New Zealand claimed victory at the fourth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in front of their home fans in Wellington today.

The two teams had already met in the tournament in Pool B, with New Zealand coming out on top 24-5, but the final was a much closer affair albeit with the same outcome, with the All Blacks earning a 27-21 victory.

They appeared to be cruising to the title as they led at half time by 15-7 but the England team put in an improved display to close the deficit in the second half.

Yet they were unable to turn the match around with New Zealand claiming five tries to England's three, with Rieko Ioane crossing the line twice for the hosts.

New Zealand's win was the first of this year's series and moves them up to second in the overall standings behind South Africa, who they overcame by a 17-7 scoreline in the semi-final stage, with 17-year-old debutant Ioane having excelled in that match as well.

England's hard fought journey to the final might have had a factor in their narrow defeat, having overcome Fiji and Scotland in sudden death extra time in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Despite their defeat Scotland will leave New Zealand positive about their performances having appeared in the fourth ever Sevens World Series semi-final and only their first outside of Britain.

But they were outplayed by South Africa with their third place match ending in a 40-7 defeat.

South Africa have retained their advantage in the overall standings with 76 points with New Zealand closing the gap as they sit on 69 points, while Fiji and Australia make up the top four although England are now close behind.

The next leg of the World Series will be held in Las Vegas, with New Zealand drawn in Pool A alongside Fiji, Samoa and Wales, while beaten finalists in Wellington England will face off against Argentina, Canada and Kenya in Pool B.

Overall leaders South Africa will face Japan, Portugal and the US in Pool C, while hosts of the Olympic tournament Brazil will come up against Australia, France and Scotland in a very competitive Pool D.

There are four guaranteed qualifying positions for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games available while the remaining places will be sealed in continental competitions.


Top Trinidad and Tobago Open Water swimmer Christian Marsden smashed the course record on his way to a convincing victory yesterday in the 11th Kia Around Gasparee Open Water swim.

Marsden,  who became the youngest qualifier for the Pan Am Games Men’s 10k at last November’s Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz,  México,  splashed to a one hour 15 minute and 27 second clocking for the 5.6k event to eclipse  Ryan Mendes’ one hour, 18 minute standard set in calmer conditions back in 2009.
The win represented back-to-back wins for the top T&T marathon swimmer after his win in one hour, 24 minutes last year.
The swell and rough current conditions that obtained in 2014 were less a factor in this year’s edition.
But strong currents still persisted on the southern side of the island as Marsden ploughed his way through the water with teammate Graham Chatoor in tow and Tidal Wave Aquatics’ Gabriel Bynoe and UTT’s Aleem Mohammed  a few metres back.
Marsden would soon drop Chatoor and establish an unassailable lead in a race against the clock, passing Winn’s Bay and Border Bay.
By the time the 16-year old reached Point Baleine,  he had overhauled the top swimmers in the first wave.  Marsden and fellow Carifta-aspiring swimmers had left in the fifth wave, 25 minutes after the first.
Marsden  was greeted by calmer waters on the coast side of the Isla D and stroked powerfully through, past St Madeleine before making the round past Goodwill’s Bay.
There he and the other swimmers encountered the toughest conditions of the race,  including choppy waters and swirling currents.  But Marsden dug in and weathered the rough seas before angling into Bombshell Bay for the finish.
Marsden was followed home by the plucky Bynoe who had surpassed Chatoor who finished third.  Mohammed and Bynoe’s teammate Sebastián Marchand competed stroke for stroke over the last 800m and could not be separated at the finish,  both swimmers being declared as tied for fourth place.
Among the girls,  Shania David took advantage of her elder sister Syriah’s absence to power to the win in one hour and 31 minutes.  She was followed in by her TWA teammate Briana Patterson and Chisara Santana.
And TWA girls rounded out the top five, with Toni Pierre and Sabrina David taking fourth and fifth respectively.
The Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) is expected to use the Kia swim to select the T&T 2015 Carifta Open Water squad for the Games scheduled to take place in Barbados from April 4-8.

Representatives from the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), including its President Ung Chang, have been invited to the attend the 2015 World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Championships in order the continue the recent collaboration between the two bodies.

It follows a historic Protocol of Accord signed between the Seoul-based WTF and the North Korea-centred ITF in August in Nanjing in the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

Since then, there has been much dialogue between the two bodies, with the presence as the Championships, scheduled for Chelyabinsk in Russia from May 12 to 18, another positive step.

"The WTF is always looking at ways to develop and evolve taekwondo for the benefit of athletes and fans around the world and opening up our relationship with the ITF is a key way of doing this," said WTF President Chungwon Choue.

"President Chang and the ITF taekwondo demonstration team's presence at the upcoming 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships would be a very significant step towards uniting our global taekwondo family.

"While we are two separate organisations, we share a common history and a common passion for our great sport.

"We want to work with the ITF to ensure that every athlete, regardless of their federation, nationality, race or gender all have the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games."

The WTF is currently the only taekwondo body recognised by the IOC but the ITF is the older body having been founded in 1966 by general Choi Hong Hi in Seoul.

Following his exile from South Korea by the Park Chung-hee administration, Choi moved to Canada and established the ITF headquarters in Toronto, moving it to Vienna in 1985.

Following Choi's death in 2002 Chang was elected as the new President of the ITF, following backing from the North Korean administration in Pyongyang.

Divisions over the years, namely with Choi's son Choi Jung Hwa and Master Trần Triệu Quân, has led to rifts within the ITF and caused three separate organisations to be established.

The ITF, which has close links with North Korea, due partly to Choi's exile from South Korea, but also through Chang, the country's only current IOC member, has been in discussions with the WTF for a number of years.

Under the latest agreement, athletes registered with the WTF and the ITF are free to compete in the other Federation's competitions, under the rules and formats of the separate organisations.

This will create "exciting new opportunities as the world's very best taekwondo athletes will have the chance to compete against one another, regardless of which Federation they belong to", it is claimed, with North Korean participation at the Olympic Games in the sport one such possibility.


Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis has revealed that the #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund has reached an estimated $300,000, nearly two weeks after he completed his 26.2 mile walk in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon to raise awareness for the initiative.

But the TTOC is not resting on its laurels and is pushing to keep the momentum going, with a goal of soon reaching the $500,000 original target. Lewis also said that to be sustainable and to reach a wide range of athletes, the fund will have to gene­rate $6 million a year.

“To date, just under TT$300,000 has been raised for #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. I have to continue the efforts to raise awareness and funding.” Lewis said.

“I want to create the environment where young athletes can dream of being Olympic champions and feel confident that they will be supported by the TTOC. I have a duty, obligation and responsibility as TTOC president to nurture and make possible their dreams; #10golds24 is real! The Marathon walk was a metaphor for #10golds24 and what is required—teamwork and support.”

Lewis said when he came into office, he saw as the need to invigorate and revitalise the TTOC brand from a commercial perspective as “ the TTOC brand was failing to live up to its potential”.

Lewis said while the Olympic brand had stood the test of time and he had confidence in the brand vision, the TTOC conducted a strategic review of how it marketed, promoted and managed its brand

“In Trinidad and Tobago, the TTOC has exclusive authority over the Olympic franchise. The TTOC in monetising the potential of its franchise has to do so on its own terms, maintaining its identity and not compromising its core values. We have to use the power of sport and the Olympic franchise as a marketing, promotional and brand building tool in spearheading the review and transformation,” Lewis said.

The former Harvard rugby player said besides the use of social media and digital technology and fan engagement, the TTOC is currently developing an app. He said brand toolkits and manuals are in the works, and a marketing department has been set up and is commissioning targeted surveys.

Projects under consideration as part of the new vision include the establishment of a Hall of Fame and/or Olympic Museum, and protecting the TTOC copyright.

“We are in the process of legally protecting the Olympic trademarks and copyrights in Trinidad and Tobago.

The new marketing and brand management strategy is intended to win over new Olympic fans and engage existing fans. It is through its strategic marketing and brand building efforts that the TTOC will be able to build a solid financial base, stand on its own two feet financially and become self sufficient,” he said.

There are also plans to raise funds by contracting Hasely Crawford’s 1976 Olympic memorabilia to corporate companies on a biannual or yearly basis.

Political parties contesting the upcoming general elections are being asked to include sport as one of the growth poles and pillars of their National Strategy and vision for Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC) President Brian Lewis has issued a  call to the Political Parties to make Sport one of the key pillars of the sustainable economic and social development and future of Trinidad and Tobago .

"Include sport as one of the key pillars in policy plans for taking Trinidad and Tobago forward.

Give sport equal prominence as energy, crime, health and education."

Lewis believes that Sport has an essential role in building a better Trinidad and Tobago: a more inclusive and caring society .

"An important step would be to ensure  there are qualified physical education( PE) teachers in every primary and secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago."

"Physical literacy is as important as numeracy and reading literacy. In the education system place physical literacy on an equal footing with literacy and numeracy."

Lewis backed up his view with supporting data from a recent  TTOC-commissioned Solution by Stimulation Sport Sentiment Survey in which the pollsters found that 80 per cent of the population considers themselves sports fans while just over 70 per cent  believe that with proper implementation and resources,  10 or more Olympic Gold medals by 2024 is a realistic objective.

"Those are significant numbers. Sport ought not to be undervalued by the  policy planners, "Lewis concluded.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee  (TTOC)  president Brian Lewis held a very positive meeting with newly appointed Minister of Sports Brent Sancho and his permanent secretary Richard Oliver this morning (Friday 6th February, 2015) at the Ministry of Sports' headquarters on Abercromby Street. Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT)  acting CEO Adrian Raymond was also in attendance. At the meeting, Lewis and Sancho discussed the Pan Am Games, Rio 2016, and the Elite Athlete Assistance Programme. "The discussions were candid and solution-oriented and the importance of the Ministry of Sport (MOS) , Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) and the TTOC working together to improve good goverance in  national sporting organisations (NSOs) was also emphasised,  "said the TTOC boss. Lewis also shared his view  with the Minister and PS  that no NGB, NSO or club should be able to obtain MOS funding without satisfying proper governance guidelines including audited accounts and properly accounting for previous funding received.

Lewis said  the meeting was constructive and positive . " The TTOC gave the Minister and PS the assurance that the TTOC will share information and knowledge with the MOS , Minister and PS in respect of global issues and solutions. Both the Minister and PS are very clear about what are the issues and challenges, " Lewis said. He said transparency and accountability-good governance  and putting the athletes best interests first figured prominently in the hour-long meeting.