TRINIDAD and Tobago failed to win a set when the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games Men’s Volleyball Tournament served off Tuesday in Veracruz, Mexico. The Caribbean champions were rank outsiders against the hosts and were beaten 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 in 72 minutes.
However Simon Blake scored ten points and was the only player on either team to reach double figures. And veteran skipper Nolan Tash contributed nine points.
The Mexicans had the edge in kills (36-27), blocked shots (4-3) and service winners (7-5) in the fourth and final match on the schedule. And in the other Group A encounter, Dominican Republic defeated Colombia 25-18, 25-19, 27-25.
There was a major stunner in Group B as three-time defending champs Puerto Rico were defeated 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 29-27 by Venezuela. However the Cubans restored some sanity to the group with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 victory over Bahamas.
The group winners will advance directly into Saturday night’s semi-finals, while the runners-up and third-placed teams will contest tomorrow night. The champions will be crowned on Sunday. T&T will tackle Dominican Republic when the group stage of the tournament ends today.


Olympic sailor Andrew Lewis is revamping his training technique in preparation for participation in pre-Olympic qualifying event now taking place around the world, as he works to secure a place for T&T in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Having previously worked with a coach from Peru, Lewis was now in the care of an Italian.

In a G-Sport interview, he said, “This is something completely opposite from what I used to do. I used to work with a South American coach in Peru, now I am working with an Italian. The European style is totally different from the South American style. I would say it’s very military-like; a day-to-day programme, which is set in stone. And, it has a very nice progression to it.”

He added, “I never had a programme like this. I am really looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I’ve been feeling excellent. I have had a lot of positives coming of it so far.”

Lewis, through his relationship with American laser sailor Charlie Buckingham, travelled to Long Beach, California, where he joined the United States training camp for two months in preparation for the World Championships, which took place in Santander, Spain, back in September. That event marked the start of qualification events for Rio Olympics 2016.

Of that experience, he said “You don’t get into jar with these guys very often. It’s a big privilege for a small guy like me from T&T to join the Americans. They realised my talent in the light-wind, which they were still working to master. Similarly, I wanted to achieve their technique when dealing with heavy winds. We have a little bit to get from each other. We are competitive, but we are very good friends and the only way to get better is training with the best. We’ve got to take what we can from each other and may the best man win,” he said.

Apart from that training camp, Lewis described his US tour experiences for 2014 as “successful,” having achieved top ten places in almost all of his races, leaving him in a good competitive position.

Lewis said, “That’s where I need to be right now. My goal is to consistently be in the top ten to be able to target medals. I am hitting my target which is nice and I am improving as much as I can. I went to Europe to do some meets. I suffered an injury, but everything is good now. I finished off the tour very well with some top five races, which is what I needed to be doing. Eventually, it would be the top three and then the medals start to come.”


...George bags T&T’s 7th medal in judo at

The Trinidad and Tobago hockey women’s team just missed out on a bronze medal after losing 2-1 to Mexico in their bronze medal match on the penultimate day of the hockey competition at the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico, yesterday.
At the High Performance Centre in Veracruz, the T&T women took an early 1-0 lead after Alanna Lewis scored in the third minute but the Mexicans were persistent and eventually leveled the scores in the 37th with Michel Navarro getting the equaliser. Mexico sealed the win in the 48th minute when Ana Juarez scored the final item of the match.
While the women missed out on a medal, the men’s team are assured of one. Today, the T&T stickmen will go for the gold when they face Cuba in the gold medal match at the High Performance Centre. The T&T women’s basketball team defeated El Salvador 70-61 at the Benito Juarez Auditorium to finish the tournament in fifth place.
After trailing 18-20 and 31-38 in the first and second quarters, T&T came alive in the third to take 59-51 lead before closing off the victory in style. Afeisha Noel and Patrice Edwards both scored 17 points in the victory while Samantha Wallace chipped in with 16 and Jowan Ortega added 14.
On the first day of the squash competition yesterday, T&T’s Colin Ramasra and Kale Wilson both had easy victories to move into the round of 16 of the men’s singles competition which was scheduled to take place late yesterday.
Ramasra defeated Barbados’ Gavin Cumberbatch 3-0 in his round of 32 match while Wilson overcame Rhett Cumberbatch 3-0 in his round of 32 game. The pair will also team up today for the round of 16 men’s doubles clash against Jamaica.
Meanwhile, Christopher George claimed Trinidad and Tobago’s sixth bronze medal at these games on Saturday in the men’s judo competition at the World Trade Center. George defeated Jesse De Leon in the men’s 100 kilogram category in the bronze medal round of the competition. In the cycling road race yesterday, T&T’s Emile Abraham and Varun Maharajh both failed to finish the course.


Trinidad and Tobago’s women Soca Warriors will enter a live-in training camp from tomorrow for their final week of preparations for the all-important FIFA Women’s World Cup final leg qualifying match against Ecuador at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain which takes place next Tuesday.
Head Coach Randy Waldrum will lead his team into the camp with sessions at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and the team will be reside at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Waldrum said the team is in solid shape at the moment but this week will be crucial towards its final state of readiness for the clash with Ecuador.
“We’ll have all the players together this week and we hope to have them all fit and healthy and mentally ready for the match on Tuesday. We’ve had some of the players with the exception of some of them from the US, in training over the past few days with the focus being on strength and conditioning and that went quite well for us,” Waldrum told TTFA Media.
“It’s going to be a big week ahead and I think everyone is ready for it. I know the girls and the staff are all eager and focused and the people who have to get things ready off the field of play at the TTFA and the other personnel are all doing what they have to,” he added.
T&T Swedish-based forward Ahkeela Mollon said the team would not be overawed by the run of events from now until the final whistle on Tuesday. “We’ve been training really hard for the past week and the sessions have been quite good. The mood is really good at the moment and we’re looking forward to this week with all the players assembling in camp,” Mollon said.
“We’re all really excited about the 12th Warrior and the fans coming out and giving us that support. We’re at home but the key for us is to stay focus and humbled and go out there and play as we know we can and get the result,” she added.
Dernelle Mascall says the physical sessions have been intense but worth the while. “We’ve been having two sessions a day so it’s really intense but it’s all down to ensuring we’re physically ready for the match. Hopefully by mid next week we’ll be a bit more settled and focusing on game specific preparations,” Mascall said.
“I think we’re all really excited about playing before a large home crowd. We want that 12th warrior behind us. We would have liked to have qualified out of the CONCACAF stage but this opportunity to do it at home is really a great opportunity for us,” added Mascall.
The TTFA on Friday launched an official T-Shirt campaign in support of the women’s Soca Warriors for the December 2 “Winner Takes All” encounter. The shirts are available at all Fan Club Outlets-- Movietowne Port of Spain, Trincity and Gulf City Mall, and Heritage Sports in Scarborough, Tobago. They cost $150 (adults) and $120 (children).
The Ministry of Sport and the Sportt Company of T&T are partnering with the TTFA to support all activities relating to the December 2 match and fans can purchase their tickets at Kenny’s Sports Centre outlets, Skinner Park (San Fernando), The Fan Club (Movietowne, POS), Ramsingh’s Sporting Goods (Chaguanas), All Out (Queen’s Park Oval), Econo Supermarket (Sangre Grande) and Heritage Sport (Scarborough).
Tickets cost $200 (covered) and $100 (uncovered). Children under 12 are free in the uncovered section. The match kicks off at 6 p.m. and gates open at 3 p.m.

T&T SQUAD: Maylee Attin-Johnson, Kennya Cordner, Ayanna Russell, Patrice Superville, Ahkeela Mollon, Mariah Shade, Janine Francois, Arin King, Khadisha Debessette, Khadidra Debesette, Tasha St Louis, Anique Walker, Dernelle Mascall, Jasmine Sampson, Nia Walcott, Mira Walcott, Lauryn Hutchinson, Brianna Ryce, Kimika Forbes, Saundra Baron, Karyn Forbes, Rhea Belgrave.


T&T medal tally at CAC now eight

The Trinidad and Tobago men’s hockey team took silver when Cuba defeated them 5-1 yesterday in the final at the High Performance Center in Veracruz, Mexico. T&T’s total medal tally after ten days of the two-week competition is now eight-- one gold, one silver and six bronze. Cuba’s Yoandy Blanco scored a quickfire double in the 28th minute and a third in the 62nd minute to rattle the T&T squad, coached by former national player Rafael Govia.
And when Cuba’s Adrian Molina slotted home six minutes after the resumption and Yiel Veitia added his personal touch in the 63rd, it was virtually a hill too steep to climb for the local stickmen led by captain Darren Cowie. T&T’s Mickell Pierre scored a consolation goal in the 67th minute to salvage some pride for this country. The Cuban men followed the example of their women’s team who also claimed gold on the previous day in the women’s final against Dominican Republic. There were to be no more medals on the day for T&T. In athletics, local sprinter Emmanuel Callender failed to advance to the finals when he finished fourth in heat two of three semi-final events. Bahamas’ Adrian Griffith won that semi-final in 10.41 seconds, with Barbados’ Levi Cadogan tied for second with Colombia’s Diego Palomeque (10.45), followed closely by Callender in 10.46.
Callender was not one of the fastest losers. Dominican Republic’s Yancarlos Martinez sped to 10.35 seconds to take the first semi-final heat while Honduras’ Cruz Palacios won the third ‘semi’ in 10.26.
In water polo action, the T&T men are having a tough time in Mexico as they suffered their third straight defeat yesterday, at the Ley de Reforma Aquatic Center.
After going down 16-9 and 16-4 to Puerto Rico and Cuba respectively on the two previous nights, the local water polo squad were trumped by Venezuela 11-5, yesterday. Matthew George scored a hattrick while captain John Littlepage and Christopher Forte notched one goal a piece.
In squash, T&T went down 2-0 to Caribbean rivals Jamaica in the men’s doubles competition at the round of 16 stage. In boxing, T&T’s Anthony Joseph was defeated 3-0 by Mexico’s Sergio Chirino in their quarterfinal featherweight bout.
His teammates Seanasi Charles and Pan Am bronze medallist Michael Alexander were scheduled to fight Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorilla and Nicaragua’s José Mejias respectively in their quarterfinal bouts in the light welterweight and lightweight after press time.


Renaud Lavillenie had the perfect end to his "perfect year" here tonight as he received the Men's World Athlete of the Year award at the International Athletics Foundation Gala, with the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Women's award going to New Zealand's shot putter Valerie Adams, unbeaten now in 56 consecutive competitions.

The French pole vaulter acknowledged that his historic feat in beating Sergey Bubka's world record of 6.15 metres just short of 21 years after it was set, with a clearance of 6.16m in Donetsk on February 15, was a big reason for his latest accolade, but not the only one.

"Yes, I think it has certainly contributed but it was not the only thing," he said.

"I lost in one meeting - I was not as strong as Valerie - but 21 out of 22, this is not too bad.

"I also won a fifth Diamond Race trophy, the European title and at the Continental Cup, so it felt quite a regular winning rhythm in an event which is quite unpredictable.

"I am very, very grateful to the world of athletics.

"It is extraordinary what is happening to me this year."

Lavillenie, the reigning Olympic champion, was only the third specialist field eventer to have won the men's award since Carl Lewis took the first one in 1988, and the first since javelin thrower Jan Zelezny's success in 2000.

Adams is the first woman thrower to receive the award.

Never before have two field event athletes swept the board in a single year.

"It's really awesome to be here to represent throwers, and women in sport," said the 30-year-old Adams.

"It is difficult for us to be able to compete against the glamour events on the track, but we train just as hard as anybody else.

"We want to showcase our sport in all areas, because it is not just track, but track and field.

"I have a passion and motivation to be competing, especially when I am wearing the black singlet with the single fern.

"New Zealand has got four million people and 60 million sheep so we punch above our weight!

"To compete against the rest of the world and come out on top, we've got to be proud of that.

"This is definitely the icing on my cake for 2014, which has been a physically challenging one for me with injuries."

Asked what it took to maintain her winning run this year, she responded: "It takes a lot of guts, four operations, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering.

"But if you've still got the passion firing within it makes all the difference.

"If you love something it's not a chore, it's what you want to do, so it becomes easier for you.

"I'm not 21 any more, you have to manage these things.

"But my pain threshold is very high, and my goal is to stay unbeaten for as long as possible."

Looking ahead to next year's IAAF World Championships in Bejing, Adams commented: "Going back to the Birds Nest stadium will be amazing.

"I won my first Olympic title there in 2008 so it will be great to re-live that moment and to try and win the title for a fifth successive time, which I believe has never been done by a female athlete."

For Lavillennie, Beijing has a different resonance.

"For me it will be interesting in Beijing because I don't have the gold medal for the worlds, so that will be the only thing I want for the next year," he said.

"But for me the most important thing is to be ready for Rio 2016 - I want to be world champion to be sure to be ready for the Olympic season."