Leading entertainer Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez will partner with the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) to raise awareness about its 10 Golds by 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund initiative.

Lyons-Alvarez will participate in Sunday’s T&T International Marathon (TTIM), competing in the relay segment of the event alongside fellow entertainers Peter C Lewis, Devon Matthews of Red 96.7FM, as well as Hans Romany of We Sports.

Through their participation, at which TTOC president Brian Lewis will also compete, the entertainers will donate their miles and pledged donations to the cause.

The plan was announced at a media conference held at the TTOC’s Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday where Lyons-Alvarez pledged $5,000. Lewis (Peter) matched her contribution and raised it by $1,000.

When approached to be part of the project, she said she wanted more from it than just competing in a race and having the focus die at the finish line. As a consequence, a web site was built and launched where all fitness enthusiasts could pledge the miles covered in their daily exercise routine to sustain the awareness of the TTOC campaign. Donations would then be made to the TTOC’s Scotiabank account towards ensuring this country’s champion athletes were able to keep their training regimen on track for Rio 2016 Olympics and take the world stage with the singular aim of doing this country proud.

Lyons-Alvarez lamented that far too often projects to better the lives of citizens were being undertaken, but the public had no clue as to its existence and significance.

She made it clear that twining her brand to the TTOC athlete welfare fund was not solely from a sport perspective, but a health perspective, too.

Diane Henderson, chair of the TTIM, who also serves as an official on the executive of the TTOC expressed delight that Lewis (Brian) was preparing to return to the race and that the need for supporting sport did not escape Lyons-Alvarez and her entertainment friends.

“It actually opens up the door for more charitable ideas to be connected to the marathon and for all the good it can do. The relay is a new idea this year. It is really about development for a younger age. The marathon is 42 kilometres. You can run seven kilometres each,” she said.

TTOC president Lewis praised Lyons-Alvarez’s decision to participate in the event for the expressed purpose to heighten awareness of the public’s need to support the country’s elite athletes and their aspirations.

“In many ways, how Fay-Ann lives her life is representative of Olympism in the sense of being independent thinking, be it in terms of discipline, in terms of bringing body, will and mind together. Music, culture, is a critical part of Olympism. Athletes use music for motivation. Regardless of which sport it is, athletes either have ear buds or speakers and what they are doing is using music to motivate them. So music goes hand in hand with excellence and achievement. Fay-Ann has achieved success and like all people who strive to be successful, do not always please everybody, but her passion for sport goes way back,” he declared.

Lewis continued: “In the past, she has participated in half marathons aligned to women’s issues. This time she has decided to join with Peter (Lewis) and his team in making a contribution to the athletes and the aspirations of ten or more gold medals by the year 2024.

“One thing that I am very clear about (is) Fay-Ann understands the struggles that one has to undergo in trying to be the best that you can be and represent the country at the same time. Our athletes, especially those at the elite and Olympic level, have struggled. They were struggling before it was US$33 a barrel for oil, because most people in the society pay lip service to supporting them. Demands placed on our athletes whether they are amateur or professional are enormous.

“Further, representing a small-island state, like T&T, there is a greater burden of expectation. The cost of failure for them is enormous and that is not equated by the support that they receive,” he said.