Home / Rio 2016 / Thema’s options narrow; T&T gymnast may not qualify for IOC Tripartite help

Thema’s options narrow; T&T gymnast may not qualify for IOC Tripartite help

Thema Williams’ hopes of circumventing her controversial deselection from the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event, at the hands of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastic Federation (TTGF), were a sliver to begin with.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Wired868)

They look even thinner now, as it appears that the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is not eligible to plead her case to the IOC’s Tripartite Commission.

Williams’ legal team, which is headed by Keith Scotland and Dr Emir Crowne, said last Wednesday that they would press the TTOC to petition the Tripartite Commission, which might have been the best chance of inserting the 20 year old gymnast into the August Olympics.

However, it has since emerged that the TTOC might be ineligible to attempt that route, according to a clause in the Allocation Procedure and Regulations of the Tripartite Commission, which, under “NOC (National Olympic Commission) Eligibility” states that: “Invitation Places can only be allocated to NOCs with an average of eight or less athletes (athlete quota places) in individual sports/disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games (Beijing and London).”

Just Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams in the past two Olympics—10 members in Beijing and 11 in London—alone exceed that number, without even considering the TTOC’s other field athletes, swimmers, cyclists and so forth.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Marisa Dick.

Not to mention the fact that the Tripartite Commission already handed in its list of invited gymnasts for the Rio Games on Tuesday April 26, which was a day before Williams’ press conference. Those names were only made public by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) on Thursday April 28.

Panamanian Isabella del Carmen Amado was awarded a spot on what may be the final list for the Rio Olympics women’s artistic gymnastics event.

As it turns out, the TTOC, almost certainly, would have been unable to approach the IOC on Williams’ behalf anyway.

Yesterday, FIG Secretary General André Gueisbuhler made it clear that, as far as the international body was concerned, Williams had no chance.

“Since the qualification place earned by Marisa Dick is nominative,” stated Gueisbuhler, “no name change or replacement is possible.”

Photo: FIG secretary general André Gueisbuhler.
Photo: FIG secretary general André Gueisbuhler.

It means the only option left for Williams—in theory—would appear to be an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, according to one legal source, it would be “extraordinary”, if CAS lobbied the IOC for inclusion for an athlete.

Williams can still seek redress against the TTGF. But her chances of overturning the local body’s controversial decision to pull her from the Olympics looks desperately slim.

The TTGF is comprised of: president David Marquez, general secretary Elicia Peters-Charles, first vice president Akil Wattley, second vice president, Ricardo Lue Shue, treasurer Susanne Babooram and Lue Shue’s wife, Donna Lue Shue, who serves as assistant treasurer.

The TTOC’s games management committee of Annette Knott, Ian Hypolite, Diane Henderson and Dr Terry Ali meets the TTGF at midday today. Because of the volatility of the matter, it is likely that TTOC president Brian Lewis will also be in attendance.

“When the games management committee meets, there will be a particular checklist they will go through,” said Lewis, in a previous interview. “They will check things like athlete eligibility, age requirements, the qualification standard established by FIG…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right). (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right).
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

“The process under which an alternate could change…”

The TTOC has promised a ruling by Monday on whether or not it will take up its sole gymnastics spot at the Rio Olympics Games.

The next 48 hours will be nerve-wracking for Williams and Dick.

Should the TTOC decline the FIG spot at the Olympics, Azerbaijan gymnast Marina Nekrasova will go to Rio de Janeiro in Trinidad and Tobago’s place.

Photo: Azerbaijan gymnast Marina Nekrasova will go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) decides not to send Marisa Dick. (Copyright Azernews.Az)
Photo: Azerbaijan gymnast Marina Nekrasova will go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games if the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) decides not to send Marisa Dick.
(Copyright Azernews.Az)

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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93 comments

  1. Please read the rules. Tripartite nations must have applied by January 15 of this year, and even had T&T applied by that time, they wouldn’t have been eligible because the rule clearly states that those eligible for the tripartite spot must have had fewer than 8 athletes representing the country at the past two Olympic Games. T&T had 30 athletes in 2012.

  2. Hanifa A. A. Peters this will not happen the only thing people does come together in this country is to only make negative remarks why isn’t the minister of sport saying anything why outsiders is it the Olympics are racist I wonder if thema was white and dick was black do you think they would have choose a Trini ? I am not a racist but something is wrong here

  3. Wonder if the TTOC have the cohones to say NO to both. No doubt this was a well planned coup to cheat Thema her chance of qualifying for the Olympics and Ms Dick may well go. Hope she, her mom,the TTGF especially Lie Shue sleep well at night knowing the injustice they have done to Thema. Hope they at least get a judgement against the TTGF. SMDH!

  4. Come on people let our voices be heard… NoThema no T&T rep Marisa most not represent T&T…

  5. If so, I hope the TTOC has the balls to make a decision that send a message to all who do whatever is in their power to subvert what is fair and right and push their own agenda. No Thema = NOBODY. #teamthema

  6. Tomorrow the TTOC gives it decision on who represents TT in Rio. If the FIG says Ms Dick is their only nominee, can the TTOC say otherwise? If not, then why are they holding a big press conference? To say what they can only say?

    I hope I am correct in thinking that the TTOC has THE FINAL say in who goes to RIO to represent TT.

    As a national of TT I choose Thema! I do not want Ms. Dick to represent me.

    Go Thema! Keep training! Keep dreaming!

  7. Thema or nobody ! Marisa and her mother have no class . We will not support you cause youre a trap !

  8. Lue Shue really did surround himself with a team of influential people. Check out Frances Dow’s FIG creds:

    http://www.sportanddev.org/en/connect/userprofile.cfm?user=18014

    Here she calls Dick “my girl” under a comment on Dick’s profile pic

    https://www.facebook.com/marisa.dick?fref=ts

  9. Right now smells like the 1973 T&T football team…scored 5 goals but lose 2-1… the morally correct may not prevail.but I will wait to see if the correct or convenient decision will be made….

  10. How does Ms. Dick qualify under the Olympics Charter to represent TT when in 2014 she competed in the Canadian Nationals (as a national of Canada).

    This does not seem to be allowed under the Bye-Law to Rule 41 of the Olympic Charter:

    41 Nationality of competitors*

    1. Any competitor in the Olympic Games must be a national of the country of the NOC
    which is entering such competitor.
    2. All matters relating to the determination of the country which a competitor may
    represent in the Olympic Games shall be resolved by the IOC Executive Board.

    Bye-law to Rule 41
    1. A competitor who is a national of two or more countries at the same time may represent
    either one of them, as he may elect. However, after having represented one country in the
    Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships
    recognised by the relevant IF, he may not represent another country unless he meets the
    conditions set forth in paragraph 2 below that apply to persons who have changed their
    nationality or acquired a new nationality.
    2. A competitor who has represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental
    or regional games or in world or regional championships recognised by the relevant
    IF, and who has changed his nationality or acquired a new nationality, may participate
    in the Olympic Games to represent his new country provided that at least three years
    have passed since the competitor last represented his former country. This period may
    be reduced or even cancelled, with the agreement of the NOCs and IF concerned, by
    the IOC Executive Board, which takes into account the circumstances of each case.

    • She was part of Team Alberta for this competition. Not Team Canada. So represented the province she lived in, not Canada, in a battle between the Canadian provinces.

      Marisa was never talented enough to be on Team Canada.

  11. What examples ppl r setting for d future generations! Smh

  12. Ppl r evil in different forms and fashion!

  13. No Thema? Well then everybody stay home. Let’s go Azerbaijan!

  14. The public awareness should pressure them more.

  15. I want to c if any one of those ppl have any integrity!

  16. If the TTOC making their decision Monday it’s over for her.

  17. The TTGF must not be allowed to win this battle. Sorry….if the TTOC independently decides to send Dick ..based on all that is out in the public domain…. and no money ain’t pass nowhere…a lot of people will be disgusted.

  18. Well if hope is gone for Thema….the next chant is “Let’s go Azerbaijan! ..let’s go!!”

  19. To be honest, Thema’s chances of going, were always unlikely. What 99.9% of the interested persons in the country want, is the TTOC standing on principle and saying that nobody goes.

  20. Sorry Thema.we may look at it as a big disappointment but God in His infinite wisdom knows why.let’s look to see what great things He has planned for your future.

  21. TTOC has exeeded that minimum in the last OG, the clause is designed for NOC, that dont stand a chance of qualifying. Marissas spot is a qualified spot, not an invitational one. Invitational spots are unattached from performance….. there are only very few per sport in OG Triathlon i thing has 3 per gender for the entire world… i guess Gymnastics probably the same…

    • If Marisa’s spot is a qualified spot, what would be an invitational spot in gymnastics?

    • An invitational spot might go to a gymnast who was supposed to go to Event but could not travel because a civil war just broke out in her country. As an extreme example.

    • every NOC/NF of the world has the right to apply to a invitational spot…. those are totally independedend from qualifiers…. however there are some rules attached how to be eligible for one….. NOC that have large Teams anyways like USA, Germany etc… doh even need to think about it…

    • An invitational spot is offered when your country has failed to qualify an athlete by the highest qualification standard. So in a sport like swimming, there are A and B qualifying standards. If nobody has made an A qualifying time but ppl have made B qualifying times, you can get invited.
      I thought the rio qualifier was the invitation for these gymnasts once they made the minimum in qualifying score. Hence Marisa can come 55th out of 61 ppl and still qualify. And hence the reason it’s only one spot for the country.

    • there is a backdoor…lol but you right rule usually says once one qualified no one can get invited from what i know…

  22. Not understanding the relevance of that NOC clause… Cause by Olympic standards, the spot that Marisa has doesn’t qualify as an invitation spot?