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Updated: 1 hour 27 min ago

Windies staring defeat

13 hours 52 min ago

The last time rain fell in Abu Dhabi was back in March, so that is not expected to save West Indies. The only thing that can save them is the willow. However it will take nothing short of miracle for the Caribbean men to prevent another loss in this second Test of the Haier Cup series against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Set an imposing 455 runs to win the game, the West Indies closed the fourth day on 171/4. Today, they will need another 285 runs to win with six wickets standing and leg-spinner Yasir Shah looking ominous. Pakistan bowled well yesterday to grab four wickets, after they declared at lunch on 227 for two - setting West Indies a day and a half to bat.

Opener Kraigg Brathwaite showed that he was up for the fight scoring a rapid 67 but the top order didn’t fire. Battling well towards the end of the day were Jermaine Blackwood on 41 and Roston Chase 17. A lot will depend on them when play resumes at 10am local time. West Indies still have in the hut skipper Jason Holder who has a Test hundred and stand in wicketkeeper Shai Hope.

The first West Indian wicket to fall was that of Leon Johnson who was bowled playing on to Shah for nine. Darren Bravo joined Brathwaite and saw the latter hit his third six in Test cricket, as they found runs easy to come by. However, overconfidence would prove Bravo’s undoing as he slashed Rahat Ali to point on 13. He added 35 runs with Brathwaite for the second wicket and his blow was a significant one, being the batting mainstay for the West Indies in this series so far.

Brathwaite motored on and continued to be unusually aggressive, as he used his feet beautifully to the spinners. In the company of Marlon Samuels he took West Indies to 86 for two at the tea break.

The two added 49 runs for the third wicket before Samuels offered a simple caught and bowl chance to Shah for 23 with the score at 112. Brathwaite seemed to be leading a lone battle, until Mohammad Nawaz breached his defence with his score on 67. He negotiated 133 balls, striking six fours and a six in his face saving knock.

Pakistan resumed on the bedtime position of 114 for one and continued to dominate the West Indian bowling. Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq took the score to 164, adding 71 runs for the third wicket when Miguel Cummins finally had Ali caught by Holder at slip for 79, which came off 137 balls and included five fours. This innings is on the back of his 302 not out and two in Dubai and zero in the first innings here. It has brought his total to 383 runs in the series the most by any batsman. 

After his dismissal, Shafiq continued to look solid and although a declaration was always on the mind, he did not try to accelerate. He reached his half century of 92 balls with three hits to the fence.

He and Younis Khan pushed the score to 227 for two at the lunch break, when the home team decided enough was enough and put a halt to the punishment. Shafiq remained unbeaten on 58 and Khan 29.

West Indies vs Pakistan

Pakistan 1st inns 452 all out
WI 1st inns  223 all out
Pakistan 2nd inns (o/n 114/1)
S Aslam c Hope b Gabriel    50
A Ali c Holder b Cummins    79
A Shafiq not out    58
Y Khan not out    29
Extras b4, lb3, w1, nb3    11
Total for 2 wkts    227
Fall of wkts: 93, 164.
Bowling: S Gabriel 12-2-36-1 (2nb), M Cummins 7-0-26-1 (1nb, 1w), K Brathwaite 15-2-33-0, D Bishoo 20-0-77-0, J Holder 7-0-22-0, R Chase 6-0-26-0.
West Indies 2nd inns (target 455 runs)
K Brathwaite lbw Nawaz    67
L Johnson  b Shah    9
D Bravo c Nawaz b Rahat Ali    13
M Samuels c & b Shah    23
J Blackwood not out    41
R Chase not out    17
Extras 1lb    1
Total for 4 wkts    171
Fall of wkts: 28, 63, 112, 124. 
Bowling: S Khan 10-2-24-0, R Ali 14-1-40-1, Yasir Shah 18-2-60-2, Z Babar 15-2-32-0, M Nawaz 5-0-14-1.

A Team stuttering in first ODI

14 hours 1 min ago

DAMBULLA—West Indies A made a stuttering start to the opening unofficial One-Day International against Sri Lanka A before rain intervened to end play prematurely at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium here yesterday.

Opting to bat first, the Caribbean side had reached 69 for two in the 13th over, with opener Kyle Hope unbeaten on 28 and Andre Fletcher on seven. The game will be concluded on today’s reserve day.

Head coach Graeme West rued the weather interruption and said West Indies A would need to find their momentum again on what was a good batting track, if they were to put Sri Lanka A under pressure.

“We got ourselves into a good position with some positive batting and we’ll certainly need more of the same tomorrow,” West said afterward.

“It looks a good wicket, [there’s] not much happening for the spinners and it’s pretty slow for the quicks so we need to build around Kyle Hope and Andre Fletcher … and set something up for some of the positive players to come later on in the innings and try and post something that will put the Sri Lankans under pressure.

“They’ve certainly got an experienced and powerful top six themselves so we’ll certainly need a big score to put them under pressure.”

The right-handed Hope put on 40 for the first wicket with Chadwick Walton who made 16 from 12 balls with two fours and a six before falling in the sixth over.

Hope, who has counted four boundaries in a 39-ball innings, then added a further 23 with left-hander Assad Fudadin who scored 14 off 10 deliveries with two fours and a six, before perishing in the eighth over.

The game is the first of a three-match series against the hosts, with Jason Mohammed leading the unit.

West Indies A, under the leadership of Shamarh Brooks, suffered a 2-1 defeat in the three-match, four-day “Test” series which ended last week.

West believes West Indies A have proven they have what is required to play at the highest level but has urged more consistency from the unit, in the wake of their series defeat to Sri Lanka.

West Indies A opened the three-match four-day “Test” series with a loss when they went down by seven wickets in Colombo but rebounded superbly in the second game in Pallekele to pull off a crushing 333-run victory.

However, they failed to keep their momentum and surrendered the series with a disappointing 138-run loss here in the final contest.

“Overall the guys did very well. To win the second game was a fantastic achievement, particularly the size of the victory against a side that was full of guys with Test match experience,” West said.

“The disappointments would be just small periods of play where we made a few mistakes and certainly in the third and final game, we didn’t really learn from the mistakes we made previously.”

He added: “The frustrating part of the final game was that the Sri Lankans didn’t have to play that well to beat us. None of their batters made hundreds [and] of their bowlers the spinners only really got into the game in the final session when we were in a quite a bit of trouble.”

West Indies A got encouraging performances from left-hander Vishaul Singh who struck a excellent 161 in the second “Test”, to finish the series with 324 runs at an average of 64.

Captain Shamarh Brooks was also among the runs, gathering a half-century in every game to finish with 249 runs at an average of nearly 50, while wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton narrowly missed out on a hundred with 99 in Pallekele.

West Indies Under-19 captain Shimron Hetmyer also shone with 94 in the final “Test” here and West said several of the players had done well to advance their causes. “There’s a lot to take forward. A number of the players have certainly demonstrated, following on from good performances in the PCL (Professional Cricket League), that they have the ability and quality to play at the international level,” he noted.

“Overall, we just needed to be a little more consistent in all departments to be a little bit more successful, and (need) for three for four players to really sort of say to the selectors that (they) are worth a place in the Test squad.”—CMC

Estwick urges positive approach on final day

14 hours 4 min ago

ABU DHABI—Bowling coach Roddy Estwick expects a positive approach to pay dividends for West Indies, as they enter today’s final day of the second Test chasing a world-record 456 to level the three-Test series.

West Indies finished the penultimate day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on 171 for four, still requiring a further 285 runs to overhaul their massive target and grab their first win of what has been a tough tour.

Estwick praised the manner in which West Indies had approached the second innings yesterday and said the remaining batsmen needed to continue in this vein.

“A lot will depend on the first hour or the first session and how Roston Chase and (Jermaine) Blackwood approach it,” Estwick said following the day’s play.

“I thought today we played reasonably well. We probably lost two wickets too many but at least I like how we were positive. I found in the first innings we got stuck and we were unable to rotate the strike and we weren’t able to turn it over.

“Today we looked a lot better, Kraigg played wonderfully well. I thought he was a bit unlucky with his decision but I thought they came out and showed positive intent and that kind of spread through the team.

Resuming yesterday on 114 for one, Pakistan declared their second innings on 227 for two at lunch, to put themselves in pole position to take victory.

Opener Leon Johnson then fell cheaply for nine and Darren Bravo for 13 as West Indies slipped to 60 for two, before Brathwaite stroked a top score of 67 and Blackwood, an unbeaten 41, to keep their side alive.

Estwick said the final day would be a challenging one and it was important that West Indies remained focussed throughout, and not let their guard down.

“(They have to] keep playing the same way, keep being positive. If you’re positive, you get those close fielders from around the bat and then you have a better chance of survival so I would say keep playing the same way, assess the situation, make sure you don’t relax too much because this is Test cricket,” the former Barbados seamer stressed.

“You’ve got to be patient. This is Test cricket, it is very, very hard and you can see that the conditions here are very, very tough. They’re unforgiving and you’ve got to keep working, you can’t afford to relax.”

Estwick said one of the big lessons West Indies would take away from the ongoing tour was the value of discipline and focus.

“When you’re bowling you’ve got to be patient. You have to learn to bowl one side of the wicket,” he pointed out.

“One of the differences between the two teams is when their batters got in, they got big hundreds and I hope that our players would learn from that and move their averages from the mid-30s to the 40s and 45, and the only way you can do that is by churning out big scores.—CMC 

Best chance for Equinette

14 hours 13 min ago

Equinette has been journeyed more than 670 miles from Sussex for a moderate ‘aged’ Maiden Fillies’ Stakes  over six furlongs of Newcastle fibresand today; the lengths that some will go to get a result but it’s imperative this well-bred Equiano three-year-old gains ‘winning brackets’ for stud purposes.

This is probably ‘last chance saloon’ for Amanda Perrett’s charge, Newmarket Sales ‘horses-in-training’ began yesterday and you can bet Equinette will be worth considerably more if able to finally get her head in front before entering a ring.

Unfortunately this is no ‘penalty-kick’ because owners of consistent, hitherto luckless Lovin Spoonful are in a similar boat and on my time-handicap is a few pounds superior to the long-distance raider. BHA ratings don’t concur they illustrate that Brian Smart’s charge is SIX POUNDS  inferior!

Realistically the betting proposition would normally be the longer priced runner, which will doubtless be Lovin Spoonful, but with an each-way treble in mind, and no desire to contradict BHA computation just for the sake of it, we’ll play from Rashford’s Double and St Malo, hoping there are no non-runners to scupper place ‘terms and conditions!’

Both are currently five-horse events which involve two places!

Course and distance winner Rashford’s Double attempts to confirm placings with Nepeta in the mile nursery on slightly worse weight terms but, ‘crack’ apprentice, Adam McNamara, claims five pounds allowance and his guv’nor, Richard Fahey, will be expecting this Zoffany colt to gain his second success.

This eight-race programme kicks off with another ‘aged’ Maiden Stakes over five furlongs, St Malo has Mutadeffaq to beat and should win at the fourth attempt; we rate Roger Varian’s ‘rep’ seven pounds better.

For ‘information purposes’ we have Coolfitch ‘best-in’ for the ten-runner nursery over five furlongs and at Catterick, where it will be really ‘soft’ ground, Brian The Snail could well belie his name in the Novice Stakes over five furlongs. He’s useful.

Stick to the ‘daily patent!’

1.00  St Malo
1.30   Rashford’s Double
4.00  Equinette 

Friday means cricket in UAE

14 hours 17 min ago

Vinode Mamchan
in Dubai

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is made up of seven Emirates and once Friday comes, every flat piece of sand is occupied by cricket matches. Friday is a holiday, so Muslims can visit the mosque and perform ‘Jummah Salah.’

That normally takes place between 12.30pm to 1.30 pm so before and after this period, the people here focus on cricket.

Men can be seen diving in fields void of grass as the matches are very competitive. David East, the CEO of the United Arab Emirates Cricket Board (UAECB) says that there are over 10,000 active cricketers in these parts. “We are strategically located in terms of getting people who are interested in cricket. 

“The population here is about 10 million and of that only one million are native Emiratis. There are probably around 6 million people from cricket loving India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh here and this presents a population that brings a cricket culture to us.

“They are starved for cricket and this is why they used every piece of flat land to play cricket on a Friday especially.” 

There are four cricket Councils spread over the UAE in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman. They all take responsibility for the game in their region, organising competition and development programme for the youths. They then present their top players for selection to the UAE team that played at the 2015 World Cup and the Asia Cup earlier this year.

East, who played First Class cricket for Essex in the County Championship think that the game is about to reach the next level here. “We are putting the structures in place to bring forward the next cricketer. We have many youths that are playing the game here and this is good. We have sponsors like OSN who are investing in the youth programmes and sponsoring the school’s league.

“In any society when you want to get cricket into the fabric, you have to get it into the schools, get the children playing and from there you would always have cricketers coming through for your national teams.”

One drawback to the development of the sport here, according to East is the lack of grounds. 

“Across the UAE we have hundreds of grounds but there are only about 25 grass grounds. So you don’t have leagues like teams playing home and away, as I am accustomed to in England. What you have here is tournament centred around grounds. So the ground comes like a hub and the team plays a number of matches there.

“As resources become available we are looking to have more grass grounds and one of the other ways we are attending to this, is by forging partnerships with other sporting bodies in having cricket clubs at their venues as well. It puts less of a financial burden on us when things like these happen.”

Salha—changing the face of women in Dubai

14 hours 18 min ago

in Dubai

Sitting in her luxurious office at the law chambers, Salha Al Basti Advocates and Legal Consultants, one was hard pressed not to be impressed by young attorney Salha Al Basti. 

As our conversation grew there was this immediate respect for her, as it was clear that this strong woman was cutting a part for women in the United Arab Emirates to follow. 

Owner of her law firm at the age of 34, Salha has proven that women in the UAE can be leaders, as there are many prominent male attorneys under her charge.

However, the strange thing is that she has used sport to champion her cause for a rightful place for women in the UAE. A sports fanatic, Salha is currently looking to increase the number of distance runners amongst females in her country. 

“I used to go to the local private club to run and I got a number of other women to come and run as well. 

“One day we asked the supervisor in charge to make the place private for us to keep a race and we were told that it is not possible for us to get that. 

“Remember the women here would wear their traditional dress but you dress down when you go to run, so you need that privacy. 

“We were denied the right to keep the race in a private facility.

“We decided to form the group called ANADOW meaning I am strong, and from there we have taken off. 

“The club now has 70 ladies running in private and we have been able to get sponsors to come on board. 

“Puma is one of our sponsors and Nike will be sponsoring our team at the Dubai Run. What this little club has shown is that you could make changes by using sport.”

Salha went on to explain that cricket is non existent among women in the UAE. 

“Women here don’t play cricket they don’t know much about the game. 

“Most of the native women here would have been exposed to running, football and basketball. 

“The cricket is not a main sport here and as such it has not caught on. However, there is a saying in Dubai that everything is possible, so I don’t see why our women would not in the future try their hand at cricket.

“The influence of cricket is coming in to UAE at the moment because of the matches being played by Pakistan cricket team who has used here as their ‘home’ venue. 

“This has worked well for people here because they are being exposed to international cricket. 

“I am hopeful that cricket will pick up amongst the women, so that we a have a national team one day. 

“However, for the moment I am in the process of making running a major sport for the ladies in this country and to bring out more runners of quality to represent the region.”

‘Big Cannons’ draw but lead in Super League

14 hours 25 min ago

Sports and Games FC Santa Rosa spurned a golden opportunity to increase its lead atop the National Super League standings by three points on Sunday when the Big Cannons drew 2-2 with last placed Marabella Family Crisis Centre at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Tunapuna. 

‘The Big Cannons’ opened the scoring from the prolific Rashad Griffith from the penalty spot after 14 minutes but they could do nothing but admire the equalizer, which ironically came 14 minutes later, from a well struck free kick from former national midfielder Andre Pacheco. The goal sent both teams to the dressing rooms tied at one with everything to play for thereafter. 

However only five minutes had gone after the break and ‘The Big Cannons’ restored their advantage when Kevon Cornwall found the nets. 

But again the southerners fought hard with relegation staring them in the face, to equalize from Juma Clarence in the 66th minute, and earn a share of the points in a game that many felt would have gone to the Arima based team. 

‘The Big Cannons’ still maintain a six-point lead on the standing on 41 points with defending champions T&T Defence Force squandering the opportunity to reduce that margin, by going down surprisingly to Police FC 1-2. 

The Army Coast-Guard combination on 35 points, thought they were on their way to reducing the gap held by Santa Rosa to three points, but were let down by an early blunder in defence that allowed Chase Sealy to fire the ‘Lawmen’ in front after 13 minutes. 

Later, they were back on level terms after Jamaal Goodridge found the net in the 44th minute to get their mission back on track. However Jason Boodram spoiled their plans when he sealed the win for Police five minutes from the end. The result pushed the ‘lawmen’ into fifth position on 29 points where they will relish their next meeting with third-from-bottom Bethel United at 6pm tomorrow at the Mt Pleasant, Tobago.  

In another game, Siparia Spurs moved to third when they shut-out Club Sando Moruga 3-1, courtesy a double strike by Keston London in the 35th and 57th minutes and another goal from Chris Collins in the 41st. Club Sando’s lone item came off the boot of Jesse Edwards in the 63rd. 

Meanwhile last year’s second place team Guaya United were also in winner’s row at the weekend when they defeated WASA FC 5-3 while Petrotrin Palo Seco and Matura Re United shared the points in a 2-2 draw. 

Tenth placed Real Maracas and Bethel also split the points in a 1-1 draw while Queen’s Park CC got goals from Nasir Rodriguez and Shane Camps in another 2-2 stalemate with 1976 FC Phoenix. 

The Tobagonians got a double from Dominique Kerr in the 54th and 90th minutes. 

T&T’s Lewis takes over at CANOC

14 hours 39 min ago

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis, is now the interim president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC). Lewis was unanimously elected to serve in the capacity following the resignation of former president, Steve Stoute of Barbados.

Stoute made good on his commitment in 2014 to step down after two of his four-year term. 

He had been president of the organisation since its fledging years as the Caribbean Caucus of National Olympic Committees in 1999 to the official establishment of CANOC in 2003, to the organisation’s annual general assembly in Guadeloupe on Sunday.

Lewis will serve until the CANOC extraordinary general meeting scheduled for Barranquilla, Colombia, in February 2017. In accepting the leadership position, Lewis expressed his sincere gratitude to Stoute for his vision and dedicated leadership of the organisation over his 17-year reign. 

He reminded the membership of the numerous challenges facing sport at this particular juncture at the global level and of the organisation’s need to play a leading role in the Olympic Movement. 

He encouraged all to commit to the several important resolutions that emerged from the CANOC workshop on governance that took place on Saturday, since these serve as the critical roadmap for the organisation moving forward.

Astra Singh of the Surinam Olympic Committee was elected to the CANOC executive to fill the vacancy left by Stoute.

Singh is the first woman to serve on the CANOC executive.

Lots to cheer at TTEA mini league final

14 hours 43 min ago

There was plenty to cheer and much to be proud about when the T&T Equestrian Association (TTEA) held its mini league finale and Goodwin Heights show-jumping competition on Sunday, October 16, at Goodwin Heights Stables, St Ann’s.  

Riders, coaches, parents, family and friends gathered for the last time to cheer on and celebrate the end of the season in which the three major stables participated.

Coaches Margaret “Muffy” Auerbach, Sarah McCartney, Patrice Stollmeyer, Anja Taylor, Natalie Rapier and Sandhya Moll and their riders from Goodwin Heights, Saddle Valley and San Antonio stables were represented.

With clear skies and plenty of sunshine, retired police inspector Errol Grant, kicked off the day with the crowd standing at attention and singing the national anthem, led by Michelle Sabga-Aboud.

The day’s proceedings began with the lead line class in which ten young participants rode their hearts out with Annabella Hill and Dream Weaver topping the field and showing there was a bright future for the sport in Trinidad & Tobago. 

1st - Annabella Hill with Dream Weaver
2nd  - Charlotte Mack with Saxon Dancer
3rd  - Zoe Rutherford with Unbridled Dream
4th  - Mila Aleong with Sheba
5th  - Seanna George with Starlight
6th  - Lily-Marie Jordan with Sheba
7th  - Scarlett Selby with Starlight
8th  - Elle Aleong with Sheba
9th  - Myrisa Maundy with Saxon Dancer
10th  - Alianna Gunness with Morocco

Isabella Ashley and Matthew Marhue, two lead line participants, did not take part in the final but had a total of 90 points for the season.

A prize giving ceremony was also held to announce the overall champion of the five-event mini league series held throughout the year in the respective classes. Zoe Rutherford with 590 points over five events was champion with Annabella Hill (510 points over four events), second.  Charlotte Mack (410 points over 3 events) was third while Myrisa Maundy (400 points over four events) was fourth.

In the micro mini league, the results were:
1st - Katie Darlow with Dream Weaver
2nd  - Meaghan Khoury with Unbridled Dream
3rd  - Joanne Benjamin with Dream Weaver
4th  - Isabella Powell with Unbridled Dream
5th  - Ryan Mohammed with Morocco
6th  - Jessica Pagee with Morocco

Kate Skinner did not participate in the final but finished the season with 90 points.

The five micro mini league events held throughout the season saw Meaghan Khoury emerging champion with a total of 410 points over 3 events with Katie Darlow (330 points over 2 events) and Ryan Mohammed (330 over 4 events) second and Isabella Powell  (270 points over 2 events) third while Jessica Pagee (230 points over 3 events), was fourth.

Among the adults Gabriella Marhue (450 points over a series of 4 events) was champion 

Other adult participants for the season that did not participate in the final were: Amy Costelloe who participated both in the mini league and micro mini league classes. She finished with 130 points for each class.

Others included: Asha Bansee had 90 points; Kemlyn Gower-Allum with 110 point; Kimberly Harrylagan with 100 points; Sandhya Moll with 100 points and Fazal Razack with 90 points (all for one event) while Avalene Stewart had 310 points for three events.

Sealy first Caribbean golfer in LPGA Tour

14 hours 47 min ago

Top T&T golfer Monifa Sealy is well poised to be the first T&T and Caribbean golfer to compete professionally at the LPGA. 

At the recent NWGA Tour at the Timacuan Golf Club in Lake Mary, Florida, which is one of few qualifiers for golfers to enter the top flight LPGA tour, the stylish T&T golfer gave an impressive show to finish with a round of 72, for a 4 round total of 291 which placed her tied in 20th position, among the hundreds of participants. 

News of her performance have already begun to generate excitement in the golfing fraternity as she now faces the final qualifier from November 28 to December 4 at the LPGA International, Daytona Beach Florida, in which she is required to finish among the top 20 to get her LPGA Tour Card. 

If she does not finish among the 20 she will still be guaranteed a spot in the Symetra Tour, as the following 20 players will earn status to play in some of the PGA tournaments, which means they will get some starts depending on number of players who have entered. 

Sealy who recently turned professional after a stellar collegiate career, shot rounds of 69, 73 and 74 which comes on the heels of good showings at previous tournaments where she finished 3rd and 6th among others.  

Chris Harries, the TT Golf Association (TT GA) director of golf said in a release that support for the young golfer is very important now, as she has shown her ability throughout her career by representing T&T at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships and other international tournaments and has emerged winners in both. 

Contentment at Leicester

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:59

Contentment shouldn’t be a problem for Newmarket trainer William Haggas, when he saddles this Highclere-owned Cacique filly for  2-y-o Maiden Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good’ ground Leicester today; beaten ten lengths when 1/2 favourite last time!

That was 53 days ago, her debut was promising, finishing fourth to Partitia at Newbury when an unconsidered 14/1 shot.

It must have been a shock to punters, and surprise for local winning trainer Andrew Balding, when Poet’s Vanity stormed clear to win unchallenged at Salisbury; however the form is sound because that winning filly went on to land the group three ‘Oh So Sharp’ Stakes at Newmarket, improving by at least 14lbs!

Definitely a classic prospect!

My word Contentment really was up against a ‘brick wall’ but now suitably recovered, and from a yard that complemented my opinion with Rivet last Saturday, should go one better and make it third time lucky; a 5lbs fillies’ allowance is built into time-handicap calculations and jockey booking is significant, Ryan Moore!

Running in tandem will be another eight-race programme on ‘soft’ Redcar where Sheikspear and Bithynia could well dominate the fifteen-runner 2-y-o Maiden Stakes over six furlongs, clear ‘best-in’ on the TH which tends to come up trumps during the last fortnight of turf-flat racing.

Twice-raced Sheikspear is marginally preferred, mount of Oisin Murphy who has ridden well past a century this year and my confident tip for the 2017 championship.

Given both come out similarly I’m moved to favour Sheikspear because Bithynia gets the fillies’ allowance and I’m always wary of being influenced by weights over sprints; ‘built up’ figures are for handicapping purposes, often not a serious factor in set-weight races for juveniles. Obviously an impost is more significant over a mile, and plus.

Murphy also partners twice-raced Jukebox Jive in the eight-runner Maiden Stakes over nine furlongs; what beats Anthony Honeyball’s charge will win!

Kiptanui Too, Alvarez claim UWI half marathon

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:56

International runners continued their dominance of the University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Education Centre (UWI-Spec) international half marathon, as Kenya’s Hillary Kiptanui Too claimed the top spot among men and Venezuela’s Yeisy Alvarez secured the women’s title at yesterday’s 13th staging of the race. 

Kiptanui Too, in his first effort in the event, crossed the finish line in one hour, five minutes and 48 seconds, under sweltering hot sun which took the runners from the St Augustine Campus to La Resource Junction in D’Abadie and back. He held off last year’s winner Richer Perez of Cuba, who clocked one hour; nine minutes and 37 seconds.

 Kiptanui Too collected the US $2,500 while Perez received US $2,000. 

Another newcomer Peter NKaya from Kenya was third in 1:11.03 seconds while Alexis Pena of Venezuela was fourth (1:11:10). 

T&T’s best male runner was Kelvin Johnson who was fifth (1:14:42) but missed out on the $5,000 incentive offered for locals breaking a time barrier of one hour and 10 minutes. 

Johnson also missed out on the $50, 000 incentive for any local runner breaking the national record in middle distance running offered by Finnish Information Technology company Mexadia. Lionel Dandrade, Colin Perreira, Richard Jones and Matthew Hagley came in sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth at 1:15:06, 1:15:38, 1:16:00 and 1:16:50 respectively while veteran Curtis Cox just held off Alvarez for his 10th position overall in 1:17:47. 

Alvarez, who was third last year, capitalised on the absence of defending champion Caroline Kiptoo of Kenya, out injured, to claim the victory among the women in one hour: 17 minutes and 59 seconds. The Venezuelan got the better of second place T&T’s Tonya Nero who was hoping to turn the tables on the foreigners for the first time since its inception.  

 Nero said her goal was to finish first, noting that she went out in front from the start but was soon joined by Alvarez until the half-way stage. “I had my plan going into the race, but I realised that when I went out front I was joined by Alvarez. She stayed with me for the first half and then pulled away. I kept her in sight though, but when it was about three miles from the finish line, she increased her speed and I didn’t have the pace to catch her. She is a very strong runner and it worked for her yesterday,” Nero said. 

Nero crossed the line in 1:18.41 seconds, and like Johnson, missed out on the same cash incentives on offer. The local women  had to beat 1:17.10 seconds for the $5,000 cash award, as well as break the national record for the $50,000 reward.  

Nero said she was not disappointed by her performance since she ran faster than last year. 

She will now contest the South American 10 in Guyana in two weeks and will consider doing some cross country races thereafter.  

Christelle Laurent, Guadeloupe’s middle distance running sensation, finished a distant third in 1:34:51 seconds.


Charles, Martineau for Olympia final

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:53

T&T will be represented at next year’s Mr & Ms Olympia, the pinnacle of professional bodybuilding and fitness, thanks to veteran muscleman Darrem Charles and emerging talent Laurelle Martineau.

The 47-year-old Charles and  Martineau won their respective division titles at the IFBB Pro Dayana Cadeau Classic which was held at Double Three by Hilton, Miami Airport & Convention Centre, Miami, Florida on Saturday night.

Competing in the Classic Men’s Physique Division, Charles tallied seven points to take top honours ahead of home-town entrant Terrence Ruffin (10 points) while Chris Bumstead of Canada was third with 13, and USA’s  Kevin Wilson, fourth.

With the win, Charles earned automatic qualification to the Mr Olympia competition for the 11th time in his professional career.

It was also his fourth win of the year after he topped the field at the IFBB Pro Classic Physique Men in Puerto Rico, Toronto and the Wings of Strength Chicago Pro event.

He was also second at the Pittsburgh Pro, New York Pro and Wings of Strength Tampa Pro and fifth at the 2016 Olympia in the Men’s Physique Classic competition.

Charles first competed in an IFBB eventin 1989, in the IFBB World Amateur Championships and placed 5th in the light heavyweight division while he first competed in the IFBB Night of Champions in 1992, where he placed 11th.

In 1995, he competed in an unprecedented nine professional IFBB bodybuilding contests. Between 2002 and 2009 he won nine professional contests.

He currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and works out at the BusyBody Fitness Centre.

He returned to competition this year after a two-year hiatus and has now won four of seven titles in the IFBB's new Classic Bodybuilding Division.

Martineau is relatively new on the professional circuit having obtained her pro card in 2014  and will make her Olympia debut after she won Women’s Figure Pro, her  first in four events.

Martineau, originally from Petit Valley, resides in Washington DC. She topped 19 other  competitors  with a  total score of 16, just one ahead of the second placed  finisher.

Commenting on her win, Martineau, 35, a  former Holy Name Convent (PoS) student said words cannot begin to express how she felt on hearing she was the winner.

“The hard work, the persistence and dedication has all paid off and now I have to continue to work much harder to improve to the next level.”

With regards to sharing the stage with Charles, Martineau said she felt inspired to be in the same competition, knowing he paved the way for T&T bodybuilders and fitness athletes.

She also thanked her parents,  Frank and Christine Martineau who were present at the show for their continued support.

“It was actually the first time my dad saw me compete, so he now call himself my “lucky charm” ended Martineau.

Wobbly Windies wilt

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 07:48

West Indian batting again lacked quality on the third day of the second Test of the Haier Cup series against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Replying to Pakistan’s first innings score of 452, the West Indies was bowled out for 224 under the wrist of legspinner Yasir Shah 4/86. The home team decided against enforcing the follow-on and rammed home the advantage by the close of play reaching 114 for one - an overall lead of 342 going into today’s fourth day.

After their excellent work with the ball, the Pakistanis started their second innings with a lead of 228 runs. The West Indies continued their struggles batting second in Tests, as over their last six games, they have conceded 228 runs, 222, 128, 323, 280 and 360 on first innings.

Openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali seemed determined to bat the West Indies completely out the game, adding 93 runs for the first wicket, although they were each given out by the umpires, only to survive on reviews. When Aslam was finally given not out on 50, West Indies reviewed, and the decision was overturned. He faced 111 balls and struck five fours, before he gave Shannon Gabriel his sixth wicket of the match.

Azhar Ali, the man who knocked an unbeaten triple century in the opening Test is still there unbeaten on 52 that came of 102 balls with two fours.

West Indies started the morning on 106 for four and Pakistan was celebrating not long after, as Jermaine Blackwood drove away from his body to be caught behind for eight of Rahat Ali - giving the pacer his 50th Test wicket. Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo defied the bowlers for a while batting into the second hour of the morning, before Sohail Khan breached his defence. He made 20 and fell with the score at 144, having negotiated 66 balls.

Roston Chase and Shai Hope stuck it out until lunch, taking the West Indies to 151 for six.  The visitors added 45 runs for the loss of two wickets in the session.

Post lunch, Chase and Hope continued to soak up the pressure, taking the score to 169 before the former slashed at a good length ball from Yasir Shah and left for 22 of 80 deliveries. Hope was the man well set and immediately after driving Shah beautifully to the cover boundary, he was bowled next ball. No fault of his, he saw a half tracker from Shah and went onto the back foot looking to pull him through mid wicket, however the ball kept low and he heard the dreaded sound of timber falling behind him. He made 11, trudging off a forlorn figure, as he promised much more.

Skipper Holder was unbeaten on 31 as the West Indies failed to beat the follow-on mark of 253. But it did not matter in the end as Pakistan opted to bat a second time. 

, getting an unbeaten 31 but they fell short. Shah was well supported by Rahat Ali (3/45) and Sohail (2/35).


​West Indies vs Pakistan

Pakistan 1st inns 452 all out

WI 1st inns (overnight 106/4)

L Johnson lbw Rahat    12

D Bravo lbw Yasir    43

K Brathwaite  run out    21

M Samuels c Aslam b Rahat    30

D Bishoo b Sohail Khan    20

J Blackwood c Sarfarz b Rahat    8

R Chase c Shafiq b Shah    22

S Hope b Shah    11

J Holder not out    31

M Cummins b Khan    3

S Gabriel  c Sohail b Shah    13

Extras 2b, 7lb, 1w    10

Total all out    223

Fall of wkts: 27, 65, 106, 106, 121, 144, 169, 178, 197, 223.  

Bowling: Rahat Ali 21-8-45-3, Sohail Khan 19-8-35-2,  Zulfiqar Babar 21-6-39-0, Asad Shafiq 1-0-2-0,  Yasir Shah 28.4-6-86-4, M Nawaz 4-1-8-0.

Pakistan 2nd inns

S Aslam c Hope b Gabriel    50

A Ali not out    52

A Shafiq not out    5

Extras  b4, lb1, nb2    7

Total for 1 wkt    114

Fall of wkts: 93.

Bowling: S Gabriel 8-1-21-1 (2nb), M Cummins 3-0-5-0, K Brathwaite 13-2-27-0, D Bishoo 12-0-45-0, J Holder 3-0-11-0.

Petrotrin must address Vance River

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 00:35

Reports of oil pollution at Vance River in La Brea are an unwelcome reminder of other spills at Petrotrin drilling and storage locations that are too recent for comfort.

According to residents, oil has been leaking into the river for a month now and the stink of the effluent and its impact on the water and the environs as it flows past is having a deleterious effect on residents who live close to the waterway. Vance Beach, into which the river flows, is also contaminated by the runoff of the contaminated water into the sea.

Four-year-old Caleb Hart slipped on a narrow bridge over the river at Fitz Lane on Wednesday falling into the oil-slicked river. The young man has been given medication by Petrotrin’s doctors, but other children are complaining of itchy rashes after coming into contact with the oil.
Older residents complain of health issues which they believe are the result of being exposed gases from the polluted river.

While the company has deployed a backhoe to clean up the river, it’s more than a little odd that it’s taken weeks for the company to respond to the complaints of residents. It’s not as if the company is unaware of the fragile nature of its oil pipelines and abandoned well sites. 

In August, the company acknowledged that an oil to shore pump on Trinmar’s Platform 17 had dumped oil into the Gulf of Paria, leading to a shutdown of fishing operations in the villages of Bamboo, Bonasse, St Marie, Bois Bourg, Granville, Icacos and Fullerton.

That spill put 1,200 fishermen out of work for the duration of the spill and its cleanup. A month later, the company was notified of another spill, with the pungent presence of oil along Coffee Beach.

A resident of the area, Alvin La Borde, claimed to have notified Petrotrin that oil was seeping from abandoned well ABM 37 in the Brighton Marine Field, warning that the well has been out of order for some time and had collapsed under the surface of the earth. No action was taken on the seepage until recently, and it’s quite likely that this latest oil spill is the result of a failure of that deteriorating old oil well.

The company’s response has been surprisingly lackadaisical, given its foreknowledge of the impact of a steady stream of crude oil into the environment. Residents, are now calling for a camp for medical treatment to be set up by the company.

It hasn’t been that long since the disaster of the 2013 oil spill for the company, and it would not have been out of line for the state-owned refinery to be seen responding with speed and decisiveness to manage an oil spill with entirely predictable results for the people it’s affecting and the ensuing damage to the company’s faltering corporate reputation.

Clearly Petrotrin must do better than this. The company has generally been well served by its fenceline communities, the residents who live close to its installations and drilling sites who act as a capable early warning system when things go wrong with its aging systems. 

These residents, the company’s neighbors in good faith, surely deserve a better organised, more capable response than the one they have been experiencing in La Brea.

Gabriel takes five but Windies struggle

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 04:56

T&T’s giant fast bowler Shannon Gabriel grabbed his first ever five-wicket haul in Test cricket but the batsmen could not back him up on the second day of the second Test of the Haier Cup series against Pakistan. This was at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

Pakistan lost their last six wickets for 150 runs and the West Indies responded with 106 for four. 

Gabriel bowling with great pace in the heat of Abu Dhabi caused problems for the Pakistanis and was able to remove batting mainstay Misbah ul Haq for 96, which crippled the back end of the innings. He finished with 5/96 and on the back of this performance, the West Indies went out looking to ensure a rare good day of Test cricket but it was not to be.

The visitors struggled to 106 for four and when play resumes today, the West Indies will be looking for another 147 runs to avoid the follow-on.

After bowling Pakistan out an hour after lunch for 452, the West Indies went to the tea break on 27 without loss. However after the break they lost Johnson, who was trapped leg before by Rahat Ali for 12, with the score at 27.

Darren Bravo opened the batting with Johnson because regular opener Kraigg Brathwaite did not stay on the field, as long as he was off for a slight niggle. Had he been on for a further three minutes before Pakistan innings ended, he would have been able to open the batting.

Bravo made the most of the opportunity with the new hard ball coming on and played some pleasing shots. The left hander who has recorded scores of 87 and 116 in the series so far, looked on course for another big knock but was stopped on 43 by Yasir Shah.

The leg spinner trapped Bravo sweeping a straight delivery, to record his 50th Test wicket in the desert. Bravo faced 85 balls and struck six fours.

Marlon Samuels joined Brathwaite who was batting at number three and after an unsure start against Shah, produced six beautifully struck fours but just as he was looking to close up shop for the day, edged Rahat to Aslam for 30. At 106 for three the West Indies were in a spot of bother and without addition to the score, they were in deep trouble, as Brathwaite was run out for 21. 

Earlier, Pakistan resumed on the bedtime position of 304 for four and the early focus was on Misbah getting his 11th Test century but it was not to be. Not looking as fluent as he did the evening before, the 42-year old looked on as nightwatchman Shah played some audacious shots from the other end. The two added 28 runs before Misbah was struck plumb in front of the wicket for 96 by the persevering Gabriel. He faced 162 balls, hitting four fours and two sixes.

Shah, the Pathan was not going to go down wondering and played shot after shot, finally pulling Jason Holder to Devendra Bishoo at square leg for 23 of 31 balls. Sarfraz Ahmed came in and in his usual busy way, piled on the runs, killing off any thoughts the West Indies would have entertained of making a strong finish.

Playing bold shots both sides of the wicket on a pitch that remained excellent for batting, Sarfraz in partnership with Mohammad Nawaz took Pakistan to 401/6 at the lunch break. The little right hander was unbeaten on 45 at the break with Nawaz on 16.

Gabriel must have enjoyed lunch, as he came out firing on all cylinders and soon uprooted the stumps of Sarfraz, as he was beaten for pace. The wicketkeeper made 56 of 59 balls with six fours and fell with the score at 412, after a seventh-wicket partnership of 75 runs with Nawaz.

The left handed Nawaz would follow him back into the hut soon after bowled by Holder for 25. Holder grabbed his third wicket when a well set Sohail Khan fell to a brilliant catch by Johnson but Pakistan by that time had crossed the 450-run plateau. 

Gabriel ended the innings by getting Zulfiqar Babar caught behind by Hope without scoring. 

West Indies vs Pakistan
Pakistan 1st inns
A Ali b Gabriel    0
S Aslam b Bishoo    6
A Shafiq b Gabriel    68
Y Khan c Chase b Brathwaite    127
M ul Haq lbw Gabriel    96
Y Shah c Bishoo b Holder    23
S Ahmed b Gabriel    56
M Nawaz b Holder    25   
S Khan c Johnson b Holder    26
Z Babar c Hope b Gabriel    0
R Ali not out    0
Extras: 1b, 15lb, 9nb    25
Total: all out    452
Fall of wkts: 6, 42, 129, 304, 332, 342, 417, 430, 452, 452.  
Bowling: S Gabriel 23.1-1-96-5 (9nb), M Cummins 20-1-65-0, J Holder 22-8-47-3, D Bishoo 26-0-112-1, R Chase 19-1-80-0, K Brathwaite 9-0-36-1.

WI 1st inns
L Johnson lbw Rahat    12
D Bravo lbw Yasir    43
K Brathwaite run out    21
M Samuels c Aslam b Rahat    30
D Bishoo not out    0
J Blackwood not out    0
Extras    0
Total for 4 wkts    106
Fall of wkts: 27, 65, 106, 106. 
Bowling: Rahat Ali 12-6-31-2, Sohail Khan 9-3-16-0,  Zulfiqar Babar 11-1-29-0, Asad Shafiq 1-0-2-0,  Yasir Shah 12-5-28-1.

Players to receive contracts, code of conduct

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 04:52


Midfielder Kevin Molino received no further punishment when the board of directors of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) met on Friday evening at the TTFA office at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, to iron out the issues in local football. 

However, players are expected to receive playing contracts that will include a strict code of conduct before they take the field on November 11 for their opening match in the Final Round of the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. 

Molino, who broke a team camp for a night out with friends before a Caribbean Cup clash with Martinique two weeks ago, was banned for the match by coach Stephen Hart, leading to a 2-0 loss for T&T which confirmed their exit from the Cup. The men from the twin-island republic will now enter a play-off for a chance to qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. 

Yesterday in the midst of calls for stiffer punishment for the player, Tobago Football Association (TFA) president Anthony Moore said the board decided not to take further action against the player in a bold move not to sacrifice the country ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. 

“We took a number of factors into consideration, such as the injuries to captain Kenwyne Jones and midfielder Joevin Jones, the fact that he was already punished by the coach, as well as other concerns the coach encounters to secure the services of players for key matches,” Moore said. 

“We also took into consideration the fact that the player offered an apology but the decision was really based on the fact that the country will be entering a crucial qualifying match in two weeks time and we felt that the country came before anything else.” 

The Tobago football boss believes the new player contracts and code of conduct which players will be required to sign on to before being accepted on the team, will help in alleviating situations like Molino’s own as well as other disciplinary issues, as they will be aware of what’s acceptable and what is not. He explained it will also strengthen the hands of the management team. 

The football association, being led by David John-Williams is currently in a race to have the documents ready for the November 11 match, working daily with the assistance of the CONCACAF to produce a comprehensive document that players will be guided by and which is expected to eliminate actions of indiscipline. 

Hart who was present at the meeting was also said to be happy to see an end to the problems affecting the team. 

The Canadian has had to penalise Molino, Jones (Joevin) and defender Mekeil Williams by handing them heavy fines for similarly breaking team camp to go on a boat ride before the Guatemala encounter at the stadium almost two months ago. 

Upon meeting the board for the first time on Friday, Hart took the opportunity to explain his philosophy and to outline his plans for the team and what he wants to achieve.

Gabriel praises Bishop after fiver

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 04:51

T&T fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has praised the efforts of former West Indies speedster Ian Bishop in assisting him, after grabbing his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket yesterday, on the second day of the second Haier Cup Test match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Bishop, who is here doing commentary for TenSport on the series, has been speaking to the players who have sought his help and Gabriel is one. Gabriel grabbed 5/96 to help bowl out Pakistan for 452 batting first. West Indies at the end of the day had replied with 106 for four. 

“It was a good performance, something I have been waiting for a while.  It took 20 Tests to come but I will still take it,” said Gabriel on his performance, citing that his fitness has a lot to do with his improved performances.

“Coming back from Australia, I had time to reflect and come up with different ways of improving my career. I decided to get fitter knowing that once I do that, I will be able to bowl better for longer. I have been getting the encouragement from Bish (Ian Bishop) Roddy (Estwick) and I am just lucky enough to able to put all that I have practised in play to get the results.”

The pitches here so far, have been very flat but the La Romaine man is not shying away from the challenge.

“Bowling on these pitches is a bit hard, takes a lot of out you. You just have to believe in what you can do and go out there and do it. A fast bowler is pretty tough, been doing it some years now, so I just run in and do my thing.”

The T&T Red Force opening bowler added that he got more assistance from the traditional red ball, as compared to the pink ball used for the day/night Test in Dubai. 

“The pink ball is not doing as much as the red. With the red ball as you have to do is put the ball in the right areas and let it do its thing.”

West Indies need another 147 runs to avoid the follow on when play resumes today but Gabriel is confident.

“Unfortunately we lost a couple wickets late but we still have guys in the back there who have scored Test centuries, so we are backing them. 

“We are playing together as a team, we celebrate each other’s success and we are looking to do better. In the first Test (Devendra) Bishoo grabbed eight wickets and we were happy for him. We are giving a great team effort and everyone is trying their best,” said Gabriel on the team’s morale.

Radford: Upbeat Test side not impacted by bad results

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 04:50

ABU DHABI—West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has dismissed suggestions the wretched results in the preceding limited overs series, may be having a negative impact on the Test unit.

Rather, the Englishman said the Jason Holder-led squad was bursting with self-belief and their confidence has been further bolstered by the first Test performance in Dubai where they pushed Pakistan into the final hour of the last day, before conceding defeat by 56 runs.

“There have been three different squads in three different competitions and as we know, the T20 and the 50-overs didn’t go particularly well,” Radford said.

“This has been almost a totally new bunch of players who’ve been very positive since they came. We had a good build-up to this tour—two weeks preparation in Dubai to get used to the weather, lots of good practice and a very positive upbeat team.”

West Indies have so far failed to win a single game on tour, suffering embarrassing 3-0 whitewashes in the T20 and the ODI series. And the poor run seemed set to continue in the day/night opening Test when Pakistan piled up a massive 579 for three declared in their first innings.

However, West Indies turned in two decent batting performances and a clinical bowling performance to stun Pakistan, transforming the game into a real contest before wilting in the end.

“They were disappointed that we lost last week but at the end, I think they believed how well they played and to take it to the fifth day, we could have won that game,” Radford said.

“So there is a lot of positivity here and a lot of energy here and they want to put in another good performance over these next four or five days [in the second Test].”

West Indies were carried by Darren Bravo who made 87 and 116—his eighth Test hundred—and veteran Marlon Samuels who got a first innings half-century.

However, Radford pointed out that the current weakness of the West Indies was the fact they were an inexperienced side, especially in comparison to Pakistan.

“I think at the moment, we probably lack a little bit of experience. It’s a young side with a couple of wise heads and you compare that to Pakistan who’ve got guys that have played hundreds of Tests all over the world,” the former Middlesex and Sussex County player said.

“But I think what we are showing is a lot of fight and Darren Bravo’s two innings in Dubai were world class so we know we can put in those sort of performances and it’s doing them consistently, and when we have our team meetings that’s what we talk about.

“There should be and there is a lot of confidence and a lot of belief in this team as it goes forward.”

West Indies are currently locked in battle with Pakistan in the second Test here, ending the second day on 106 for four in reply to the hosts’ first innings of 452.


Olympian George seeks to build future champions

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 04:46

Olympic judo athlete Christopher George plans to mount a one-man crusade aimed at clearing a smoother path for the nation’s emerging athletes in their global development. Build A ChampionTT is the name he has given the project, designed to cultivate champion athletes in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In an effort to nurture future World and Olympic champions, nourished with the requisite self confidence to clinch these titles, George had his sights on implementing a strategy that could bring much need respite regarding the laborious topic of athlete funding.

Harnessing the difficult personal lessons learned from his onerous personal experiences, George has formalised the Build A ChampionTT initiative which he had causally been hashtaging for the past 36 months.

He said, “I have been hashtaging Build A ChampionTT which speaks to my story and speaks to how we develop champions within in T&T. I am going to be in the United Kingdom for the next year. I’ll be doing my Bar Practice in Training Certificate (BPTC). So I am completing my legal training.

One of the biggest things that I want to do with that is sports advocacy. 

“Sports advocacy is something I feel very strongly about. We lack it tremendously as a people, to speak or help athletes speak for themselves, and then having people with experience directing athletes about what to do, where to go, how to get sponsorship and how to position themselves in a place where they can achieve their goals, because finance is a big part of it.

“Alongside that there is a subsequent piece that I think is paramount to this journey and that is corporate partnerships, and that’s where my legal background is coming in. I want to provide a framework through Build A ChampionTT to really outline how athletes develop this type of relationship.”

George recalled the horror and disbelief felt when he received his Elite Athlete Assistance funding after qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

Was it not for the generosity of those closest to him, as well as his proactive nature, many of the international tournaments he attended and competed at as part of his pre-Olympic conditioning, would not have been realised.

“I received my cheque after I qualified which is kind of tough. I had gone to Paris (France) Peru, Argentine, with training for four to five months in New York, travelled to Cuba, and the thing is, I was almost running on fumes,” he said.

“Personal contributions from family and friends and the 150 individual contributions that I got from my Cloud funding site raised TT$250,000 over the past four years.”

Meanwhile, the cost of airfare to and from tournaments, which he paid for out of pocket, cost another quarter million.

Having lived through the anguish which now seemed routine for local elite athletes, George was convinced Building A ChampionTT could form the blueprint needed to construct winners and sustain their ability to achieve each time they take the spotlight.

The Olympic athlete said his intimate struggles related to funding, and his willingness to do all in his power not to derail his training, while maintaining his sanity was the only way to covert dreams had into reality.

After winning his first national tournament, George recalled living on an aircraft and counted 15 countries to which he travelled to represent T&T. He believed this aspect on his path to sporting success could be a vital tool in educating the next George Bovell, Richard Thompson or Christopher George.

Conscious that the “Building A ChampionTT” project could be seen as could rivalling the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) 10Golds24. which already aimed to win the confidence of corporate T&T and secure their investment in future champions, George was firm that his undertaking and its relevance.

“I feel from an individual level, there also needs to be a push towards that. That’s what my next four years is actually going to be with respect to my personal goal, because all athletes’ careers end. But I want to be able to reproduce what I did here. It could be Luke Walker or Xavier George, tremendous young talent from T&T that may need help and direction to actually navigate through the landscape of T&T sport, because until it is you make it, it’s hard to make it,” said George.

On the topic of returning to the mat in search of the elusive Olympic medal the judo exponent said Tokyo 2020 was still a possibility for him, but it would all depends on how his body felt.

“I feel that my journey towards the Olympics in 2020 will be two-told. It could be as an athlete, but it may not be as an athlete. I need to go through this period of recovery. I have a couple niggling injuries that I need to deal with, but I feel that I am strong enough to get through it. So, for the next couple months, with respect to training, I am going to focus on strength and flexibility, trying to get back my general proprioception. 

“Four years of fighting does take its toll on the body, but I think the next three or four months will just be recovery: swimming, flexibility through yoga and then water polo.”