PRESIDENT of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath has echoed the call by Communications Minister Vasant Bharath for a ministerial review of the special audit into the Sports Company.

Bassarath, in a speech delivered at an end-of-year function of the Christian Conquerors Sports Club of Rio Claro last weekend, again called for action to be taken against the former board of Sportt which was fired in the light of the Life Sport scandal where millions of dollars were paid for ghost programmes.
Bassarath, who  also serves as a Minister in the Ministry of Finance, recently described the findings of a special audit by the Office of the Auditor General into the operations of Sportt as “alarming.”
Line minister Larry Howai has since ordered a ministerial review of the report’s findings.
According to a Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board release yesterday, Bassarath said that while hundreds of millions of dollars were mis-spent by Sportt, cricket has been the biggest loser as more than $23 million pledged to the national organisation over the past four years, has been withheld which has seriously affected its youth development programmes.
He called on Minister Howai to extend the investigation into the activities of the fired board of Sportt .
He also called on Government to pay keen attention to the quality of individuals that are recommended for positions as it relates to sports.
Bassarath said despite the tough challenges they face, the board has applied prudent financial strategies and forged valuable partnerships with corporate T&T to ensure that the young people all over get a fair shot at maximising their potential on the cricket field.
Bassarath said that it was telling that the Auditor General’s overall conclusion is that Sportt is not giving sufficient attention to financial planning and risk management in the development and implementation of important projects, which has impacted the economy, efficiency and efficiency and effectiveness of delivery of sporting facilities.
Bassarath also gave his audience an update on his board’s recent meeting with Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith whom he described as honest and straight-forward and who has shown a willingness to address the issues he is faced with in an atmosphere of openness and transparency.
“Our discussions were frank and amicable and we are hopeful we can work with the minister to resolve our problems for the benefit of cricket and the many thousands it offers hope and a future for on and off the field,” said Bassarath.

TTOC president launches Olympic Preparation programme

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis yesterday announced the launch of the Ten Olympic Medals by 2024 Olympic Athlete Preparation Foundation at Olympic House on Abercromby Street yesterday.

As a start, Lewis will participate in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon on January 25 and hopes to raise $500,000 from the venture.

Lewis, who suffers with some ailments, plans to walk the 26.2 mile race in seven hours.

“I am an avid walker... but at about three hours, certain things start to happen to me physically that indicate I am sort of at the end of my limit. I know for sure seven hours will require some real effort,” Lewis said.

The former TTOC general secretary said the goal of ten medals by the 2024 Olympics has been criticised in some quarters.

“Many people have had issues with that, have said it is unrealistic or unattainable, and while I respect other people’s view, I share a different opinion. I think we have the potential to do more than we have done in terms of qualifying athletes to the Olympics and winning medals at the Olympic Games,” Lewis said.

Lewis added the launch of this foundation is more than just an elusive objective or big target, but about creating a culture and a system that supports the athletes.

Lewis said the integration and alignment of the sport policies through the national sporting organisations, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sport and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) will lead to more streamlined and more consistent results at regional, international and global games.

“We have seen too much based on good ideas in the absence of a structure. We have seen within recent times what happens when good ideas are not supported by good governance and structure,” he said.

Lewis revealed that a TTOC commissioned survey revealed that over 70 per cent of citizens love hearing the national anthem and seeing the red, white and black flag raised.

It is part of the expectations being put on T&T’s high performance, elite athletes. But Lewis said the expectation of medal-winning athletes must not exceed the athletes’ financial funding and preparation.

“To be competitive and to win medals, high performance athletes in elite sports need to dedicate more time and money into their athletic endeavours,” Lewis said, “How do we give our elite high performance athletes peace of mind, enable or empower career athletes from falling below the poverty and middle wage line (while) training to be an Olympic champion is a full-time commitment,”

Lewis said the pursuit of excellence and qualifying for the Olympic Games demands years of dedication, sacrifice and single-minded focus. He added that financial support or the lack of it across the stages of an athlete’s career development “ have ended or compromised the dreams of many of our talented men and women in sport”.

He said the Foundation is expected to evolve into an entity where sums of money are raised and is endowed so that there is an end for athletes that meet a defined criteria based on their needs.

Lewis said the Foundation is expected lend direct support, offer athletes stipends and out-of-pocket expenses, a medal bonus and health and accident insurance. Lewis said the TTOC is discussing with corporate T&T the possibility of internships to prepare athletes for life after sport and life skills training. The Foundation will also host an anti-doping workshop to educate athletes about the new law coming into place from January 1 ,2015.

Lewis said the Rio 2016 Olympic solidarity scholarship will afford eight athletes the opportunity to get assistance for training and the TTOC is targeting 75 athletes for the Brazil-based quadrennial games, including two team sports qualifiers.

The Olympic Committee president added that the Foundation will be complementary to the Ministry of Sport Elite Athletes Assistance Programme (EAAP)

“In terms of what is required to be able to properly prepare, with the proper competition technology, sports psychologists....having a fund that is dedicated to the high performance effort, other countries have identified the need to deepen the support they provide to elite athletes. If we are serious about winning medals at the Olympics and other international and global events, we cannot expect our athletes to do it in current circumstances,” Lewis said.

Former world boxing champion Ria Ramnarine is calling on the guardians of boxing to take note of the absence of female boxers in the country. “After the foundation set by myself and the late Giselle Salandy, it is unfortunate that there is a significant lack of women in the sport at this time.

Even the national female team is not encouraged to continue in the pursuit of their boxing goals simply because of the lack of focus and opportunities provided by the sport’s custodians”, said Ramnarine. Currently Ramnarine is the only female 3-Star AIBA certified coach in the region and has indicated that she is disappointed that women’s boxing seem to be a “thing of the past” in T&T. 
Except for the National Championships and one local boxing card which featured the female boxers, there was no other local competition for the women.

Ramnarine noted that the few women in the sport lost interest because of the lack of incentive. “All the girls wanted was to be able to put their training to use. To box. To compete. Some of them spent time at the national camp but returned to their homes and jobs after some months when it was evident that they were not being given the chance to compete. For example, Chimere Taylor has the skill to succeed on the international level, but without match practice, she gains no experience and as such, it is difficult for her to capitalise on her skills”.

There are so few women in the sport in T&T that regional opponents have to be flown in which makes it costly to promote the female bouts. However, Ramnarine believes that with the inclusion of women boxing in the Olympics, the efforts should be made to give the women boxers a chance to ply their trade. She indicated that this year they failed at an international level but attributed this to the lack of experience.

Having walked the road, albeit that of a professional, Ramnarine said it was very difficult to maintain a high level of skill, commitment and motivation without competition. She has called specifically on Boxu Potts to explain why there has been no focus on the female boxers of late. Ramnarine went on to say, “Mr Potts has been one of the promoters of women’s boxing and has been recognized internationally for his efforts.

I am asking why he is now absent from lobbying for women’s boxing. He is the special advisor to the Boxing Board of Control and I would have thought that he would have simply advised that the women boxers should be focused on as well. Having promoted Salandy and myself with great success, and although he is not actually a promoter nowadays, I think his position would allow him to properly advise the Board that we have a chance at Olympic qualification if the women are given the necessary competitions and tools to prepare”.

Noting the 2014 success of the Michael Alexander in the amateur circuit and Prince-Lee Isidore on the pro scene, Ramnarine believes that given the chance, the women can succeed also. Having been afforded the opportunity by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee to be part of the International Coaching Enrichment Certification Program in the USA, Ramnarine indicated that she is currently working on a program to encourage more young women and girls to participate in the sport as part of her thesis. “Boxing on the whole has been in a slumber. Only the likes of Alexander and Isidore have given a shimmer of hope and they too need assistance to continue their success. I sincerely hope that the guardians of the sport can wake up before we lose all hope”, ended Ramnarine.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has exploited China's likely status as host of the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to agree a bumper new broadcasting deal with China Central Television (CCTV).

The state broadcaster has been awarded exclusive rights to screen the next four Games after Rio 2016 in the world's most populous nation, in a deal believed to be worth some $550 million (£350 million/€450,000).

This is more than double the sum agreed for the same rights covering the four Games from Vancouver 2010 to Rio 2016, and reflects Asia's monopoly of Olympic hosting rights between 2018 and 2022.

With the 2018 Games earmarked for Pyeongchang, South Korea, 2020 going to Tokyo and 2022 set for either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan, the IOC will be hoping for similarly substantial increases in other Asian markets.

The new deal represents a scarcely believable leap from the $17.5 million (£11 million/€14 million) paid by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union for the TV rights (excluding new media) covering most of Asia, including China, for the last Chinese Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

Even so, $550 million works out at only around $0.40 (£0.25/€0.32) per head of Chinese population for all four Games, compared with the approximately $3.80 (£2.40/€3.10)per capita paid by NBC Universal for the right to air Rio 2016 on US soil.

Thomas Bach, the IOC President, said he was "delighted that we will continue to work with our longstanding broadcast partner CCTV.

"They have demonstrated many times their ability to bring first class coverage of the Olympic Games to hundreds of millions of Chinese people.

"The revenue the IOC has secured from this agreement will be redistributed to support future organisers of the Olympic Games, as well as supporting sport and athletes in China and around the world."

Hu Zhanfan, CCTV's President, described the deal as a "win-win agreement".

CCTV was, he said, "determined to be, as always, a powerful and exceptional partner of the IOC".

Zaiqing Yu, Chinese IOC vice-president, said CCTV was a "strong supporter of the Olympic values", adding: "We look forward to continuing our partnership through to 2024."

CCTV has acquired the rights across all broadcast platforms in all languages; the deal also includes the right to broadcast all editions of the Youth Olympic Games until 2024.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has announced that all national sports federations will be required to include basic universal good governance principles in their constitutions.

The move comes as the National Olympic Committee continues to work on promoting the adoption of good governance and ethics across the country's sports movement.

To help the national bodies to improve their sport administration and good governance practices, the TTOC will run a number of courses every year to educate on the principles, while providing assistance with reviews and reforms in their constitutions.

Good governance is part of the principles of Olympism, according to the International Olympic Committee.

Among the basic universal principles of good governance are transparency, efficient communication, shared and controlled responsibilities, respect to all and the right to appeal about all forms of disciplinary measures.

"Improving good sport governance in Trinidad and Tobago is a priority and focus for the TTOC," Brian Lewis, the President of the TTOC, said.

"Ensuring that national sport organisations are in compliance with and adhere to basic universal principles of good governance is therefore necessary."


The General Administration of Sport of the People’s Republic of China paid a courtesy call on Sport Minister Dr Rupert Griffith, Minister of Sport, and his Executive team from the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago. A part of this visit also includes a tour of the following mega sporting facilities which are being constructed by SporTT, namely the National Aquatic Centre, National Cycle Centre and National Tennis Centre.

The delegation, headed by Jin Hua Sheng, General Director, Human Resources Development Centre, General Administration of Sport, are here in Trinidad on an exchange visit to discuss bilateral exchanges and cooperation in sport and other areas.
The Ministry of Sport will participate in an exchange and cooperation programme with the People’s Republic of China, to strengthen collaboration in sporting excellence, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Sport and the General Administration of Sport of the People’s Republic of China.
This (MOU) was signed in China, in February 2014. The objective of this initiative is to raise the standard of performance of Athletes, while maximising Athlete and Coach Development Programmes in specific sporting disciplines. It is also anticipated that through this MOU, there will be increased opportunities to more nationals, as the Ministry strives to promote ‘Sport for All’.
In this regard, the Ministry of Sport will recruit 24 Chinese coaches in the first quarter of 2015 in exchange for 24 scholarships offered by the People’s Republic of China in the area of Sports Science. These Coaches will be qualified in the area of development and high performance in the following disciplines: table tennis, archery, gymnastics (rhythmic), badminton, shooting, swimming, synchronised Swimming and diving.
Scholarships, student and athlete exchange programmes will also target the differently-abled for the specialised training of nationals in Sport for Development, Physical Education and Sport, Sport Science and Sport Medicine.
The Scholarship Allocation includes: Sport for Development (three scholarships), physical education and sport (five scholarships), sport science (six scholarships) and sport medicine (10 scholarships).
Some of the sub-speciality areas for the above-mentioned programmes are sport facility management, sport tourism, physical education and sports training, sport and exercise nutrition, biomechanics/performance analysis, sport and exercise science – physiology, sport and exercise medicine, rehabilitation medicine and physical therapy and applied sport psychology.
Minister Griffith indicated that “he was excited about the whole bilateral agreement and is happy that as a country, we have reached this stage.”
He further stated that he “has taken note of the amount of countries that the General Administration of Sport of the People’s Republic of China have assisted and are convinced that the benefit will be great to Trinidad and Tobago in the whole collaborative effort.”