DESPITE receiving just two medals at the recent Pan American Games in Mexico, Manager of the Trinidad and Tobago team George Commissiong has said the performances were not bad.
The TT track and field team earned a bronze medal from 200 metre sprinter Emmanuel Callender and a silver from Cleopatra Borel-Brown in the Shot Put.
Yesterday, Commissiong highlighted a number of factors which he said prevented better performances and more medals at the games.
“The team generally struggled with the environmental conditions in Mexico. During the day the air was hot and dry while at nights it was cold and dry. Generally the athletes struggled with the high altitude.”
Commissiong, a former Trinidad and Tobago Olympian, is convinced the athletes just did not have sufficient time to acclimatise.
“We arrived in Mexico (on) October 19 and had a mere three days in which to settle and perform which just was not enough time. It is one thing when someone tells you about high altitude but it is a completely different experience when you have to face it,” Commissiong said.
The TT manager blamed the competition for space on the tracks to prepare for the poor returns.
“We were given a 200 metre track to prepare on and therefore runners like Emmanuel Mayers who was down to compete in the 400 metres hurdles faced serious challenges. The 4x 100 metres relays men also suffered because of this. Mayers and the 4x100 metres men had literally to try and use the competition tracks to train.”
To deal with the conditions, athletes also tried practicing the same time of the day that their events were held.
“This means that if the athlete had to run in the evening then he would train about the same time the day before because of the atmosphere. However even this posed a major challenge because athletes’ preparation depended on whether they had the time and space on the tracks. They had to compete with other athletes,” he explained.
“When you consider all these factors I would say that the overall performance was not bad,” he added.
By WALTER ALIBEY