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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

T&T OLYMPIC TEAM TTO PARTNERS

A few fans stopped me to ask what I thought about the West In­dies' per­for­mance so far in the se­ries against In­dia in both the T20's and the ODIs.

So, I said, “I don't think.” and walked away. I fig­ured that that was a good enough re­ply. Then, 2 days ago, some­one saw me and said that he had just seen an ar­ti­cle com­ing out of Ja­maica al­lud­ing to the be­lief that Chris Gayle was as great as Bri­an Lara. My first re­ac­tion was to say to the gen­tle­man, “There is just no com­par­i­son in terms of bats­man­ship but maybe, in terms of fig­ures.”

Away from the crick­et, let's write about some­thing a bit more pos­i­tive and up­lift­ing like the great per­for­mances of our ath­letes in the just con­clud­ed Pan Am Games in Pe­ru. It is al­ways good when you can pre­dict the out­come of an event or a se­ries of games etc and I am sure you will re­call that when I pre­viewed the games a few weeks ago, I en­vis­aged that the T&T con­tin­gent would come home with our high­est medal haul in the his­to­ry of the games. We copped 13 medals in to­tal, five more than our pre­vi­ous best of eight in Toron­to, Cana­da at the 2015 Games.

Pride and place have to go cy­cling. Again, I in­di­cat­ed that we were cer­tain­ly go­ing to medal in cy­cling but, how great was the per­for­mance of dou­ble gold medal­list, Nicholas Paul? Here is a young man in his ear­ly 20's who ap­pears to be get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter, has a heart as big as the At­lantic Ocean and is the type of in­di­vid­ual who can eas­i­ly il­lu­mi­nate the dark and murky world. I have al­so been fol­low­ing the tal­ent­ed and rangy fe­male cy­clist, Teneil Camp­bell, since she burst on the scene and seems de­ter­mined to go where no oth­er woman cy­clist has dared to ven­ture be­fore. What a won­der­ful and ded­i­cat­ed young woman who seems to rel­ish the road and one can on­ly wish her con­tin­ued suc­cess as she es­sen­tial­ly takes on the world by her­self.

Njisane Phillip was his usu­al pro­fes­sion­al self but seems un­able to get the best of Paul in the in­di­vid­ual sprints. How­ev­er, when he teams up with Paul and Keron Bram­ble in the men's team sprint, they ap­pear to be un­beat­able. Make no mis­take, we will see their true abil­i­ty when the Olympics come around next year.

In ath­let­ics Michelle-Lee Ahye, Jereem Richards and Keshorn Wal­cott were ex­pect­ed to medal but for me, I thought both Wal­cott and Richards would have won gold; but it goes to show how tough these games were. In Ahye's case, how is she go­ing to beat Elaine Thomp­son? The Ja­maican has phe­nom­e­nal speed. Not be­ing an ath­let­ics coach, I tried to analyse Thomp­son's weak point. It seems that her start is slow so if Ahye can get a great start and run as if her life de­pend­ed on it, who knows what can hap­pen? Am I sim­pli­fy­ing it and be­ing naive or is it pos­si­ble?

Our 4x400 me­tres men won bronze but some­how Machel Ce­de­nio wasn't at his best as he just fad­ed in the last 30 me­tres of the re­lay. Nor­mal­ly, he would be fin­ish­ing like a freight train but un­for­tu­nate­ly, he looked more like a toy train with the bat­ter­ies fad­ing fast. No doubt he will be back fit­ter, stronger and ready to rep­re­sent the red, white and black.

Dy­lan Carter, as I thought, would win a medal in the pool. He con­tin­ues to pave the way for some of our younger swim­mers to un­der­stand that with some hard work and the right frame of mind, we can do well at swim­ming in var­i­ous games.

One of the sur­pris­es at the games was Michael Alexan­der win­ning bronze in the men's wel­ter­weight di­vi­sion but as was ex­plained to me, Alexan­der need­ed these games to get a sense of where he is and for him to im­prove. He now needs to get ac­cess to top-class spar­ring, so let's hope the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) can get him an op­por­tu­ni­ty where he can re­ceive qual­i­ty world-class train­ing.

The oth­er sur­prise was the 4x100m men's re­lay team win­ning sil­ver. Based on the in­di­vid­ual sprints, I thought the team would have no chance but how Jerod El­cock, Ke­ston Bled­man, Akan­ni His­lop and Kyle Greaux proved me wrong. Well done guys! I am hop­ing that when 2020 rolls around, we can pro­duce some world-class sprint­ers. At the mo­ment, I am not see­ing a Craw­ford, Boldon or Thomp­son on the hori­zon.

But the biggest eye-open­er for me was Fe­lice Chow in row­ing, wow! Sil­ver in the women's sin­gle sculls fi­nal; how great an ef­fort that was. Hope­ful­ly, she is an­oth­er who can build on that.

So, where does that leave our ath­letes? I was elat­ed to read where Bri­an Lewis, the Pres­i­dent of the TTOC, says that the per­for­mance was en­cour­ag­ing. He ob­vi­ous­ly did not go over­board and as I al­lud­ed pre­vi­ous­ly, it gives us an in­di­ca­tor of what is need­ed for Tokyo 2020.

I am 1200% cer­tain the TTOC will give the T&T ath­letes the sup­port go­ing for­ward to sur­pass our ex­pec­ta­tions of them. It is my sin­cer­est wish the Min­istry of Sports, along with the var­i­ous sport­ing bod­ies or­gan­ise them­selves ear­ly to give the ath­letes the prepa­ra­tion that is need­ed for the 2020 games. There is no ex­cuse not to have our ath­letes well-pre­pared for the Olympics as we all know the com­pet­i­tive lev­el is much high­er than the Pan Am games.

Let us be­gin the prepa­ra­tion now so that our ath­letes can bring more glo­ry in these trou­bled times of crime and com­plete law­less­ness in T&T. The Sum­mer Olympics - Tokyo 2020 is just 344 days away.

Ed­i­tor's note

The views ex­pressed in this col­umn are sole­ly those of the writer and do not re­flect the views of any or­gan­i­sa­tion of which he is a stake­hold­er.

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