Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) says his executive plans to overhaul the development systems for athletes across four disciplines in track and field, namely hurdles, sprint, medium and long jump, in a deliberate effort to bolster this country’s medal hunt internationally.

He was speaking to the T&T Guardian at Piarco International Airport, on Tuesday, where he was part of the welcoming party which applauded the T&T 2015 Carifta Games team on its return from the 44th Carifta Games in St Kitts and Nevis with six gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals for third place.

Serrette, a former national athlete himself, said he believed that the move to overhaul various aspects of the sports had become critical, as the developmental regime across these disciplines was too adhoc.

With no clear guidelines in place, Serrette said, coaches had free reign regarding what benchmarks were used to nurture the nation’s athletes.

In order for this country to benefit from its investment in athletes, he said, a national quality control system was needed to match the jumps and throws events, which was already paying dividends.

“The time has come where we need to put our foot down where the national hurdles programme, sprint and medium and long needs to be introduced. The coaches need to mature and understand what we are doing and not just keep their athletes to themselves. We have to work together as a unit to produce our athletes to represent us on the big stage, he said.

Serrette lamented, however, that local performances at this year’s championships did not surpass the medal haul from the previous year.

“It was below our expectations. We knew we had a fairly–I wouldn’t say weak team–(but) it was a challenge for us this year…A number of issues. We only had four development meets, Carifta being early; the loss of use of the (Hasely Crawford) Stadium, which is allowing us to make decisions and plan even better for next year. Carnival is very early next year, so our developmental meets next year would start in November, to give the athletes more opportunities for competition. This year only allowed about four developmental meets and I think that is insufficient to guide us where the selections are concerned,” he said.

Stand out moments from this country’s athletes during competition at the Silver Jubliee Athletic Stadium, over the Easter weeknd, did not escape Serrette’s attention, however.

“Yes. Our under-18 athletes. We have a very interesting group of U-18 athletes. Some of the analysis that we are working on is our national programme–the jumps and throws–and we have seen results,” he said.

The NAAA head recalled the Tyriq Horseford record breaking throw in the boys U-18 javelin event and the champion performance by Akanni Hislop in the boys U-18 200m. Both athletes were from Tobago.

Serrette disclosed that before leaving local shores Hislop stated his intent to win the event and break the record in the process.

The Carifta record was 20.84. Hislop’s time was 20.91.

“I think that’s commendable. He also has another year competition in U-18 competition. I think he is someone we need to invest in because I think that out future,” Serrette said.

...22 medals at Carifta Games

Akanni Hislop and Kayelle Clarke both won gold medals in the final session at the 44th Carifta Games to bring T&T's overall tally to 22 medals at the end of the meet at the Kim Collins Stadium in Basseterre, St Kitts, on Monday night.

T&T finished with six gold, eight silver and eight bronze to end third in the medal standings behind Jamaica (85) and Bahamas (31).

Entering the last session with 15 medals, T&T added two gold, four bronze and one silver including three 4x400metre medals.

Hislop, who entered the boys 200metre Under-18 final with the fastest time of 21.25 seconds, went under 21 seconds to win gold in 20.91.

It was a close battle for silver, but Javan Martin of the Bahamas prevailed in 21.16 ahead of Jamaican Xavior Angus in 21.17.

Clarke, who finished fourth in the girls 100m U-20 final, grabbed gold in the girls 200m U-20 in 23.12. Jamaican Saqukine Cameron claimed silver in 23.32, while Bahamian Keianna Albury won bronze in 23.49.

Snatching bronze in the boys long jump U-18 was Clement Campbell. Campbell saved his best for last disturbing the sand at the 6.86m mark in his last (sixth) jump. Jamaicans Pakito Dudley (7.03m) and Shammawi Wellington (7.02m) won gold and silver respectively.

After the T&T 4x100 teams picked up three medals on Sunday night, the 4x400 teams earned one silver and two bronze. Both the girls and boys U-20 4x400m teams won bronze, while the boys 4x400m U-18 quartet grabbed silver. The girls 4x400m U-18 team finished a disappointing fifth. On Sunday the girls 4x100m U-20 unit finished third, but was unfortunately disqualified for a baton exchange outside the zone.

The team returned home yesterday and both T&TOC president Brian Lewis and Sportt’s executive manager Anthony Creed were at the airport to greet them.


​Boys 200m Under-18 Finals

1 Hislop, Akanni - T&T - 20.91

2 Martin, Javan - Bahamas - 21.16

3 Angus, Xavior - Jamaica - 21.17

Girls 200m U-20 Finals

1 Clarke, Kayelle - T&T - 23.12

2 Cameron, Saqukine - Jca - 23.32

3 Albury, Keianna - Bahamas - 23.49

Boys Long Jump U-18 Finals

1 Dudley, Pakito - Jamaica - 7.03m

2 Wellington, Shammawi - Jca - 7.02m

3 Campbell, Clement - T&T - 6.86m

Girls 100 M Hurdles U-20 Finals

1 Thompson, Yanique - Jca - 13.21

2 Williams, Jeanine – Jca - 13.40

3 Parris, Jeminise – T&T - 13.85

Boys 4x400m Relay U-18 Finals

1 Jamaica - 3:12.07

2 T&T - 3:14.23 (Kobe John, Terry Frederick, Judah Taylor, Jacob St Clair)

3 Bahamas - 3:18.12

Girls 4x400m Relay U-20 Finals

1 Jamaica - 3:37.96

2 British Virgin Islands - 3:46.43

3 T&T - 3:47.55 (Thyla-Maree Scott, Kayelle Clarke, Jeunice Maxime, Jeminise Parris)


Country G S B Total

Jamaica 41 25 19 85

Bahamas 8 13 10 31

T&T 6 8 8 22

Barbados 7 4 5 16

Grenada 1 3 4 8



Tyriq Horsford produced one of the most outstanding performances at Carifta 2015 here in Basseterre, St Kitts. The 15-year-old Trinidad and Tobago athlete established a new record in the boys’ under-18 javelin, his 70.73 metres monster throw earning him gold and the admiration of all who witnessed the Sunday morning feat.

Horsford was among the contenders for the Austin Sealy Award, presented to the most outstanding performer at the Games. The eventual recipient was triple gold medallist Mary Fraser. The Barbadian won the girls’ under-18 800 metres and 1500m events, as well as the girls’ open 3,000m.

Horsford was one of six T&T gold medallists at the 44th Carifta Games. Isaiah Taylor (boys’ under-18 shot put), Portious Warren (girls’ under-20 shot put), Andwuelle Wright (boys’ under-20 long jump), Kayelle Clarke (girls’ under-20 200m) and Akanni Hislop (boys’ under-18 200m) were also in winners’ row.

Jonathan Farinha looked a good bet for another gold, but pulled up lame in Monday’s boys’ under-20 200m final.

In addition to the six gold medals, T&T bagged eight silver and eight bronze, for a total of 22. T&T finished fourth on the medal table, behind perennial champions Jamaica (41 gold, 25 silver, 19 bronze), Bahamas (8 gold, 13 silver, 10 bronze), and Barbados (7 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze).

Hislop secured his gold medal on Monday, scorching the track in a personal best 20.91 seconds.

“I knew from the start,” Hislop told the Express, “I had to catch my two opponents outside of me. Once I did that I knew I was going to win.”

T&T head coach Reynold Porter-Lee named Hislop among the team’s standout athletes. His list also included Taylor, Horsford, Warren and girls’ under-20 high jump silver medallist Khemani Roberts.

“It’s a satisfactory performance,” Porter-Lee declared, “because most of the athletes lifted their game.”

National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette was very impressed with Horsford, whose 70.73m throw signalled to the world that another “Keshorn Walcott” is in the making.

“We would have identified that two years ago,” Serrette told the Express, “from our age-group championships. Last year he was here as a 14-year-old, and was fourth. In the ball throw at the age-group championships, they could not measure his throw.

“We want to encourage and support him, and other athletes where we see the talent. We need to have some fund where we would be able to assist those athletes to continue to train, assist them medically and nutrition-wise.”

Horsford told the Express that Walcott, T&T’s reigning Olympic men’s javelin champion, is a source of inspiration.

“Since I was growing up, I was seeing him throwing great distances for his age, and I was amazed.”

Horsford is producing amazing feats as well, and has his sights set on the 74.78m world under-16 record, held by Australian Luke Cann.


As the drama that is general elections in T&T begins in earnest, there are calls for a greater quality of public engagement. Concerns have been expressed in many quarters. There is a pervading sense of frustration and anger as the populace seeks answers to the fundamental question—what will the future hold for the twin island republic?

The very same concerns have been expressed within sport about sport in T&T. The perception of uncertainty is dominating mind space. People have negative emotions–they are in fight or flight mode. They are anxious and insecure. Uncertainty is stifling confidence, notwithstanding the fact that many people are feeling beleaguered and angry. The nation building process is at work.

Somewhat hesitantly our society is waking up to the reality and challenge of shaping the country and society it wants.

Some people and organisations will buckle under the pressure sinking into despair losing confidence, while others will bend and bounce back.

Changing from negative to positive emotions about the situation will require resilience as distinct from optimism.

Without denying the facts, resilience is needed. Resilient people possess three defining characteristics; they accept the harsh realities facing them. They find meaning and purpose in difficult times. And they find a way to innovate, create and be inventive making do with the resources that are available. Right now in T&T resilience and learning to be resilient is important.

We have to build the bridge to a better future by facing up to the reality of our situation. Wishful thinking and denial will not wipe our problems and issues away. We have to get out of the victim mode and thinking.

This is not to say that being optimistic should be used to distort reality. By the same token optimism can be turned into denial with dire consequences. Optimism has its place and should be encouraged.

Resilience on the other hand is pragmatic about the reality.

National Sport Organisations (NSOs) can’t remain on the periphery of the dialogue and discussions. Sport must play a key role in articulating the role sport can and must play in the immediate, near and long term future of T&T.

Facing and confronting reality can be unpleasant but it allows us to prepare for the challenges that must be overcome.

Organisational resilience requires having strong value systems. Strong value systems allow an organisation to share a common set of values that are core and that can be used to hold an organisation together in hard times. Important decisions are shaped by the value system. In the main strategy and mission may change but values remain constant.

Recently while browsing through two books—A History of Modern Trinidad 1783-1962 by Bridget Brereton and Inward Hunger by Dr Eric Williams—history provided compelling clues and lessons.

Making sense of what’s happening currently in T&T when looked through the prism of history is easier. There are deep historical and social dimensions and constructs that shape the response of our society.

There are subtleties at play that aren’t obvious and the natural consequence is a lack of context and understanding.

T&T is entering a new and different dynamic. Our society is evolving and wrestling with the issues of nation building.

Every aspect of T&T life is being challenged—old and existing value systems, norms and cultures. Nothing is sacrosanct.

It’s an exciting time for T&T.

The debate and discussions are necessary and should be encouraged. Now is not the time for intolerance. We must welcome and embrace the diversity of views, values, lifestyles and opinions.

We are defining what we want social progress to look like. Reaching our full potential individually and collectively demands that we welcome the current convulsions and not be afraid or traumatised by them.


…opens season with windy 200 win

The 2014 season was a mixed bag for Richard “Torpedo” Thompson.

In June, at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships, Thompson produced a 9.82 seconds national record run to capture the 100 metres title. Three weeks earlier, he had clocked a wind-assisted 9.74 at a meet in Florida, USA.

The 9.82 sizzler put the T&T track star in pole position ahead of the July 23-August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. However, he was unable to live up to his status as favourite for the 100m title, bowing out of the event after finishing third in his semi-final heat in 10.19 seconds.

Thompson told the Express fatigue was responsible for his sub-par performance.

“My body was just tired, to be honest. People asked if I was injured or if something happened, but that wasn’t the case. The road back to healthy started in early September 2013, and it really took a lot out of me physically, mentally and emotionally, getting back to the times I got down to. When we got to late July and beyond, my body was fried.”

After a disappointing 2013 campaign that was hampered by a painful hip injury, Thompson put his body through an arduous 2014 season. Not since his final year on the US collegiate circuit, in 2008, had Thompson raced as much as he did last year.

“I proved in 2014 that I can run very fast again. What’s important though is doing it at the right time. I want to run fast on the circuit, and I want to be the national champion, but far more significant than that is being a medallist in Beijing.”

Thompson is planning to be in Beijing for the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships. He has fond memories of the Chinese city, having earned silver medals in the 100m and 4x100m events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Thompson is also eyeing the July 10-26 Pan Am Games, in Toronto, Canada.

“I’d like to be a part of the Pan Am team. I’ve never run in Toronto before, and I have a lot of family there. Even if it’s just on the relay team, I’d like to do it. That will give us a chance to work together and perfect our exchanges for Beijing.”

The 29-year-old sprinter said he is satisfied with his build-up to the 2015 season.

“Preparations have been good so far. I’m thankful to be healthy and not to have to dig myself out of a hole, as I did last year coming into the season. I’m in a much more relaxed state, physically and mentally, than I was at this time last year, so there’s less emotional stress.

“Also,” Thompson continued, “we don’t have to run as many races trying to familiarise my legs with sprinting at that high level again. We can plan the season better so that the right races come at the right time.”

Thompson opened his 2015 campaign on Saturday, at the Louisiana State University (LSU) Battle on the Bayou meet, in Louisiana, USA. He won the men’s 200m event, the triple Olympic medallist clocking a wind-assisted 20.81 seconds. Another T&T sprinter, Shermund Allsop was sixth fastest in a windy 21.87.

“I haven’t yet confirmed my first professional outdoor meet,” Thompson explained. “That circuit usually starts in May, so I will be using some of the smaller meets at LSU in April to get ready for the big ones.”

FIFA Presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein today published his manifesto to reform football's world governing body, with the establishment of a formal continental rotation system for the World Cup among its key elements.

Entitled A FIFA Worthy of the World's Game the document details specific pledges to transform FIFA into a service organisation that is a model of good governance and ethical conduct.

Prince Ali said he envisages a "virtuous circle which will take the beautiful game of football to new and unprecedented levels all over the world".

The manifesto is the result of an extensive international consultation process involving National Association leaders, players, coaches, sponsors, fans and other stakeholders, he claimed.

The Jordanian foresees the World Cup being played in different countries, in a similar way to Euro 2020, but believes all stakeholders should be consulted before making a decision on expanding the tournament from its current 32 team make-up.

"My manifesto for reforming FIFA reflects my discussions with National Associations around the world and the priorities that they have expressed to me," said Prince Ali, President of the Jordan Football Association and vice-president of FIFA.

"They have told me that they want a FIFA Development Programme which is transparent, fair, generous and flexible - and which delivers tailored support where it is most needed, so that the level of the game rises for all."

Prince Ali claimed there was a "culture of intimidation" within football's governing body at the launch of his campaign in February and insisted he cannot be a part of FIFA if incumbent President Sepp Blatter is re-elected.

The 39-year-old has promised greater transparency by making public the salaries of the FIFA President and Executive Committee members, as well as the minutes from Executive Committee meetings.

Ensuring commmerical success is also high on Prince Ali's list of priorities to increase the funds available to invest in football around the world.

"It is clear to me that FIFA currently rides rather than drives the success of the beautiful game of football," he added.

"With good governance, targeted development, and growth in the game around the world, there is a great deal of room for improvement in FIFA's commercial performance, and National Associations around the world would benefit from a more commercially savvy and successful FIFA capable of generating more money to invest in them and in football.

"I will lead by example and I have a clear vision to accelerate a long-term plan for football development.

"I am committed to a programme of reform for FIFA that has football's best interests at heart and I want the game to flourish for generations to come.

"With a new culture of democracy and with leadership that promotes accountability, transparency and integrity, the global football community can unite to form a new FIFA that National Associations, players, fans and all our stakeholders can all be proud to belong to and own."

The evaluation and optimisation of the international match calendar is another prominent pledge, with a review of the world ranking system and a full and open debate about the place of technology in football also proposed.

Additionally, a detailed 10-point proposal for development has been drawn up, including providing more support for National Associations who need it most and more investment in women's football.

Prince Ali is aiming to ensure that every Football Association in the world will have what it needs to play the game, including basic infrastructure and equipment, within four years.

Despite the endless amount of corruption allegations made towards FIFA and the fact that he could face three different challengers to his Presidency - with The Netherlands' Michael van Praag and Portugal's Luis Figo the other two candidates - Blatter remains the firm favourite to continue in a role he has held since 1998.

The National Associations are due to vote to decide the winning candidate at the FIFA Congress on May 29 in Zurich.

To view the full manifesto, click here.