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.

Tonight, Trinidad and Tobago will find out who are the First Citizens Sports Foundation (FCSF) Sports Awards 2014 picks for Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.


The gala event will kick off from 7.15 tonight at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain.


It seems that again, this year, track and field is set to dominate—or more accurately, the field—with javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott and shot putter Cleopatra Borel leading the charge among the men and women respectively.


It’s not a done deal yet, but the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) awards often provides a good indicator as to what’s in store on a national stage, even though there are a number of sports outside the TTOC jurisdiction that have put their hands up with performances over the preceding 12 months.


There have been some exciting performances in that period, but it will be tough to get past Walcott, who bettered his national javelin record by hurling the spear 85.77 metres in August at his final IAAF Diamond League meet in Zurich, Switzerland for silver.


Walcott seemed to have gotten past his injury concerns in the year with some consistent performances. The Toco native won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and bagged bronze at the IAAF Continental Cup.


Borel is T&T’s most accomplished veteran in the field, and has continued to consistently throw beyond 18 metres in big competitions. She secured silver at the Commonwealth Games, and gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Veracruz, Mexico in November when the iron ball landed on the cusp of 19 metres.


But there are a number of other standout performances that would surely have tested the judges.


Michael Alexander boxed his way to bronze at the Commonwealth Games despite facing a number of preparation hurdles. He also claimed CAC bronze.


Denesh Ramdin was one of West Indies’ top batsmen even in the face of being handed the Test captaincy, and helped the regional side to the semi-finals of the World T20 competition. Ramdin also played a crucial role in helping T&T lift the Nagico Super50 title.


Among the women, footballer Arin King and golfer Monifa Sealy both earned their nomination with strong seasons. King was strong in defence to bring T&T to the cusp of their first World Cup qualification, and Sealy was again a stroke above the rest to help T&T hold on to the George Teale Memorial Trophy.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic cycling hopefuls have been provided with a slight competitive advantage ahead of the 2016 Summer Games since the spanking new 250 metre Siberian spruce track laid at National Cycling Velodrome, Couva, last week, is an almost replica of the sleek surface which will play host to cycling events at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This was revealed by German Ralph Schuermann, architect and engineer of Schuermann Architects, and the man in charge of ensuring the successful laying of the surface at the Couva facility. Schuermann’s organisation has also been selected to construct the competitive track in Brazil for all indoor cycling events next year.

Speaking to the professional builder at the track’s unveiling in Balmain, Couva, yesterday, he indicated that TT nationals should have an extra edge.

“This is our 144th track we have built around the world,” said Schuermann. “In a few weeks time we are going to start to build the Olympic track and we are going to install this in Rio de Janeiro in autumn. It will be pretty similar to this track if you train here, you will definitely have an advantage at the Olympics.”

At the track’s unveiling yesterday, generations of local cyclists were all smiles as over 20 years of promises were finally materialised. Veteran national representatives such as Gene “Geronimo” Samuel, Roger Frontin and Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Robert Farrier, along with Olympic rider Njisane Phillip and several other promising national cyclists and enthusiasts were also present at the venue to test the smooth surface for the first time.

Schuermann also indicated that the seats are yet to be installed, air conditions still to be turned on and minor outdoor work to be done, to ensure total completion of now International Cycling Union (UCI) — sanctioned arena.

Schuermann added, “We have already received approval of the UCI for this building and we have the certification for the track. There’s still some minor work to do but the track is completed and as you can see, the cyclists are overjoyed.”

During the visit, national representatives such as Phillip, Keron Bramble, Akil Campbell, Quincy Alexander, Jude Codrington, Justin Roberts and females Kollyn St George, Keiana Lester and Denese Francis all took the opportunity to familiarise themselves on the shiny new track.

Speaking to Minister of Sport Brent Sancho at the venue, he gave credit to the works of the main contractor Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), the Government and all other associates for a job well done.

“History has been made in Trinidad and Tobago in the sport of cycling and history will continue to be made with the swimming and tennis facilities on the way as well — both have been coming along nicely.

“We have now put ourselves on the sporting world map and will now be known to have the best cycling arena in the Western Hemisphere. This is also great for sport tourism and we anticipate this location being a number one destination for foreign cyclists,” said Sancho.

TTCF boss, Farrier, also revealed that the cycling fraternity is presently working on a plan to ensure that this facility is fully utilised. These plans, he revealed, will be rolled out in due course since discussions are still underway with the newly appointed Sport Minister.

Although unconfirmed, the local cycling family is expected to host its first professional race in mid-May when TT’s elite and junior riders gear up for this year’s edition of the National Cycling Championships. However, the official opening is scheduled to take place when TT host the inaugural UCI-sanctioned “Grand Prix of Balmain”.

Originally, the scheduled date was listed as June 12-14 but due to minor delays, this date has been pushed back to ensure smooth operations on opening night. The official opening date is yet to be released.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) as part of its new strategic marketing and brand management plan, is adopting an entrepreneurial, vibrant and dynamic market driven, new business development approach to revenue generation for its programmes and projects. This includes the strategic vision to achieve 10 or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024. In an effort to support this marketing plan and vision, the TTOC has set up an in house marketing department that will handle the TTOC marketing, branding, new business and commercial development, merchandising and licensing programme.

The mandate of the TTOC marketing department is to break down barriers with new ideas and approaches.  “As an organization we must always strive to celebrate and embrace disruptive thinking and challenge conventional wisdom,” said TTOC President Brian Lewis. “This department will drive the TTOC's business and commercial agenda, growth and value strategy. We are at a critical juncture, and it is of even greater importance for us to achieve financial independence and strength for the TTOC while at the same time maintaining the TTOC's identity and not compromising its core Olympic values and ideals.”

For the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the TTOC will be putting in place the required legal checks and balances to protect its Olympic Franchise, including the TTOC, the Trinidad and Tobago(TTO ) Olympic Team and the legitimate TTOC Olympic sponsors and partners from opportunistic marketing and ambushers. This effort comes as no surprise as sporting organizations including the TTOC move to protect their bottom lines.

President Lewis in highlighting the issue stressed that the TTOC, has to ensure that cash flows into, not out of its coffers so that the organization can support not only athletes, but key projects and programmes that aim to develop sport in Trinidad and Tobago.

“It’s one thing to understand what your brand stands for but it matters not unless you protect your brand. Defending your rights and what you stand for is central to what the Olympic movement is all about. Ambush marketing is not a game. It’s a serious issue that can undermine the TTOC's efforts to fund its 10 Gold medals by the year 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation programme and other programmes such as women in sport and sport for all.”

The Olympic Games is the world's most valuable and important franchise. As the largest sporting event in the world it provides companies with a marketing opportunity unlike any other. Moreover as a corporate marketing and promotional platform the five Olympic rings is considered one of the world's most iconic, recognizable and valuable brand.

Exclusivity is a cornerstone of the Olympic Movement's marketing programmes. The IOC and National Olympic Committees provides partners with one of the highest levels of protection of any major sports property. In keeping with this, the TTOC as brand stewards will take all necessary advertising and legal measures to educate the public on who the TTOC and TTO Olympic Team sponsors are. It will also take steps to protect its right and those of its partners. Lewis further stated that “We have to protect our sponsors and partners promotional rights. We will not be turning a blind eye. At this time we want to assure our sponsors and partners that our Olympic team will be protected by the TTOC. At the TTOC we have a duty, obligation and responsibility to develop and use the Olympic brand to its full potential. It’s something we take quite seriously, and our in house marketing department will form a key part of this.”

Sport is played according to rules and the Olympic Movement was founded on a clear set of values and ethics. Under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Olympic Charter, the TTOC has sole and exclusive authority for the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Team, Olympic Movement and Olympic Franchise in the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago.

Medals for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games have been unveiled at a ceremony held at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Canadian city today.

Organisers claim the medals reflect the "rich story of the People's Games", with a layered design expressing the values of inclusion and diversity, while also encompassing the Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing natural world beauty.

Mark Tewksbury, who won gold for Canada at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, hosted the ceremony and the former swimmer argued how the "Toronto 2015 medals are pieces of art in their own right and reflect all the hard work, dedication and difficult journey athletes will take to wear one around their neck and cherish for life".

The metals were sourced by the Barrick Gold Corporation before being designed and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, who for the first time in medals history applied the ancient technique of mokume gane, the fusing of different alloys, in order to produce the medals.

They believe that the technique reflects the coming together of athletes to compete in the Games under the motto "United We Play".

Additionally braille also features on the medals to reflect Toronto 2015's commitment to diversity, which will be the first time it has featured on both the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games medals.

"Royal Canadian Mint employees have come together with pride to produce one-of-a-kind medals which truly symbolise the years of training and effort put forth by the remarkable athletes who will compete at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games this summer," said Sandra Hanington, President and chief executive officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Pan Am Games are set to take place from July 10 to 26, with the Parapan Am Games due to follow from August 7 to 15, with 4,283 medals in total up for grabs across the competitions.

"When an athlete has a medal hung around their neck, it is a beginning not the end," added Elisabeth Walker-Young, Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

"The medals that are given out at the Games will hold pride of place in homes, hearts and memories throughout the Americans for decades to come.

"Through the design of the medal, the unity and joy of the Games live on."

With the countdown continuing until the Games, the competition medals will be on temporary exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum from March 14 to 29 and will be available for public viewing at the Royal Canadian Mint pavilion at CIBC Pan Am Park, during the Games.


Track cycling will not be part of the Commonwealth Games programme for the first time for nearly a century if Durban's bid to host the event in 2022 is successful.

Track cycling is an optional sport of the Commonwealth Games but has featured in every edition from 1934, when track events were held in Manchester, despite the Games being held in London, with the event then still officially known as the Empire Games.

It follows the launch of the South African city's official bid for the Games at Mansion House in London, with track cycling a notable omission from the Bid Book submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

With Durban not having an existing velodrome the potential costs involved in building the venue appear to be the main reason behind track cycling's omission.

It comes less than a year after the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome was one of the main attractions of Glasgow 2014.

Cycling has been one of the more successful sports for both Australia and England in previous editions, the two best achieving nations in the history of the Games.

Road cycling and mountain biking remain on the proposed programme of events for Durban 2022, with mountain biking set to be the event furthest from the host city, 80 kilometres away in Pietermaritzburg on the course on which the 2013 World Championships were held.  

Also missing from the proposed schedule of sports is full-bore shooting a traditional event of the Commonwealth Games and has featured in every edition since its introduction at Kingston 1966.

At this stage no plans appear to be listed for a venue for gymnastics, while despite South African being a foremost cricketing nation, the sport will not feature in 2022.

The CGF have long campaigned for the sport to be a regular part of the Games but, apart from Kuala Lumpur in 1998, the sport has not featured, mainly due to opposition from India and England.

Prince Imran of Malaysia, President of the CGF, revealed they might begin to look towards the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) new model of focusing on events rather than sports.

"We in the [Commonwealth Games] Federation have got to be more flexible as we go forward and I do not think we need to be stuck on 'X number' of sports," he said.
"You look at what the IOC has put forward, the total numbers and you look at the events, then maybe you can then accommodate more sports."

At the moment, the Commonwealth Games programme consists of 10 core sports - athletics, badminton, men's boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, men's rugby sevens, squash, swimming and weightlifting - with each host selecting up to seven others of their choice.

Potential changes to this system are likely to be confirmed at September's CGF General Assembly in Auckland.