Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) says his Federation will accept no blame for the absence of athletes honoured at the December 29, 2014 T&T Olympic Committee Annual Awards ceremony.

Of the six awards presented on the night, track and field athletes took the lions’ share at the ceremony held at Theatre 1 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, but only one winner–shot putter Cleopatra Borel–was in attendance to accept the Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Carifta gold medallist Machel Cedenio was the Junior Sportsman of the Year, while sprinter Aaliyah Telesford emerged as the Junior Sportswoman of the Year. Serrette took the spotlight to receive their awards.

London 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Keshorn Walcott was named Sportsman of the Year at the TTOC ceremony, but like Cedenio and Telesford, he (Walcott) was absent.

His manager Sean Roach accepted the award and apologised for Walcott’s absence.

He said, “He’s actually in the stadium training and getting ready for the 2015 season. But I’m pretty sure if he was here today, he would be very happy and honoured with this award. I know he would have liked to thank his teammate Cleo (Cleopatra Borel) who is always there giving him the inspiration he needs to move forward, his coach and his team that supports him, as well as you guys for cheering him on every time that he goes out there.”

Serrette refused to comment on Roach’s statement that Walcott was on local shores, but chose to attend a training session, instead.

The T&T Guardian learnt that on the day of the awards ceremony Borel also trained–twice, around 7 am and close to 3 pm.

Serrette, “It was not an awards of the Federation and it was up to the Olympic Committee to contact the Federation to find out if individuals are present in the country and that they could get invited or not. It is not a fault of the Federation. In the Federation’s awards function, all the athletes who have been nominated for awards are written to. They are informed. They are also asked to indicate whether they will be present or not. It is not a fault of the Federation. It is a flaw of the Olympic Committee,” he said.

The NAAA official added, “I attended (the awards) and I had no idea who the recipients were. When they indicated Aaliyah Telesford was Junior Sportswoman of the Year that was news to me. I would have had some idea that Machel Cedenio would have been a contender for the Junior Male. Cleopatra was a foregone conclusion. I wasn’t sure if she wasn’t the feature speaker, if she would have been present either.”

TTOC president Brian Lewis said he did not considered Walcott’s decision to attend a training session timed simultaneously with the hosting of the awards ceremony as a slap in the face of the Olympic Committee.

“Of course not! I can say that Keshorn always appears at our functions. The TTOC relationship with Keshorn is a close one. I am going to ensure that our communication processes would be significantly reviewed. The TTOC let down a lot of our stakeholders in the issuing of invitations. As president I take full responsibility. The invitation and communication processes would be improved in 2015,” he said.

Commenting on track and field’s dominance at the TTOC awards, Serrette said, “It’s not the first time that track and field has been rewarded in a particular year for performances. It’s not the first time that track and field has dominated the awards. It augurs well for our sport.”

He said: “As a federation, we recognise what is required. We cannot have track and field events without athletes. We cannot have track and field events without technical officials. We cannot have track and field events without a Federation. The key is to have that synergy among all these parts. We all have to be there to assist athletes; athletes working with the Federation to understand what are our challenges and what we are trying to do and vice versa. I would even go are far as the parents. In Cleo’s (Cleopatra Borel) speech, she mentioned the need for support. It’s a challenge. It’s a non-paying job, but you do it for your country and we just have to continue doing what we need to do.”


Details have been released of the new headquarters the International Olympic Committee plan to build in Lausanne.

Olympic Unity House, which will be built next door to the IOC's current headquarters at Château de Vidy at a cost of CHF160 million (£107 million/$159 million/€137 million), has been created by Copenhagen-based architecture firm 3XN.

The winning design for the 18,000m² campus has an undulating façade that is meant "to evoke the energy and movement of athletes," claimed Jan Ammundsen, senior partner at 3XN, who were chosen ahead of more than 100 other international firms.

Inside, an open staircase formed by a series of staggered wood rings enlivens the space and "symbolically echoes the unifying aspirations of the Olympic rings".

Designed to be highly sustainable, the structure includes the use of lake water for building systems, photovoltaics for solar power, and optimised natural lighting.

It is estimated that the new headquarters will cost CHF100 million (£65 million/$99 million/€83 million) to build and a further CHF60 million (£39 million/$59 million/€49 million) to fit out.

The IOC plan to borrow up to 80 per cent of the cost and Ng Ser Miang, head of the organisation's Finance Commission, is currently in negotiations with three banks who have all offered an interest rate of less than one per cent.

A firm completion date has yet to be announced, but details of the design have been released to coincide with this year's centenary of the IOC making the Lausanne its permanent home.

The 2.4 hectare project is aiming to bring together all of the IOC's 600 staff who are currently spread across five different offices in the Swiss city onto one site.

"In recognition of the symbolism of the Olympic Games and needs of the organisation, we designed the new IOC headquarters around three key elements: movement, flexibility and sustainability," said Ammundsen.

"With its dynamic, undulating façade, the building will appear different from all angles and convey the energy of an athlete in motion.

"Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible.

"This open and flexible environment will adapt to multiple work styles now and in the future.

"Our design is also intended to encourage interaction, communication and knowledge sharing among staff."

In 2012, the IOC was forced to temporarily close its headquarters and relocate staff after a burst water pipe caused extensive flooding, leading to damage to archives.

This all led to the consideration of an alternative headquarters being raised for the first time last year.

Some buildings on the current IOC headquarters site, including a multi-function centre built only in 2005, could be demolished but the Château de Vidy will stay having being officially recognised as a historical monument since 1971.


National junior beach volleyball players, Malika Davidson and Chelsi Ward, anticipate a challenging year ahead as they take a step up by attempting to qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games which serves off in Toronto, Canada, from July 10-26.

Having gotten their feet wet on the international level at the 2014 Youth Olympics in China, Davidson and Ward are intent on making their mark.

On November 27, 2013, the athletes sealed their Youth Olympic spot by topping the Caribbean Volleyball Association Zonal NORCECA qualifiers at Maracas Bay. They have now shifted focus to compete at the senior level in an effort to qualify for the coming Pan Am. However, they will officially remain on the junior circuit as they also prepare for several Invitational and Under-20 tournaments within the coming months.

Speaking to head coach of the duo, Sean Morrison, recently, he described the preceding year as a success and a major stepping stone for himself and the two beach volleyballers.

“I would say that we had a good year on the circuit,” said Morrison. “Our preparations before (Youth Olympics) was about 80 percent with getting the girls together, training, heading to the gyms, court time, Maracas (Bay) training. We could have spent a bit more time in camps and preparation but it was still good enough. Moving forward for us, we are trying to prepare for the local Pan American Games qualifier. We will have to play some local qualifiers against some of the best senior teams in Trinidad and Tobago if we are to qualify. We expect it to be tough.”

Morrison also lauded the bravery shown by his athletic prospects and commended them for silencing several critics who thought his team would be unable to qualify for the Youth Olympics. As coach of the Davidson/ Ward combination for the past three years, Morrison expressed pleasure with the type of experience his athletes returned home with from the China experience.

Meanwhile, both Davidson and Ward were pleased with 2014 and revealed that they will be utilising their newfound knowledge.

“I found that it was a really productive year,” said the 17-year-old Ward.

“e worked really hard and trained for the entire summer to prepare for our Olympic performance. I thought we went out there and performed well. We advanced out of our group and that was very impressive for me. Progressing out of the groups alongside the greatest volleyball nations was indeed a personal and team achievement for us,” she added.

The Bishop Anstey High School pupil continued, “Watching the more experienced teams play, we learnt a lot from them. We saw some things that we need to do a bit more work and improve on with respect to our fitness levels and the type of game we play.”

Additionally, University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) Behavioural Sciences student, Davidson, shared similar sentiments on her just concluded year and welcomed the many challenges presented in the coming season.

“It was a success because we accomplished our goal of making it to the Olympics and coming out of the group was the highlight for us,” added Davidson. Playing (on the Youth Olympic stage) was a really good experience for me. I remember viewing some games of the other top nations and it has helped me a lot. Seeing how they handle some of the situations during games has helped me a lot even though we all play differently.

We also played against teams that were preparing for the Youth Olympics for about four years prior, while we only had one (year to prepare). And showing that we could have kept up (competitively) with the more experienced teams was unbelievable, I’m proud of us,” concluded Davidson.


The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona came off at the beginning of a new era. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe led to the appearance of several fledgling teams, such as Croatia, while the former Soviet Union staged its final Olympic appearance - as the Unified Team. Again, Trinidad and Tobago were represented by a small team of eight athletes. Gene Samuel returned with his reputation restored by two big performances in 1991: a gold medal in the time trial at the Pan American Games in Havana and a third place finish at the World Cycling Championships in Stuttgart. There was also Maxie Cheeseman, a man hoping to improve upon his seventh placing in the match sprint, four years earlier. This duo was joined by a six member track team: Ian Morris, Patrick Delice, Robert Guy, Alvin Daniel, Neil DeSilva and Ato Boldon. Morris had followed up his appearance in the 400m final in 1988, with a silver medal at the Pan Am Games and another final making performance at the '91 World Championships in Tokyo. Daniel was once a top 100 and 200m runner at the junior level who had developed into Morris' major rival over the 400m. The two actually had to be separated from a physical altercation, following Morris' victory at the Hampton Games in Port of Spain in May.
Delice was a team mate of Morris' from Seoul, while Guy also had a fair amount of experience, De Silva was making inroads at both the 200 and 400m and 18 year old Boldon had developed into a meteoric sensation: He recorded an impressive 200m victory at the National Championships and then copped the 100-200 double at the CAC Junior Championships in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Once again, through illness and injury, Samuel was unable to transfer his previous form onto the cycle track in Barcelona and could only place eighth in the time trial, in a time of 1:05.49. The event was won by Spain's Jose Moreno. An impulsive decision to enter into the points race event did not bring much consolation: 19th place. Meanwhile, Cheeseman had to be content with 11th spot in the match sprint. On the athletics track at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium saw an early set of eliminations. The precocious Boldon was unable to negotiate the first rounds of either the 100 or 200 metres. De Silva did reach the semi-finals of the latter, before being disqualified for running outside of his lane - after originally finishing in seventh place. Delice and Daniel went out in the first and second rounds of the 400m, but Morris made it all the way to the final. He came within inches of an Olympic medal, being edged into fourth place by Kenya's Samson Kitur. There was another final appearance, Trinidad and Tobago's sixth, in the 4x400m relay. In the end, the team of DeSilva, Delice, Daniel and Morris claimed seventh position.


It was Mahatma Gandhi who famously said, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world". Whether forceful like a tidal wave or incrementally like a glacier, change is always hard. The hardest part is accepting that you need to change, harder still when you are a group of more than one hundred independent strong-minded members from around the world all needing to be of one mind.   .

But together the International Olympic Committee (IOC) members came together with one mind - they understood that the world has changed and that we have to continue to change with it. They agreed to a man and woman to support the forty recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 that will change our organisation and Olympic sport and make it fit for the future.

But why now? For me this is an easy answer. The Olympic Movement has rarely been stronger. We have had two exceptional Games in 2012 and 2014. We enjoy financial stability and redistribute more than 90 per cent of our revenues to sport and to the athletes - that is over $3 million (£2 million/€2.5 million) every single day going to support worldwide sport. Being strong and in good health is important to any change programme. The world is changing faster than ever so we need to be in the driving seat rather than sitting in the back being driven by others.

The world is more fragile, fragmented and individualised than ever. Our messages of tolerance, solidarity, friendship and peace are more important today than ever before. But if we want to strengthen the relevance of our Olympic Message people have to hear that message, they have to understand what we are endeavoring to do and they have to believe in our integrity to deliver.

We have listened to people's concerns we have listened to the questions people have about the access and affordability of the Olympic Games, about our governance, our finances, our values and our social and community responsibility. In short, we hear that people want to understand more about our sustainability, our credibility and the plans we have to engage young people. They want to understand how the Olympic Movement and its values can play a role in making the world a better place.

We have spent the past year addressing these concerns and tackling the next question, which is what to change in order to make the progress we seek. The IOC is a values-based organisation so it was not enough to change just for the sake of change. For us change has to be more than a cosmetic effort or just a procedure, change has to have a goal. This goal is progress. Progress for us means strengthening sport in society through our values.

The decisions we collectively made mean we now have embraced a new philosophy in the bidding procedure which will enable cities each to target their own different development goals. Bidding will not be a 'one size fits all' solution. We need to understand how the Olympic Games can fit into the social, economic and sporting interests of a city or region. We will respect and encourage diversity in bidding in the same way we have also enshrined diversity and the prohibition of discrimination in the fundamental principles of Olympism.

We have also strengthened our good governance, transparency and ethics. Our financial statements will be prepared and audited by the benchmark International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and even to a higher standard than is strictly legally necessary.

We will provide an annual activity and financial report, including the allowance policy for IOC Members, which will give evidence for the fact that the IOC Members are genuine unpaid volunteers. We already have an independent Ethics Commission but in common with good governance practice of many large corporations we will also create the position of a compliance officer.

When it comes to young people we cannot forget that they are our future. As a sports organisation we cannot be satisfied only with increasing numbers of young people watching the Olympic Games. Only children playing sport can be future athletes. Only children playing sport can enjoy the educational and health values of sport. We want to inspire these children by giving them better access to sport. We want to engage with them wherever they are. We want sport on more school-curricula world-wide.

We have adopted plans to allow the sports programme to more easily allow the inclusion of new sports that appeal to the young. I am also delighted with the recommendation to create an Olympic Channel. We must give our athletes and sports the world-wide media exposure they deserve between Olympic Games, connecting the athletes with their fans, the fans with sport 365 days a year.

The recommendations the Olympic Movement has passed are all about progress, progress in safeguarding the Olympic values and progress in strengthening sport in society. They are the individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but put together these individual pieces come together to provide a picture of progress.

And now our work begins. We have come together and agreed our roadmap for the future. Changes that I believe will shape the Olympic Movement to be fit to speak to a new generation of fans and athletes.

In the same way as our founder, Pierre de Coubertin set out on a journey over a century ago we carry the hopes and dreams of the world's athletes to turn these recommendations into progress and to drive unity in diversity through our actions. We are shaping a brighter future for the athletes and the Olympic Movement. Just as Pierre de Coubertin did before us, we will all "be that change".

Together we will deliver an Olympic future for this magnificent, truly global Olympic Movement.


While shot putter Cleopatra Borel is grateful for being the recipient of the T&T Olympic Committee’s Sportswoman of the Year honour for the second consecutive year, she wants to use her star power to tackle obesity locally. Speaking to the T&T Guardian at the post awards ceremony held at Theatre 1 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on Frederick Street in Port-of-Spain on Monday, she said, “Your question actually speaks to one of my passions. I have a Masters (degree) in health promotions. Obesity is one of the leading causes of death across the globe. Going after kids… going after young people… getting people involved in sport–not just competitively–but to teach an active lifestyle…to teach healthy living…to teach a holistic way of living not just work and burning yourself out.”

Borel added, “I believe if we bring in the young people–the young kids–then the families will get involved, because kids don’t do anything without their parents involved and then we have a movement where we value our health in T&T. Sincerely that’s the most important thing that we have: being healthy and enjoying life. We live on a beautiful island. There is no excuse not to go outside.” She believed that the resurgence of community games especially in rural areas was vital to fighting the obesity scourge, while developing athletes. Borel said she was proof of a top athlete from the rural community of Mayaro. “Many times the opportunities that I had to compete against individuals—to see how good I was up against kids my age—came at community sports…employee sport programmes from my dad’s workplace from running the egg and spoon race to sack race. These are all really important to me. We have to go back to basics now, especially in this technological age.

I think it’s a really good idea to have community games. Build up to the games and have a community championship! Make it exciting!” she said. Borel added, “We have to bring people back outdoors. We are not outdoors as we used to be, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle. We live on an island. It’s sunny all year round. There is no reason why we cannot have a community beach volleyball tournament. Bring the people out to play.” Fielding questions on the role she believed sponsors could play in sustaining community sporting activities, she expressed optimism that companies were willing to give back to this country. “This is a great avenue where we can really see what the young people are made of and it’s a great place to establish your brand, establish your product and loyalty to your brand. I think at the community level, it’s really where things happen in T&T; in small villages across the island,” she said.

On the issue of women in sport and spiralling crime, Borel said, “I think that we have to empower women. Sport empowers women all the time. It’s a great way for us to teach our sisters how to stand up to the stresses of life here in T&T and just to do well, do better. Perhaps our crime solutions need to be led by women.” Commenting on the discipline needed to sustain success, she said, “The work that went in training was unbelievably punishing. It is unbelievable how much athletes have to go through and how much we do to perform well, while representing T&T. It’s nice to be recognised.”