Deon Lendore surrendered his National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championship men’s 400 metres title, in Arkansas, USA, late on Saturday.
Lendore, a senior at Texas A&M University, clocked 45.81 seconds to finish second in section two and fourth overall in the finals. The title went to American Vernon Norwood, the Louisiana State University (LSU) student getting home in 45.31. Lendore’s Texas A&M teammate, Grenadian Bralon Taplin picked up silver in 45.55, and United State/University of Florida athlete Najee Glass got bronze in 45.77.
While Lendore missed out on a top-three finish in the individual event, the Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler had the satisfaction of anchoring Texas A&M to men’s 4x400m gold in three minutes, 02.86 seconds. Lendore produced a 45.34 seconds split.
Sparkle McKnight ran the second leg for University of Arkansas in the women’s 4x400m relay, the T&T athlete splitting 51.79 to help her team earn silver in 3:28.70, just behind University of Texas, the winners in 3:28.48. On Friday, McKnight was part of the triumphant women’s distance medley relay team.
McKnight featured in a huge Arkansas celebration on Saturday night, the school emerging as women’s team champions with a total of 63 points.
University of Oregon (46.5) and University of Georgia (37) finished second and third, respectively, while Deandra Daniel’s Coppin State University finished joint-32nd with six points. The T&T athlete earned all six points with her third-place finish in Friday’s high jump.
Lendore’s Texas A&M accumulated 33 points for fourth spot in the men’s team competition, behind champions Oregon (74), Florida (50) and Arkansas (39).
At the NCAA Division 2 Indoor Championships, in Alabama, Kevin Roberts’ Tiffin University finished sixth in the men’s team competition with 28 points. Adams State University earned 45 points to capture the men’s title, while the women’s title went to University of Central Missouri (47).
Roberts, a freshman at Tiffin, finished ninth in the men’s long jump (7.08m) and 12th in the triple jump (14.51m).
At the Division 1 Championships, Daniel continued her fine run of form, earning women’s high jump bronze with an impressive 1.87m clearance.
“It means a lot to me to come in third,” said Daniel, in an interview on the Coppin State website “I put in the work and got the results I deserved. I am very pleased with my efforts today and I had great attempts at each height. I knew in my heart that I could do it. Jumping today I felt relaxed and great. That helped me throughout the competition.”
Daniel said she was grateful to her high jump coach at Coppin State, former T&T athlete Natoya Baird, as well as the school’s women’s track and field head coach, Alecia Shields-Gadson.
“I just want to thank God because without him I wouldn’t have been able to reach this far and accomplish any of this. Also, I want to thank my main coach Natoya for believing in me. She is the best coach and we have built a great relationship, not only as coach but as good friends. I want to thank coach Shields for her great support, and everyone else for their prayers and support. It meant a lot and it mattered.
“Finishing third feels great, but I didn’t accomplish all of my goals for indoors. I will be even better for outdoors,” Daniel warned.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Friday, March 13, 2015. Japanese auto giant Toyota signed on as a worldwide Olympic sponsor Friday in a long-term deal reportedly worth nearly $1 billion. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO - The world's biggest automaker is driving onto the world's biggest sports stage.

Toyota Motor Corp. signed on as a global Olympic sponsor Friday in a landmark deal reportedly worth nearly $1 billion, becoming the first car company to join the IOC's top-tier marketing program.

The eight-year deal underlines Asia's growing influence in the Olympics, bolsters the IOC's long-term financial security and gives Toyota a worldwide platform that shuts out rival auto manufacturers.

The deal starts globally in 2017 and runs through the 2024 Olympics. It will cover three consecutive Olympics in Asia, including the 2020 Tokyo Games on Toyota's home turf.

The International Olympic Committee's TOP sponsorship program gives companies exclusive worldwide marketing rights and permission to use the Olympic rings in advertising.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Japanese media reported Toyota will pay $835 million — a record by far for any IOC sponsorship deal. Four-year TOP sponsorships have usually sold for about $100 million and eight-year agreements $200 million, so the Toyota deal represents four times that.

Toyota joins as a sponsor in the new "mobility" category.

"This is a very symbolic day," IOC President Thomas Bach said after signing the agreement in Tokyo with Toyota president Akio Toyoda. "It is the first time in the successful history of the TOP program that we have had a mobility category."

Toyota becomes the third Japanese company to become a worldwide Olympic sponsor after Panasonic and Bridgestone. Toyota also becomes the 12th TOP sponsor overall and third committed through 2024. Other TOP sponsors include Coca-Cola and McDonald's.

"This agreement is a powerful indication of the strength of the Olympic brand globally and the appeal of an association with the Olympic movement," said IOC marketing commission chairman Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also president of the Japanese Olympic body and vice-president of Tokyo's organizing committee.

The Toyota deal covers the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2022 Winter Games and 2024 Summer Olympics. The host cities for the 2022 and 2024 games have not yet been selected.

Two Asian candidates — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan — are bidding for the 2022 Games, with the IOC vote to be held on July 31.

While Toyota will join the TOP program in 2017, it will have marketing rights in Japan with immediate effect. The agreement covers all Toyota brands, including Toyota, Lexus and Scion.

The IOC said Toyota will work with organizing committees to "provide sustainable mobility solution for the games to help with safer, more efficient mobility, including intelligent transport systems, urban traffic systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems."

Toyota will showcase its products at the Tokyo Games, including the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen-powered vehicle that is eco-friendly and in line with the Olympic theme of sustainability.

The car category has traditionally been only for sponsorship deals with national Olympic committees and local games organizers. Another Japanese car company, Nissan, is among the national sponsors of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

BMW was a domestic sponsor for the 2012 London Olympics and Volkswagen for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. BMW is a sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee in a deal that expires after 2016.

Starting in 2017, Toyota will have exclusive rights in the more than 200 countries recognized by the IOC.

"From the beginning of 2017, Toyota is our exclusive worldwide partner for the mobility category," Bach said. "And exclusivity means no other partner can join the program and can support the national Olympic committees."

The deal shuts Korean car giant Hyundai out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games on its own territory. China, the world's most populous country, will have no Chinese car sponsor if Beijing gets the 2022 Games. And if Boston wins the right to host the 2024 Olympics, the U.S. car industry will be shut out for its home games.

"It's a game-changer," former IOC marketing director Michael Payne told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It brings the value of TOP into line and locks up the major markets wherever the games are and takes out all of the competition."

Other TOP sponsors are General Electric, Atos, Dow, Omega, Samsung, Visa and Procter & Gamble.

The Toyota deal is another example of Japan's economic influence in the Olympics. Last year, the IOC awarded Japanese TV rights to a national consortium in an eight-year, four-games deal worth $1 billion through 2024.

It also marks another success for Bach in ensuring the long-term financial security of the Swiss-based Olympic body. Last year, NBC signed a record $7.75 billion agreement with the IOC to extend its U.S. broadcast rights deal through 2032.


Wilson reported from London.

FORMER national female rugby standout, Kwanieze John, arrived in Antigua on Thursday for a special five-day programme intended on raising an island-wide awareness towards the quickly growing sport.

The seasoned ex-athlete was approached in 2013 by the sport’s regional governing body - North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) - which saw her fit to begin tutoring youngsters throughout the archipelago of islands.

Thus far, John and several other representatives of NACRA have setup several developmental rugby bases throughout the Caribbean islands eager to see the sport as part of their nation’s sporting culture.

John and NACRA have already touched St Kitts/Nevis, Guyana and Curacao and have now approached Antigua. John will be joined by regional manager Tom Jones and development officer, Scott Harland, who will together assist in the introduction of rugby throughout the primary and secondary schools.

On this major initiative, the 24-year old explained: “NACRA had an initiative of introducing rugby into islands where there is no rugby. The governing body invited about six to seven Caribbean islands to the Caribbean Championships in Cayman Islands recently and this was done for them to get a first hand view of the game. Following this experience, St Kitts was the first island to call NACRA pledging strong interest in the sport.” According to John, this unique programme was initiated by the region’s respective National Olympic Committees. She currently serves as a rugby instructor who assesses the development of coaches primarily. In most islands without rugby, NACRA opted to train the teachers of both primary and secondary educational institutions to also serve as temporary coaches.

In St Kitts, the Ministry of Education and Sport Department was heavily involved in the introductory programme and have given the green light for continuity.

Speaking on her works in St Kitts over the past two years, John continued: “My initial visit (to St Kitts) was focussed on the primary and secondary schools where I coached about twentyfive teachers how to introduce rugby in their schools. For my second visit, I focussed on the sport department coaches and there were about thirty participants.

We (NACRA) provided them with the necessary resources such as balls, cones and equipment so that they would be able to run their school programme and use rugby as a tool in their sport development.” John also spoke of NACRA’s recent project alongside the International Rugby League Federation’s “Get Into Rugby” programme. This worldwide project also aims to develop the sport with new players, coaches and administrators.

Additionally, it encourages rugby in a safe environment which will assist in breaking barriers and mental blocks about the sport. Top priority on NACRA’s list is to also ensure that rugby remains safe, injury-free and fun.

“We will continue work with them (Caribbean islands) to develop a union or rugby organisation in Antigua and Barbuda. Based on how discussions go in Antigua, we will arrange for another visit more than likely in the summer. The ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme can also be incorporated into sport camps. It is not difficult to teach and learn. The sport is almost adaptive,” concluded John.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) extends deepest and sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Alloy Lequay.

Mr Lequay's left and indelible mark during his long and meritorious contribution to sport and the history of sport in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.

He played a key role in the de-centralisation of cricket in Trinidad and Tobago and was influential in Table Tennis.

It was the vision of the former cricket administrator to acquire lands for a National Cricket Centre, which houses among other things the Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre and an international-size cricket field.

May His Soul Rest In Peace!


Brian Lewis

TTOC - President


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, March 15, 2015 - Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, President of the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) says he wants a more united  Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA).


This was the view of Marte Hoffiz during his detailed presentations at the CAZOVA congress held at Cascadia Hotel & Conference Centre.


Marte Hoffiz, who is also the First Vice-President of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) noted that of all three bodies –AFECAVOL (Central America) ECVA (Eastern Caribbean) and CAZOVA-  the latter seemed the least united.


A Dominican Republic native, Marte Hoffiz stated that with the work being done in the FIVB, the sport in NORCECA, which he sees as the second best run body behind Europe, is moving forward and at a quick pace.


However, his major concern is that some CAZOVA members are not keeping up with that shift and run the risk of being left behind, which in the end will work against its development and that of the overall body in the future.


Reflecting on the early days, Marte Hoffiz recalled when CAZOVA was now being put together back in the early 1990’s through the efforts of Curacao and now to have 14 full members, along with the ECVA and AFECAVOL combined has made for a strong 41 member NORCECA, a very powerful force in the FIVB.


During his opening remarks, Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee president, Brian Lewis send out a challenge to those present to put the sport they were entrusted to lead and govern first, by putting athletes first.


Lewis, said, “It is very important of sporting bodies to understand the importance they have on society today as we are called to serve through sport when we get elected as officials, however too often we tend to be self-serving when elected to serve our important assets, which are the athletes.


He added, “We need not focus on what we as officials can accumulate from the sport, but the positive difference we can make in the sport.


“Sports make a powerful positive difference, but it’s not able to show through when the leaders get it wrong,” warned Lewis.


Speaking directly to Trinidad & Tobago Volleyball Federation president, Daymian Stewart, Lewis said, “Personally as president of the Trinidad & Tobago Olympic Committee, I have set the target of us qualifying two national teams for team events by the 2024 Olympic Games, as part of my 10 gold medals vision, and I see no reason why volleyball can’t be one of those two sports to do so.”


“Over the years volleyball has shown it has the potential and it’s important it does not fall away from the momentum it has generated in recent years.”


The sport of track and field is to benefit from a significant financial injection over the next three years. The National Gas Company (NGC) has committed to contribute $4 million annually to the Athletic’s governing body, the National Association of Athletic Administrations (NAAA) from 2015 to 2017.

The announcement, made by the NGC president, Finance and Information Management Anand Ragbir, means funding from the State-owned company has almost doubled from last year’s input of just over $2.3 million.

Asserting that the company was “meticulous”in ensuring that funds donated through its programmes are used in ways to ensure the best return on investment, Ragbir added the NGC was satisfied its support fitted in with three of the four priorities in the NAAA’s 2012-2016 strategic plan. Those identified priorities were: improved governance, including accountability and capacity building among its member clubs, operational effectiveness and the development of corporate and other partnerships.
Ephraim Serrette, the NAAA president, said the three-year sponsorship would enable his organisation to better plan its programmes, knowing what they have to work with.

“In 2014 we were able to effect a lot more of our operational plans, based on what was set out in the strategic plan because of the intervention of the NGC to the tune of $2.3 million. In the past, we would have been planning with a hope of getting funding to do some of the programmes. It now leaves us with a better planning framework.”

Serrette added that targets set in the sponsorship agreement would provide the impetus to deliver and evaluate. “Our targets,” he said, “are with respect to development, how many more technical officials we are going to train over the next three years, how many more developmental programmes based on the coaches, programmes to deal with drugs in sport, all the different educational aspects of the sport.”

“We can now leave whatever allocation is given to us by the Sport Company towards team travel,” he added, “and the funding that we are getting from the NGC would deal with the administrative and development aspect of the sport.”

Yesterday’s announcement was made at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Among those in attendance were national icon Hasely Crawford, Minister of Sport Brent Sancho and TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis.