The first ever national mountain bike team departed Trinidad yesterday to compete in the Caribbean Mountain Bike Championship in Puerto Rico, on Sunday.

The T&T team comprises Jason Costelloe (elite men), Ryan Chin (elite men), Candace Chin Fatt (elite women), Peter Sellier (junior men), manager Brian Sellier (Peter’s father) and coach Drew Edsall.

Being T&T’s first ever national mountain bike (MTB) team, it bodes well for the development of the MTB discipline under the T&T Cycling Federation (TTCF) umbrella. The Caribbean Mountain Bike Championship will have teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and T&T.  The event type is known as ‘XCO’ (Cross Country Olympic) and the course will be four-six km with multiple laps. The elite race will take approximately one hour 45 minutes and the juniors will be one hour 30 minutes. The team’s first priority will be to re-assemble and check their bikes, then learn the course over the next couple of days.  

The coach will ride with the team during the training and preparation time and will work with them to assess the best lines and approaches to any obstacles, as well as conducting some start drills. Edsall will ensure that each athlete is physically and mentally prepared to achieve their personal best for T&T.

The team is grateful for the financial assistance provided by the Sport Company of T&T. The team also thanked the TTCF for making this team possible and all those who have contributed to the individuals development and success through their support, encouragement and assistance.


The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) received a further boost towards its goal of ten or more gold medals by 2024, as Flow has agreed to give $5m over five years to the local track and field committee.

This announcement follows the decision by Toyota in July to give $750,000 over the next five years leading up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

At a press conference yesterday at the TTOC office on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, managing director of Flow Brian Collins spoke about the partnership.

Collins said: “I am delighted to share with you some of the details of the partnership between the T&T Olympic Committee and Flow.

“We wanted to deepen Flow’s support for the T&T Olympic Committee. These talks began about eight months ago. We always knew we would come together because we share the similar passion for excellence and wanting to see Trinidad and Tobago athletes perform at the very highest level.”

Collins said Flow believes in long term investment. “We believe this five-year partnership is something that is truly significant and allows Brian (Lewis) and his team some headspace to plan ahead. They know they (TTOC) have a partner, a sponsor, and they could rely on us. Not just what is written in the contract but outside of that as this is a partnership in every form.”

Collins added: “As a corporate sponsor of development and community in the country in which we do business we examine our involvement from three perspectives—how are we supporting, how are we helping and what will success look like as a stakeholder.

“The ten or more gold medals by 2024 helped us see that clearly by helping our T&T athletes prepare for the Olympic Games. Contributing to the success of these individuals, who are so passionate about what they do and who would like to do well for themselves and for the love of their sport and country, it was a no brainer for us.”

President of the TTOC Brian Lewis said the money will be used initially for the elite athletes. “This is focused initially on the elite athletes. This is about ten or more Olympic gold medals by 2024. 

Today the T&T Olympic Committee is a proud partner of one of the most innovative and visionary corporate entities in the region, and one can dare say further afield.” 

T&T has won two Olympic gold medals in its history. Hasely Crawford won gold in the men’s 100m event at the 1976 Games, while Keshorn Walcott captured gold in the men’s javelin in 2012.

Yesterday, the TTOC also distributed outstanding medal bonuses to T&T athletes for their performances at the Pan American Games earlier this year. Cleopatra Borel collected her bonus after winning gold in the women’s shot put, while Renny Quow’s father collected on his behalf. Quow was part of the men’s 4X400m team that won gold.


The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) Robert Farrier is looking forward to liaising with the new Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Darryl Smith, regarding the future development of the sport in T&T.
"I would like to congratulate the new Minister," he said yesterday. "We have a lot to talk about regarding the development of young athletes."
Farrier has recently returned from France where he was on hand to see the T&T senior track cycling team compete at the Open Nations Grand Prix in Roubaix, France.
The event was the last on the calendar for accumulating UCI points, which meant Elite local cyclists Jude Codrington, Quincy Alexander and Justin Roberts were on hand, competing in the Elite men's sprints and keirin events.
Farrier indicated that the meet was a good opportunity for the TTCF to get a measure of how the local riders currently measure up in world cycling. "We were competitive," he said. "I was able to look at different programmes, the different bicycles they use, and it was also a good opportunity to observe how they manage their facility."
The head of the local federation is eagerly anticipating the opening of the National Track Cycling Centre in Couva. However, the official opening which was originally carded for late July, has been put off.
"They (the Ministry) have told us that the unveiling would have been the week before elections," said Farrier. "All cyclists however were overseas in competition however, and it had to be postponed.
"This is something we have to discuss with the Minister," he continued. "We need the facility to train, so that is one of the reasons I would like to have a discussion with him."
T&T were unable to medal at the recent Junior World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. Farrier told the Express that it is always a difficult competition for young local cyclists, despite the fact that they do well at the Pan American level. He indicated that even at the junior level, athletes need to be better prepared.
Regarding the future development of local track cycling in particular, Farrier said that top level riders should make the trip to the European circuit at least twice a year. "We have to go to more of the European Grand Prix to see where we're at with that level of competition," he said.
At the Open Nations Grand Prix, Alexander finished 18th in the sprints, and 13th in the keirin. Codrington was 27th in the sprints, but managed a 16th-place finish in the keirin, while Roberts came 22nd in the sprint and 14th in the keirin.


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.