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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Mental toughness beats criticism

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 08:57

Olympic shot put finalist Cleopatra Borel and sailor Andrew Lewis said their mental toughness allowed them to conquer the wave of criticisms from T&T nationals on social media, which flustered many of their teammates.

Borel and Lewis were two of four athletes who returned home yesterday from Rio. Emmanuel Callender and Marcus Duncan, accompanied by chef de mission Dr Ian Hypolite, T&T Olympic Committee secretary general Annette Knott, as well as managers and technical experts also returned.

Present to meet them were TTOC president Brian Lewis and acting Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs  Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

Addressing the media at the VIP Lounge at Piarco International Airport,  Borel said, “I always encouraged my fellow athletes to let their purpose shine. And, they have to know what their purpose is. Their purpose is to go out there. Do your best! Represent your country! Represent your family! Anyone can say anything on social media these days. We can’t take that stuff personally, because for every individual who says something negative, there are literally thousands that are saying positive things to us. We have to focus on the positive.”

Asked how he dealt with the barrage of negative posting across numerous social media platform, Lewis replied, “My goal was to be at the Olympics. That was my dream. So when you are achieving your dreams and people are saying whatever they want about me, it’s irrelevant. There was way more positivity that would have pushed aside anything that would have come my way. I feel welcomed.”

He continued, “My Olympic experience was completely positive from start to end. I’m a very competitive person. I hate losing. But we can’t defer the realities of life. I went out there having my accident. I did the best I could. The winds did not favour me, at all. I thought I would have met light winds, which would have given me a chance to win a medal…all ten races had very strong winds. With my weight, my strength at this point in time, it’s impossible to produce what I would have liked to. Nature is something I have no control of and I felt I did as best as I could. I’m extremely happy with the team around me. My support from the entire country was phenomenal and I would like to thank everybody for that, because that’s what keeps me in high spirits, when I’m not winning races.”

Borel spoke of plans to initiate a fitness campaign through which she would marry health and fitness with her experiences and help more people improve their well-being. The move she said was a direct response to ongoing annual request which came her way from person enquiring about training routines tips to developing a comprehensive workout plan.

Focusing on her future, she disclosed that plans to immediately proceed on retirement have been shelved. A sobering conversation with her coach Ismael Mastrapa Lopez caused the reversal in her early decision when she failed to medal in the final of the shot put.

“He doesn’t want me to just stop competition… just stop training. He wants me to take a gradual decline in my career and then end. Tokyo is a far commitment, but definitely next year and the year after that. We are trying to do at least two more years. The end point four years ago was Rio, now the end point is the Commonwealth Games in Australia,” she said.  

Blessing for Brathwaite

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 08:02

New West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite says he has received a vote of confidence from former skipper Darren Sammy as the regional side prepares to play India in two T20 internationals this weekend in Florida.

Brathwaite was announced as the new captain shortly after Sammy disclosed through a Facebook post that he was dropped after leading West Indies to two World T20 titles.

The Barbadian allrounder said support from Sammy and other senior members of the West Indies team is allowing him to make a smooth transition at the helm of the side.

“He gave me his blessing and as a senior guy appreciated it, which allowed me to ease into the role. It has allowed me to transition easier from just being told [about the captaincy] to the excitement of wanting to get on the field and lead,” said Brathwaite during a press conference after the fourth Test against India in Port-of-Spain.

“It was a good vote of confidence speaking to Sammy, then I saw him at a charity event, saw some of the senior guys as well, all have been telling me positive things.”

The 28-year-old Bajan enjoyed his best moments during the World T20 final against England earlier this year.

With West Indies needing 19 runs off the last over, Brathwaite struck four successive sixes off Ben Stokes to take the side to their second T20 title.

“I think a team like this will be pretty easy to lead, from the point of view that the dressing room is a fun place to be. I don’t think it’s a case where I have to negotiate too many egos,” he said.

“The guys enjoy each other’s company. It’s just a matter for me to go there, do the things that I can do, firstly as a player and then a captain, continue to mould the team that Darren has started to mould, efficiently.”

The clash between the World T20 champions and their Indian rivals is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Central Broward Regional Park in the city of Fort Lauderdale in the American state of Florida.

The state recently hosted matches in the fourth edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which attracted large crowds as organisers continue to test the US market.

“From all reports, CPL had a fantastic ovation and it was well-received. And I hope this is the start of big things,” the new Windies T20 skipper pointed out.

“We are next-door neighbours and the US is a powerhouse so let’s see how it goes. We are testing the waters a bit, hopefully it goes well and hopefully this is the first of many in the USA.”

The chef de mission’s role ‘He must be available at all times’

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 08:26

T&T’s chef de mission at the 2016 Olympic Games, Dr Ian Hypolite, was the face of ESPN during the August 5-21 Games. Several questions were raised as to Dr Hypolite’s role and whether or not it conflicted with his responsibility as the head of the T&T delegation. Following is an abridged version of an article on the role of the chef de mission, written in the Jamaica Observer by Don Anderson, Jamaica’s chef de mission for the past five Olympic Games.

There is quite often uncertainty, confusion and lack of real understanding as to what is the role of the chef de mission at the Olympic Games.

The chef de mission of every national team competing at the Olympic Games has the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of his or her team. In addition to the chef de mission, the team comprises the medical personnel, administrative personnel, managers and coaches of the respective sport disciplines and finally, the most important arm of the team, the athletes.

As someone who has led Jamaica’s Olympic teams to the last five Games, from Atlanta in 1996 through to London in 2012, I have personally defined my role as: “Ensuring that the right environment is created to provide the athlete with the best conditions in which to give of their best during the Games”.

In other words, doing anything and everything, within the confines of the regulations, to help maximise the performance of the athletes when they compete. The buck stops with the chef de mission.

The officials function in the midstream in this process and organisationally provide indirect contact with the athletes daily. But this is the theory. In reality, the chef de mission is called upon to function at virtually every level, save of course for the obvious in the area of coaching, where this is not generally a skill or talent any chef de mission possesses.

The duties of the chef de mission, indeed, generally commence in earnest at least a year before the Games are held, as it has become mandatory to appoint someone to this position exactly 12 months prior to the staging of the Games. This is so that the chef de mission can attend the meeting of all 200-plus delegation heads in the host city at this time, in order to provide each delegation the opportunity to assess the state of readiness of the various venues and facilities that will be used during the Games.

In Jamaica’s experience where, coincidentally, the chef de mission has also been a member of the executive over the last seven Games at least, the level of administrative detail that has to be attended to during the year between the chef de mission meeting and the Games is so considerable that, unless one is self-employed, this could not be sustained. So what is involved?

This is understandably not well known as it takes place generally in the ‘back room’, but to list a few:

• Maintaining ongoing contact with the organisation committee of the Games, in this case, Rio.

• Maintaining ongoing contact with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to follow all the developments that arise which are related to the preparation for the Games.

• Ensuring compliance with the numerous deadlines set for submission of critical information, where failure to do so could jeopardise the team’s chances of putting forward its best delegation.

• Ensuring the timely submission of the required (long) list of athletes months before the selection of the actual team. This, in itself, is a delicate matter. The Jamaica Olympic Association would receive from each national federation (sport discipline) the names of every athlete that could possibly make the qualifying cut for the Games.

 

In selecting and ratifying the eventual team to the Games, the Olympic body has to ensure full compliance with every detail. The team is severely constrained within a quota system whereby the size of the athlete delegation determines:

• The specific number of officials that can accompany the team. There have been public complaints in the past about the number of officials attending, given the size of the delegation. Rest assured, the quota system ensures that there can be no instance where there is an imbalance between athletes and officials and more officials than is warranted attend. The online accreditation system automatically stalls the process if this is attempted.

• The actual athlete entry system per event is extremely rigid and less than due care could lead to athletes not being accredited competing. In Beijing, the advanced party, including the chef de mission and deputy chef de mission, as well as Jamaica’s ambassador to China (who was the team’s official attaché), were not allowed to enter the village for 36 hours after arrival in the city because of a challenge with the entry of one of our top athletes. The system simply would not accept it and there was every possibility that this extremely well-decorated athlete might not have been able to compete.

So the chef de mission is the first sign of a team’s arrival at the Games. No member of the team can enter the village until the chef de mission has completed the extensive check off to ensure that all the entries are validated and the entire team has been entered and appropriately accredited, in conformity with the regulations and the quota system. And, as we have seen, neither can the chef de mission.

So the advanced party is finally installed. The real work and the real challenges begin there.

These include:

• Thorough inspection of the residence, including a detailed inventory check of every single item in every room. By then, the host volunteers assigned to the team are in place and they provide tremendous support in ensuring that this inspection can be completed within a day. So the chef de mission has to be first in and last out.

• Allocating the accommodation of the team in the most ideal manner. Despite the fact that this is done in concert with the respective team management, this is quite often a source of discontent, requiring revision when the athletes arrive. Athlete ‘X’ does not want to room with Athlete ‘Y’ and so on. The athletes have to be comfortable, hence the chef de mission has to sort this out. The chef de mission does not want to be blamed for underperformance by an athlete because they were not as comfortable as they would have liked. It has happened nonetheless.

• Ensuring the minimum of difficulty when an athlete arrives in the village for the first time. Athens in 2004 was a nightmare. Members of the team arrived at various times during the night but invariably between 2:00 am and 4:00 am and could not get into the village unless the chef de mission was there to validate their accreditation.  

These accreditation issues often took hours to sort out. Despite this, the chef de mission still had to attend the mandatory chefs de mission meeting starting at 7:00 am. These were the meetings that heard all the numerous complaints from delegations and where the management sought to alleviate or solve the challenges. This was not a meeting that could be missed.

• Ensuring that all respective managers and coaches are familiar with the village and all the venues, meeting times and places for their sport and indeed, in some cases, to respond to challenges with respective team transport to get to competition venues. Nothing can be taken for granted. 

• Being available to every athlete who has a concern — which should really come through their team management) but which the chef cannot ignore once it is brought to his or her attention.

• Managing every challenge the athletes have, irrespective of how trivial it might seem. These include having to deal with the request from a potential medal-winner for a wash pan and washing soap because she was averse to using the established washing machines and dryers efficiently and conveniently positioned for their benefit. You have to manage this request, not necessarily accede to it.

• Being on top of every development as the Games progress and ensuring timely communication to the officials and athletes.

• Selecting the flag bearer for the opening and the closing ceremonies, often not the easiest of tasks.

• Selecting the officials who can parade at the opening ceremony. The official rules make it an athlete’s parade and only six officials should march, but nearly every official wants to be part of the opening ceremony so that all their family can see them on international television.

• No chef de mission serious about the team’s ultimate success will choose to leave the village for long, even to attend official meetings outside. There is a myth that the officials have a great time watching the events. Far from it. General officials, like the medical personnel, are limited to a certain number of sport disciplines and are only accredited to those venues. 

These have to be very carefully assigned prior to the Games to ensure that your medical needs, for example, are adequately addressed during the Games, and this is one of the other decisions that has to be made at the time of the final submission of the team, weeks before departure to the Games and ratified by the organising committee.

 It means, of course, being available at all times. The chef de mission, incidentally, is normally the only person whose accreditation would allow access to all places and points during the Games. And with good reason. He or she has to be available and have access to all points to ensure the team secures the right environment to perform to the best of each person’s ability.

• Being in constant contact with the NOC centre — the central management and communication point for the Games — for any new developments which need to be immediately communicated to the team.

• Managing the allocation of the sponsors’ gear. Under normal circumstances this should be an easy function, but when there is an apparent over-abundance of supply, this becomes extremely challenging. Nuff said.

Even this process has to be managed very carefully.

• Efficiently managing the limited dedicated transport allocated to the team, again on the basis of the size of the delegation. All quotas.

• Efficiently managing the limited allocation of visitor passes to enter the village. This factor has led, on occasion, to athlete discontent (London being a case in point), where the number of visitor passes allocated (again on the basis of team size) was just not enough to make every team member happy. But it is what it is, unfortunately, although, in typical Jamaican style, we often find a way around it.

In Beijing, the team was allocated 14 passes per day and this had to be managed daily to allow for family first and any other Government official or other person who wished to visit the village. After the team’s and moreso Usain Bolt’s early success, the demand for passes exceeded 50 per day. Requests were made to the stern Chinese officials for extra passes but they refused to yield until we offered a few pins in exchange for passes. 

• Maintaining dialogue and communication with local and international media daily to ensure Jamaica’s best foot is put forward at all times

• Managing all disturbances, if and when they occur. In Sydney 2000, Jamaica was on the verge of “strong action” by the IOC for bringing the Olympics into disrepute, as over 40 of the 53 athletes protested, in the international media zone, the selection of Merlene Ottey over Peta-Gaye Dowdie to run the 100m. That day, Jamaica’s participation in the Sydney Olympics was perhaps saved through the timely intervention of the chef de mission and his deputy.

 So the Games are officially over, the medals won and counted and it is time to leave the village for home. The chef de mission has to be the last to leave after doing the comprehensive checklist and making atonement for any item not accounted for. Often, excess gear are left behind and it is the chef de mission who has to secure it, ship it, or otherwise ensure that they are safely returned to Jamaica.

In a nutshell, the chef de mission has ultimate responsibility for the comfort, peace of mind and helping to create the right environment for the athletes to succeed. The job requires significant multitasking skill, the ability to walk between the raindrops and not get wet, the ability to exercise diplomacy without compromising.d version of an article on the role of the chef de mission, written in the Jamaica Observer by Don Anderson, Jamaica’s chef de mission for the past five Olympic Games.

​Don Anderson
chef de mission
Jamaica Olympic team 

Lara praises QPCC’s value to T&T, Windies cricket

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:46

Legendary former West Indies batsman batsman Brian Lara underscored the value of Queen’s Park Cricket Club to West Indies and world cricket at the club’s 125th anniversary celebration at the Hilton Trinidad on Saturday night.

QPCC’s favourite son lit up the black tie event which was attended by two former West Indies greats in Sir Gary Sobers and Sir Everton Weekes, as well as Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar who also delivered an address on the occasion. Also attending was the entire West Indies cricket team, who is in Trinidad playing against India in the Seagrams Test series.

Lara traced the club’s deep history speaking of great players who would have passed through the gates at Tragarete Road.

“I was interested in the club’s history. Gerry Gomez had a liking for me, so he, Willie Rodriquez and Bryan Davis use to sit with me and chat about the club.” Lara was able to take the gathering through a detailed history of the club.

“This club has produced 40 Test cricketers which is a tremendous feat for any club to achieve across the world. The club has made a tremendous contribution to me and has opened many doors for me and for this I am thankful.

“We have had many players coming through and going on to do wonderful things in world cricket and we as Parkites are very proud indeed.”

Lara recalled his first Test innings at the Queen’s Park Oval, when he was dismissed by Pakistani Asif Mujtaba on 96 and said the members had to wait for another 10 years before he finally got a Test century at the Oval and it came against Australia.

He heaped praises on Joey Carew who took him in, while at Fatima College and assisted in his development as a cricketer. “Joey Carew’s love for Queen’s Park was second to none and his love for cricket was pleasurable. He did a lot for the club and was really a great tactician who truly understood the game of cricket.”

Meanwhile, Gavaskar who had a brilliant Test career and mastered the West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval on many occasions said that T20 cricket is no threat to Test cricket as there is a place for all formats. “There was also the same worry when one day cricket came about but Test cricket survived and now comes the T20 and there is the same worry. I think that Test cricket is in no danger because of T20 and in fact we need to use all formats to build the sport.”

No unity in Rio

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:43

Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott who won T&T’s only medal at the Rio Olympics which ended yesterday, has blasted the lack of team spirit and unity within the T&T camp during the Games.

“We did not do so well as a team this year because honestly, for my part, we were not a team. We did not come together as a unit as in 2012. I was young in 2012 and I was one of the younger ones and I saw the gelling of the team, but here it was not like that. I would not say it was the athletes, I would have to say it was the heads. You need to be able to understand that for a team to be able to perform properly you need to bring them together.”

Walcott, who stunned the world in London in 2012 at the age of 19 when he became the second Trinidadian to win an Olympic gold medal, said the overall environment was bad for everyone.

“It is the environment. When you as a team do not feel everybody is together (it) is like everybody is just concentrating on their own,” he added.

Asked about the pre-Olympic camp organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, which was designed to bring the team together, Walcott brazenly dismissed that, “Let’s move on,” he said.

Walcott said that people needed to be aware of how tough competition is at the Olympics. “These are the best athletes in the world and people need to understand that.”

Walcott was high in praise for his coach Cuban Ishmael Lopez-Mastrapa.  

“I have so much to be thankful for my coach especially and all my team because my coach has brought me here today. He has worked with me so much I thank him. This is because of him,” said Walcott.

The Toco-born Walcott said he was again very proud of his achievement.

“I am glad that we have a medal for Trinidad and Tobago and hope for support going forward. It is not easy competing against the best, so I just to thank God for that and all he has done and continues to do for me,” said a proud Walcott.

“I am just happy to get a medal. I wanted gold but to be in the top three was good enough. It has been a tough season; not the build-up I would have wanted leading up to these Games but I just kept on trying my best,” said Walcott.  

“I wanted to win four gold medals by 2024, but now I will have to settle for three and that is my goal—to keep improving and to not be concerned by other matters.”

Paramount new Great Race champion

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:44

Hail Paramount, new champions of the Carib Great Race 2016. The crew of Donald Webster (throttleman), Jason Laing (driver) and crew chief Patrick Balgobin made the trek from Trinidad to the sister isle of Tobago in a time of one hour and 10 minutes to claim the win in the A Class category for boats 130 mph. 

However, the race was marred by mechanical problems that prevented more than half the field from finishing. Among the casualties of the open seas were 16-time winner Mr Solo Too, which was seeking its 17th title in this the 48th edition of the prestigious event. 

The T&T Guardian understands that from the 22 competitors that started, only ten were sucessful in the 90-mile journey from the lookout at the Foreshore, Audrey Jeffers Highway, to Scarborough, Tobago.   

Afterwards, Webster said his crew will be aiming at breaking the record next year as they experienced mechanical problems at Grande Riviere which prevented them from reaching Tobago sooner. 

Total Monster, the 2015 champion,  did not compete yesterday, but holds the record for the fastest boat to Tobago, a blinding one hour and 08 minutes, which was set last year. 

“We were actually predicting a sub 1-hour finish and we were well on the way to achieving it had it not been for the Grande Riviere experience,” Webster said.   

Their closest rival Mr Solo Too, for a second time in a competitive environment, could not handle the water conditions and broke down, despite sporting a new boat. 

Webster said in spite of the respect for Mr Solo, they were always confident of victory, having beaten all his opponents in all events this year. “We had to take a technical and tactical approach to the race this year which we did, by allowing our main rival Mr Solo Too to take the lead as they entered Maracas Bay and as we were about to exit the bay, we took the lead and headed for home.” 

Webster noted that at one point they were up to speeds of 110 mph which later diminished tremendously as they drove through Grande Riviere. 

“We were down to a pace of about 60-70 mph and we didn’t know what caused it. 

We tried everything to correct it but nothing happened. We went like that for about three miles before we picked up speed afterwards and drove to Tobago” Webster explained.

Their victory comes years after they contested and won the G-Class category for boats 60 mph back in the 1980s. Now with a new boat that has been built for speed, Webster is hoping that Total Monster, Mr Solo Too and the other fast boats in their category could sort out their problems and face him in a race in the future. 

With Total Monster out and Mr Solo down, Gulf Ironman secured the runner-up spot in the class in 1hr: 17 minutes, while newcomer Big Thunder was third in 1hr, 18 minutes.  

In the D Class, lone participant Sheriff Lobo claimed the win after 1hr and 31 minutes while Outlaw got the better of White Heat to secure the victory in the E Class as Energiza failed to finish. 

In the F-Class for boats 70 mph, Chris Gone Wild capitalised on the mechanical failure of Extreme Measures for the win in 1hr, 56 minutes. Extreme Measures did not finish. However in the G-Class Limitless, continued its winning ways from the pre-Great Race event last month, by securing the top spot again. 

He was followed in second place by PP Conqueror and third Power By God.

2016 Carib Great Race Overall Results

1. Paramount -1hr:10mins

2. Gulf Ironman -1hr:17mins

3. Big Thunder -1hr: 18mins

4. Sherriff Lobo -1hr:31mins

5. Outlaw -1hr:32mins

6. Limitless -1hr:35mins

7. PP Conqueror -1hr:41mins

8. White Heat -1hr:46mins

9. Chris GoneWild -1hr:56mins

10. Powered By God -2hr mins

Yesterday’s Class Finishers

A Class 130mph

Paramount-1hr: 10mins

Gulf Ironman-1hr: 17mins

Big Thunder-1hr: 18mins

D Class 95 mph

Sherriff Lobo-1hr: 31mins

E Class 80mph

Outlaw-1hr: 32mins

White Heat-1hr: 46mins

F Class 70mph

Chris GoneWild-1hr: 56mins

G Class 60mph

Limitless (Tobago) -1hr: 35mins

PP Conqueror -1hr: 41mins

Powered By God (Tobago) -2hr: 0min

 

Shanntol inspires with energy within

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:41

“Growing up people used to pity me” says Shanntol Ince, Paralympic swimmer who will represent T&T at the Paralympic Games September 7-18, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

“I figured if they were going to pity me, I’d give them good reason.” The reasons why Ince is proud to be different is being shared with the world in a ground-breaking, 90-second story which is being showcased on television, in cinemas and online. 

“I train for hours, six days a week—I don’t give up,” says Ince who also received specialty training, sponsored by BP T&T (bpTT), at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in the United States as part of her training for the upcoming Rio Games. 

“Even now, as a national athlete, people still see me and think I am limited by my disability, but I’m not and this story…this campaign shows that,” Ince said. 

“It is pore-raising. I hope that every person, able or disabled is inspired to just be their best by my story.” 

Ince’s story filmed at her family home, Tyrico Bay and at the National Aquatic Centre shows Ince missing out on parties and being pitied, but then focuses on her training, her passion and her energy within. 

“It felt like Shanntol may have pitied us during the filming, “ said Elyse Guevara-Harris of bpTT who oversaw the local production of the story which, at times, took place in bad weather. 

“In line with our commitment to safety we had lifeguards and full emergency teams ready to address any situation during filming. I was nervous as the filming took place over a three-day period with long hours for Shanntol, but she just kept smiling and pressing on—she’s a true inspiration.” 

“Our goal is to show that national pride should have no limits—physical or mental,” says bpTT manager–Corporate Communications, Danielle Jones-Hunte. 

“Shanntol is a true national ambassador and we are proud to help bring her story to the international stage.” 

The showcasing of the story aligns with bpTT’s four-year commitment to support the T&T Olympic and T&T Paralympic Committees signed in January 2012. 

“It is hoped that the national pride exuded by Shanntol and all our national athletes will live on well after the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

MORE INFO

BPTT’s partnership with these committees has also

  • Facilitated the training of 18 top national athletes (selected by the committees), including Richard Thompson, Shanntol Ince and Jehue Gordon, at the state of the art training programmes at the Michael Johnson Performance facilities in the United States;
  • Facilitated the specialty training of coaches and representatives from over 15 National Sporting Organizations (NSOs) by the Michael Johnson Performance programme from 2013-2015;
  • Allowed over 1,000 students across T&T to be inspired by local Olympic and Paralympic athletes;
  • Supported the administration of the National Olympic and National Paralympic Committees in their duties preparing for the Games during the 2012 to 2016 quadrennial period; and set a new, local standard for sponsorship of national athletes. 

Windwards beat T&T to reach final with Guyana

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:37

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent—Windward Islands and Guyana confirmed their spots in today’s one-day final of the Regional Under-19 Championship, by scoring convincing victories in the last round of preliminary games on Friday.

Playing at Park Hill, Windward Islands produced a superb run chase to beat Trinidad and Tobago by three wickets while at Arnos Vale, Guyana defended a modest total to defeat Barbados by 85 runs.

The Windwards finished on top the standings with 22.6 points, just ahead of Guyana on 22.

Barbados were third on 17.2 points, Jamaica fourth with 13.3 points while Trinidad and Tobago were a disappointing fifth with 9.9. Leeward Islands were one from bottom with 6.5 points, with ICC Americas last on 2.1, after failing to win a single game.

The Windwards sent a stern warning with their performance as they chased down a very competitive 259 to win with eight overs to spare.

Emmanuel Stewart, batting at number three, slammed 92 off 89 deliveries while opener Johann Jeremiah stroked 61 from 79 deliveries.

Following the early loss of Anil Matthew for 11 in the fourth over with the score on 18, Stewart and Jeremiah came together to add 150 for the second wicket.

Stewart, voted Man-of-the-Match, struck nine fours and two sixes while Jeremiah counted five fours and two sixes before perishing at the end of the 28th over. However, Stewart added a further 44 for the third wicket with Alick Athanaze, who hit a cameo 45 from just 29 deliveries, including two fours and three sixes.

Stewart eventually fell short of a hundred when he was lbw to off-spinner Bryan Boodram (3-36) in the 33rd over and Windwards suffered a bit of a scare when they lost four wickets for five runs in the space of 12 deliveries, to slump to 236 for seven.

But West Indies Under-19 player, Ryan John, slammed a four and a six in scoring 15 not out to see his side home.

Earlier, T&T were dismissed for 258 off 48,3 overs, with opener Joshua da Silva top-scoring with 88, Kirstan Kallicharan getting 38 and Keagan Simmons, 32.

Da Silva struck nine fours and three sixes off 99 deliveries, putting on 91 for the first wicket with Simmons, 41 for the second with Dejourn Charles (15) and exactly 50 for the third with Kallicharan.

Athanaze claimed four for 43 with his off-spin to be the best bowler.

Guyana, meanwhile, needed Marlon Hubbard’s four-wicket haul as Barbados were bundled out for 98 off 37.5 overs, in pursuit of 184 for the win. Only opener Shian Brathwaite, with 35 off 89 balls, showed any resistance and was one of just three players in double figures.

Guyana had earlier been dismissed for 183 with a single ball remaining in the innings with Raymond Perez scoring 37 and Keemo Paul getting 33.

Nicholas Kirton (3-15) and Tremaine Harris (3-34) picked up three wickets apiece.

In the other game played, Jamaica defended 168 to beat Leewards by 72 runs, with Brad Barnes (3-18) and Tyrone Daley (3-21) both claiming three wickets each. (CMC)

Scores

At Park Hill: Windwards won by three wickets.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 258 all out off 48.3 overs (Joshua da Silva 88, Kirstan Kallicharan 38, Keagan Simmons 32; Alick Athanaze 4-43, Rasheed Fredericks 2-39, Ryan John 2-44)

WINDWARD ISLANDS 263 for seven off 42 overs (Emmanuel Stewart 92, Johann Jeremiah 61, Alick Athanaze 45; Bryan Boodram 3-36, Jonathan Bootan 3-52)

At Arnos Vale: Guyana won by 85 runs.

GUYANA 183 all out off 49.5 overs (Raymond Perez 37, Keemo Paul 33, Ronaldo Renee 25; Nicholas Kirton 3-15, Tremaine Harris 3-34)

BARBADOS 98 off 37.5 overs (Shian Brathwaite 35; Marlon Hubbard 4-11)

At Sion Hill: Jamaica won by 72 runs.

JAMAICA 167 for eight off 50 overs (Brad Barnes 34, Dominik Samuels 32; Kofi James 2-26, Karima Gore 2-28)

LEEWARD ISLANDS 95 all out off 42 overs (Tyrone Williams 23; Brad Barnes 3-18, Tyrone Daley 3-21)

 

Bolt saved his sport

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:33

RIO DE JANEIRO—It began in a rain-drenched 5,000-seat stadium on an island between Manhattan and Queens. Some Jamaican kid with the improbably awesome name of “Bolt” was in the Big Apple, not so much to announce his presence to the world, but to figure out who he was.

We clambered into a van and headed over to Icahn Stadium. The headliner that night: American sprinter Tyson Gay.

Or so we thought.

Wearing a white top and black shoes—nothing flashy—Usain Bolt took off out of lane 4 for the men’s 100 metres. He busted through the blue tape in 9.72 seconds. That was the new world record.

The Beijing Olympics were still two months away, and Bolt was still wondering which race he would add to his specialty, the 200 meters. His coach had urged him to do the 400. At 6-foot-5, the thought went, Bolt was simply too awkward to burst from the starting blocks and build enough speed to win the shortest sprint.

Everybody thought wrong.

“I wasn’t really looking for a world record,” Bolt said that night, “but it was there for the taking.”

He took it again in Beijing. Then took it in the 200. Then again in the 4x100 relay. He closed out his Olympic career in style Friday night, making it 9 for 9 in the Olympic sprints.

I watched that first race in New York, along with all 325 seconds he spent sprinting in the cumulative 23 races he’s run at the Olympics—in Beijing, London and, now, Rio de Janeiro.

I watched track and field become fun again.

Even at its best, the sprint game had always been a motley collection of unsmiling, sneering faces with loads of trouble seemingly lingering around every curve.

Bolt wadded up that stereotype. Yes, sprinting is serious and very difficult work, he showed us. But this stuff can also be eminently watchable. Not just the reggae-filled, selfie-taking, To-The-World-posing after-parties, which Bolt has turned into performance art.

The races themselves, too.

Time after time, I saw him burst out of those blocks in the 100 and wondered, how’s he going to pull this off? Most of the time, he had been losing at the halfway point. By the end, he was almost always far in front.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in Beijing, sitting 10 rows up from the finish line, when he hotdogged down the final eight steps of his 100, casting his arms to his side, then thumping his chest, then breaking his own world record nonetheless.

IOC boss criticises Bolt celebrations

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee at the time, had the temerity to criticise Bolt’s joy, saying “that’s not the way we perceive a champion.”

As tone deaf and clueless as it sounded then, it makes even less sense today.

Bolt has saved his sport and, in turn, kept the Olympics relevant— not such a small deal in the wake of what’s happened at these games, with their constant alerts about violence, disorganization and Ryan Lochte.

Without Bolt, the final week of the last three Olympics would have been an endless loop of beach volleyball and hoops and wishing Michael Phelps or America’s latest gold-medal gymnast competed in those events, too. Track, supposedly the glue that brings the whole thing together, would be nothing more than a collection of pole vaulters, distance runners and others who’s every accomplishment immediately falls under the lens of the ever-present doping microscope: Is anything you see in this stadium really to be believed?

Yes, we should, and have, asked those questions of Bolt, too. Jamaica’s anti-doping program is flawed. Who knows what’s really going on there?

But Bolt has insisted he is clean. He has done it in a serious tone. He has also insisted, at different times, that yams, Chicken McNuggets, his Aunt Lilly’s jerk pork and, yes, the nutrients from his pints of Guinness have powered him to the top.

He has come close, a few times, to being knocked off, and I’ve seen Bolt at his most vulnerable.

Last year, back in Beijing for the world championships, he was injured and nowhere near his best.

Justin Gatlin should have beaten him in the 100 but started leaning into the finish line too soon and Bolt persevered by one-hundredth of one second. In doing so, Bolt checked the box that anyone seeking to be called “The Greatest” must check at least once: Gritting one out when you’re not at your best.

Gatlin wanted to upstage Bolt

Feeling he was the faster man, Gatlin said he had something in store for Bolt in the 200, a few nights later.

“You don’t talk about my 200 metres like that,” Bolt said. It was the most-telling sentence I’ve ever heard him speak.

He spanked Gatlin—powering his long legs through a curve that was built for him, then going into hyperdrive down the straightway in a race he calls his baby. Bolt got upended by a Segway during the celebration. He popped right up. He delivers great theatre even when he doesn’t mean to.

In 2012, I saw him in Kingston, dealing with leg injuries and the remnants of an out-of-form preseason at Jamaica’s version of Olympic trials.

Yohan Blake beat him not once, but twice, that week. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is the man to beat at the London Olympics,” I wrote after the second win, speaking of Blake. Those are 13 words I wish I could have back.

In Rio, as Friday night morphed into Saturday morning, I was in the press tribune, putting a bow on what Bolt insists will be his last run at the Olympics.

From the darkened field below, the shouts of “Usain Bolt, Usain Bolt” started ringing out.

I squinted, saw a tall man in yellow shirt and shorts hoisting a javelin, with a few dozen workers and cameramen surrounding him.

The man took a few long steps, reared back and let the javelin fly. It pierced the grass, not all that far downfield, but a pretty nice throw,  nonetheless.

Could that really have been The World’s Fastest Man—all wrung out, out of words, too tired to entertain anymore— throwing the javelin down there at 2 in the morning for fun?

It was. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Then again, who ever could?  (AP)

Algae the problem as cricket rained off

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:29

Another day was lost to cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday and India’s chances of retaining the number one position in Test cricket has all but faded.

Cricket fans turned up at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday to witness the ground staff digging up the outfield in an effort to irrigate it, to improve drainage. It was too little too late as the contractors who should have done this before the Test match had no time to effect it, due to the constant use of the Oval. 

The result being that the third day of the fourth and final Seagrams Test match was washed out, leaving India with two days to force a positive result, or Pakistan would overtake them as the number one ranked Test team in the world.

Guardian Media understands that the problem at the Oval has to do with algae on the outfield due to poor irrigation and this led to poor drainage at the Mecca of local cricket.

Rain has been making an unwelcome appearance at regular times during this series and started in the second Test in Jamaica, with only 16 overs play possible on the fourth day. Then the third day of the St Lucia Test was washed out and on the opening day of this match, only 22 overs were possible.

In that time West Indies lost the wickets caught at short leg for nine of the bowling of Ishant Sharma and Darren Bravo, bowled by Ravi Ashwin for 10. At the crease and hoping to resume today will be opener Kraigg Brathwaite on 31 and Marlon Samuels four not out.

I’m not responsible for appeals

Sun, 08/21/2016 - 09:27

T&T athletes were denied third position in the Men’s 4x400 metres relay semi-finals and seventh in the Men’s 4x100 metres relay finals on Friday night after they were disqualified and their protests upheld at the Rio Olympics in Brazil. 

Appeals to these decisions were lodged by the manager of the track and field team George Commissiong and the head coach  Ian Carter, leaving questions to be raised about the role of chef de mission Ian Hypolite, who was on ESPN Caribbean broadcast where he was being used as an analyst for track and field events. 

When contacted, Dr Hypolite disagreed he should have been involved in the appeal, noting it was not his role.  “Each discipline, each sporting discipline has a management team, including a manager, particularly in the sport of track and field. If an appeal is supposed to be lodged then a manager is the one to do that. That basically is how it goes. Of course you can say an official, but that is really the manager of the team and last night the manager lodged the appeal in both instances and both were unsuccessful,” Dr Hypolite explained.

Quizzed on whether it would have made a difference if he was there, Dr Hypolite said “The chef de mission does not get involved in this. It is like running a business, you have people assigned to certain jobs. It is not the chef’s role to get involved in the field of play, there are other responsible officials such as the team manager, who is there for this.”

Concerns were raised that due to Dr Hypolite’s knowledge and experience in the field, he may have been helpful to local officials in the appeal. However Dr Hypolite, who served as coach of T&T 400 metres hurdler Jehue Gordon, said: “This may be because of people’s ignorance of the role of a chef de mission and his functions and the process in lodging an appeal with track and field.” 

He added: “My knowledge and influence did not start now. I have been the head coach to many a track-and-field team leaving  T&T for international competitions for many years now and we have lodged appeals. I myself have not lodged an appeal. It has always been the manager, so even when I was not chef de mission, it was not a question of my knowledge and influence.” 

According to Dr Hypolite: “I do not know how people will accept it, but I will say to you though that prior to being named as chef de mission, I was interviewed for the position at ESPN before accepting the role as chef de mission. I did not get a response, so I went ahead and accepted the role as chef de mission, which I reported to Brian Lewis, president of the TTOC, who gave his blessing that I could function in the chef de mission role given this assignment” 

“The chef de mission role is not a singular role. I do not advocate all responsibility to myself. I have a very solid team, including the deputy chef de mission and I think all of these things influenced Lewis’ endorsement of my position.” Dr Hypolite told the Sunday Guardian: “I will state categorically that at no point in time were any of these functions compromised by my being at ESPN. All matters, administrative or otherwise, have been carried out successfully without any problem. In addition, my schedule at ESPN was particularly adjusted so that I was able to perform all my duties and functions as chef.” 

“People are prone to judge T&T’s performances on the basis of medals which is understandable, as we see Jamaica continue to win medals while we would like to be part of the action. On the other hand, we have managed to reach some finals, and yes, if you reach a final, you can win a medal. We have had some mishaps and we have not had the medals expected, or that everyone wants, but I think everyone needs to understand that none of our athletes is going outside there to do poorly, but rather, give of his or her best. This is an extremely high level of competition” noted Dr Hypolite. 

“If we had a couple of medals under our belt, we would not be having this discussion, but this is the way life is. When you accept responsibility, you get this type of criticism and the athletes are aware of it. It will only serve to make them stronger” he said.

“We have got to continue our thrust and we have got to continue to support our athletes. We tend to be fair-weather people, support them when things are going right but turn our backs when we are down. If we want to compare ourselves with Jamaica, we have to look at them. When Usain Bolt failed in 2004, he was wrongly criticized in Jamaican circles, but they quickly found themselves and began to give him support and that is exactly what needs to happen in T&T” Dr Hypolite concluded. 

Another frustrating day at the Oval

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 08:14

Some days local fans are frustrated by the performance of the West Indies cricket team, yesterday they were left frustrated with the drainage system at the Queen’s Park Oval, as under brilliant sunshine, there was no play on the scheduled second day of the Fourth Seagrams Test match because of as unfit playing field.

West Indies were to resume on their overnight score of 62/2 but the players stayed at the Hyatt Regency until lunchtime. When they arrived there was no possibility of going out on the field as the damp arena prevented even a warm-up session.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) head groundsman Ken Crafton speaking to Guardian Media said the situation arose from problems with the drainage. “We have not been able to go out there for action because the ground is wet. Every hour we would go and have a look and yet with brilliant sunshine the ground is still not getting drier. The problem here is one of drainage. Moving forward the authorities here have to look at the use of the ground. When you have plenty usage, there is not enough time to have the outfield prepared as you would like.

“The contractor who was supposed to have the outfield aerated did not have the time to work on it and hence the problems. If he could have gotten the chance to work, then you would have found that surface moisture would have evaporated quicker. 

Rain has been making an unwelcome appearance at regular times during this series and started in the second Test in Jamaica, with only 16 overs play possible on the fourth day. Then the third day of the St Lucia Test was washed out and on the opening day of this match, only 22 overs were possible.

In that time West Indies lost the wickets caught at short leg for nine of the bowling of Ishant Sharma and Darren Bravo, bowled by Ravi Ashwin for 10. At the crease and hoping to resume today will be opener Kraigg Brathwaite on 31 and Marlon Samuels four not out.

Bolt say this is goodbye

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 08:11

RIO DE JANEIRO—Usain Bolt seeks to say his goodbye with another gold medal on Thursday night at the Rio de Janeiro Games, where another Olympic juggernaut — the US men's basketball team defeated Spain 82-76 in the semifinals to book their palce in the gold medal match.

A day after winning another gold in the 200 metres, Bolt will appear in what he has insisted will be his final Olympic race. He'll look to add to his medal stash as part of the Jamaican team in the 4x100 relay finals. Bolt led the Jamaicans to the top of the podium in the event in Beijing and again in London, where the team set the world and Olympic records.

While Bolt is saying goodbye, Ryan Lochte is saying he's sorry.

Breaking his silence, Lochte apologized yesterday for his behavior surrounding an early-morning incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station, saying he should have been more candid about how he described what happened after a night of partying with his teammates following the final swimming races.

Day 14 of the Rio Games features medal action in track and field, soccer, wrestling, boxing, platform diving and more.

Lochte said in a lengthy post on Instagram that he was apologising for his role in taking the focus away from other Olympic athletes.

"This was a situation that could and should have been avoided," Lochte said. "I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned some valuable lessons."

The 12-time Olympic medalist reiterated his view that a stranger pointed a gun at him and demanded money to let him leave a gas station. Lochte had called it a gunpoint robbery; Brazilian police said he and three other swimmers vandalized a bathroom while intoxicated and were confronted by armed security guards.

Lochte returned to the United States early in the week before a Brazilian judge had ordered his passport taken away while police investigated his claims of getting robbed at gunpoint by thieves posing as police.

Bolt completes double in Rio

Usain Bolt raced to 200 metres gold at the Rio Olympics but reacted with frustration at failing to challenge his world record in tough conditions.

The Jamaican flew round the bend but appeared to tie up down the home straight as he crossed the line in 19.78 seconds.

Canada's Andre de Grasse took silver in 20.02secs, while France's Christophe Lemaitre edged out Great Britain's Adam Gemili for bronze in agonising fashion, with both men given the same time of 20.12s.

Bolt was never in danger of being caught, but his anger at not going quicker was clear for all to see as he crossed the line and looked at the clock.

He recovered to lap up the acclaim as he celebrated his eighth Olympic title, draped in a Jamaican flag.

Bolt bent down to kiss the finish lane in lane six, his lane, as he completed his lap of honour before performing his signature 'Lightning Bolt' pose, to huge cheers.

Ahead of the race he got the customary rapturous reception from the not quite capacity crowd inside the Olympic Stadium and looked relaxed as always. He even managed a samba on the start line.

But the rain which began to fall around 20 minutes before the start of the race had put paid to any realistic chance of him breaking his own world record of 19.19secs.

And in the end he could not get near it, with his time his slowest of any of his global 200m winning marks.

There remain, however, fewer better sights in sport than the world's fastest man in full flight. (AP)

Walcott goes for gold

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 08:07

Keshorn Walcott, the 2012 London Olympic Games javelin champion will put his title on the line against 11 challengers who will be seeking to secure one of the 30 medals that are at stake today, the penultimate day of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Competition starts at 7.55 pm (TT Time).

Despite all the pressure that has yet again fallen on this 23-year-old, shoulders four years on from memorable and shocking victory in London, this time the expectations are at its highest.

During Wednesday’s qualifying round, the Toco hero Walcott in his first throw delivered when he recorded 88.68 metres, which was the best from Group B while he lined-up against Germans Johannes Vetter, who produced the second best distance of 85.96 metes, followed by German Julian Weber (84.46) and his compatriot Thomas Rohler, who achieved (83.01). The Czech Republic trio of Petr Frydrych (83.60), Jacub Vadlejck (83.27) and Vitezslav Vesely (82.85), will also comprise tonight’s finalists.

Walcott, who has recovered from injury, is being handled by Cuban coach Ismael  Lopez-Mastrapa in his attempt to become the first athlete from T&T to win two gold medals at the Olympics.

His win four years ago in London saw him joined the ranks of Hasely Crawford, the first athlete to win a gold medal following his feat ain the 100 metres event at the 1976 Games in Montreal, Canada.

Walcott, who coming off a second place finish in his last Diamond League meet in July while concluding his preparations, has quietly and professionally kept himself on the strict programme set by his team and the results have suggested that is well focused and prepared.

His physiotherapist Abdel Murguia Miranda has ensured his body is in prime condition.

Meanwhile, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis told the Trinidad Guardian that: “Keshorn is a world class athlete and defending Olympic champion. His coach is one of the best. Keshorn has been prepared to deliver a big performance.  His performance in the qualifying round caught people’s attention. He’s a big occasion athlete with tremendous mental strength.”

ATHLETE ORDER

1     TTO     WALCOTT Keshorn

2     GER     VETTER Johannes

3    CZE    VADLEJCH Jakub

4     UKR     KOSYNSKYY Dmytro

5     FIN    RUUSKANEN Antti

6     CZE     VESELY Vitezslav

7     GER    WEBER Julian

8     KEN     YEGO Julius

9     GER     ROHLER Thomas

10     ARG    TOLEDO Braian

11     JPN    ARAI Ryohei

12     CZE     FRYDRYCH Petr

Confident Clement

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 10:16

RIO DE JANEIRO—Kerron Clement cleared a space in his trophy case and wrote a little note on what would occupy that spot next: “Gold Medal, 2016.”

The American 400-metre hurdler was that confident.

So confident, in fact, that his mom, Claudette, packed the family’s own American flag and brought it to Rio de Janeiro. You know, just for this moment when he actually won gold.

“I knew I was going to win,” said Clement, who finished in 47.73 seconds and held off Boniface Mucheru Tumuti of Kenya by 0.05 seconds. “I came out here with one mindset: Get a gold medal.”

When he returns home to Gainesville, Florida, he won’t have to worry about finding a spot for Olympic gold medal No. 2—he made the room for it in January. This gold will pair nicely with the one he earned at the 2008 Beijing Games as part of the 4x400 relay team. He also earned a silver in Beijing in the 400 metres hurdles.

Some might be superstitious about planning for a win before it happens. Not Clement.

“I’m a Scorpio—once I set my mind, I’m going to get it, regardless,” he said. “I knew I was going to get that gold medal. I was sticking to that plan. Nothing or no one was going to stop me from achieving that.”

And to think, he almost stopped himself. Clement was struggling with his passion for the hurdles after the 2013 world championships. He needed a break.

Although he trained in 2014, he tried his best to stay away from the hurdles. He went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic with friends while the U.S. held its championships that year. The only caveat on the trip: No track talk.

“I hit the refocus button,” said Clement, who won the 400 hurdles at the worlds championships in 2007 and ‘09. “Honestly, when I came back (in 2015), I found a new love for the hurdles ... having a new mindset, new goals for the second chapter of my career, which is now.”

The buzz surrounding Clement in recent days hasn’t so much been his performance on the track, but, rather, his cameo a few years ago in a Beyoncé video, “Run the World (Girls).”

That was fun. Thursday was a show stopper.

He credits his top-notch form to better health—he’s all the way back from hernia surgery in 2012—and to turning himself into more of a student of his race.

“When I was younger, I used to run and make silly mistakes,” Clement explained. “Now, I’m wiser.”

Wise enough not to panic with the field gaining on him down the backstretch—a field that was without Javier Culson, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist from Puerto Rico, who was disqualified for a false start.

Clement’s legs were burning with the finish line in sight and he thought about diving toward it.

Not necessary. A well-timed lean did the trick.

“Technically, it was a perfect race,” said Clement, who wears a “Test me, I’m clean” bracelet to demonstrate his disdain for doping. “I just focused on the ten hurdles in my lane. I fought the last 100 metres. I knew the guys would be coming. I dug down deeper. I knew the guy from Kenya was coming.”

Bronze medalist Yasmani Copello saw big things for himself, too—also thanks to his mom.

“Last night, she sent me a message, ‘I dream you’re going to be big,’” explained Copello, who was born in Cuba and now competes for Turkey. “I woke with that thought. I carry her in my heart.”

Clement knows the feeling. That’s why it meant a lot to him when he worked his way toward the stands and his mother handed him the flag.

“She just smiled,” Clement said. “I love seeing my mom smile. She’s going to cry when she sees me on the podium.” (AP)

 

Williams delighted with first goal in Mexico

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 10:13

Midfielder Jomal Williams is still basking in the joy of scoring his first goal in Mexican professional football which came for his team Murcielagos FC in their 1-1 draw with Monarcas Morelia in the third round of the Copa MX last Monday.

 Williams moved to Murcielagos alongside former W Connection teammate Shahdon Winchester roughly two months ago, joining countryman Yohance Marshall at the club. 

Williams has settled in at the club and been widely accepted by his teammates and fans alike.

“This has been my biggest achievement since arriving at the club. Of course getting your first goal for a club is always something you set out to do,” Williams said on Wednesday. 

“So far, the club and people of the city have welcomed me with open arms. It was a great feeling. I keep praying for something great that I believe God has in store for me and this is just a step towards that,” he added. 

His constant interaction with Marshall and Winchester has made his Mexico stay even more enjoyable. “I get along very well with Yohance. He made the process of settling in easier for me. He is always willing to share advice. I have known Shahdon for a long time and we have been playing together for five years. The level of the league is high. The games are very intense and I think it is definitely helping all three of us with our personal games,” Williams said.

Williams, a former T&T Under 20 and Under 17 midfielder, made his senior team debut earlier this year and got his first international goal in a 3-1 loss to Uruguay in May.

 

Jones: MLS interest have been there for a while

He made his Central FC debut on Tuesday, helping the club to its first point in the Concacaf Champions League against MLS outfit Sporting Kansas City but national team captain Kenwyne Jones has had MLS football on his mind for some time now.

The former Stoke City forward spoke about this and more in a recent interview with the US media. He mentioned that having teammates such as Kevin Molino and Aubrey David in the MLS also gave him some assurance that his move would be a suitable one.

“Yeah the interest has been always there. A lot of my teammates on the T&T national team play in the MLS, like Kevin (Molino), Cordell (Cato), Joevin (Jones), Aubrey (David) and Mekeil (Williams). So between talking to them and my camp, I was able to explore my options and make progress,” Jone said.

And being closer to home is another big factor for Jones.

“For sure it’s a positive impact. On top of being based in Atlanta, I’ll be heading out on loan to Central FC so I’ll be back home in Trinidad playing again, which I haven’t done in a long time. It feels good to be going back and be active there, knowing that I’m a product of quality of football in the TT Pro League. We have World Cup Qualifiers coming up in September and I’m captain of the National Team, then Caribbean Cup rounds in October, so I’ll be pretty active in the meantime. I think it’s a good time to be home, and a good transitioning phase for me as I get ready for my big move to ATL.” 

Jones will join his national teammates for a training camp later this month ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on September 2nd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Louisville coach credits impressive Ranjitsingh

Greg Ranjitsingh is a 23-year-old Canadian-born goalkeeper who has been stopping the shots at an impressive rate for Louisville City FC in the United Soccer League in the United States.

Ranjitsingh qualifies to play for T&T through local parentage and has tried out in the past with national youth teams. The former Mercer University custodian didn’t make his debut for Louisville until April this year, coming on in the 75th minute after first choice Scott Goodwin was red carded. And now, in 15 games he’s played this season, the club has lost only once. He was third in the league for least number of goals against and had five clean sheets in May.

 Louisville coach James O’Connor had good things to say about Ranjitsingh.

“I think he’s come in, he’s done great, he was disappointed with a couple things, but we’ve got guys that hold themselves accountable,” O’Connor said. “I think for us it’s that their standards have been so high and they continue to be that way. ... Somebody scores goals, you don’t come in and just credit him, or when a goal goes in you don’t just blame Greg.” 

The Ontario-born player himself is excited about his current form. 

“As a goalkeeper I deal with so much pressure, because one mistake and it’s in the back of your net,” he said. “So I just have to stay clean and consistent so that you can keep a clean sheet. You just have to have the same mentality whether on the field or off, as a backup or a starter.” 

“After games, if it doesn’t go well for me, I’m always usually quiet,” Ranjitsingh said. “Even in training, if I don’t have a good training session, I’m always quiet and thinking about it.”

Ranjitsingh produced another solid performance in a 1-1 draw with Harrisburg City on Wednesday which pushed them to 46 points in the top spot of the USL Eastern Conference.

 

n Shaun Fuentes is director of Communications for the TTFA. [email protected]

Team TTO hopeful in relay final

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 09:35

Two more finals beckon for Team TTO today as both the men and women’s relay teams reached the medal events in the 4x100 at the Rio Olympics here yesterday.

Both finished third in their respective semifinals.

Just hours after she finished sixth in the women’s 200 metres final, Michelle-Lee Ahye was back on the track to guide her bronze medal World Championship colleagues into the main event.

Team TTO, running in the second heat and drawn in lane one, got a good start from Semoy Hackett who passed to Ahye. Kelly Ann Baptiste and Khalifa St Fort completed the job with the ladies finishing in a time of 42.62. The German team won the event in 42.18 while Nigeria was second in 42.55.

France finished fourth and Switzerland, fifth, but both Brazil and Kazakhstan were disqualified while the United States, earned a reprieve and a place in the final after filing a protest.

The stewards ruled that Allyson Felix was jostled by the Brazilian runner and instead of handing off the baton, she had to try flipping it to English Gardner.

That didn’t work.

Race officials upheld an American protest due to the jostling but because relay finals must be limited to eight teams, the American runners was called back to the track  to run all by themselves, in the same order and in the same lane. Their goal was to beat the time of 42.70 seconds run by China, the slowest qualifier from the two heats, which they duly achieved, returning the best time of 41.77.

Although their overall time was sixth, going into today’s final, the T&T women are optimistic about completing the job with a medal.

“We believe we can win a medal once we run as we can. This order is working for us and that is why we decided on it,” Baptiste noted.

Asked about the change in order, Baptiste said the women still had some work to do. “Yes, we changed the order and we still have somethings to work on, so we will see what happens going forward.”  

Ahye was confident that T&T would gain a medal. She said her hard six runs had not affected her too much. “I am okay, this is our team, there is love and we are going out there and giving everything for each other, so come tomorrow we are going looking for that medal.”

St Fort, in her first Olympics was just enjoying the moment. “I am just glad to be here and get over any nervousness but everyone is helping me and now we are in the finals.”

The men who were also in Heat 2, placed third in a season best time of 37.96.  The Heat was won by Japan in 37.68 with Jamaica second in 37.94. Great Britain (38.06) and Brazil (38.19) also qualified out of the Heat, while the US (37.65), China (37.82) and Canada (37.89) qualified from the first Heat.

They too had a different look, with Keston Bledman starting and handing over to Rondell Sorillo, then to Emmanuel Callender and finally to anchor specialist Richard Thompson.  

Bledman ran aggressively and looked determined. “I was just running with a lot of aggression, it is like we have something to prove, given what people have been saying about us but we are trying our best, we want a medal tomorrow night.”

Thompson believes that the spirit among the team is really good. “We understand our roles and know what we need to do.”

The women’s finals is scheduled for 9.15 pm (TT time) and the men’s will take to the blocks at 9.37 (TT time) .

 

Barrackpore drops points again in Super League

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:54

Barrackpore United SC’s lead at the top of the  T&T Football Association National Super League Championship Division has been reduced to two points after it was held to an entertaining 3-3 draw by T&T Prisons FC at Youth Training Centre ground, Arouca, on Saturday.

Coming off a 1-0 loss at home to the University of T&T (UTT), its first after three wins to start the season, Barrackpore was eager to get back to winning ways.

And the visitors got the perfect start when Curtis Carrington netted in the second minute followed by Keion La Rode nine minutes later for a 2-0 advantage.

Eight minutes into the second-half, Ricardo Alleyne pulled a goal back for T&T Prisons, but within six minutes Mikheil Peters got a third for the visitors to restore their two-goal cushion at 3-1.

Former Naparima College and  national youth team standout Anthony Parris got a second item for T&T Prisons in the 64th to set up an interesting finish, and five minutes into time added on, Alleyne snatched share of the points for the home side to deny Barrackpore a fourth win this season.

Despite the drawn result, Barrackpore still lead the table with ten points from five matches, two ahead of UTT which has a match in hand, and was held to a 1-1 draw by Central 500 Spartans.

Isaiah Mejias opened the scoring for UTT in the 23rd, but his effort was cancelled out by Josiah Alleyne, six minutes from full-time at Edinburgh 500 Recreation Ground.

Elsewhere, goals were aplenty with Adrian Millette scoring a hat-trick to lead Petit Valley/Diego Martin United past Youth Stars 5-4 at Diego Martin and Carenage United beating Saddle Hill Hotspur 5-3 led by a brace from Micah Lansiquot.  For Hotspur, former national striker and record T&T scorer, Stern John, was among the scorers.

Results

Saturday Results:

Central 500 Spartans 1 (Josiah Alleyne 84th) vs UTT 1 (Isaiah Mejias 23rd)

Petit Valley/Diego Martin Utd 5 (Adrian Millette 29th, 70th, 77th, Kieno Goodridge 75th, 84th) vs Youth Stars 4 (Raoul Trotman 10th, 38th, Hakeem Legall 16th, 52nd)

T&T Prisons FC 3 (Ricardo Alleyne 53rd, 90th, Anthony Parris 64th) vs Barrackpore United 3 (Curtis Carrington 2nd, Keion La Rode 11th, Mikheil Peters 59th)

Carenage United 5 (Micah Lansiquot 2nd, 5th, Kendell Baptiste 35th, Kathon St Hillaire 61st, Anthony Penn 71st) vs Saddle Hill Hotspur 3 (Cyrano Glen 45th, Hakeem King 46th, Stern John 86th)   

Championship Division standings:

Teams    P    W    D    L    F    A    Pts

1. Barrackpore    5    3    1    1    14    8    10

2. UTT    4    2    2    0    8    4    8

3. Cunupia FC    4    2    0    2    9    7    6

4. T&T Prison    4    1    3    0    7    5    6

5. Youth Stars    4    2    0    2    10    10    6

6. Carenage Utd    3    1    2    0    8    6    5

7. Central 500    4    1    1    2    4    8    4

8. P.V/D.M Utd    4    1    1    2    5    9    4

9. Saddle Hill    4    0    0    4    5    13    0

Saturday’s matches:

Carenage Ut vs Petit Valley/Diego Martin Utd, Diego Martin North Secondary ground, 4 pm

Youth Stars vs T&T Prisons FC, Cyd Gray Sports Complex, Roxborough, Tobago, 5 pm

Barrackpore Utd vs Central 500 Spartans, Barrackpore Recreational ground, 4 pm

Cunupia FC vs UTT, Ato Boldon  Stadium, 4 pm 

Team TTO relays message to fans

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 08:47

It’s the home straight today as far as the 2016 Rio Olympics go. And the one area in which the analysts have given Team Trinidad and Tobago its only chance to medal—the relays begin. 

Prior to the start of the Games, the Asso-ciated Press predicted that Team TTO will win one medal through its 4 x 400 metres relay team. 

They predicted bronze, with their vote for gold going to who else? America! Silver is heading Britain’s way, according to their pre-dictions.

If this happens, it will be a repeat of London where bronze was one of the four medals Team TTO brought home in what was its biggest cache at any single Games. 

There is no silverware yet in Rio, but the energy is there for these relays and there is a feeling of optimism in the camp, almost like expectations are about to be fulfilled. 

The women that will be first in action in the women's 4x100 metres from 10.20am (TT time)

Six ladies were selected for this adven-ture—Ahye, Kelly Ann Baptiste, Semoy Hack-ett, Khalifa St Fort, Reyare Thomas and Kai Selvon.

By the time the race starts,  Ahye would have completed six rounds of running and Hackett four rounds (in the individual 100 and 200 metres contests) so there is likely to be some changes for this qualifying heat.

There is speculation that Hackett will be asked to run the opening leg instead of Bap-tiste with Reyare Thomas and Khalifa St Fort rounding off the other two spots, giving Ahye a breather from her tough campaign.

Hackett, the powerful Tobago born sprinter said yesterday all six ladies were fine and focused on solid performances to get Team TTO to the finals. 

“We believe in each other and there is a nice spirit in the team. We all want to first get the stick around and qualify for the finals and then take it from there.”

The men’s equivalent which placed fourth, then third and hopefully second after the finals in London 2012, comprises Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Rondell Sorillo, Emmaunel Callender, Kyle Greaux and Mar-cus Duncan.

Thompson told the T&T Guardian: “We are professionals. We have to be ready to run at our best and forget everything else in the relays. We have to be on our game and remain focussed. I will not let my disappointment from the 100 metres affect the relays.”

Bledman admitted that the team was miss-ing Marc Burns. 

“But when this team gets a baton in our hands, we are a different group of guys. We are determined to perform yet again in the relays.”

Sorillo also was optimistic. 

“People may be writing us off but as a team we are very focused on what needs to be done and we are out to get into the finals on Saturday.” (AB)

Walcott comes up big in semis

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 07:34

Trinidad and Toba-go’s Keshorn Walcott had the best perform-ance of the semifinals, throwing 88.68 metres to qualify for the Olympic final  of the men’s javelin here last night. 

The reigning Olympic champion looked at ease in sending a message to the rest of the field in qualifying with his first throw.

Walcott said he was very pleased with the way he felt  going into the event. “I was very happy with how I am feeling and now it is just to continue along the same way on Satutrday.”

He said that his placing first place in this part of his assignment will mean nothing come Saturday finals. “On Saturday, this score and my place here will not matter and so I am going to stay focused and not get carried away.  I am feeling comfortable but there is still a long way to go. The objec-tive was to reach finals and I did and now that has been achieved, we will look to see how things go on Saturday.”

Walcott will square off with a field that includes Germans Johannes Vetter who had the sec-ond best throw of 85.96 and Julian Weber (84.46) in Saturday’s final. Another German Thomas Rohler (83.01) is also into the finals while there are three finalists from the Czech Republic in Petr Frydrych (83.60), Jacub Vadlejck (83.27), and Vitezslav Vesely (82.85).

However, there was no luck for T&T’s other semifinalist, Rondell Sorillo, last night.

In the men’s 200 semifinals, Sorillo failed in his bid to reach the final, after finishing fifth in a time of 20.33.

Sorillo, racing from lane one, looked in position to challenge with 50 metres left but faded as American LaShawn Merritt won the race in 19.94 second with French-man Christopher Lemaitre gaining the sec-ond automatic spot in the finals with a time of 20.01.

In the second semifinal, Usain Bolt con-tinue to make his presence felt crusing to the finals in a winning time of 19.78. Chasing his to the line was Andre De Grasse, of Canada in 19.80. 

JAVELIN FINAL QUALIFIERS

Keshorn Walcott, Trinidad & Tobago, 88.68m

Johannes Vetter, Germany, 85.96m Julian Weber, Germany, 84.46m Ryohei Arai, Japan, 84.16m

Petr Frydrych, Czech Republic, 83.60m Julius Yego, Kenya, 83.55m

Jakub Vadlejck, Czech Republic, 83.27m Dmytro Kosynskyy, Ukraine, 83.23m Thomas Röhler, Germany, 83.01m Vítězslav Veselý, Czech Republic, 82.85m

Antti Ruuskanen, Finland, 82.20m Braian Toledo, Argentina, 81.96m

200M FINALS QUALIFIERS

Ramil Guliyev, Turkey (20.09)

Adam Gemili, Great Britain (20.08) Alonso Edward, Panama, (20.06) Andre De Grasse, Canada (19.80) LaShawn Merritt, United States

(19.94)

Usain Bolt, Jamaica  (19.78) Christophe Lemaitre, France (20.01) Ramil Guliyev Turkey (20.90) Churandy Martina, Netherlands (20.10)

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