Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis completed the Trinidad and Tobago International marathon today, as he aimed to raise awareness and funds for the newly launched #10gold24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative.

The initiative is designed to provide financial aid to Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes in the country, helping them to compete at the highest level possible, with the ambition that by 2024 Trinidad and Tobago will achieve 10 or more Olympic gold medals.

The funds are set to support athletes in several ways from direct financial support and health insurance, to medal bonuses and anti-doping education.

Lewis had previously expressed his concern at what he considered a shortfall in sports funding across the nation and by completing his "walk the talk" challenge, he hopes the public support he received translates into greater support for the countries athletes as they target medals at major championships.

""I am glad it [the walk] resonated so deeply with the public and it just goes to show there are still wonderful and tremendous people in this country who want to see the country progress," Lewis said following the marathon, which saw him cheered by supporters chanting "Trinidad and Tobago, we want gold!"

Lewis' marathon lasted for around seven hours, starting in the early hours of the morning in Freeport and coming to a close at Queen's Park Savannah in the country's capital Port of Spain.

Lewis was supported by athletes and supporters throughout his walk, including marathon swimmer Christian Marsden, and although the TTOC President suffered from cramps in the closing stages he was able to embrace the pain and finish.

"I had to dig real deep," said Lewis, who completed the marathon draped in the national flag.

"The pain from the cramps were so severe and after a while it actually felt that I had pulled my left hamstring in the last two miles.

"But quitting is not in my make-up."

Lewis will hope that his marathon will have a lasting effect for Trinidad and Tobago athletes with funds being raised to help the countries elite athletes to compete at the highest level.

Lewis goal prior to the marathon was to raise TTD$500,000 (£51,000/$79,000/€65,000) which will be used to help fund athletes preparing for Rio 2016.


Veteran marathoner Curtis Cox is urging racing officials to make changes that will help revive the discipline locally.

After the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) on Sunday, Cox stated that organisers need to attract more local marathon runners and provide incentives to improve the quality of T&T’s current crop.

The 47-year-old, who won the TTIM in 2005, lamented that he was the first local to finish the race this year, having trained mostly for the half-marathon.

Only in the final three weeks, Cox decided to switch to the full marathon, where he placed seventh, clocking two hours, 48 minutes and 12 seconds.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful,” Cox said. “I just trained for the half-marathon and came back and finished in the top ten. That says something about marathon running in Trinidad. I’m hoping that the organisers can do something to revive marathon running in Trinidad so the locals will improve.”

Having seen the race dominated by Kenyan runners over the last decade—interrupted on a few occasions, including this year by Colombian Juan Cardona—Cox is hoping to see greater emphasis placed on locals.

“They’re supposed to have prizes for the locals only, incentives,” he said.

“Because last year, the first prize was $19,000, this year it was $15,000. So the prizes keep dropping every year and that is not good. It also had less participants in the marathon this year.”

One of the culprits, Cox felt, was the parallel running of the half-marathon with the marathon. Many runners who previously competed in the 26.2-mile marathon are now keener to run the shorter distance.

He feels the latter can be used as a December warm-up event to the full marathon.

Cox also revealed his decision to run the full marathon at a late stage was in honour of his friend and former training partner Dana Seetahal.

On Facebook yesterday, Cox indicated that it was Seetahal who took him to the start line in 2005, when he enjoyed his maiden win.

Seetahal, herself an avid marathon runner, was tragically gunned down in May last year.

THE LAST Olympic Games of the Twentieth Century were held in Atlanta in 1996 and Trinidad and Tobago's 13 athletes were among those who witnessed another exceptional opening ceremony created and choreographed by one of this country's top Carnival designers, Peter Minshall.

Ato Boldon was now the main member of the track contingent: a World Championship bronze medal in 1995, and a time of 9.92 seconds in winning the 100m title at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, made him one of the favourites for the short sprint gold medal, along with world champion Donovan Bailey of Canada and Namibia's Frankie Fredericks.
Neil De Silva and Robert Guy also returned from 1992 and were joined by long jumper Wendell Williams, javelin thrower Kirt Thompson, long-distance runner Ronnie Holassie and female high jumper, Natasha Alleyne-Gibson.
After being written off after the Barcelona Games, Gene Samuel experienced another resurgence over the next few years and surprised everybody when he won the time trial crown at the 1994 Pan American Cycling Championships in Santiago, Chile. He later got a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in Mar Del Plata in 1995, and surpassed the qualifying standard for Atlanta.
Amateur boxer Kirt Sinnette had to cross two hurdles before he became Trinidad and Tobago's third ever fighter at the Olympic Games. After losing out in a qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the light-middleweight was allowed to compete in another Pan Am tournament in Halifax, Canada - having achieved a sufficient standard in Puerto Rico. This time around, he made it to the final and earned his ticket to Georgia. Table tennis player, Dexter St Louis, also had to go through the rigours of a regional competition (in Havana, Cuba) before earning his berth.
Debra O' Connor's world ranking was the reason she was able to go to the Olympics, while female swimmers Siobhan Cropper and Cerian Gibbes had to make qualifying times before they could be allowed to join the contingent. O'Connor's Olympic adventure lasted just one game, as she lost 3-11, 0-11 to Canada's Denyse Julien in the opening around of the ladies badminton singles. Sinnette had everything going his way against Ethiopia's Yarod Wolde until a final round knockdown paved the way for the latter to triumph 11-10 on points. St Louis went out after failing to win a game in a first round group which comprised Sweden's Jorgen Persson, South Korean Kim Song-Hui and Brazil's Hugo Hoyama.

There were also preliminary heat exits for Cropper in the women's 50 and 100m freestyle and Gibbes in the 100 and 200m breaststroke. At the Olympic Stadium (which has since been converted into the Turner Field baseball stadium), Boldon cruised through his heats easily enough. However, prior to the final he and others were forced to contend with the distracting antics of British sprinter Linford Christie. The 1992 gold medallist refused to leave the track area after being disqualified for a second false start. When the starter's gun did eventually go off without a second report, Boldon did have an early advantage. But, Donovan Bailey suddenly accelerated over the last 40 metres to cross the line in a world record time of 9.84.Frankie Fredericks claimed the silver medal and Boldon, with his bronze effort in 9.90, was left with the consolation of capturing Trinidad and Tobago's first Olympic medal in 20 years. He would add a second bronze in the 200m after having to witness another world record performance from behind. This time, it was American Michael Johnson's 19.32 effort which vaulted him into history as the first man to complete the Olympic 200-400 double. Fredericks was once again second. De Silva reached the semi-finals of this event, just as he had done in the 400 to atone for the early elimination of Guy. Holassie was this country's first ever competitor in the men's marathon and he completed his historic run in a creditable 75th place. An embarrassing situation occurred when it was discovered by track officials that Wendell Williams' alleged qualifying jump in Germany had actually been wind aided and the athlete was refused entry into the long jump competition. The other two field athletes were unable to provide much of a consolation: Thompson placed 17th in the first round of the javelin; Alleyne-Gibson was also a first stage casualty in the women's high jump -- she recorded a best leap of 1.85m. As expected, Boldon was the most celebrated athlete on his return to Port of Spain, and the 22-year-old showed his gratitude by donating his medals to the display case at Royal Bank's branch at the corner of Park and Henry Streets.


ARUN ROOPNARINE, Derron Douglas and Shreya Maharaj topped the rankings in their respective categories in table tennis for the second year in succession. Just as he had done in 2013, Roopnarine finished last year with the most points in the under-18 division, but he fell from the top spot in the under-21 category.
Arch-rival Aaron Wilson, the top under-13 player at the end ’13, defeated Roopnarine in the under-21 final of all three tournaments – Silver Bowl Championships, Tobago Open Championships and National Championships – to finish with a grand total of 2,450 points in his first year in the division.
Roopnarine was 650 points adrift in second but he accumulated 250 more than the Caribbean under-19 runner-up to remain the top under-18 player with 2,250 points. The 17-year-old beat Wilson in the final of “Silver Bowl” and “Nationals”, but came up second best when they clashed for the title in the Tobago Open. Savresh Mungal was a distant third in both categories.
After finishing just 50 points behind Nalini Boodoo in second in the under-18 division in the previous year, Brittany Joseph finished on top this time with 2,250, 750 clear of the second-placed Boodoo and Gyshan Latchman.
However, the two-time defending national under-18 champ fell to second in the under-21 division after totaling 1,700 points, 550 less than the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games representative Catherine Spicer, who beat her in the finals of the Tobago Open and “Nationals”. Joseph finished the year third in the senior rankings, while Roopnarine and Wilson ended up tied for second as Curtis Humphreys ended in the top spot for the fifth year in succession. After finishing 150 points ahead of fellow Tobagonian Messiah Walcott at the end of ’13, Douglas had an even tougher time against his arch-rival and only finished 50 points in front with 2,800 in the under-11 age-group.
And for the second year in a row, Maharaj, who ended with 2,650 points, topped the girls’ equivalent category by just 50 points. This time nine-year-old Priyanka Khellawan was second, while last year’s runner-up Surjah Welch ended up 500 points behind Maharaj in third. Benoni Daniel and Shanekah Johnson joined Douglas as end-of-year champs from the sister isle.
Daniel finished the year with 2,350 points, 100 more than nearest challenger Joshua Maxwell in the under-15 category.
After ending up a whopping 1,320 points behind Jasher De Gannes in second in the under-13 age-group last year, Johnson finished 200 ahead of her fellow Tobagonian this year with 2,250. They contested two finals and split the meetings, but Johnson missed the Tobago Open and last year’s Caribbean under-13 champ De Gannes did not defend her title in “Nationals.”
National C class champ Jesse Dookie tallied 2,350 points and beat out Welch’s brother Jakeem by 100 points to be the top under-13 player, while Danielle Dick was the top under-15 player with 2,700 points, 250 more than runner-up Boodoo. Wilson and Joseph will represent the sport in the First Citizens Junior Awards on Friday (Johnny see if you could find out the venue.


Sunil, Mohammed steer T&T to Super50 title

Jason Mohammed’s maiden List A century and amazing figures of six wickets for nine runs from spinner Sunil Narine guided the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force to their 11th regional 50-over title via a comprehensive 135-run win over the Guyana Jaguars in the Nagico Sup50 final at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, yesterday.
The Red Force had Mohammed to thank for getting them a respectable total, the T&T vice-captain slamming six sixes and 11 fours in an unbeaten 117 off 132 balls to help the hosts recover from 53 for four off 18 overs to post 200 for eight off their 50 overs.
The Jaguars were eventually dismissed for 65 with Narine leading the charge and Dwayne Bravo and Jason Mohammed chipping in with two wickets each as they helped T&T wipe out the memories of their semi-final loss to the Barbados Pride at the same venue a year ago.
Mohammed stood out against a quality Guyana spin attack which included West Indies Test leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and left-arm orthodox bowler Veerasammy Permaul, holding the T&T innings after some early setbacks.
Permaul collected three wickets for 22 runs from ten overs to keep the T&T batsmen in check but it was pacer Paul Wintz who pushed the home side onto the back foot. He had Evin Lewis trapped leg before wicket off the first ball of the match before sending back Darren Bravo for five, thanks to a good catch from substitute fielder Vishaul Singh, as T&T slipped to 14 for two in the seventh over.
A 38-run stand between Jeremy Solozano (21) and Mohammed revived the T&T innings but only for a while before the Jaguars spinners turned up the heat. Solozano was caught and bowled by Permaul while Steven Katwaroo fell to Royston Crandon for a nine-ball “duck” leaving the hosts in trouble at 53 for four after 18 overs.
But Mohammed defied the Guyanese bowlers cutting Bishoo to backward point for four to bring up his half century off 81 balls. He counted eight fours and a six at that stage with T&T on 98 for five off 32 overs. The T&T vice-captain accelerated towards the end, hitting two fours and two sixes off the final over to get the packed Oval crowd on their feet and boost the T&T score.
Narine then went to work snatching three quick wickets to put the brakes on the Guyanese innings as they slipped from 36 without loss to 39 for three in the space of three overs. The off-spinner had the aggressive Trevon Griffith caught by Kieron Pollard at first slip for a 28-ball 31, which included six fours, before removing Raymon Reifer (one) and Rajindra Chandrika (seven) both via the lbw route.
Dwayne Bravo got into the act with one that cut back to trap Guyana skipper Christopher Barnwell lbw for zero before Narine struck to remove the big wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul who was trapped lbw for seven as the Jaguars slipped to 49 for five after 15 overs.
A stunning one handed return catch by Dwayne Bravo sent Anthony Bramble packing for one before Narine completed his five-wicket haul when Royston Crandon edged a straight one behind to wicketkeeper Steven Katwaroo setting off early celebrations around the ground. Crandon was quickly followed by Permaul who was out lbw to Narine three balls later and the Jaguars had no way back.


Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis battled two cramps and aching knees to finish his “walk the talk” mission when he crossed the finish line of the 26.2-mile Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon, yesterday.
Draped in the national flag and followed by an army of athletes, supporters and well-wishers, Lewis willed himself to complete a journey that started promptly at 3.30 a.m. yesterday at St Mary’s Junction, Freeport, and concluded almost seven hours later in the blazing sun in front Whitehall at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
The mission, to raise awareness of the #10gold24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative, was complete. But it was anything but easy.
Lewis would say after the race: “I had to dig real deep. The pain from the cramps were so severe and after a while it actually felt that I had pulled my left hamstring in the last two miles. But quitting is not in my make up.”
Lewis would have been drawing on the memories of six marathons he had treked during his 20s and 30s. But Lewis, his knees and bones plundered by those same marathons and his sport of choice, the contact-filled rugby.
In the early morning darkness, Lewis embarked on his awareness trek with radio commentator Tony Lee,former CNC3 sports anchor Roger Sant, and top pistol shooter, Sgt Roger Daniel of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force— the only individual who would accompany Lewis the entire course.
The TTOC boss comfortably completed those initial miles, having prepared himself on a diet that included up to 16 mile walks to Maracas Bay.
Daniel, a T&T high performance athlete who won bronze at the CAC Games last November, was keeping Lewis up to his paces urging him to accelerate and go steady at set intervals, making sure the former rugby player was on target for his seven-hour goal time. “Get your arms into it,” Daniel would echo regularly.
At Munroe Road, Cunupia, Tony Lee had conceded way to TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene as Lewis chugged on in the darkness. Skeene gave way to former TTFA technical director Anton Corneal then, as dawn broke, to the ever chirpy Andre Baptiste, who gave regular radio reports by cellphone until the finish. A group of wrestlers donning “TTOC support” tee shirts had also joined.
At Mt Lambert, top T&T marathon swimmer Christian Marsden had inserted himself. A few minutes after was when Lewis started to experience his first difficulties. Even with supporters along the Eastern Main Road clapping and shouting their support, including a young girl who personally handed Lewis $84 for the Fund at a water stop in Champ Fleurs. the reality of dehydrating muscles descended on Lewis.
As Lewis and a growing entourage (his wife Sandra, parents of top junior swimmer Dylan Carter (Tracy and Everard) and school friend Anton La Fond) traversed San Juan, the accompanying WI Sports pick up tray turned into an impromptu stretcher as physio Roger Evelyn had to deep massage Lewis’ left hamstring in San Juan. “Whatever you do, make sure I am able to finish,” Lewis told the physio, Daniel and Baptiste.
Ten minutes after ingesting some salt, applying some sport rub and resuming his walk, Lewis was lying prostrate in the pick up again. But favouring that leg, Lewis still got up again and resumed the walk. As Lewis neared the 23-mile post, renowned flagman Joey Richardson had joined in on the South Quay stretch to Wrightson Road where Lewis recalled Marsden told him:”Mr Lewis, it takes two hands to clap. You are doing your part, we the athletes must do ours.”
The Lewis-led group proceeded to the 24-mile mark onto Ariapita Avenue then north to Cipriani Boulevard, past the 25-mile mark.
Lewis’ son, Aasan with his group of national 7s rugby team members, who had earlier completed the marathon, tacked back to join Lewis on the Queen’s Park West stretch to QRC. And on the final stretch to Whitehall, Richardson had started a chant “T&T, we want gold!” accompanied by the chorus of followers, all the way across the line.
“I am glad it (the walk) resonated so deeply with the public and it just goes to show there are still wonderful and tremendous people in this country who want to see the country progress,” Lewis said in a post-race interview. Lewis will be hoping the expressed goodwill converts into sustainable, tangible financial support, for T&T athletes in the coming years.