Thema wins! Court rules TTGF was biased in taking Dick to Olympics

Gymnast Thema Williams has won her lawsuit against the T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) over her failed Olympic dream.

Delivering a judgement at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain this morning, High Court Judge Frank Seepersad ruled that the federation and its former executive members acted unfairly and unreasonably when they replaced Williams at an Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in April 2016.

Seepersad ruled that the executive failed to properly investigate claims that Williams was injured at warm-ups for the event before they voted to replace her.

The judgement was bittersweet for Williams as Seepersad did not uphold her full multi-million claims for damages for loss of promotional and scholarship opportunities.

As she could not provide evidence of the alleged lost opportunities, Seepersad awarded her $50,000 in damages as he estimated her potential earning if she had qualified to be the first person to represent T&T in gymnastics at the Olympics.

She was also awarded $150,000 in exemplary damages for the loss of the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to participate at the games and the embarrassment she suffered from being replaced in questionable circumstances.

While Seepersad ruled that former president David Marquez, vice-president Akil Wattley, Ricardo Lue Shue and his wife Donna were intrinsically biased against Williams and favoured Williams' replacement Marissa Dick, he ruled that they could not be held responsible in their personal capacities as there was no evidence that they conspired against her as claimed by Williams.

- by Derek Achong

 

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