bravo boasts ten fifties and two centuries in his 164 matches, amassing 2,968 runs at an average of  25.36. I dare Mr Lloyd to tell us that new skipper Jason Holder, former skipper Darren Sammy, the Smiths, Dwayne and Devon, Leon Johnson, Jonathan Carter, Andre Fletcher, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Walsh, Ambrose, Brathwaite or Cottrell have done or will do better than that with the bat.
Unreasonably dropped from the Test team in 2010 at the age of 27, Bravo has played 40 Tests, scoring ,200 runs with three centuries and 13 fifties to his name (ave. 31.42.) He has also got 86 wickets.  Compare Australia’s Shane Watson who has played 56 games, 16 more than Bravo, amassing 3646 runs, with four centuries and 74 wickets (ave. 35.74.) Watson is still representing his country, one of the best teams in the world currently, while Bravo cannot earn a place on the team which is at its weakest level in history and is now rated eighth of the ten Test-playing nations.
Is it the players we need to dispose of or other persons who are destroying our game? Recall Chris Gayle’s disgust at the performance of the WICB and its selectors in South Africa? Remember when Tony Cozier boycotted an entire Test match over the exclusion of the now forgotten and then eminently forgettable Anderson Cummings from the West Indies side?
If Tony could boycott, who is we ? Or do we really believe that the WI can field its best ODI or T-20 team without Bravo and Pollard?

Marsha Mark-Baird’s Road to Rio campaign has begun.
The two-time Olympian recently celebrated her 41st birthday, and will be 42 when the 2016 Olympic Games is staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But Mark-Baird is not daunted by the challenge of attaining the qualifying standard in the gruelling seven-event heptathlon. In fact, she has already competed at four meets in 2015, following up on her comeback season last year.
Mark-Baird’s latest outing was last Friday, at the Mountain State Games in Idaho, USA. She produced a 5.87 metres leap for second spot in the women’s long jump. And in the shot put, the US-based Trinidad and Tobago athlete was 14th with an 11.55m throw.
Two weekends ago, in Colorado, Mark-Baird finished second in the Air Force Invitational women’s indoor pentathlon. She earned 3,679 points in the five-discipline event. Her best showing came in the 60m hurdles, Mark-Baird getting to the line in 8.85 seconds to earn 941 points. She cleared the bar at 1.58m in the high jump, threw 10.66m in the shot put, jumped 5.84m in the long jump, and returned a time of two minutes, 33.28 seconds in the 800m.
At the January 16-17 Ed Jacoby Invite, in Idaho, Mark-Baird secured sixth spot in the women’s 60m hurdles final, the veteran athlete getting to the line in 9.25 seconds. She had clocked 9.16 in the qualifying round. Mark-Baird was 18th in the 800m in 2:39.23, and 29th in the shot put with a 10.65m effort.
And in her season-opener, at the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougar Collegiate Indoor Invitational, in Utah, Mark-Baird finished fifth in the women’s high jump with a 1.58m clearance.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, in Australia, Mark-Baird was 22nd in the women’s heptathlon with 5,627 points. Four years later, at the Athens Games, in Greece, she accumulated 5,962 points--which is still the national record--to finish 25th. If the evergreen heptathlete has her way, the T&T standard will be 6,000-plus by the time Rio 2016 is over.


In one of his first official meetings since being appointed Minister of Sport, Senator Brent Sancho reviewed plans yesterday morning for the opening of the three national venues for cycling, tennis and aquatics with executives of each of the respective National Governing Bodies (NGBs).
The meeting was also attended by outgoing Minister of Sport, Dr. Rupert Griffith. Each NGB has outlined a schedule of events to coincide with the opening of each mega facility. The events are designed to showcase the talent within the various disciplines, promote Trinidad and Tobago as a destination as well as market the modern facilities which will be accessible to elite athletes, local, regional and international.
According to a release from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Sportt) Minister Sancho was pleased with the progress being made in each discipline and was careful to impress upon the executives the need to get value for money. He also was keen to learn about opportunities to secure investment from the private sector, for these events and beyond, so as to wean the NGBs off their heavy reliance on state funding.
Minister Sancho further stressed the need to increase participation in sports and improve the level of adjudication, officiating and use of timing and other technical systems so that future hosting of events may be driven by local expertise. Comprehensive training programmes in these areas will take place prior to opening of the facilities, the release stated.
Minister Sancho will conduct private site visits to each of the new national facilities over the weekend.
The National Cycling Velodrome in Couva and National Tennis Centre in Tacarigua are scheduled to be completed in June while the National Aquatics Centre, also in Couva, is due to come on stream in July/August.


Sport Event Denmark, the Combat and Strength Sports Confederation of Kazakhstan and Macau Sport Development Board will be among Gold Partners at a SportAccord Convention in April in which "legacy" will be a central theme.  

The World Sport and Business Summit, due to take place from April 19 to 24 at the Sochi Expocentre in Russia, should see an increased number of delegates attending an event seeking to embrace new sectors of the sports world.

It is billed as an "unique opportunity for exchange between key decision-makers from International Sports Federations and business leaders from innovative and fast-growing companies across more than 20 industries".

While the Combat and Strength Sports Confederation of Kazakhstan will support the event for a first time, the Macau Sport Development Board are partners for an eighth consecutive year; while Sport Event Denmark are also repeating a role they undertook last year.

Silver Partners announced so far consist of Aggreko, City of Edmonton, Eurosport, EventScotland and the Qatar Olympic Committee, while the Commonwealth Games Federation will join once again as a Bronze Partner.

"As the Convention broadens its role, it is important to encourage involvement from both the sport and industry sectors," said SportAccord Convention managing director Nis Hatt.

"We're pleased that our committed partner organisations, new and existing, will be working with us to deliver a rewarding Convention for our delegates.

"There are so many important areas of interest for our attendees, and during this Conference programme, we can focus on the specific implications for International Sport Federations and the wider sport family."

The preliminary SportAccord Convention Conference Programme has also been revealed, with discussions including debate on "The truth about Legacy" and "The Sporting Future Today - How technology is changing the game plan".

Other presentations delivered by leading experts will spotlight trends and opportunities, including "The Athlete Brand and Role Model Revolution", while issues encompassing sport morality, social responsibility, transparency and authenticity will also be addressed.


FIFA Presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein has claimed here there is a "culture of intimidation" within football's governing body and said he cannot be a part of the world governing body if Sepp Blatter is re-elected.

Prince Ali, President of the Jordanian Football Association and a member of the FIFA ruling Executive Committee since 2011, also revealed for the first time that the countries who had nominated him are Belarus, Georgia, Malta and the United States, as well as Jordan and England.

"There has been a culture of intimidation within FIFA," he told a news conference.

"In the past people have taken a principled stand and have been punished for it.

"I hope that things are played fairly and rightly but obviously an incumbent has an advantage.

"I am totally committed to this and my aim is to win this election.

"I could not see myself in FIFA for the next few years otherwise."

FIFA's Member Associations have now officially received the candidature files for Prince Ali, Blatter, President of the Royal Dutch Football Association Michael van Praag and Portugal's former FIFA World Player of the Year Luis Figo.

The election is due to take place in Zurich on May 29.

Once all four have been integrity-checked, the Ad-Hoc Electoral Committee will reconvene to review all submission and once this process has been completed, they will formally admit and declare the candidates who are eligible to become FIFA President.

Frenchman Jérôme Champagne announced yesterday he did not have the required support to officially enter the race, while former France star David Ginola's whose candidacy was widely denounced as a publicity stunt, pulled out of the running last week.

Prince Ali has called for more transparency within FIFA and feels all the candidates should have a public debate before the election in Zurich on May 29 ©Getty Images
Prince Ali has called for more transparency within FIFA and feels all the candidates should have a public debate before the election in Zurich on May 29 ©Getty Images

The 39-year-old Prince Ali, bidding to deny the Swiss a fifth term, believes there should be more transparency within world football's governing body and he has called for a public debate ahead of the election.

"If we are talking about transparency, I would like to see a public debate including the incumbent so that everyone across the world knows our positions," he said.

His chances of dethroning Blatter, however, were dealt a blow just a couple of weeks after he announced his candidacy by the fact that the Asian Football Confederation announced they would not be supporting his campaign.

But Prince Ali claimed that will not hamper his chances of becoming the next FIFA President as this is a "global election".

"I don't think that will be an issue," Prince Ali added.

"This is a candidacy for the whole world and not all confederations are united at the moment."

Despite the miasma of corruption allegations made towards FIFA and the fact that he could face three different challengers to his Presidency, Blatter remains the red-hot favourite to continue in a role he has held since 1998.

Prince Ali, who bases a large part of his campaign on complete reform to the governing body, believes Blatter has failed to bring about changes he has promised to make in the past.

"If we talk about proper reform, I'm not confident I've seen Blatter do it," he said.

"He's had the chance to do so but he hasn't done it.

"We've had promises from him that he won't run again but obviously that is not the case and I think we need full honesty and integrity and we should give a chance to others.

"The President needs to be held responsible."