The prepared text of the remarks by President Obama at Selma, Ala., on March 7 to mark the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march:

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning 50 years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of nonviolence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government — all you need for a night behind bars — John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war — Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character — Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon 50 years ago, so much of our turbulent history — the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher — met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America — that idea ultimately triumphed.

As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation. The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them. We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And in the days to come, they went back again and again. When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came — black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing. To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson. And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had. Faith in God — but also faith in America.

The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities — but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse — everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?

What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people — the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many — coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience. That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance. It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents:

“We the People . . . in order to form a more perfect union.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

These are not just words. They are a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny. For founders like Franklin and Jefferson, for leaders like Lincoln and FDR, the success of our experiment in self-government rested on engaging all our citizens in this work. That’s what we celebrate here in Selma. That’s what this movement was all about, one leg in our long journey toward freedom.

The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall. Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid. Young people in Burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule. From the streets of Tunis to the Maidan in Ukraine, this generation of young people can draw strength from this place, where the powerless could change the world’s greatest superpower, and push their leaders to expand the boundaries of freedom.

They saw that idea made real in Selma, Alabama. They saw it made real in America.

Because of campaigns like this, a Voting Rights Act was passed. Political, economic, and social barriers came down, and the change these men and women wrought is visible here today in the presence of African-Americans who run boardrooms, who sit on the bench, who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from the Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval Office.

Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African Americans, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors. Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past.

What a glorious thing, Dr. King might say.

What a solemn debt we owe.

Which leads us to ask, just how might we repay that debt?

First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough. If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done — the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.

Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism. For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair.

Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the civil rights movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the civil rights movement, it most surely was.

We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America. If you think nothing’s changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress — our progress — would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.

Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character — requires admitting as much.

“We are capable of bearing a great burden,” James Baldwin wrote, “once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”

This is work for all Americans, and not just some. Not just whites. Not just blacks. If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel, as they did, the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on — the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for — the protection of the law. Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.

With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure every child gets an education suitable to this new century, one that expands imaginations and lifts their sights and gives them skills. We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class.

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge — and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, 50 years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in 50 years. We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction, because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.

We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea — pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit.

We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some; and we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That’s our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free — Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We are the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because they want their kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied. We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We are the inventors of gospel and jazz and the blues, bluegrass and country, hip-hop and rock and roll, our very own sounds with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of, who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.”

We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer. Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect. But we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge. When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary. For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country’s sacred promise.

May He bless those warriors of justice no longer with us, and bless the United States of America.


On the occasion of International Women's Day which  is celebrated around the world on 8th March annually.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC) has affirmed its support and commitment to advancing and  promoting the immense value and benefits that can be derived from women and girls involvement in sport.

"Encouraging effective action for advancing  and empowering women in sport is an essential aspect of good sports governance."

International Women's day is an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of women while raising awareness of the need to address a number of issues negatively impacting women in sport in Trinidad and Tobago.

The 10 or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024 #10golds24 vision includes increasing the number of TTO sports women qualifying for the Olympic Games and winning medals including  gold medals .

Under the IOC code of ethics safeguarding the dignity of individuals is a fundamental requirement of Olympism .

Therefore confronting and addressing all forms of  harassment of participants be it sexual, physical or professional health  and social constraints that negatively impact the lifelong participation and enjoyment of women and girls in sport are a key part of the TTOC's Olympism and Olympic Charter mandate.

International Women's Day can serve as an annual reminder that increasing women and girls participation in organised sport must be a priority that demands vigilant, sincere and committed focus and attention.

Progress has been made but much more needs to be done for women and girls in Trinidad and Tobago Sport and Olympic sport in particular.

Brian Lewis


Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC)

“Chase your dreams.”
That’s the advice Cleopatra Borel gave to young athletes moments after being crowned Sportswoman of the Year at the First Citizens Sports Foundation 2014 Awards ceremony alongside George Bovell, the Sportsman of the Year.
But Borel was not present at the event to collect her award. She was out chasing her own lifelong dream, firmly in competition in Cuba.
Instead, the pre-recorded video presentation of the veteran female shot putter passing down pearls of wisdom to up-and-coming sportsmen and women turned out to be a fitting victory speech when the honour was finally announced.
“You have to go after your dreams,” Borel urged. “You can never achieve your goals by sitting at home and waiting for the moment. You have to go out there and make it happen. Remember you are your own best advocate. You have to do it.”
Bovell, meanwhile, in his usual style, thanked his supporters and those who have helped him along the way. It was his second such award after first being honoured in 2004. Borel triumphed for the fourth time after wins in 2002, 2007 and 2010.
The live televised programme also saw Bovell and Borel among the top ten nominees for 2014. Also among them was Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Athlete of the Year Keshorn Walcott, another big contender for the award. Each selectee had a strong year, including Commonwealth Games boxing bronze medallist Michael Alexander, shooter and two-time FCSF Sportsman of the Year Roger Daniel--who won back-to-back awards in 2010-2011—judoka Christopher George and powerlifter Adrian Brown.
Powerlifting continues to show tremendous strides, being the only sport outside of track and field to have both its nominees in the top ten, with Yolande Mc Intyre also making the cut. This after powerlifter Giselle-Ann Jackman won the award for 2013.
Monica Sealy (golf) and Rheann Chung (table tennis) also had very impressive seasons and made the top ten.
The Lystra Lewis award for an outstanding individual or team was presented to the T&T’s women’s football team, which fell at the last hurdle with a late 1-0 defeat to Ecuador.
The National Association of Athletics Administrators (NAAA) was given the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award for the top sporting administration of 2014 in the large category, while the T&T Target Archery Federation got the nod in the medium category.
In giving the feature address, incoming UWI pro-vice chancellor Hillary Beckles—who assumes the post from May 1 this year—said the Caribbean has more sportsmen and women per capita than any other region in the world. Where improvements need to happen, Beckles appealed, is in the governance of sport.
The event also had its poignant moments, as sportsmen who passed away in the previous year were remembered. They were all men, including runner Hakeem Alexander, Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Rodney Wilkes, Neville Phipps (table tennis), Rawle Barrow (sailing), Kevon Carter (football), Benedict Cayenne (track and field) and cricketer Tevin Robertson.
Cycling was hardest hit, losing no fewer than eight personalities: Clinton Grant, Hilton “Barracuda” Mitchell, Kent Luces, Roger Smart, Ronald Dickie Sr, Russell Parris, David Beard and Len Harvey.


On Thursday 5th March, 2015, the 28th Annual Nestlé Trinidad And Tobago Limited
MILO West Games 2015, was officially launched.

For the past 28 years, Nestlé MILO has proudly sponsored the MILO West Games – Zonal Games which provide a forum to unearth the rich athletic (track & field) talent that is resident in the North West. And this year, the Good Food, Good Life company will contribute $75,000 in cash toward the initiative.

The MILO West Games has long been considered a premier activity; the showpiece of the North Western District; and has produced a slew of athletes responsible for winning medals at national, regional and international athletic events.

At the launch, Mr. Kelvin Nancoo, Chairman of the Port of Spain and Environs Sports Council, brought remarks from the MILO West Games Committee, and extended immense gratitude to Nestlé MILO for its commitment to the Games for the past 28 years.  

Mr. Ephraim Serrette, President of the National Association of Athletic Administration, shared Nancoo’s sentiments, adding that the field of athletics (track and field) has seen the greatest success and most success at the Olympic Games for Trinidad and Tobago, than any other field. “The NAAA is pleased to be part of this, sanctioning such an event, because this is where our future Olympians and world champions will come from. We need to support this.”

Mr. Olson Oliver, School Supervisor III, brought remarks on behalf of the  Ministry of Education highlighting that participation in the Games contributes to numerous health, wellness and personal benefits, like development of moral values and social and emotional skills, unattainable via other means.

“It brings Nestlé a great sense of gratification, knowing that others view health, wellness, nutrition and sport in the same high regard as we do.” This from Mrs. Rae-Ann Clement- Harper, Senior Consumer Marketing Manager, Powdered Beverages at Nestlé.

Clement-Harper went on to acknowledge the efforts of the Ministry of Education, its Principals and Teachers, and all parents, students, athletes, volunteers and organisers who, year after year, give of themselves to ensure the success of the MILO Games.

Ms. Aleena Brooks, Feature Speaker and former MILO West Games participant shared her experience as a participant some 10 years ago, describing it as the foundation of her career as an athlete. She attributed her success on the track to the MILO Games as she mentioned a handful of her numerous accomplishments and stated “All of that (success) goes right back to the beginning where I started off at the MILO games.”

Aleena likened the Games to the Olympics - “I felt proud, because when you're that young, the MILO games felt like the Olympic.” This comment was met with approving applause.

Ms. Brooks, 23, went on to encourage the athletes present to continue the path of excellence set out by former MILO Games participants like Jehue Gordon and Michelle Lee Ahye. Her advice to the athletes was three-fold: “Believe in God; Believe in yourself; and have self discipline, which means doing what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.”

The Games
The MILO West Games will be held on Tuesday March 10th  at the Hasely Crawford Stadium under the Chairmanship of Mr. Kelvin Nancoo, Chairman of the Port of Spain and Environs Sports Council.
Preliminary track heats were held on Thursday 26th February at the Diego
Martin Central Secondary School, and at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Producing Champions
Over its history the Games has produced thirteen (13) national athletes, with the
most recent being the top Under 20 400 metres hurdle athlete in the world, Jehue  Gordon and National Womens and world number three (3) rated sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye.

Other National Athletes who debuted at the Milo Games include:
● Simon Pierre
● Fana Ashby
● Cleavon Dillon
● Renee Clarke
● Honore Mcdonald
● Kervin Morgan
● Michelle Lee Ahye
● Jonathan Holder
* Jehue Gordon
*Alena Brooks

For additional information on the MILO West Games, please contact:

Kim C.S. Kirton

As rugby continues to grow throughout the Caribbean, NACRA has introduced the game to St Kitts and Nevis using its values as the hook


The joys of rugby are well known up on the South African highveld, down in the Welsh valleys and in the Canterbury plains but now the game has arrived at a new and, arguably, even more exotic destination.


A spot of cricket on the beach or sprinting on the athletics track may be the sporting activities that first spring to mind when the sun-soaked Caribbean twin-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis is mentioned. However, while cricketers such as Keith Arthurton or athletes like Desai Williams have previously inspired the country’s youngsters, potentially a new breed of rugby player will be the ones making headlines in years to come.


Over the past year, kids in St Kitts and Nevis have been introduced to the game thanks to World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby initiative, enthusiastically implemented by the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA).


The Get Into Rugby scheme has already been a hit in other Caribbean countries, such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, where there was already a rugby presence. In 2014, NACRA set the task of introducing the game to areas where rugby was not played, by working with local Olympic committees.


Indeed, the programme has been hugely successful throughout the continent with 16 NACRA unions taking part in more than 50 locations around North America and the Caribbean. So far that has introduced 13,900 youngsters to the game for the first time, including 6,200 girls, through more than 600 training sessions and Get Into Rugby festivals.


St Kitts and Nevis embrace Get Into Rugby The St Kitts and Nevis National Olympic Committee sent a representative to NACRA’s ‘New Country’ initiative in 2013 where rugby was explained and introduced to people who had never experienced it before. The NOC immediately embraced the introduction of Get Into Rugby so, in 2014, it invited NACRA to make a first visit to train teachers and volunteers.


Trinidad and Tobago woman Kwanieze John, who works as a Get Into Rugby instructor for NACRA, and Tom Jones, World Rugby Regional General Manager, were the lucky ones to make the trip to the shores of St Kitts and Nevis. John has since made a second visit, this time with Kurt Weaver of USA Rugby.


John explains the importance of directing their rugby education programme towards primary and secondary age students.


“We need to build a culture and, as young kids are more impressionable, it needs to be the right culture. This is particularly true as there is no local rugby for them in St Kitts and Nevis. It's about the opportunity to make rugby their own,” she said.


So, what is this rugby culture like?


A rugby culture is being instilled

“It is great to address education, health and physical fitness through sport to become not just a better rugby player but to become a better person,” she said.


“Teamwork is heavily emphasised. The integrity of the game, that they have to be honest, they have to be accountable to their team-mates, their coaches, their school, keep maintaining good grades.”


These efforts are supported in St Kitts and Nevis and in other Caribbean countries by the fact that rugby has become part of the physical education curricula. It was during her own school years in Trinidad that John herself first encountered and fell in love with rugby.


“The coach came into our school and she had a very powerful personality, and I wanted to be as strong as her. That was what it was really about for me because I had no idea what rugby really was when I got started, not a clue!”


It was this character building aspect of the game that particularly appealed to the then 15-year-old.


Rugby helped me to make friends

For me, rugby was an opportunity to travel and to make friends with other girls my age who were just as passionate to be as involved with sport as I was. Rugby did a lot for my character as well, you were seen as a strong girl in school.”


Ten years later, John’s desire to promote rugby across the Caribbean and experience in doing so is impressive considering she is still only 25.


In telling of how rugby impacted upon her life as a teenager while growing up in the tough Port of Spain neighbourhood of St Barbs, John expounds on how rugby can be used to help fight socio-economic disadvantage.


“Rugby was an escape for me. I grew up kind of rough, in a sense, in a place where your peers heavily influenced you. Rugby was a lifesaver for me because I grew up in a harsh community. That was just my environment but it wasn’t who I really was. Who I am now has a lot to do with the school I attended, my mentors and the people who looked out for me.


“In my community I saw a lot of girls have children as teenagers and that became their whole life. What rugby did for me was see beyond that, that there were different paths and there are different experiences you can find through sport.”


Desire to inspire others

John’s path that began with rugby has included being capped for her country at senior level playing both sevens and 15s, studying at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, working with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and last year being their chef de mission for their delegation to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.


These achievements she believes stem from her involvement in rugby and feed into her desire to inspire others.


“I know what sport did for me as a young woman and I have always wanted to share that opportunity with others. I want to inspire others to take up sport as a career or working in sport development as a career. The changes sport can make to the lives of young people are priceless.”


She once again returns to the social aspect of rugby when expressing the benefits of sport for young girls in particular.


The value of solidarity is so important

“We emphasise the values of rugby such as solidarity and how, as women, they should not tear each other down but they need to support each other.


“We tell them that they are part of a wider community and that does a lot for girls and the boys. Because sometimes boys feel very alone despite their machismo, so that camaraderie and friendship are definitely parts of the rugby programme.”


John provides some stirring words to prompt any teenager regardless of where he or she may be in the world to pick up an oval ball.


“Rugby really saved me because I didn’t always have somebody to talk to but I would go on the field and all my worries would just drop away. I became a different person when I was on that green grass. When I am out on the field I am really at peace.”

by Kate Rowan Source: NACRA Info Page.

Trinidad and Tobago's national men and women rugby 7s teams are in contention to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will travel to the USA to participate in the North America and Caribbean region Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification tournament .

The North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) has announced  that the Triangle Sports Commission has been selected to serve as the local host of the 2015 NACRA  Sevens rugby tournament on June 13-14, which will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

This event will serve as the regional qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


The Triangle Sports Commission, based in Cary, is one of only 10 United States Olympic Committee Community Olympic Partner organizations, and, as such, has a significant focus on supporting major Olympic and amateur sports events and activities.


“To be able to host this international qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio Olympic Games is quite a coup for the region,” said Hill Carrow, CEO of the Triangle Sports Commission. “It gives us the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Olympic participation and competition with one of the fastest growing sports in the world. In addition, this tournament will enable us to outfit WakeMed Soccer Park permanently to host major rugby events, which expands the capabilities of the park and can lead to additional long-term positive economic benefits for the area. For those of us involved with the initial plan and funding for WakeMed, as well as the recent expansion of the venue, that aspect is particularly exciting.”


Qualification Process

The initial round of qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games – the first Olympiad to include Rugby Sevens on the Games Program – will result from the 2014-15 World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series (men’s) and 2014-15 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The top four teams from each Series will qualify for the Olympics (in addition to Brazil, which automatically qualifies as the host country).


The United States Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens National Teams remain in contention to qualify for Rio 2016 in their respective Series, with the men sitting in ninth place after three of nine tournaments and the women in seventh with five tournaments remaining.


National teams that do not qualify through the Series will participate in regional qualifiers around the world, to include the NACRA Sevens in June. The top finisher from both the men’s and women’s bracket will join the Series qualifiers on their way to the Olympics.


“In light of the continued growth and popularity of rugby throughout the NACRA region and with this year’s Series also being the qualification tournament for Rio 2016, it is important that such an event be held at a high quality venue with strong local partners in order to showcase rugby sevens,” NACRA Chief Operations Officer Niall Brooks said. “WakeMed, together with the Triangle Sports Commission leading the Local Organizing Committee, fulfills this criteria and I am sure all teams, players, officials, and spectators are looking forward to a successful and thoroughly enjoyable sevens tournament.”


WakeMed Soccer Park, venue for the Qualifier, is home to the North American Soccer League’s Carolina Railhawks. The 150-acre complex in Cary, N.C., contains a 10,000-seat natural grass stadium with two additional championship fields, and multiple practice fields on site.