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Thema triumphs: TTGF announces choice for Olympics Test Event

The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) has finally confirmed Thema Williams as its choice for the 2016 Rio Olympics Test Event, via press release tonight.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams.

“Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation has officially confirmed Ms Thema Williams (as per the press release of November 2015),” stated the TTGF release, “the FIG Elite Gymnast to participate and represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Aquece Final Gymnastics Qualifier which takes place 13 to 18 April 2016.”

The announcement comes five months after Williams presumed she had already qualified after she set a Trinidad and Tobago record at the October 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow.

Williams, who is recovering from a knee injury, will now go to Rio once she receives medical clearance.

There was no mention of a topless photograph of the 20 year old, which saw Williams referred to the TTGF’s Disciplinary Committee three weeks ago.

The local gymnastics body signed off on its release by congratulating Williams on her achievement and wishing her every success.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs a handstand at John Geddert's Twistars Gymnastics Club in Michigan. (Courtesy Thema Williams)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams performs a handstand at John Geddert’s Twistars Gymnastics Club in Michigan.
(Courtesy Thema Williams)

The decision means that Marisa Dick, who was nominated as the TTGF’s Gymnast of the Year despite Williams’ historic achievement, will only be called upon in case of injury.

And it, presumably, ends a drawn out and acrimonious period for the local end.

(TTGF release)

Dear All,

Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation has officially confirmed Ms Thema Williams (as per the press release of November 2015);  the FIG Elite Gymnast to participate and represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Aquece Final Gymnastics Qualifier which takes place 13th to 18th April 2016.

Ms Williams qualified along with teammate Marisa Dick for the single Trinidad and Tobago country spot at the World Gymnastics Championships held in Glasgow, October 2015. Thema attained the highest score and the opportunity to represent Trinidad at  the test event.

Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad And Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015. (Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)
Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad And Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)

In accordance with the athlete agreement, both gymnasts must submit a medical report / clearance to compete, in the weeks leading up to the Test Event—to ensure their continued fitness.

In his 2016 January to March  monthly reports, Williams’ coach John Geddert advised the Federation that the young gymnast has not yet been able to train landings because of a knee injury. This situation will be monitored closely to ensure that Thema will be competition ready for her Test Event.

The TTGF congratulates Thema Williams and wishes her continued success.

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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51 comments

  1. I think they did the right thing by withdrawing her as punishment for her actions but also the right thing by allowing her to go to Rio, the committee are true leaders and guides for the young, with responsibility there is accountability, she was call to account for her reprehensible behaviour ( being withdrawn) and that was enough, I’m sure she would think again before she does something that immature. Go to Rio child I hope you learned a lesson.

  2. why all this mental torture to an athlete who is preparing for RIo. I support you young lady. I find my self blaming Administrators again, but then I ask myself who put them there?

    • Indeed Rossana, that is the question and perhaps if these so-called administrators were subject to the grueling spotlight (as they made Thema face the last couple of weeks) of an actual audit (of their competence) every two years or annually, there would be much less of the inexplicable and illogical behaviour we are seeing currently.

  3. Congratulations my dear. Go do your thing now , put to rest all the negatives of the past couple months.

  4. This is just the best news. Congrats Thema already you have united the country in rooting for you and your country wishes you the very best. The TTGF now needs to proceed quietly to retirement in a museum.

  5. So true. At the end of the day is the one with the most potential not the one with the lighter skin tone.

  6. Thank you God is good all the time. Best Wishes Thema.

  7. She should be so charged up that nothing should be stopping her now. Thema! I know you have it in you to make yourself proud by bringing back a medal. You go girl!

  8. I am extremely pleased with the final decision, impressed with Mr. Leon Williams, grateful for the journalism of wired868 and support of #wesupportthema BUT remain extremely disappointed with the TTGF and the “insider”.

    The “insider” made reference to our desire to see a Tots and Tumblers child in Rio as though that is a negative. We have a local club whose TEAM is a beautiful reflection of the mosaic of our society help develop a child that is now coached by one of the best in the world with a chance to make the Olympics. The symbolism and maturity, of a local club developing an athlete to a point that they recognize that the resources aren’t in place to take the athlete to the next level. The athlete and the club accept it and identify one of the best coaches in the world to take that athlete to the next level. The coach accepts and the athlete stays committed to the club and country.

    Ms. Thema Williams and Tots and Tumblers are a model of how we should perceive development of not only our people but our natural resources.

    It’s saddens me to see that we are still so emotionally and psychologically traumatized that we express this level of self hate and insecurity as a society. Even when a local product(no slight to the athletes)is internationally tested and proven to be better, must we have the foreign products?

    Please note nothing against foreign born representing TNT but we want the best regardless of where they are born our how they are eligible to represent us.

  9. Yah! All the best to you. Go and make us proud.

  10. What is for you no one could take it away from you.God bless go in the name of him you are a mighty one.

  11. Congrats Thelma. Now go raise some Hell in what you are blessed with. God’s blessings forward.

  12. I won’t even hope. Who is the party to give medical clearance and who must accept such a clearance, a whole lot can happen between these two stages. The fact that the TTGF DID NOT nominate Thema for Sportswoman of the Year, speaks for itself. These people will not go away quietly.

    • Good point Earl…I was about to say although they have announced Thema as the choice, there is still the medical clearance…who is to say they won’t exercise their heavy-handedness when it comes to that to get what they so clearly wanted – and so clearly showed by their silence and their choice of Dick as their nominee for Sportswoman of the Year in the face of all Thema’s accomplishments. You are right to be suspicious…but…I am still hoping…call me optimistic. 🙂

  13. Title is misleading. Thema didn’t triumph. TTGF decided they couldn’t do what they wanted to because of the public furore. Now they are hanging their hat on her recovery.

  14. I am pleased & happy that she was finally selected. However there is a lesson for young people of the social media generation, that we all can learn from Thelma’s experience. That is, there is Nothing on SM which is private, so make wise choices before we post. Nuff said.

  15. Good news. Wishing Thema the very best.

  16. Common sense or public wave? Doesn’t matter .. lets go. Now its real pressure on her after all that. Focus

  17. As much as I love TT, this couldn’t happen in any serious country, including Barbados, Jamaica, etc. I hope some lawyer somewhere sharpening a pencil .

  18. Wish I could hit like more than once

  19. Aye well yes! Now everyone can breathe easy especially Thema who must have felt like she was holding her breath for 3 weeks!….under water?

    • Her coach has already tried to explain to the board how damaging this period has been. Along with their refusal to let her compete in a meet in the US.

    • Yes I read that. Damage has been done but with her coach in her corner and most of the country behind her she will prevail. If it’s one thing she should know it’s a tiny group of influential people who clearly want to see her fail. But I hope she knows how much the country is behind her. Still hoping they reconsider that stupid decision now that they’ve officially selected her. Bad mind and spite is a hell of a thing tho!

  20. Wonder if she was given the green light because of comments gone viral….My position is that WE WOULD GET A MEDAL,THE FIRST EVER IN THIS SPORTING DISCIPLINE…..AND AM SERIOUS ABOUT IT…. This whole scenario would give her an extra push… She would qualify for Rio and beat people ….

  21. well time to boot the Federation out of office,these prudes and those who constitute the moral minority,what they have put this young lady through

  22. So when is the Federation leaving office?

  23. Great news but ah still vex!!

  24. “once she receives medical clearance”

    That is clearance from her own physician I would assume, not one appointed by the TTGF?

    Congratulations to Thema on getting what is rightfully hers.

    Stay healthy, and stay strong girl.

  25. **Marisa Dick will be called upon in the event of injury** Well is now Thema need 24/7 security and prayers because people could still be out to get her, yuh never know.

  26. Thema is T&T’s best gymnast AT THIS STAGE.
    At the 2015 Championships, Thema had these scores:
    Vault 13.966
    Uneven Bars 12.600
    Balance Beam 12.400
    Floor Exercise 13.500
    and Marisa Dick had these scores:
    Vault 13.733
    Uneven Bars 12.400
    Balance Beam 13.000
    Floor Exercise 12.366
    2012 Olympic Champion, Gabby Douglass had these scores:
    Vault 15.300
    Uneven Bars 14.750
    Balance Beam 13.066
    Floor Exercise 14.400

    What does this break down to??
    Let’s put it simply: In her BEST event—balance beam—Dick placed 74th. In every other apparatus Thema placed higher than Dick.
    In her best discipline—floor exercise—Thema placed 50th and WAYYY ahead of Dick. Thema is better at her best event than Dick is at her best event. And THAT is a fact. All other talk is idle BS. Just watch any of the many videos of these two athletes—Thema is far more consistent in delivering her routines than Dick is. FAR MORE.

  27. There’s nothing we can’t do together people. There’s nothing. Go Thema!!!

  28. People are thinking now…well done good luck..young lady..

  29. Go Thema!!!. Took them long enough!

  30. It’s about time they come their senses