FLORIS “FLORRIE” Kelshall is pleased with what she has accomplished in the sport of hockey, as she awaits her 100th birthday on January 3 2016.

Kelshall, the former national hockey player and administrator, was specially recognised at last Friday’s First Citizens Sports Foundation Sports Awards at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

And the well-spoken Kelshall admitted that she felt lovely to be recognised by hosts Wendell Constantine and Danielle Jones at the annual award ceremony.

The Humming Bird Medal Silver recipient (1983) noted on Friday night, “I met a lot of old friends that I haven’t seen for years. It’s lovely to have met them.”

Kelshall, who was inducted into the then West Indian Tobacco (WITCO) - now First Citizens Sports Foundation - Sports Hall of Fame in June 1985, also commented on the state of local hockey. “I don’t think we can compare now as it used to be, because, before we played, everybody had known everybody in hockey. Now I hardly hear any news about hockey.”

She continued, “I enjoyed my hockey days. I travelled with the hockey team and I went and played in different countries. I have thousands of friends in hockey.

The Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) has embarked on a drive to promote the sport at the school level. And Kelshall pointed out, “hockey is a very good sport because (players are able) to share the game. You don’t have to keep it to yourself. You share it with 11 other people on the team.”

She was delighted to point out that, “in my time, we went (to the United States) twice to play and we played in the leagues here.”

Reflecting on how the sporting arena was in her days, Kelshall remarked, “everyone showed an interest in sports and on Saturdays, we’d (be) playing hockey. On Monday mornings people would stop you and say “you missed that goal” or “you got a very good goal”. People were very interested in sports.”

She admitted, “I was born in Barbados, then I went to school in England (at the Ursuline Convent at age 13 and then to the Manchester University to study medicine, specifically optics) and I came back (to the Caribbean) but, instead of going to Barbados, I came to Trinidad (in 1939).”

She continued, “and I played with Ventures Hockey Club, which is part of my life. Then I got married (but) he (Kenneth) didn’t interfere with my hockey at all. I still have a lot of friends from hockey. I made friends, apart from my team.”

Kelshall was in her glee when she spoke about the supporters at the Police Barracks in St James, who will constantly chant “run Florrie, run Florrie, run”. While she was adamant that “I enjoyed my hockey days,” she also noted, “I played badminton at nights and I enjoyed that. And I played tennis at St James Tennis Club and I enjoyed that. I got married and had children (three girls), but the children didn’t interfere with my sport.”

Asked how she possessed the energies to play a variety of sport, she replied, “I was full of energy and I had a very considerate husband. All he said was “don’t involve me in anything, do what you like but don’t involve me”. None of her daughters - Kay, Joy and Kim, played sport, but Kelshall also represented Trinidad and Tobago in the sport of bridge, after she ended her active playing career. As far as her profession was concerned, she was a qualified optician but she also distinguished herself in sporting administration, having been made an honorary life member of the now-defunct TT Women’s Hockey Administration (she was the president from 1955-1962), the first female honorary life member of the TTHB and an honorary life member of Ventures (she was a member since 1940).

She ended, “my family life has been good. I now live with my two daughters in Cascade, one daughter lives in Venezuela.”


It may be passing unnoticed in much of the world but large pockets of the planet have been transfixed over recent weeks by the ongoing Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

In particular, by the incredible feast of top class hitting we have seen from the likes of South Africa's AB De Villiers and the West Indies Chris Gayle, two of the most swashbuckling sporting specimens on the planet, in any sport.

But a chance to continue the global expansion and popularity of the game are hardly being helped by the International Cricket Council's decision to reduce the number of teams from 14 to 10 by the time the next World Cup rolls around in England and Wales in 2019.

The decision was made predominantly to reduce the length of the tournament and avoid the kind of mismatches seen in the past, where minnows have been invariably beaten out of sight by the world's finest. Yet, this has generally not been the case over the last two weeks, and the so called "minnow" teams, who do not play in the traditional five-day Test format of the game, have not only held their own but have been involved in many of the most entertaining matches so far.

We have seen shocks, most notably when lowly Ireland edged out the West Indies, a composite team consisting of players from the cricket-mad Caribbean Islands and Guyana which won the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979. There have also been thrillingly close clashes between these minnows, with Ireland defeating United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan overcoming Scotland in painfully tight, topsy-turvy and nail-biting fashion.

There would surely must be better ways of reducing the length of the competition than by sacrificing the added spice that these four countries have produced.

There are nagging fears that similar changes may be seen elsewhere in the world of sport, including at the Olympic Games, where the Agenda 2020 reform process is seeking to keep the total number of athletes competing the same, while opening the door to the possibility of new sports and disciplines.

It is therefore possible the number of athletes competing in some events could be cut to accommodate changes, with the lesser participants ostensibly most at risk.

This has not been directly suggested, but protecting the smaller nations was the subject of several questions therein from International Olympic Committee members at December's Session in Monte Carlo.

But minnows are a key part of the Olympics, just as they are the Cricket World Cup and so many other sporting events. One of my best memories at insidethegames was a cricket match at the Asian Games in Incheon, where Kuwait, essentially a village team whose best players were a father and son combination, took on the might of a Bangladesh side packed with international pedigree.

Kuwait got walloped, but that was not the point. It was great to watch and nothing beat the looks of ecstasy on the faces of the Kuwaiti players every time they enjoyed any success, as they did when they won one of their earlier matches via the toss of the coin.

Similar underdogs are seen at most sporting events, from the Trinidad and Tobago rugby sevens team at least summer's Commonwealth Games, to the exploits of Equatorial Guinean swimmer Eric "the Eel" Moussambani at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Further back we had Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards, the British ski jumper known essentially for being useless, but surely the most famous exponent of his sport in history.

Sometimes, arguably in the case of Edwards, and certainly in a sport like boxing, it would be dangerous for the tiniest of minnows to take on the very best, but usually it is a great component and a reason people watch sport.

What's more, it is the best way nations can improve. It is interesting that, in the first years of professionalism in many sports, the top players were getting so much better, contests were becoming more and more lopsided. But a trickle-down effect, in coaching, officiating as well as in players, appears to have taken place, and that is why contests are becoming closer, with cricket one good example.

Another is rugby union, where, although a handful of nations still dominate the 15-a-side game, rugby sevens has got and more competitive, with teams like Kenya, United States, Russia and Brazil competitive along with the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and England.

Although rugby sevens is a sport that lends itself to upsets more than others, the experience these nations have gained by being able to take on the world's best regularly has undoubtedly been a key part of their evolution.

This was a point brought home to me today when attending the formal launch of the bid process for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, where Durban, the sole city left standing following the surprise withdrawal of Edmonton last month, is poised to become the first African host of any major global multi-sport event.

No continent symbolises the underdog more than Africa, and, after hosting World Cups in rugby, cricket and football, the Commonwealth Games would be another step of huge significance.

The last edition of the Games in Glasgow, also produced one of the great victories for a minnows when Kiribati weightlifter David Katoatau triumphed in the under 105 kilogram division.

A wonderful sporting moment predominantly for its unpredictability and significance to a tiny nation of just 100,000 people, unaccustomed to global success.

That would not happen if we did not encourage new countries to participate and it is therefore imperative that, as so many changes are played out across international sport, the plight of the so-called minnows is something that does not get overlooked.


Prince Imran of Malaysia has promised he is ready to compete for a second term as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) following the news, exclusively broken by insidethegames, Scotland's Louise Martin will stand against him.

Prince Imran, who ran uncontested in 2011 when he succeeded Jamaica's Michael Fennell, declared he would run again for a fresh four-year term at last week's CGF Executive Board meeting in London, after which Martin also announced she would be a candidate.

Speaking today in Malaysia, the 66-year-old, who has served as a member of the International Olympic Committee since 2006 and also heads the Olympic Council of Malaysia, welcomed all challengers but vowed to compete the controversial reforming measures he claims to have set in motion.

"We have undertaken a lot of reforms in the CGF with a new strategic plan," he said, as reported by Malaysian news agency Bernama.

"Having started the process and completed the first phase of getting everything approved and moving, I now want [to] see through the implementation process."

Prince Imran, the CGF's vice-president for eight years before taking over the top job, presided over the success of last summer's Games in Glasgow, which he declared the "best ever" at the Closing Ceremony.

His tenure has, though, also been clouded by an attempt to move the CGF headquarters from London to Kuala Lumpur, something fiercely criticised before being abandoned at last year's General Assembly.

If the Malaysian is not elected he will become only the second CGF President to serve just one term at the helm.

The first was Hong Kong's Arnaldo de Oliveira Sales, who served between 1994 and 1998 but had to step down because Hong Kong left the Commonwealth following its handover to China in 1997.

If successful, Martin would become only the second Scottish CGF President following Sir Peter Heatly, who held the position between 1982 and 1990.

Martin claimed her intention to stand is not based on any desire to remove Prince Imran, but more a longstanding personal ambition following years of experience in the Commonwealth Games Movement.

Among those to endorsed Martin is Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis, who praised her "exemplary record of effective and decisive leadership".

"She is passionate about and committed to the Commonwealth ideals, values and spirit," he told insidethegames.

"If elected she has the vision, capacity and capability to be an excellent CGF President."

A final decision as to who will lead the 71-member body is due to made during the CGF General Assembly in Auckland on September 2.

It is still possible more contenders could emerge before the May declaration deadline.

Meanwhile, Prince Imran has also revealed today that he is seeking an additional two years as President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), which he has led since 1998.

He intends to seek re-election for a ninth term at the body's Annual General Meeting on August 22, although he hinted that, if successful, it would be his final term in office.

"I don't really want to go past 70 in the OCM because I think it's time [to pave the way] for young people and I'm getting close to that," he said.


George Bovell won his second Sportsman of the Year, Cleopatra Borel won her fourth Sportswoman of the Year…but alas, and that is not the real story. The senior women’s footballers won the Lystra Lewis award for team performance and that too was not the story.

There was even two winners in different categories of the Jeffrey Stollmeyer award for administrators—the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA) and the Archery Federation. Even that was not the story. At least not to me!

The occasion was the First Citizens Sports Foundation Awards, a gala event to honour those who have brought joy, pride and a smile to T&T sports, witnessed by many leading sporting personalities.

This year’s production was different. The use of Nicki Crosby to engage the early arrivals to Queen’s Hall was entertaining. It was pleasing to witness an attempt to improve matters in this area, it is at least a step or two in the right direction.

There was also a clear and convincing dividing line between both Natacha Jones and Wendell Constantine, as they appeared to have learnt about those they highlighted unlike previous years, both in delivery and in smooth transition, several of the sporting persons would be glad to know that the hosts cared enough to educate themselves on their respective sports, this year.

There were two special moments for me.

Dr Keith Clifford is a forward thinking man, even if he has a tendency to be somewhat argumentive and impatient, one is from years of intensive reading and knowledge and the other some say (not me), due to the impending evolution of time or better described as “old age”.

However, to his credit, he not only met the required time, but identified the growing needs of this country and was succinct enough to leave many thinking. Dr Clifford’s invocation to support the most forward thinking idea in sports in this country for a long time, president of the Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis’ idea of ten gold medals by 2024, was spot on.

Another innovation was the decision to have a feature speaker, Dr Hilary Beckles, whose entire resume was shortened, otherwise his delivery time would have been cut in half. Dr Beckles will become the Pro Vice Chancellor for the University of the West Indies in May. He identified that governance in Sports in the Caribbean is in a sorry state. Sadly, there was no one from the West Indies Cricket Board present, as the two T&T directors would have probably been in Jamaica for the futile elections on Saturday. All present were very appreciative of his words.

I would have liked to hear a few words from the Minister of Sports. While handing out the top ten sporting personalities was good, perhaps this area can be addressed again.

As to presentations, it was certainly a lot better organised, except for lack of communication in relation to the appearance of Rhean Chung on the stage, and not a representative. And while it was sad, it was also moving to highlight those from the field of sports who died in 2014.

I was moved by the presence of Hockey matriarch Florence Kelshall, who at the age of 99, caused an uproar and brought the crowd to its feet, every single persons to acknowledge a true leader and administrator, the smile on her face both radiant and imposing. Having met her over 20 years ago, it was great to watch her stand on her own and acknowledge the cheers from an appreciative crowd. It was the sort of poignant moment that will resonate with all of those at Queen’s Hall on the night and even those watching on television or listening on radio.

The other special moment was when Cleopatra Borel said the words: “Chase your dreams.” This young lady is the absolute and complete athlete. She is an unforgiving sport and as her dearly beloved mother Marcelle Borel, who collected the award on her behalf stated, she is in Cuba putting herself through the regime of discipline work ahead of the World Championships in Beijing later this year.

Faye-Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin were able to inspire this crowd to raise their hands and sing along with them both to start and finish this programme. It was pleasing to watch this interaction and the broad smiles on the faces of all, told a story of enjoyment. Perhaps this explains why for the first time in the many years since I have been covering this event, that I did not realise the show was over, until I saw the President and his entourage leave.

Both Anthony Dennison and Judy Chong-Dennison will be happy, and deservedly so, as well as Dexter Charles, the Marketing manager at First Citizens, who seemed to be everywhere on the night. But let us not ever forget the tireless effort of the effervescent Jennifer Lander, whose sporting background always ensures that these events are well organised.

Congrats to all involved and looking ahead to further improvements in the interactive display and outlook, with links to viewers and those in Queen’s Hall, perhaps even a People’s Choice on the night, based on voting a month before. Just an idea.



Hypolite’s fellow-coach calls on PM to answer

“Why did Cabinet rescind the decision to give Dr Ian Hypolite a national award?” This question is being asked by Dr Hypolite’s fellow-coach Gunness Persad. “I’m calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,” Persad told the Express, “to tell the country why.”

Dr Hypolite guided Jehue Gordon to men’s 400 metres hurdles gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Following the triumph, it was announced by then Minister of Sport Anil Roberts that Gordon would be given the Chaconia Gold Medal, and Hypolite would be the recipient of Chaconia Silver. However, in August 2014, Hypolite received a letter from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, informing him that the Cabinet decision to award him Chaconia Silver had been rescinded.

In an Express story headlined “Silver Snatched”, published on Independence Day last year, Dr Hypolite said he was embarrassed by the move. And in a letter to the Editor, published in the Express in September, the track and field coach expressed his displeasure. Yesterday, Hypolite told the Express he had nothing to add. “I have said all that I wanted to say in my letter to the Express before. I still don’t have a clear reason and idea why it was done.”

Persad, though, is not prepared to let the issue die, and is demanding answers from the head of Cabinet, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar. Persad is also enquiring about the long delay in presenting Chaconia Gold to Gordon. “Why, up to today, Jehue Gordon has not been given his national award?”

Gordon became T&T’s second senior world track and field champion—following in the footsteps of Ato Boldon—when he finished first in the 400m hurdles final on August 15, 2013. Almost 19 months have passed, and the 23-year-old track star is preparing to defend his title at the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. Yet, he has not yet been presented with his Chaconia Gold Medal by President Anthony Carmona.

Despite a national budget of close to $60 billion, sport organisations, athletes and laudable programmes must scrap among themselves for a measly $57 million. You read right! It’s not a typo - $57 million is correct.

There are those who will point to the capital and social sector, Ministry of Sports and Sport Company of T&T goods and services expenditure to support their contention that the public sector and Government is taking sport serious.

The numbers don’t add up. Something is wrong with the sport investment formula.

Good governance, checks and balances must be compulsory. National sport organisations that aren't in compliance with basic requirements shouldn't get one cent from the public purse.

There are plans to revise the national sport policy. But how can you revise a policy that has not been fully implemented, monitored and evaluated.

This is another call for open discussions and dialogue.

A number of national sport organisations have found themselves battling for their existence as the financial and economic shackles can’t be broken.

As an organisation and institution, the Olympic Committee must remain nonpolitical. However, it has a duty to comment on the important issues that affect sport.

There are decisions being made that may not necessarily be in the best interest of sport in the country.

If we have to leave a positive sport legacy for our children and grandchildren, sport stakeholders must speak out and continue to speak out on issues that are fundamental to the sustainable development of sport and a sport industry.

Sport should not be classified as a drain on the treasury. The need for constructive and purposeful dialogue with national sport organisations is now urgent if the local sport system is to undergo a radical change from the dysfunctional realities.

We have to support new behaviour. Some of the actions that must become part of our daily behaviour patterns include:

- Consistent attention to execution and implementation

- Appropriate action must be decisively taken

- Fully account for and report on all public monies received

- Funding decisions must be fair and transparent

- Justify why projects and programmes should be funded

- Sport stakeholders must be told why their projects and or programmes are selected or rejected

- Criteria should be informed by policy

As local sport seeks to tackle difficult, complex issues an important element is to avoid the blind spots. Clearing away any blind spots requires a clear understanding of:

- The decisions that need to get made

- Within what timeframe will decisions happen?

- What are the key decisions that will be made that will make a significant difference

- Were all the options considered?

- Is there the capacity, resources and expertise to influence all of the decisions?

- What are the disincentives or barriers?

Investments in sport are crucial and urgent. There is need to create a larger pool of participants.

T&T should make sport development an integral part of the national economic development master plan. Sport and a sport industry is a means of job creation and can lift many families out of poverty. And be an engine of economic development, poverty eradication and reduction.

Sport enhances T&T’s national image, brand value and international status.

The positive benefits of sport outweighs the negatives - be it professional, amateur or recreational/social sport.

T&T must tap into the unlimited potential of sport. Let’s get serious about sport and sport development in T&T. There are significant barriers and issues that need to be confronted not tomorrow, today.

Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the national Olympic committee.

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