Remarkably, 17 days after the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) balked at a topless photo of national gymnast Thema Williams and exactly two weeks after a similar shot of her teammate, Marisa Dick, was also leaked, the local sporting body still has not made a decision about the fate of its two star athletes.
Both photographs were emailed to the TTGF and the media by fictitious persons: Williams’ photo was sent by “Georgette Heinz” while “Kamara Heinz” sent Dick’s.
The 20 year old Williams, who is due to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Rio 2016 Olympic Test Event on April 22, confirmed today that she has still not heard from the TTGF.
And TTGF general secretary Elicia Peters-Charles confirmed that the body, which promised a decision this week after two postponements, still has not adjudicated.
The possible ramifications of the declared “breach” of the sporting body’s code of conduct includes—in the worst case scenario, according to the TTGF—the chance that one or both athletes can be suspended from international duty.
Dick, who is 18, is Williams’ alternate for the Olympic Test Event and will represent Trinidad and Tobago if the latter gymnast is ruled out.
Two weeks ago, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said he considered the matter to be an unfortunate distraction from the Olympic preparations of both the athletes and the administrators.
“The gymnastics federation has to have their process and of course the TTOC has to allow that process to take place,” Lewis told Wired868. “However, it is important for the gymnastics federation to appreciate that in this crucial phase along the process of Olympic qualification, the athletes need to be able to focus on their preparation.”
Thus far, the TTGF has not requested assistance from the TTOC in adjudicating the matter.
Last year, the gymnastics body met the TTOC executive for guidance regarding issues related to its selection process for the Olympics. The TTFG initially told its two gymnasts that the better performer at the Glasgow 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship would advance to the Rio Test Event.
Williams finished 55th while Dick placed 79th. However, the TTGF subsequently refused to announce that the former gymnast had qualified and Lewis met the body on the matter.
“The Olympic Committee gave its view which was that the information communicated to the athletes was very clear,” said Lewis, “and the athlete selection (of Thema Williams) ought to be confirmed.
“And, to be fair to them, it was.”
On this occasion, the TTGF’s executive members seem determined to make their own minds up. Lewis hopes that the TTGF, which is headed by president David Marquez, act quickly for the sake of their gymnasts’ mental well-being.
“Good governance also means,” said Lewis, “that you don’t allow process to overcomplicate matters that aren’t that complicated.”
Peters-Charles declined comment on the TTGF’s delay in ruling on the perceived breach by Williams and Dick and suggested that all inquiries should be referred to Marquez.
Marquez, who is the general manager of the COPOS Credit Union, did not respond to calls or a message from Wired868.
Once more, Sport Minister Darryl Smith did not respond to requests for comment on the ongoing issue.