Brian Lewis, President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) deserves commendation for his visibly proactive effort to lay a solid foundation for T&T elite athletes to win at least 10 gold medals by the 2024 Summer Olympics through the Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative.

Any unbiased observer will quickly acknowledge that Lewis is discharging his responsibilities with passion, optimism and practicality.

He is clear about what he would like to achieve, is passionately optimistic and is making every effort to ensure that these goals are attainable.

The success of modern day sports is dependent upon a number of primary and secondary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders are the athletes who through their respective skills and talent perform outstanding feats to the satisfaction of supporters, sponsors and everyone else who appreciate the value of outstanding performances.

However, it is important to appreciate that the success of athletes is connected to the organizational and managerial skills of sporting administrators. This may be more so in developing countries where economic resources and other infrastructural requirements may be lacking.

Behind the public scenes administrators work assiduously to ensure that all the relevant resources and opportunities are available so that elite athletes can train without undue non-training issues.

Administrators are responsible for the development and implementation strategic plans that will ensure continuous improvement of programmes to achieve clearly identifiable goals.

These plans are not only about the athletes but also the requisite human resource support.

This is required to ensure that athletes are provided with the current scientific training that is available so that they can compete internationally on an equal footing.

The TTOC Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative is a manifestation of the importance of a dynamic and proactive sports administrator. Achieving 10 gold medals or more will be a costly activity as potential Olympians have to be exposed to the best training and other resources available.

Therefore, instead of sitting back and awaiting for the state to dole out funds, Lewis and the TTOC have embarked upon creatively proactive strategies to raise funds.

Lewis’ appeal has been to both corporate T&T and the general public for sponsorship.

To raise awareness and to personally market the goal of the TTOC he put his body through the grueling demands of walking the 26.2 miles T&T marathon last Sunday from Freeport junction to the Queen’s Park Savannah.

It was a clear demonstration of leading from the front. The goal of this venture was to raise $500 000.

His feat was well supported by family, friends and members of the sporting fraternity.

At the end of the walk he reflected on the wide ranging support he received by stating “I am glad it (the walk) resonated so deeply with the public and it just goes to show there are still wonderful and tremendous people in this country who want to see the country progress.”

Lewis’s effort has immediately had an impact as the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, Hasely Crawford.

Crawford has pledged his support by offering for lease his gold medal and full outfit he wore when he defeated Donald Quarrie (Jamaica) silver medal and Valeriy Borzov (Russia) bronze medal to win 100 metres in 10.06 seconds at the Montreal Games. Crawford reiterated that winning an Olympic gold medal is no easy feat and hence the importance of providing support to young athletes in order for them to realise their goals.

Corporate T&T have also responded positively. The Guardian Group have donated $250,000 and other sponsors have been Columbus Communications, Deloitte & Touche and Southern Sales, Toyota. These gestures may be the cue for other corporate entities to follow.

The TTOC is also appealing to corporate T&T to provide internship, mentorship and work opportunities for elite athletes. This strategy will help provide the athletes with an important living comfort which will allow them to train freely without the burden of having to search for financial support.

Lewis has also used his weekly Guardian column to articulate his ideas about the administration of sports and also the importance of sports as a means of building the social and economic capital of the country. There are important lessons for administrators of other sporting administrators to follow.

There is an indeterminacy about sports so success is not guaranteed. There will be constructive critics and there will be the outright naysayers. The latter is an unfortunate feature of our culture- crab in barrel syndrome- some bask in failures or shortcomings of others. However, one cannot fault Lewis and the TTOC for making a concerted effort to achieve their goals of #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Donations to #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund can be made at any Scotia Bank Branch the TTOC Account number is 171188 or by cheque made payable to TTOC which can be dropped off or posted to TTOC Olympic House 121 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad. #10golds24 bandwagon gets rolling

It’s only natural to be suspicious of Brian Lewis’ motives. This is a country where walking the talk isn’t a priority, especially among public figures. So when the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) fulfilled his stated commitment to walking the marathon distance last week Sunday in launching a fund-raising effort targeting the next three Summer Olympic Games, it was time to take notice.


First of all, what planet is this fella on? I mean, in our history of Olympic participation going back 66-plus years, there are only two gold medals to show for it. Granted, the second came at the last edition in London in 2012, but to suggest that Keshorn Walcott’s out-of-the-blue triumph in the javelin could be the trigger for an avalanche (for us) of golden success in 2016, 2020 and 2024 is like the Prime Minister believing this latest matter surrounding the Attorney General will merely blow over after nine days or so.


Anyway, as utterly ludicrous as it sounds, the TTOC boss has already managed to snare some big-name corporate support, with the Guardian Group igniting the flame of private sector interest to the tune of $250,000. I actually thought it was a misprint when the information appeared in the media a week ago. Surely it was $25,000 and not a quarter-of-a-million dollars. Four others have since come on board, although their contributions are yet to be publicly disclosed.


Maybe Lewis should try selling snake oil in his spare time, or bags of party ice cubes to the Inuit of northern Canada. But his biggest coup, so far, was to get Hasely Crawford to sprint onto the bandwagon in pursuit of this ambitious, audacious project.


Anyone with even a passing interest in the life and times of the nation’s first Olympic gold medallist would be aware of his increasing bitterness and deepening sense of hurt over the manner in which he has been treated by successive governments and the general public since beating Jamaica’s Don Quarrie to the 100-metre finish line in Montreal, in 1976.


We can debate long into the night whether or not Crawford’s angst is justified. But right or wrong, it doesn’t change the fact that the man has been vex like hell for all sorts of different reasons for almost 40 years. So for him to announce that his Olympic gold medal and the gear he wore for that historic occasion is to be leased to the TTOC in support of the #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund – that’s the official name of the project – is almost as unexpected as Anand Ramlogan being contrite and apologetic about anything.


So what’s really at play here? Granted that as an insurance salesman he would know a thing or two about making an effective pitch, but how does he attract so much significant backing so soon when most administrators in other sports have struggled for years to garner even a fraction of that support?


As we know only too well, credibility is at the very heart of the problem when it comes to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, custodians of our most popular sport, to the extent that potential benefactors prefer to pay third parties to manage the money rather than let it go to the TTFA directly.


There are three things we claim to crave but really only demand it of others, not ourselves: integrity, transparency and accountability. Could it be that Lewis has convinced enough important people that he is prepared to abide by those three musketeers of effective, progressive governance in pursuit of a dream? If so, he has established for himself a dizzyingly high standard, one that very, very few are prepared to be held up against for at least the next nine years.


Will we even remember this ideal of ten golds by 2024 after the flame of the Games of that year is extinguished? What measurable difference will it make anyway to basic issues like quality of life or higher ideals like a sense of nationhood should the goal be attained or surpassed?


Whether or not you choose to remain sceptical or prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt, Brian Lewis has put himself out there in a manner few of us are willing to do. As encouraging as the early signs are, he must know that it only takes one false move for the whole thing to come crashing down around him. Rest assured, there are some willing the venture of fail for nothing more than narrow, selfish motives.


So stay on the fence if you will, but unless he is exposed as a crook, a thief and a charlatan, I am prepared to get on board for an exercise that could only be for the good of the country.

SWIMMER DYLAN Carter and chess player Javanna Smith won the respective Male and Female Personalities of the Year accolades on Friday.

The duo was named as the top individual performers at the fifth annual First Citizens Sports Foundation Youth Awards held at the Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain.

Carter, currently enrolled at the University of Southern California in the United States, earned a pair of medals at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

He took silver in the men’s 50-metre butterfly in 23.81 seconds and then got bronze in the men’s 50m freestyle in 22.53 seconds.

Speaking to the audience live via Skype, Carter noted, “thanks to God, my parents, my coaches, everybody who supported me to get this far. It’s a surreal feeling.”

Smith became the first Trinidad and Tobago female FIDE Master when she placed third in the women’s category at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Under-20 Championships in Costa Rica.

The top 10 personalities for 2014 were also revealed – Carter, Smith, Naim Mohammed (badminton), Sachin Kumar (golf), Kristin Julien (swimming), Joshua Johnson (chess), Jeminise Parris (track and field), Kollyn St George (cycling), Akanni Hislop (track and field) and Akil Campbell (cycling).

A total of 39 persons – 22 male and 17 female – were vying for the coveted awards – Male and Female Personalities of the Year.

Top 10: Kristin Julien (swimming), Akanni Hislop (athletics), Sachin Kumar (golf), Kollyn St George (cycling), Dylan Carter (swimming), Jeminise Parris (athletics), Javanna Smith (chess), Joshua Johnson (chess), Akil Campbell (cycling), Naim Mohammed (badminton).

Brazil's brightest current football star Neymar has said he hopes to help his country win its first men's Olympic football gold medal at South America's first Olympic Games next year in Rio de Janeiro.

Interviewed by, the Barcelona striker said: "I hope to be part of this group and win the title for the Brazilian people, especially since we are playing at home.

"Winning at the Maracanã would be incredible, unforgettable, and you can be sure we'll give our best on the pitch to make this happen."

Neymar's World Cup last summer ended in particularly bitter disappointment, after an injury inflicted by a Colombian defender forced him to miss Brazil's semi-final against eventual winners Germany - a match that ended with a scarcely credible 7-1 scoreline in favour of the European team.

The tournament marked the second occasion on which the five-times world champions have failed to lift the World Cup on home turf.

The Olympic men's football competition is an under-23 tournament, with three over-age players per squad permitted.

Neymar turns 23 early next month, but Alexandre Gallo, who will take charge of Brazil's Olympic squad, has indicated that he wants the player to fill one of those over-age slots.

Neymar, who was in the Brazil squad that claimed the silver medals at London 2012 after defeat by Mexico in the final, said:

"Wearing the Brazilian shirt is indescribable and every time I wear our colours it is a memorable occasion for me.

"This was especially so in London, where I first competed in the Games.

"It was something that really made a big impression on me and that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

"I already imagine myself playing in the Olympic Games in my own country - it will be a dream come true.

"I have had the opportunity to play in the Confederations Cup and the World Cup in Brazil, so now the Olympic Games is all that is missing.

"It will bring me a lot of joy."

In spite of winning five World Cups, Brazil has yet to claim gold in either the men's or the women's Olympic football competitions.

Five times, Brazilian teams of one gender or another have had to settle for silver after losing Olympic finals; on two further occasions, Brazil's men have come away with bronze medals.

Arch-rivals Argentina, by contrast, already have two Olympic football titles under their belts, as have Luís Suárez's Uruguay.

As for other Olympic sports, Neymar said he was keen to see Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in action, adding: "I am a big fan of his."

He went on: "I also want to see Brazil compete in volleyball, basketball, swimming and judo.

"But what I am most looking forward to is the feel of the Games at the Olympic Village.

"In London we didn't stay with the other athletes and I think the atmosphere must be very different.

"I admire many Brazilian athletes and it will be marvellous to share this experience with them."

It is customary for Olympic football matches to be played in a variety of cities around the host country.

In addition to Rio, games at Rio 2016 will be played in Salvador, Brasília, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.


TRINIDAD AND Tobago Red Force all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has called it quits from Test cricket, less than two months after he was controversially removed as captain of the West Indies One Day International team, as well as dropped from the team for the recent ODI series against South Africa and the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

In a message which he sent to former national and West Indies leg-spinner Dinanath Ramnarine yesterday, and which was subsequently posted on Ramnarine’s Twitter page, Bravo noted, “(yesterday) I (announced) my retirement from Test cricket. I have already informed the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) of this decision and also indicated my desire to continue to represent West Indies in the shorter version of the game.

“I recognise that this is a difficult time for all of us,” Bravo added. “Our people of the region have seen and enjoyed great cricketing days but we will not return to glory until we agree to go forward with our love for the game and the respect of the administrators, players and the public.”

The 31-year-old continued, “I have experienced the exhilarating joy of victory and the devastating pain of defeat. The joyous memories will remind me of what we are capable of achieving. I want to be part of that mission.”

He ended, “I thank the cricketing fraternity for their support and look forward to serving you with determination and the pride of being a West Indian.”

Bravo made his Test debut at Lord’s, London on July 22 2004, during the ill-fated tour of England, which saw the Brian Lara-led Windies suffer a 4-0 whitewash to the hands of the Michael Vaughan-led England.

He played 40 Tests, scoring 2,200 runs at an average of 31.42 with a topscore of 113 (against Australia in Hobart in 2005). With his medium pace, he captured 86 wickets at an average of 39.83 with best figures of 6/55 (against England at Old Trafford, Manchester in 2004).

His last Test was the third and final match against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in December 2010, where he scored a duck in a rain-ruined affair.

Bravo was also renowned for his smile, his ebullience and his fielding, especially in limited-overs cricket, and he has become one of the game’s most recognisable players, particularly on the T20 circuit with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel (Caribbean Premier League), the Chennai Super Kings (Indian Premier League) and Melbourne Renegades (Big Bash League, Australia).

However, Bravo has been the centre of controversy, based in fact to his role as the captain of the West Indies team who pulled out of the ODI series, and subsequent series away to India last October, due to problems with the payment structure in the players’ revised tour contracts.

He was removed as ODI captain in December - replaced by Barbadian Jason Holder.

Earlier yesterday, as he has been doing in recent times, Ramnarine hinted at another major development in West Indies cricket, arising from the dispute between the players, the West Indies Players Association (headed by Wavell Hinds) and the WICB (led by Dave Cameron).

“Another day in which we should be expecting some major announcements in WI cricket,” Ramnarine blogged yesterday morning. “Our aim (should) be (to) encourage players (to) stay in (the) game.”

Ramnarine broke the news of that Bravo and Kieron Pollard were not going to be selected to the West Indies World Cup squad (48 hours before the 15-man team was announced by the WICB), and also on Monday, he highlighted the fact that off-spinner Sunil Narine was pulling out of the World Cup squad due to his desire to continue remedial work on his bowling action. Narine made his decision official on Tuesday.


NEWLY CROWNED 2014-2015 Super League champions Club Sando have been accepted as the newest TT Pro League club and will compete at the 2015-2016 season, which is set to begin in September.

Meanwhile Club Sando’s youth teams at the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 levels will have their taste at the 2015 Youth Pro League, which will run from March to July.

TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene unveiled Club Sando, represented by owner Edison “Eddie” Dean and technical director Muhammad Isa, during a press conference at the Pro League’s office in St Augustine yesterday.

Skeene said that the TT Pro League’s board of directors had reviewed the application of Club Sando, who have been campaigning in the Super League for a number of years and had been successful, and saw it fit to accept the San Fernando club into the TT Pro League fold.

Buoyed by an ambitious owner/CEO Dean, a board of directors that includes Isa, Steve Goopeesingh, Marlon Zoe and Derek Lange, and dedicated players and fans, Club Sando’s arrival at the Pro League is now a reality.

Isa, who said it is a very proud moment, explained that while Club Sando are very thankful for acceptance into the TT Pro League, it was something the club had worked very hard to achieve.

“Our organisation has worked very hard to achieve this,” Isa said. “Three years ago Dean called a meeting with two of the key stakeholders, which were Derek Lange and myself. Our club was approaching 25 years (of existence in 2015), and we decided that at 25 years we want to play at the highest level in the country, which is the TT Pro League.

“We started to work on it two years ago. We didn’t just want to pay our way into the TT Pro League. We wanted to come into the TT Pro League as Super League champions. The management and staff worked very hard to win the Super League and today we are very much honoured to be in the TT Pro League as the Super League champions.”

Club Sando enjoyed their best years at the Super League in the last two seasons since the arrival of former St Ann’s Rangers coach Anthony Streete. In 2013-2014 Club Sando finished runners-up in the both the league and knockout competitions behind Guaya United – another Super League outfit ambitious of entering the Pro League.

One season later Club Sando celebrates the 2014-2015 Super League title in the year of celebrating their 25th anniversary, and to top it off, the club are now preparing for the highest tier of football in Trinidad and Tobago—the TT Pro League.

Club Sando, who also fields a team in the Southern FA, will have the next eight months to prepare for life in professional football.

“We will continue to play the high brand of football that we played in the Super League and I will assure you that we will be competitive in the TT Pro League,” Isa assured. “Our coach (Anthony Streete) cares about the style of football that we play.

“He always emphasised that he wants people to follow the team, so he always emphasised a quality standard from the players. He wants to bring back the fans to football and that’s why we have a (huge fan support) right now because of the style of football that we produce.”

In 2013 Club Sando, who boast of a number of former Pro League players, etched themselves into history, becoming the first second tier team of the Trinidad and Tobago football system to reach the Toyota Classic Final but went under 2-0 against W Connection in the title match.

“We hope that Club Sando’s journey and their stay in professional football is long and fruitful,” Skeene said. “They have a dynamic organisation and now a vibrant brand, which is the TT Pro League. And I want to tell them that they are joining a group of like-minded individuals who have the growth of professional football at heart and who continue to work daily to ensure the sustainability and viability of professional football in Trinidad and Tobago.”