23 picked for IAAF World Relays

Trinidad and Tobago will bid for more precious metal at the May 2-3 IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas.

At the inaugural edition, in Nassau last year, T&T performed with distinction, capturing three medals—one silver and two bronze—and finishing sixth on the points table.

Twenty-three athletes have been selected to represent the country at the second IAAF World Relays, including the four sprinters who teamed up for silver in the men’s 4x100 metres event in 2014—Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Richard “Torpedo” Thompson. Also on the men’s sprint relay squad are Marcus Duncan, Emmanuel Callender and Kyle Greaux. The same seven athletes have been named for the men’s 4x200m event.

Kelly-Ann Baptiste returns to the T&T team following the completion of a 21-month doping ban. The Florida-based athlete is among six sprinters selected for the women’s 4x100m relay.

In 2014, Kamaria Durant, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Kai Selvon combined for bronze—the first-ever global medal from a T&T women’s relay team. All four sprinters have been chosen for World Relays duty in 2015, together with Baptiste and Lisa Wickham.

The men’s 4x400m team also bagged bronze in 2014, Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio and Jarrin Solomon producing a national record run of two minutes, 58.34 seconds. The same four quartermilers have been chosen for next weekend’s global relay championship. Carifta 2015 boys’ under-18 400m silver medallist, Jacob St Clair has been selected as back-up.

And five athletes have been named for the women’s 4x400m relay—Janeil Bellille, Romona Modeste, Alena Brooks, Josanne Lucas and Magnolia Howell.

Team T&T manager, Dexter Voisin told the Express, yesterday, he expects “great things” from his athletes at the IAAF World Relays.

“I want to view World Relays as the first leg in terms of preparation for the World Championships and Olympics. Basically, I would want to say we’re in a better position this time around in terms of the performances of the athletes.

“Kelly-Ann’s return strengthens the women’s team. Richard, Marc, all the athletes have had promising starts to the season, so once they get the stick around properly, I expect to be in the top three.

“I always ask the athletes to do their best. It’s a long season, though, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on them. But I expect great things from all the teams.”

The T&T athletes are scheduled to travel to Nassau next Wednesday.


Men’s 4x100m & 4x200m: Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Rondel Sorrillo, Marc Burns, Marcus Duncan, Emmanuel Callender, Kyle Greaux

Men’s 4x400m: Machel Cedenio, Jarrin Solomon, Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Jacob St Clair

Women’s 4x100m: Michelle-Lee Ahye, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Kai Selvon, Reyare Thomas, Kamaria Durant, Lisa Wickham

Women’s 4x400m: Janeil Bellille, Romona Modeste, Alena Brooks, Josanne Lucas, Magnolia Howell

Officials: Dexter Voisin (manager), Dr Ian Hypolite (coach), Charles Joseph (coach)

Medical: Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, Zephyrinus Nicholas, Verne Alleyne

SportAccord President Marius Vizer has apologised for the manner of his outburst against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) here this week, but defended his content before arguing how "everyone in the world of sport must be free to have an opinion".

Speaking at this morning's General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Vizer was involved in a lengthy diatribe with ASOIF head Francesco Ricci Bitti, during which he was admonished for not checking the best way of "putting attention on what he wishes to achieve".

Vizer, here in his capacity as President of the the International Judo Federation (IJF), appeared humble but relatively composed when entering the room this morning, making sure he greeted representatives from virtually all of the other sports.

After requesting to changes to the proposed agenda to have his say, Vizer expressed regret "regarding my way and moment to choose this opportunity."

He added: "But, regarding the content, I express my voice and that is my opinion.

"I am sorry but think everyone in the world of sport is free to have an opinion, because that is the rule of sport."

This follows news yesterday that 27 of the 28 Olympic Summer Federations have suspended their SportAccord membership in response to Vizer's fierce criticism of the IOC system at Monday's (April 20) SportAccord General Assembly here, with the IJF the only exception.

In a strong response to Vizer's words, Ricci Bitti, also the International Tennis Federation President, claimed they believe the IOC is a "strong machine" and that it is a "waste of time trying to destabilise it".

He then said that, while the door remains open, SportAccord must be changed to avoid duplication with other bodies such as ASOIF, strongly criticising the presentation given during the General Assembly that highlighted a wide platform of measures.

"What we need is a SportAccord that gives the sport movement an added value, but not one that does not make us waste time," said the Italian.

He praised the SportAccord Convention as a "great initiative" , and said he hoped to work together to enable it to continue, while multi-sport events such as the Mind and Beach Games were also praised.

But SportAccord must be "more humble and practical", he said, citing the example of the body's work to combat integrity and match fixing as an unnecessary project because it essentially replicates work already being undertaken by the IOC.

Discussions on how to do this will begin tomorrow, he pledged, but predicted it would not be an easy process.

ASOIF vice-president and International Handball Federation head Hassan Mostafa called for a special meeting to be held between four key stakeholders in order to solve the dispute.

These are Vizer, Ricci Bitti, IOC President Thomas Bach and Association of National Olympic Committees chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, it was proposed.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Men’s Olympic team will kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2016 Olympics with a Group Four Caribbean Football Union Qualifying match against Suriname in Puerto Rico on June 24th.
The fixtures, released by the CFU shows T&T in Group F along with hosts Puerto Rico, Suriname and the winner of the Dominica versus St Vincent/Grenadines tie.
According to a Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) release yesterday, only the winners of the group will advance to the CFU Final Round in August from which the top two teams will move on to the CONCACAF Final round in the United States in October.
T&T’s Olympic team began preparations at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday morning under head coach Zoran Vranes.
The former T&T Senior team and Under 20 head coach believes T&T can move into the CONCACAF phase but wants his players to know the qualification campaign will be no easy task.
“Well you can see it’s not going to be an easy ride at all. Only one team will come out of our group and we are playing away from home. Okay, we know all of these teams from the past but football is always played one the day,” he told TTFA Media.
“But our players have the experience and the capability to beat these teams. They will have to focus from the start and take that through to the entire campaign. Qualifying for the Olympic games is a great achievement and every country wants to be there. This is like a World Cup because the football tournament at the Olympics has a lot of significance as well,” Vranes added.
The CFU also released the fixtures for the Women’s Olympic qualifiers. Trinidad and Tobago are in Group Two from August 21-25. T&T will open the group against Cayman Islands on August 21st. They will also face St Lucia on August 23 and Antigua/Barbuda on August 25.
The winners of the four preliminary groups will advance to the CFU Finals in October. The top three teams will then enter the final CONCACAF round (dates and country to be determined) which will involve a final eight teams from which the top two will advance to the Olympics.
Further details on the T&T Women’s Olympic team will be revealed in due course.

Women’s schedule
August 21 1 St Lucia Antigua & Barbuda
August 21 2 Trinidad & Tobago Cayman Islands
August 23 3 Antigua & Barbuda Cayman Islands
August 23 4 Trinidad & Tobago St Lucia
August 25 5 Cayman Islands St Lucia
August 25 6 Trinidad & Tobago Antigua & Barbuda

Men’s schedule
June 24 1 Suriname Trinidad & Tobago
June 24 2 Puerto Rico Dominica / St Vincent & Grenadines
June 26 3 Trinidad & Tobago Dominica / St Vincent & Grenadines
June 26 4 Puerto Rico Suriname
June 28 5 Dominica / St Vincent & Grenadines Suriname
June 28 6 Puerto Rico Trinidad & Tobago


Off a near two-year hiatus, Kelly-Ann Baptiste is finally set to represent T&T once again with her inclusion into a near full-strength 23-athlete national team for the second edition of the IAAF/BTC World Relays, which runs from May 2-3, again in Nassau, Bahamas.

Baptiste is set to run in T&T colours for the first time since her ban by the IAAF for the use of banned substances, which took effect in 2013 and was lifted in January.

The 28 year-old Tobago-born national 55m (indoor), 100m and 200m record holder is expected to further strengthen an already dynamic 4x100m line-up, which also includes Kai Selvon, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Kamaria Durant, the same quartet that captured bronze in the women’s 4x100m in 42.66 seconds at the inaugural edition of the World Relays last year.

The women’s 4x100m team, is further boosted with depth with the inclusion of Lisa Wickham. Although it is unlikely, given the tight two-day schedule, the women’s team can still form a 4x200m team from the six-athlete pool.

Unlike last year, the women runners are tentatively scheduled to compete in only one other race, the 4x400m and will not provide a 4x800m team. National women’s 400m record holder Janeil Bellille and hurdles specialist Josanne Lucas will join Ramona Modeste, Alena Brooks and Magnolia Howell to complete the women’s 4x400m team, which will aim for an improved showing from last year’s disappointing 12th place.

Meanwhile, the T&T men will feature in three events compared to the two races last year.

The pool of athletes for the 4x100m and 4x200m relays includes the same combination of Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Rondell Sorrillo and Richard Thompson, who captured the 4x100m silver at last year’s event in 38.04 seconds, behind the Jamaican star-studded line-up of Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake, who clocked 37.77. The same four T&T 4x100m runners have been particularly active and in good form heading into the competition.

The T&T 4x100m/4x200m pool also includes first time entrants, Marcus Duncan, Emmanuel Callender and Kyle Greaux. Greaux is also listed for the T&T 4x400m pool, along with Jacob St Clair.

As with the 4x100m team, the 4x400m team involves all the starting runners who broke the national record at the World Relays last year. Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio and Jarrin Solomon captured bronze for T&T in that race in two minutes, 58.34 seconds, behind USA (2:57.25) and Bahamas (2:57.59). As expected, T&T will be without 2014 Bowerman Award winner and indoor 400m national record holder, Deon Lendore, given his college and NCAA commitments. However, the national team will likely benefit from Lendore’s legs at the World Championships in August.

The travelling staff includes Dexter Voisin (manager), Dr Ian Hypolite, Charles Joseph (coaches) Dr Anyl Gopeesingh, Zephyrinus Nicholas and Verne Alleyne (medical staff).

At the inaugural World Relays, T&T placed fourth overall out of 43 participating nations in the medal count, and sixth in the points standings with 19 points, behind USA (60), Jamaica (41), Kenya (35), Great Britain (24) and Australia (21).

Both the men and women’s 4x100m teams, as well as the men’s 4x400m relay teams qualified for August’s IAAF World Championships after their performances at last year’s World Relays.

This year’s event will serve as a qualifying stage for the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 4x100 and 4×400 metres relays with the top eight placed teams in both sealing automatic qualification.


TRINIDAD AND Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis issued an official request to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and representatives of the Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Sport, in respect of support for expedited housing for athletes who have performed national service within a defined criteria.

Over the past four weeks, the TTOC boss has been openly voicing his thoughts towards the establishment of a transparent Elite Athlete Housing Assistance Programme.

Lewis’ most recent developments in this regard has seen the delivery of an official proposal to the aforementioned Ministries requesting their immediate attention and urgency towards this unique idea. Primarily, such an initiative will assist in allowing the athlete a successful transition out of sport and back into the real world.

The purpose of the policy proposal is to implement a strategy that rewards the national athletes for their long and meritorious national duty and service at Olympics, Para-Olympics and World Level Championships (Continental and Regional).

The idea of housing assistance for national athletes is based on the reality that athletes, who dedicate years of their youthful life to representing the twin-island republic at Olympic and World level sport, make tremendous sacrifices in respect of their careers, families, and income.

According to Lewis, “the athletes’ choice to dedicate themselves to national duty and service through sport ostensibly places athletes at a significant social and economic disadvantage. The dream of qualifying and becoming an Olympic and World champion commands dedication, sacrifice and money.

Currently the burden is a de- motivating one for athletes.

“Many athletes have served the country with distinction for five or more years and it is proposed they receive formidable consideration for expedited housing assistance. Some athletes struggle to adjust to real life when their sporting career ends.”

The former Harvard Rugby Club player also aligned his proposal with the TTOC’s “10 Olympic Gold medals by 2024” vision - Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. Lewis is also aware of the various and strict criteria that must be met to ensure such a programme is indeed a success, both for the athlete and country.

He believes that athletes will be required to meet the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) mortgage criteria and will have to honour their mortgage obligations.

The TTOC head added, “the programme will remove one less burden of providing a home for their family and ensure a sense of security when their careers have ended. The HDC we are advised, currently have a programme that guarantees expedited housing distribution to the members of our protective services. The TTOC proposes a similar policy with expedited housing distribution to athletes who meet an agreed criterion.”

In the interest of the criteria remaining transparent, fair and accountable, the TTOC, in conjunction with the National Sporting Organisations (NSO) will clarify, confirm and recommend the athletes that deserve merit for their services for Trinidad and Tobago.


Monday’s announcement by CANOC Broadcasting Inc (CBI) that Cable and Wireless Communications has signed as the official broadcast sponsor and telecommunications partner in the Caribbean for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Brazil, is being described as a game changer for the Olympic movement in the region.

That’s the view of Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) following a media conference held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad on Dock Road in Port-of-Spain, to announce the deal. CBI, a subsidiary of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), secured exclusive Olympic content rights to all platforms in 20 English speaking countries, as well as non-exclusive right in 10 non-English speaking countries throughout the region.

Under the terms of a deal struck between Cable and Wireless Communications and CBI, millions of people across the Caribbean would no longer view the celebrated Games through the eyes of European or North American broadcasters.

CANOC contracted the services of global sports broadcaster ESPN to generate world class content for Caribbean viewers and the diaspora, too.

The TTOC head, said he was therefore encouraged to witness this partnership, even as the CBI approached the corporate sector at every level to enter into meaningful partnerships on behalf of national Olympic Committees to support the Caribbean’s participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“At the TTOC, we are in the gold medal winning business. Our executive, stakeholder and staff, live and breathe athlete welfare and preparation in their quest for excellence every single day. This may seem a straight forward strategy, but for the athletes in T&T and the Caribbean, each day brings with it challenges along their path to success, perhaps not dissimilar to those in the corporate sector and the commercial marketplace. These challenges test us all in the Olympic movement. It motivates us and takes us well beyond our imaginable capacity,” Lewis said.

“What the TTOC is striving for is to cultivate a system of excellence that clarifies the development pathway and performance management system that holistically fosters, mentors, nurtures and develops Olympians and Olympic champions and world champions, on a sustainable and consistent way.

“Training to be an Olympic champion is a full time commitment that demands both discipline and dedication to maintain competitiveness and to win medals. Elite and high performance athletes competing in individual and team sports must dedicate themselves, time, money and energy to their athletic endeavours.”

By adopting a new mind set, said the Olympic Committee official, the TTOC targeted the big goals and big dreams of ten Olympic gold medals by the year 2024.

But to achieve this, he said, a change in culture, whether in T&T or any other Caribbean country was crucial.

Lewis said meeting this target would demand breaking down new barriers with the new and innovative approaches and declared that all within CANOC, and the individual national Olympic Committees must sensitize the Caribbean region about the reality that exists among our national athletes; and we must show that each Caribbean country and the region was fully supportive of our athletes on their journey to fulfilling the Olympic dream regardless of the colour of the flag.

“Today’s formal announcement brings CWC front and centre into the most prestigious global sporting event for the year ahead. I am encouraged by the CWC stated intention to partner with the TTOC and to support our individual achievement and objectives of 10 or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024. The Olympic Games represents a moment of truth for sports in its many disciplines. Caribbean athletes have for many years, as individuals and as a team and as a collective, shown that we can compete and win against the best that the world can produce,” he said.

“As the executing arm of CANOC on this particular project, the CBI role in seeking to monetise and fully exploit the broadcast rights associated with these Games represent a paradigm shift. And that is a paradigm shift where CANOC and the national Olympic Committees have taken a collective decision to place our athletes at the centre of what we do.

“This is testimony that the power of the Olympic Games and sport, indeed, can unite the region as evidence by the coming together of CANOC and the formulation of CBI Limited (Inc). The steps taken here today by CWC and CBI Limited are meant to place our athletes at the heart of every commercial opportunity arising from these Games and I encourage everyone to see these commercial transactions in that light: being about our athletes, the youth of the Caribbean and the communities in which they come from.”