first-time T&T female Olympic cyclist Teniel Campbell

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T&T’s largest-ever contingent at a multi-sport event is set to make history at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, starting today.

According to the president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis the athletes vying to bring home medals have “sharpened their resilience, optimism, reliability, readiness, willingness and fearlessness.”

Among the 33 Olympians on Team TTO are a track and field contingent comprising Michelle-Lee Ahye, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Sparkle McKnight, Tyra Gittens, Portious Warren, Semoy Hackett, Khalifa St Fort, Ayla, Stanisclaus, Kai Selvon, Kyle Greaux, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedeno, Deon Lendore, Dwight St Hillaire, Andwuelle Wright, Keshorn Walcott, Kion Benjamin, Adell Colthrust, Eric Harrison, Akanni Hislop, Richard Thompson, Johnathan Farinha, Asa Guevais, Che Lara.

Representing this country in other sporting disciplines are Aaron Prince (boxing), Teniel Campbell, Kwesi Brown, Nicholas Paul (cycling), Gabrielle Wood (judo), Felice Aisha Chow (rowing), Andrew Lewis (sailing), and Dylan Carter and Chereile Thompson (swimming).

All are already making history as participants in Olympics that are cause for much concern and trepidation, Lewis said.

“Both athletes and TTOC had to draw from our innate reserves, ultimately seeing only the strong survive through ongoing consultations, strategies and considerations. The Games are here, and committed T&T is there!” he declared.

“Athletes learned that this year’s Olympics demands much greater responsibility and far-reaching levels of discipline. They are essentially representing all those who couldn’t make it, and at any given moment the Games’ organisers can levy new policies.

“The intensity of preparation and demands on both athletes and TTOC, proper risk assessment and management, cutting through red tapes to accommodate speedy changes unforgivingly called upon to make, and, literally taking night to make day as Japan is16 hours ahead of T&T, was inevitable. The athletes came first.”

With all the racial, gender and ethnic issues affecting sports, Lewis said he hopes the athletes won’t face any such circumstance and can focus is staying safe, doing well and enjoying respect.

Sending best wishes to Team TTO, Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said, “The fact that these standard-bearers have chosen to face the fire, beat the odds and go the distance in these turbulent and uncertain times, speaks volumes to our strength, courage and resilience as a people.”

She also expressed excitement that, should T&T secure gold at the Olympics, for the first time athletes will hear the National Anthem played on the pan during the award ceremony by T&T’s National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO).

Tokyo is the first city in Asia to hold the Olympics twice. It was also the host city for the 1964 games. This time, however, the Olympics are being held against the backdrop of the COVID-19- state of emergency declared by Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Lewis assured that the TTOC and the contingent are committed to promptly adhering and adapting. That includes training and competing in a full bio-secure bubble.

Consistent with the TTOC’s Future is Woman programme, a female athlete is expected to carry the T&T flag at this morning’s opening ceremony.

Exclusive coverage of games on CNC3 starts with the colourful opening ceremony at 7 am.