In a country where excellence in sport is often not appreciated, it comes as no surprise that Trinidad and Tobago’s successful showing at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China has been met with muted response.
Silver in the men’s 4x400 metres relay and bronze in the women’s 4x100 are two very good reasons to celebrate. Those two items of precious metal earned T&T joint-22nd spot on the Beijing 2015 medal table. With more than 200 countries represented at the Championships, the top-25 finish is highly commendable.
The more significant statistic, however, is T&T’s joint-15th finish on the placing table. While very little attention is paid to this table, it reflects a team’s strength in depth.
The list of countries we finished ahead of on the placing table tells a story of excellence that ought to be celebrated. Australia, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Italy, Greece are among the nations that trailed T&T. These are countries that have either hosted the Olympic Games or, in the case of Brazil, will host the biggest sporting event on the planet.
As Olympic hosts, Australia, Brazil, have made huge investments in sport. It must also be noted that they are much larger than T&T, and therefore have talent pools we cannot match. Yet, T&T competed against and beat them all at Beijing 2015.
On August 30, Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon, Deon Lendore and 19-year-old Machel Cedenio combined for men’s 4x4 silver in a national record time of three minutes, 58.20 seconds. One day earlier, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Semoy Hackett had teamed up for women’s 4x1 bronze in 42.03 seconds—also a new T&T standard.
In the past, Governments have been quick to celebrate global sporting success. Why not this time? Why wasn’t there an appropriate official function to mark the achievements of these eight athletes, as well as relay alternates Jarrin Solomon and 17-year-old Khalifa St Fort? Timing, I suppose, is everything. These superb performances came shortly before the general election, and perhaps those in power were more concerned with saving their own jobs.
As we are all aware, Brent Sancho and his People’s Partnership cohorts failed to hold on to the reins of power.
Darryl Smith, the Member of Parliament for Diego Martin Central, was the man who replaced Sancho as Minister of Sport. The first utterances from Minister Smith are cause for great optimism at the start of this five-year term of office for the People’s National Movement (PNM). He has promised an “athletes first” approach to tackling his job.
The athletes are excited and hopeful. Please Mr Smith, do not disappoint them. Administrators, whether within the framework of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, the Sports Company (SPORTT), the Olympic Committee (TTOC) or the governing bodies for each sport, are facilitators and servants.
A quality administrator is a great servant of his sport who establishes the infrastructure to facilitate the widest possible participation and, ultimately, success of his athletes. Administrators who compete with the athletes for newspaper headlines are unlikely to be effective. And we’ve certainly had our share of those headline-grabbers.
It is the athletes who ought to be in the news—Rodney Wilkes, Wendell Mottley, Edwin Roberts, Roger Gibbon, Hasely Crawford, Jean Pierre, Gene Samuel, Debra O’Connor, Ian Morris, Brian Lara, Dwight Yorke, Russell Latapy, Ato Boldon, Candice Scott, Darrel Brown, Dexter St Louis, Cleopatra Borel, George Bovell, Josanne Lucas, Richard Thompson, Keshorn Walcott, Rheann Chung, Roger Daniel, Cheryl Ann Sankar, Kwandwane Browne, Marc Burns, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Jehue Gordon, Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon, Rhonda Watkins, Machel Cedenio, Njisane Phillip…and the list goes on.
Kudos to Thompson for taking the lead and offering himself as a voice for the athletes. On the heels of the successful Gatorade Richard Thompson Sprinting Camp, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium Training Field in Port of Spain, last Saturday, the triple Olympic silver medallist, in a Facebook post, called on the Sports Company and Minister Smith to address the sorry state of the warm-up track.
“I’m not sure what the explanation is for allowing the track to reach this state but its condition is unacceptable. Many national athletes use this track to train and ALL of our athletes vying for a position on any national team warm up on this track before competing.
“Minister Smith, I understand that you are newly appointed and your plate is full but my humble request is that you make this a priority on your to-do list. I’m calling on you because I believe that you have a genuine interest in progressing the youth of T&T. Please address this matter with SPORTT to ensure that we show some form of national pride in what belongs to us.”
At last count, Monday’s post had attracted 127 “Likes”, many of them from present and past national athletes.
This is a golden opportunity for Minister Smith to put taxpayers’ money where his mouth is. A quick response to Thompson’s plea for a proper warm-up track at the Crawford Stadium would show that “athletes first” is not merely good PR from the new man in charge.
That new track would be of far greater value than any celebration that could be planned for the successful Beijing 2015 squad.
The relay teams, women’s 100m finalists Baptiste and Ahye and men’s 400m finalist Cedenio earned T&T a total of 22 points at the global meet. Only the Berlin 2009 team had accumulated more points—32 for a best-ever 13th on the placing table.
Our national athletes have needs. Many of them are not met. Yet, they are among the best in the world. Change the script, Mr Smith, and establish a legacy of unprecedented sporting success.


Trinidad and Tobago 10 or more Olympic Gold Medals by the year 2024 (#10Golds24) prospects received a timely boost today, with the signing of a partnership between FLOW / Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC).

The five (5) year, multi-million dollar agreement will ensure steady FLOWTT funding for the development and promotion of the TTOC #10Golds24 athlete welfare and preparation fund.

The partnership fee is TT 1 million dollars per year with TT six hundred thousand dollars to be paid in cash and TT four hundred thousand dollars for brand ambassador representation of two athletes to be selected by the TTOC.

Managing Director, Consumer Group, Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited, Brian Collins said FLOWTT is delighted to partner with the TTOC along the Going for Gold journey.
"Both Brian Lewis and I believe there is nothing more important than helping our Trinidad and Tobago athletes to improve their performance and achieve their goals of Olympic glory". According Collins the funding will go directly to the #10GOLDS24 Initiative.

There will be support for athletes for Rio 2016, right through to Tokyo 2020," he explains. "We hope our relationship continues beyond 2020"

The TTOC and FLOW have been in discussions for almost a year, ironing out the details of the multi-million dollar partnership.
TTOC President Brian Lewis expressed that transformation and breaking barriers best describe what he claimed was a historic and first ever athlete centered multi million and multi-year deal.

Lewis in his welcome address told invited guests and members of the media “welcome to the future”. He added, “Tapping into internet GDP and the economic promise of the online age is the way the TTOC must go if it wants to transform the way it markets itself and brands.”

The partnership allows the TTOC to explore opportunities in the social and e-commerce economy added Lewis.

THE PROPOSED World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth Amateur Pro League convention will take place in March 2016, according to popular boxing official and matchmaker Boxu Potts. This disclosure was made during a media conference at Alicia’s Guest House, St Ann’s yesterday.

Potts also revealed that the Youth Boxing World Cup will be staged next year, with the venue and date to be confirmed during the convention.

It is expected that all 165 countries in the WBC will take part in the World Cup.

“I have spoken to, and gotten approval of nearly all of the Caribbean members and other affiliate nations,” Potts noted.

As far as the World Cup is concerned, the former Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control (TT BBC) special advisor said a number of the sport’s greats, including Floyd “Money” Mayweather, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya and promoter Don King have endorsed the proposal, and also indicated their desire to be in the twin-island republic for the convention.

“There are 19,000 boxers looking for an avenue to box,” said Potts, with regards to both ventures.

“We want to develop boxing in all forms.” He also said that the convention will feature a number of activities geared at assisting the young boxers, including anti-bullying and social development programmes.

Also at the media briefing, Potts stated that he will serve as chairman of the WBC-sanctioned Central America and Caribbean region.

“This decision was made after a meeting last year in Mexico, with the WBC, WBA (World Boxing Association) and the IBF (International Boxing Federation),” said Potts. “The meeting was to decide on a way to deal with the sport of boxing, since it was dying due to the IABA new system, which was making the sport watered-down, and as a result, providing less boxers of world championship quality.” At the meeting, Potts recommended that the WBC stage boxing nurseries across the globe to help amateur fighters enhance the amateur development of the sport.

He made reference to a scenario involving Mayweather, the world light middleweight champ, who was defeated by Bulgaria’s Serafim Todoroy at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States.

According to Potts, while Mayweather is one of sport’s wealthiest performers, Todoroy is currently a pauper who currently resides in one of Bulgaria’s poorest cities.

“Thank God and everyone for helping me to promote the sport of boxing in this region,” Potts commented.

“The World Boxing Council considers me to be an integral part of boxing and I have been appointed as a chairman.” He called on the new Government, led by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, to “appoint the right people so they can take this initiative and run with it.” He said this has nothing to do with the Boxing Board and, for him, as chairman, it is a way of giving back to the country, and the sport, for what they have done for him.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has confirmed that Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome are the five cities bidding to host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

It was well known that all five would be putting themselves forward and there have been no surprise late entries to the contest ahead of today's announcement.

Paris, the French capital, will seek to host the Games exactly 100 years after they last did so in 1924, while Italian capital Rome also held the Summer Olympics previously, in 1960.

If Los Angeles is successful the American city will become a three-time host after staging the Games in both 1932 and 1984, while Hamburg is seeking to become the first German host since the Munich Olympics of 1972.

Hungarian capital Budapest has never been a host.

"The IOC welcomes five outstanding cities to this strong competition to host the Olympic Games in 2024," said Bach.

"We are delighted to see that all five have really embraced Olympic Agenda 2020.

"Olympic Agenda 2020 has shaped the Candidature Process more as an invitation and the cities have responded by engaging with the IOC through dialogue and cooperation.

"We look forward to a fascinating and fair competition.

"It is a diverse and creative field."

The IOC have also confirmed that they will pay $1.7billion (£1.1billion/€1.5billion) in cash and services to the organising committee of the winning city.

A deadline for cities to submit applications expired at midnight.

Canada's largest city Toronto had been mulling over a bid, but its Mayor John Tory confirmed they wouldn't be entering yesterday.

Azerbaijan's capital Baku was also a contender to enter the race but have not done so on this occasion.

When asked if he expected more than five entrants, Bach said: "I didn’t expect more.

"This competition is about quality and not about quantity."

The President also played down the merits of continental rotation for Olympic hosts with the three Winter and Summer Games after Rio 2016 all taking place in Asia and four of the 2024 candidates coming from Europe.

"I do not think that this will play a major role," he said.

"We have now three Olympic Games in a row in Asia, this shows that this informal rotation which we always saw in the past is losing importance in a more globalised world.

"This continental rotation is losing importance."

A final decision will be made by the IOC at their session in Lima, Peru, in September 2017.


Trinidad-based regional sporting network, WI Sports has upped the ante on its involvement with the Secondary Schools’ Football League (SSFL) for the newly commenced 2015 – 2016 season.

Founded in 2010, WI Sports is the only local network dedicated solely to the promotion of local and regional sports and airs on Flow Channel 14.

In addition to filming and broadcasting two games per week live on and providing ambulance services at the games to be broadcasted, WI Sports will also provide significant advertising of the league on its channel and on popular Flow channels every week.

Now visible in neighbouring islands such as Curacao, Barbados, St Vincent and St Lucia, WI Sports has also partnered with the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) to provide bus transportation to visiting schools throughout the season.

The main sponsors of the Secondary Schools’ Football League are BGTT and First Citizens.

WI Sports’ Founder and Managing Director, Peter C Lewis extended best wishes to all the players and teams in the SSFL, thanked Flow for their continued support and reiterated the network’s commitment to promoting the sporting talents of the nation – and by extension, the region.

“WI Sports has been working closely with the SSFL since our inception,” he explained, “but coming into the new season we really wanted to do more to impact upon the lives of these young and talented student-athletes… So we thought about various ways in which we could add to the efficiency and the promotion and the allure of the tournament.

We came up with a number of initiatives and incentives for the players, the longstanding sponsors, as well as for the viewing audience and the host of family members and friends who support the league.

“We look forward to working with Flow, the SSFL and all the sponsors who support the development of our next generation of student-athletes.” PTSC’s General Manager, Carl Ramdeo said the corporation is delighted to be associated with the SSFL. “We have been involved with sport across TT but this is a new addition,” said Ramdeo.

“We have been associated with cricket and we have been the transportation supplier for the National Football Team. We have also helped with tennis, chess, volleyball and basketball and today we are thrilled to be associated with the Secondary Schools’ Football League, as we get on the road with our young people aiming for the next World Cup and for several World Cups to come.”


Britain will host the 2016 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) Congress, it has been announced.

The decision was made following the recent Congress in the Belgian city Ghent and the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association are hoping to stage the event in London in June.

At the Congress, the venue for the 2020 IBSF World Championships will be decided and the race calendar for the 2017 season will be confirmed and announced.

Around 150 delegates from approximately 38 nations are set to descend on London for the Congress, which will mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the sport’s governing body in Britain.

“Bobsleigh and skeleton are Britain's most successful winter sports and we are immensely proud to have been selected to host the Congress of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation,” British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association chairman Christoper Rodrigues said.

“Welcoming colleagues and competitors to Great Britain in our 90th year is a particular honour and will be a centrepiece of our anniversary celebrations.”

It is only the second time since 2007 that Britain has played host to the world’s largest gathering of delegates in the sport and the announcement comes off the back of a successful year for bobsleigh and skeleton for the nation.

Lizzy Yarnold won skeleton gold at the FIBT World Championships in Winterberg, Germany, to add to the Olympic title she claimed at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Britain’s four-man bobsleigh team have also enjoyed a reasonably successful year, however, they have made a habit of agonisingly finishing fifth.

They have managed the feat at the last three major championships, including Sochi 2014.

At the 2015 Congress in Ghent, members of the IBSF unanimously approved a change in the organisation’s name.

The world governing body had previously been called the FIBT - Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing - but they will now be known as IBSF.