Chairperson of the T&T International Marathon Diane Henderson is challenging secondary schools and youth groups to come out in their numbers at the 34th edition of the event which takes place on January 16 and 17, in an effort to produce another Olympic athlete.

Next year’s event includes the marathon, marathon relay and a 5km race. At the event’s press conference yesterday at the T&T Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, Henderson spoke about the marathon relay, a new edition to next year’s event. Henderson explained that each team can register up to six athletes, each running 7km of the 42.16km course (26.2 miles).

Henderson stated that the marathon relay is flexible, saying that it is not mandatory to register six persons. “These legs can be run with two persons if you don’t have six people. This gives an individual the opportunity to complete a half marathon because two people will run three legs each.”

One of the goal’s of next year’s marathon is to develop talented youngsters to reach their full potential. “We realise there are a lot of groups out there other than the main clubs that don’t have sufficient training access to coaches. We need to link these young groups to the coaches.”

Henderson believes that many young athletes simply use their natural ability. The marathon organiser wants to see the youngsters times improved so T&T can see another youngster reaching the Olympic level.

A special moment at next year’s race will be a tribute to Charles Spooner, an avid marathon runner who passed away earlier this year. Spooner’s granddaughter Chenelle is aiming to complete the marathon in memory of her grandfather. Henderson said the marathon committee will assist Chenelle with her goal, as the committee has asked an experienced distance runner to assist her with preparations for the race.

TTIM (T&T International Marathon), the marathon mascot, will make his debut next year. “He (TTIM) represents a bit of our culture, our pan and our colours. His legs has the pitch lake, several parts of our musical culture and national birds. We will bring TTIM alive in 2016. Look out for TTIM as a representative of the T&T International Marathon.”

More info

For more information visit, check ‘Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon’ on facebook or contact 757-7772/497-5598.


Top local swimming duo, Olympic bronze medal winner George Bovell III and World Youth Olympic silver and bronze medallist, Dylan Carter continue their 2016 Rio Olympic Games preparations when they compete at the Arena Pro Swim Series from today.

The three-day meet featuring some of the top swimmers in the USA including US Olympic champions Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte, and record gold medallists Michael Phelps takes place at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Centre, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

The 32-year-old Bovell III, also a two-time World Championship bronze medal winner will be returning to action for the first time since the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada in July where he captured bronze in the men’s 50m freestyle final.

It was his fifth Pan American Games medal won, after picking up two golds and two silver in his previous appearances.

A former Auburn University stand-out swimmer, Bovell was then expected to compete at the 16th FINA World Championship in Kazan, Russia (July 24-August 9).

However, he joined a star studded list of athletes who did not compete at the Championships and followed the four-time Olympian’s withdrawal from last December's 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Doha, Qatar due to personal reasons.

Bovell, who was a five-time NCAA champion also opted out of this year’s FINA Swimming World Cup Circuit events, and after some intense traing over the past few months will make his much anticipated return today.

The Canadian-born Bovell a 25-time All American Honour Roll student will face the starter in the men’s 100m breaststroke today from 11.46am before he compete in his pet event, the 50m freestyle tomorrow (Friday) from 11.43 am

The 19-year-old Carter, a University of Southern California All-American is sitting out of the coming NCAA season in order to prepare for the 2016 Olympic year.

Carter was the only T&T swimmer to make a semifinal in Kazan where he placed 15th in semis of the 50metres butterfly, and also competed in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly.

With the Trojans, Carter scored at NCAAs in both the 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle last year as a sophomore and perhaps best known for his relay heroics in the meet’s last event, running down NC State for a national title for USC in the 400 free relay.

He also swam on the winning 800 free relay.

Also, a silver medal winner in the men's 50m butterfly at the 2013 FINA World Junior Championship, Carter has to hit a FINA “A” cut in order to qualify.

Today, he will line up in the men’s 200m freestyle from 11am before facing the starter in the 100m backstroke tomorrow from noon, and the 100m freestyle on Saturday at 1.15 pm.


OLYMPIC shot-put gold medallist Valerie Adams admitted yesterday that she is pondering a return to Trinidad and Tobago for a training camp, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 31-year-old Adams, who is on a two-week long visit to the twin-island republic, under the invitation of friend and arch-rival Cleopatra Borel, made this disclosure during a talk shop at the VIP Lounge, Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Yesterday’s event took place under the auspices of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT ).

Adams, who claimed gold in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and the 2012 Olympics in London, England, said, “it’s been amazing being here. I’m actually thinking very seriously of coming back here myself, for a pre-camp for the Rio Olympic Games.

“That is something that I’ve got to go back and talk to team. Hopefully I can make it work and come here and train,” continued the muscular- built Adams.

However, she admitted, “I feel Trinidad have to look over their own backyard. For me, it’s all about making sure that you’re in charge of your own people, and have the best resources and the best situations for your people to train, for your athletes to train.

“At the end of the day, it’s not the administrators nor the coaches who suffers, it’s the athletes, it’s you guys,” she told the aspiring national athletes and coaches in attendance.

“In New Zealand, (if I want something) I’m demanding it, because if they want me to win medals, those are the things that they’ve got to do.” Adams added, “I am thinking about coming back before I go to Rio. Hopefully I’m able to do that.” Adams, who is based in Switzerland, spoke at length about her experiences at the Olympic level (including her first foray in 2004 in Athens, Greece where she finished seventh) as well as her successes at the IAAF World Championships - originally silver in 2005 (Helsinki, Finland), gold in 2007 (Osaka, Japan), 2009 (Berlin, Germany), 2011 (Daegu, South Korea) and 2013 (Moscow, Russia).

However, when referring to her 2005 performance, as well as the 2012 Olympics, she highlighted her disappointment over being beaten by Nadzeya Ostapchuk who, in 2013, was stripped of both titles due to failed drug tests.

Other top national athletes who were in attendance at the SPORTT talk shop were 2013 400-metre hurdle champion Jehue Gordon and sailor Andrew Lewis.


Franz Beckenbauer has become further implicated in the scandal surrounding his country winning the right to stage the 2006 World Cup after one of the German Football Association (DFB) acting vice-presidents claimed he signed a draft contract promising favours to Trinidad and Tobago's Jack Warner shortly before the vote for the tournament.

Rainer Koch, who stepped into the acting role along with Reinhard Rauball following the resignation yesterday of Wolfgang Niersbach over claims the successful World Cup bid team received an unexplained loan of almost €6.7 million (£4.9 million/$7.7 million), claimed the contract promised "various services" to Warner, the disgraced former President of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

Beckenbauer, President of the Organising Committee, has also been urged to speak out and clarify where the money came from and also what the contract with Warner entailed.

The former Bayern Munich centre-back, considered the greatest German footballer in history, has offered only a brief riposte to the accusations, despite being directly connected to the allegations that a slush fund was set up to buy votes in order to secure the rights for the 2006 tournament.

Beckenbauer faces being banned from football following investigations by the FIFA Ethics Committee into his conduct during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding processes, when he was a member of the the world governing body's  Executive Committee.

The 70-year-old admitted he had made a "mistake" in the bidding process to host the 2006 World Cup, but denied vote buying.

"I never gave money to anyone in order to acquire votes so that Germany is awarded the 2006 World Cup," he said.

Koch claimed there is no evidence of whether the actions described in the contract with Warner, who has been banned from football for life and was one of 14 officials charged by American authorities, were completed.

He described the document as "a contractual agreement which was signed by Franz Beckenbauer for the German side and Jack Warner for the CONCACAF side" and claimed it was signed four days before the hosts of the 2006 World Cup were determined.

Germany were awarded the tournament beating South Africa by 12 votes to 11.

"In this contract, various services, not direct monetary payments are promised by the German side," Koch said.

"We appeal to him to bring himself more closely into the explanation of what happened.

"Our request is that he gets more intensively involved in clearing up the affair.

"We’ll have to look very closely into the circumstances of how the 2006 World Cup was awarded."

Niersbach tendered his resignation in order to protect the DFB, he claimed, and insisted that the loan was not used as part of a slush fund to buy votes, but was unable to explain what the cash was actually for.

"I can say with a clear conscience that I have absolutely nothing to be personally reproached for," he said.

"I make it clear once again, unequivocally, that I had no knowledge of the background of the cash flows."

FIFA have today confirmed Niersbach will remain a member of its Executive Committee, despite his resignation in Germany and the claims of corruption.


THE INAUGURAL BPTT, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) High Performance Summit got off to a successful start at the Michael Johnson World Training Centre in McKinney, Texas on Monday.

The Team TTO Road to Rio Summit focus is on preparing podium ready athletes as they prepare for next year’s Summer Olympic Games.

Nine elite track and field athletes are at the summit to undergo a series of evaluation and assessment tests as well as media and mental conditioning training.

The athletes attending the summit are Richard Thompson, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Semoy Hackett, Machel Cedenio, Mikel Thomas, Emmanuel Callender, Jarrin Solomon and Wayne Davis.

Four-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympic medallist Ato Boldon and fellow coach, Eric Francis are also in the TT contingent.

Francis, coach of Michelle-Lee Ahye, was appreciative of the work being done. “This is a really good idea,” he said. “Definitely a step in the right direction in track and field and sports in Trinidad and Tobago. I congratulate the TTOC on a great initiative.” Lance Walker, Executive Vice-President and Global Performance Director added, “It’s all about the athletes and providing them and their coaches with complementary support. These are world-class athletes and coaches doing some great things. Our role is to add value where and when required.” The Summit 2015 forms part of the overall #10Gold24 athlete preparation programme.


This country’s sports tourism ambitions have been dealt a serious blow due to the non-completion of major sports facilities costing the treasury millions in projected revenue says Sports Minister Darryl Smith.

While foreign states and international sporting organisations were still enquiring about the possibility of having access to the Brian Lara Stadium, National Cycling Velodrome, the George Bovell Aquatic Centre and National Tennis Centre and even the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago, post September 7, for their pre-Rio, Brazil 2016 Olympic preparation, the minister lamented in a T&T Guardian interview, they all needed work.

The Dwight Yorke Stadium, which was by no means new, however, was in need of remedial work.

Millions in revenue estimated by the former People’s Partnership Government from foreign countries desirous of setting up camps on local soil, en route to the Rio 2016 Olympic in Brazil, had been lost as once interested parties have redirected their business elsewhere, leading up to the Games.

“…inherited problem! That should have been thought out and planned before. Again, (it’s) only a month plus since we have been there (in government).

There is nothing that we could do. We are trying our best to ensure that they are completed, but more importantly, that the maintenance contracts, the tendering process, is put in place.

Again, that was poor management from the former administration. They know Olympics was coming up,” he said. Smith added, “They should have speeded up things, but instead they pushed certain things for elections gimmick: cutting of ribbons in certain places and so on, when they should have focused and realised that whoever was in government, the people of T&T would have benefitted with regards to utilising these arenas. We talk about sport tourism.

A lot of countries and sports organisation have asked about them, but they are not completed. This is where the focus should have been.”     

With respect to the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Smith said he planned to meet with Housing Minister Marlene Mc Donald and Noel Garcia, chairman of the Urban Development Company Limited (Udecott) to explore ways to cease the hemorrhaging of tax-payers funds and ultimately save the project.

He said the Keith Rowley-led administration had to ensure that no more tax-payer funds were wasted and as a consequence something positive had to happen.

“At this point I can’t comment because I have never seen it. It’s under Udecott. The ministry of sport has no drawings, no plans. So we have to have that meeting and we do a formal (site) visit.

We will let the public know what we plan to do with it. I am the most optimistic person that you’ll meet and I’m really hoping that everything was done with good intentions.

At the end of the day, I think we really wanted cricket to be at played there at the highest level, so it may be that they (the previous government) would have had some issue,” said Smith.

He continued, “Five years passed and nothing was done. Whether it was political or not, I don’t know what were their plans. Just like a number of other projects throughout T&T: the Diego Martin Northern Grounds, Mahaica Oval (Point Fortin), and a number of other projects, even National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA). Look at NAPA? All of a sudden it’s shut down because of no maintenance.

That’s for another place, another debate. All I know is the Brian Lara Stadium will be looked at and the best decision will be made for the tax payers of T&T.”

Whatever the challenges were associated with those projects they were all inherited, he said, and went onto slam the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led administration over its tardiness.

Any layman, said Smith, would have known when constructing structures such as those mentioned, maintenance contracts had to be put into effect.

“That wasn’t put in place. So right now those (facilities) are almost completed: 86, 95, 98 per cent completed and there is no maintenance contract.

There is no way we could have a handing over process without a proper tendering process with regards to who is going to maintain it, because by the time you get that handing over, the clock start ticking.

Who is going to be maintaining it? Who is going to be ensuring that the track is okay, the air conditioning is working, the lights are working and so on. So we now moving feverishly trying to put a tendering process in place to take care of the national centres maintained,” said the minister.
He continued, “We have the Olympics around the corner.

We want to make sure that the Olympic prospects would be able to use the cycling track, the swimming pool and so on, but they have to be completed. They haven’t been handed over as yet.

But being proactive as I am and the ministry is we are trying quickly to get the maintenance contracts so when that day comes, we could have it opened right away.”