Home / Rio 2016 / Worse than gymnastics! Njisane cries sabotage over late staff alteration by TTCF

Worse than gymnastics! Njisane cries sabotage over late staff alteration by TTCF

As Trinidad and Tobago’s 32 elite athletes celebrated the formal announcement of their qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic games, 25 year old national cyclist Njisane Phillip was left confused and incensed after discovering, through the media, that a key member of his support staff will not fly to Brazil to assist his medal quest.

Phillip wanted fellow cyclist Varun Maharaj to accompany him to Rio as his soigneur and the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) agreed, via email, on 14 June 2016. Maharaj and mechanic Elisha Greene were Phillip’s two picks.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip. (Copyright Track Cycling News)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip.
(Copyright Track Cycling News)

However, as the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) announced its contingent for Rio, Phillip was stunned to discover that Maharaj was not going while he would have a team manager, David Francis, instead. Francis is also the TTCF’s assistant racing secretary.

Iconic former Trinidad and Tobago cyclist and Hall of Fame inductee Gene “Geronimo” Samuel did not mince words as he accused the TTCF for caring more about free trips than the welfare of its athletes.

“Njisane doesn’t need a manager because it is not as if there a few cyclists are going. But we have guys who want to go on a trip and don’t know what to do with an athlete. Right away you have taken away from Njisane’s chances.

“They are worse than gymnastics… If you are there to support the athlete, you must support the athlete. Whoever he is comfortable with, you must take. He did all the ground work for the last year and a half, and now that he has qualified they want to get a trip out of it.”

Phillip, who is based in Canada at present, has written to the TTOC in a desperate attempt to have the local body reverse its decision. He spelt out the importance of his two-man team.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Varun Maharaj (left) celebrates during the 2015 Southern Games.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Varun Maharaj (left) celebrates during the 2015 Southern Games.

“I asked that Elijah Greene travel as my mechanic as he has been with me through the last three years at all events and through my qualification process,” stated Phillip. “Varun has been a training partner, helper, right hand and left hand. He knows my needs and what needs to be done to prepare me to race. He can warm me up before my races and prepare with me for race day.

“These are the two people I need to be able to perform on race day. I made this clear in a meeting with the TTCF and they agreed that what I need is priority.”

However, TTCF president Robert Farrier said the relevant body, the racing committee, considered Phillip’s request and disagreed. He insisted that the decision was made democratically and followed due process.

The problem, according to Farrier, was the TTOC could only fund two officials to accompany a single athlete. And the eight-member racing committee, which is chaired by Joseph Roberts, decided to send Francis instead.

Francis, incidentally, is the assistant secretary of the racing committee and a TTCF executive member.

“The TTOC said we could only afford two officials and not three,” Farrier told Wired868. “So the services of the soigneur would be provided by other people who would be multi-tasking. [Francis] has travelled with Njisane on several occasions to a number of qualifying events whereas [Maharaj] has never travelled as a soigneur before [but only as a teammate]. He is not a qualified soigneur.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (far left) and games committee members (from right) Dr Terrence Ali, Ian Hypolite and Diane Henderson announce their decision to select gymnast Marisa Dick on their contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 2 May 2016. Missing from the photograph is games committee member Annette Knott who was abroad. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis (far left) and games committee members (from right) Dr Terrence Ali, Ian Hypolite and Diane Henderson announce their decision to select gymnast Marisa Dick on their contingent for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 2 May 2016.
Missing from the photograph is games committee member Annette Knott who was abroad.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Could anyone else on the technical team take on the responsibility of the manager?

Did the TTCF’s racing committee believe it better understood Phillip’s needs than a cyclist who is heading into his second Olympic Games? Or that it had superior knowledge than former Pan American champion and record holder, Samuel?

Farrier responded: “Of course!”

“A cyclist is not a runner, a cyclist needs support… A soigneur is a gofer. He bring your helmet, brings your towel. The manager’s role started months ago when [Phillip] qualified. [Francis] was attending meetings at the TTOC, making sure all the documents were done properly and so on.

“In cycling, there are a number of managerial tasks that need to take place from race confirmation to managing the event on the day. When you look at the aspects of that there is no way a soigneur can perform those tasks, especially if he had never done it before.

“You need somebody who can multi-task and this manager is very experienced. When he comes back [from Rio] he has to do a full report too, he not going there for a lime.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Robert Farrier (right) and general secretary Jacqueline Corbin. (Copyright Trinidad Guardian)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Robert Farrier (right) and general secretary Jacqueline Corbin.
(Copyright Trinidad Guardian)

Samuel scoffed at Farrier’s suggestion that Phillips did not know what he needed most in Rio.

“A president who never represented Trinidad and Tobago says a cyclist doesn’t know what he needs,” Samuel retorted, “that alone should tell you.”

He tried to explain the importance of a soigneur for an international cyclist.

“[A soigneur] is like a massage therapist,” said Samuel. “I had only two people ever touch my legs in my whole career and one guy who ever touched my legs on race day. It is about knowing the athlete. A good therapist can touch you and immediately know if something is different about your muscles.

“They go for everything for you. It is so important. No team travels without a proper soigneur. We are 15 years behind. I am just flabbergasted…

“Our constitution says the racing committee has the final say. But I am shocked that anybody is trying to go ahead of Varun and Elijah. They should be ashamed of themselves. It shows the lack of integrity they have.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip in action. (Courtesy TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip in action.
(Courtesy TTOC)

Francis claimed that he was taken aback by the reaction to his role on “Team Njisane.” He insisted that he had only the cyclist’s best interests at heart.

“As the manager, I am responsible for all meetings that would be required prior to the cyclist taking part,” said Francis. “From the registration to the presentation of the uniform [and] any issue that would arise during the event. I have to make sure the athlete has everything in place to be able to represent us.

“To me, the part of the manager is most essential in that we have the athlete prepared and in the right frame of mind. We are focused on the athlete.”

But what if the cyclist, Phillip, did not want him there?

Francis said he was willing to “sacrifice” his position on the Olympic contingent. But only if the TTCF asked him to do so.

“If it comes down to us making a sacrifice, the Federation will have the final say,” Francis told Wired868. “I am ready to step aside if the Federation asks me to… I didn’t know it was an issue.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip. (Courtesy TTOC)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Njisane Phillip.
(Courtesy TTOC)

Phillip Whiteman, the national cyclist’s stepdad, insisted that the disruption of the Phillip’s team was a major issue and accused the TTCF of acting deceitfully. He attempted to draw parallels to the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation’s controversial last minute switch of Thema Williams for her alternate, Marisa Dick.

Whiteman explained that the TTCF told Maharaj he was on the staff for Rio and even asked for his uniform sizes. If the racing committee took a vote, the decision was apparently not shared with Phillip or Maharaj.

Instead, they got the bad news in the media. Whiteman said he had not spoken to Maharaj yet since he simply did not know what to say to him.

“Njisane said this might be his last trip for Trinidad,” Whiteman told Wired868. “It is too much bacchanal. When it comes to the Games, they say they are in charge and they want to dictate what he does…

“Cycling is his life and they are playing around with his life.”

But Francis countered that the TTCF only wants to help, although both parties differed about the value of the Federation’s assistance.

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). Former star cyclist Gene "Geronimo" Samuel claimed that the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) is worse than the TTGF. (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).
Former star cyclist Gene “Geronimo” Samuel claimed that the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) is worse than the TTGF.
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

“Njisane has an excellent chance to medal and he has the full support of the Federation,” said Francis. “We have done everything that was humanly possible to make sure he qualified [for the Olympics]. We have been extremely supportive and we have gone beyond [the call of duty].”

Wired868 asked for an example of the TTCF’s support to Phillip.

“For every event that was a qualifier, we made sure he was able to attend it with the support staff that was required,” said Francis. “The Federation, through the Sport Company, made sure he was able to attend all the qualifiers.

“He, as I told him already, did exceedingly well to qualify. And now that he is there, his chances of qualifying are excellent.”

Whiteman retorted that he personally applied for funding on Phillip’s behalf and dared anyone to prove differently. He insisted too that the TTCF officials who accompanied his stepson rarely added anything to his efforts.

Photo: Njisane Phillip acknowledges the crowd at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Copyright Track Cycling News)
Photo: Njisane Phillip acknowledges the crowd at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
(Copyright Track Cycling News)

For Samuel, the decision to send Francis ahead of Maharaj was the last straw and he called on the Trinidad and Tobago public to make their voices heard in protest.

“Our racing committee is made up of some people who never rode a bike before… That doesn’t mean they can’t contribute but they have to be open minded and ask questions. But these guys just use the power of the constitutions to see who gets a trip this time.

“I have stayed quiet for years but it is time that Trinidad and Tobago understands what us going on here. Any official who shows up and wants to deprive Njisane of having the best chance possible, should be ashamed.”

Samuel admitted that, for him, the matter was personal. Geronimo was 24 when he qualified for his first Olympics and he placed fourth in the time trial and missed a bronze medal by a fraction of a second.

Even today, Samuel believes that, with the support of local cycling officials, he would have mounted the podium in Los Angeles. He does not want Phillip to suffer the same fate.

Photo: Iconic Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Gene "Geronimo" Samuel during his heyday. (Copyright Caribbean Beat)
Photo: Iconic Trinidad and Tobago cyclist Gene “Geronimo” Samuel during his heyday.
(Copyright Caribbean Beat)

“If they followed my instructions, I would  have gotten a silver not just a bronze. But the president wanted a trip. My event was one race against the clock but [Phillip’s] is more serious as he has to go through different rounds. It hurts to see that, 32 years later, we are still going through the same nonsense.

“You think Usain [Bolt] would go to the Olympics with a masseuse who doesn’t know him? Warming up is the most important thing… The one time I had someone there to warm me up [at the Havana 1991 Pan American Games], I set the world record that still stands today.

“You are supposed to be relaxed mentally before a race because cycling is very stressful and it is a matter of what is important for the athlete. This is a blow to Njisane mentally and he almost gave up cycling a few years ago, because it is very hard to keep going when you feel your officials don’t support you.

“They are playing they don’t understand the athlete [because] they are just looking for trips for each other and they don’t have the best interest of the athlete at heart. If it wasn’t for Njisane then all of them vex because they have no trips to go on.”

Whiteman insisted that, despite the issues, Phillip is determine to return from Rio with a medal for Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Njisane Nicholas Phillip celebrates after defeating Germany's Robert Forstemann during the London 2012 Olympic Games men's sprint round at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park in East London on 4 August 2012. (Copyright AFP 2016/Leon Neal)
Photo: Njisane Nicholas Phillip celebrates after defeating Germany’s Robert Forstemann during the London 2012 Olympic Games men’s sprint round at the Velodrome in the Olympic Park in East London on 4 August 2012.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Leon Neal)

“[His family] put out the money and he put out the effort,” he said, “and now that we got him here, they want to jump in and get a trip. My son said ‘David is a good guy but I need Varun’. This means so much to him…

“But, no matter what, we are going to medal!”

The TTCF president believes Francis will be more valuable to Phillip’s medal hopes in Rio than Maharaj. Phillip disagrees and is imploring the TTOC to intervene for the sake of his Olympic dreams.

 

Editor’s Note: Cycling manager David Francis decided to step aside on 16 July, after two days of discussions between the TTCF and the TTOC, to allow Varun Maharaj to accompany Njisane Phillips to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Click HERE to read about the TTCF climbdown.

About Lasana 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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179 comments

  1. Mr. Francis, it’s the right thing to do.

  2. Cycling manager David Francis steps aside: Njisane Phillips gets his Rio 2016 Olympic soigneur, as TTCF backs down to allow national cyclist his preferred support staff
    http://wired868.com/2016/07/16/francis-withdraws-ttcf-backs-down-over-njisanes-support-staff-demands/

  3. Athlete first. He is in a position to ask for who he wants.

  4. Sherdon, here’s an anecdote from Steve Bruce on Sir Alex Ferguson:
    “It’s no fluke that United always scored in the last minute. It wasn’t coaching. It was belief. He instilled belief that his teams have to win. He created a sense of invincibility. He was a genius.
    ‘This is what he was like. We were at Manchester town hall, a civic reception, because we’d won the League again. All suited and booted, of course. Red tie, white shirt, grey slacks, blazer, the big crest.
    ‘Eric turns up. He’s been growing this beard. He’s got long hair, ripped jeans, flip flops and this multi-coloured coat down to his knees, one of those real hippy ones.
    ‘Now, the players had fines that went into a pot, and we’d spend it on a day out at Chester races end of the season. So the players were all looking at Eric, and they weren’t having it. I was captain and they said, “Go to Fergie, make sure he knows Cantona needs a fine”.
    ‘So I sidled over. “Boss, the lads aren’t happy with Eric’s appearance”. Fergie’s on the red wine. He puts down his glass, looks over at Eric. “Tell them from me, Steve,” he says, “that if they can play like him next year, they can all come as f***ing Joseph”.’

  5. What is wrong with these people . Why why why distress a person at this time. Why…..can’t something be done to fix this. When people don’t have good intentions towards others they must expect Karma at its best!!!

  6. The TTCF are shameless. Give the athlete what he says he needs to succeed. Its not about you, TTFA, its about the athlete Njisane. Njisane is the one who put in the hard work, give the man what he needs. You may want to go but his needs are more important! Damn it do the right thing by this young man who put in the sweat!!.

  7. Sooo..am I to understand that there is no one keeping local sporting bodies in check as far as national affairs?!

  8. Olympics should be about the athlete’s not the officials. Too many “officials” are just going on all inclusive vacations. Time to focus on the athlete’s needs if we are serious about really winning medals

  9. Last Olympics Njisane came sooo close to winning a medal. This time around he just might if everything is in place and all the ducks are in a row. Why would you deliberately fling a ball and upset the alignment? It’s once every 4 years. Can’t the manager squeeze a free trip some other time?

  10. These people think they are equally or more important than the athlete …Everybody just want a tour ….they just disgusting…to the other sporting disciplines, look out, they coming

  11. What the hell is going with these people ? Just so at this 12th hour ..that is real bull crap if you ask me .

  12. There we go again. Shooting ourself in the foot before the race even start

  13. NJISANE NEEDS TO NOT GO WITHOUT WHO HE WANTS …

  14. You are part of “team Njisane” and the athlete himself prefers someone else.This is “rape”……Lol…..we are such jokers in some instances eh….

  15. Are we ever going to get it right?

  16. 2 suitcase for shopping and d address for the best hoehouse in brasil so to hell with phillip ent cou

  17. Set ah friggin dunce in power but that is what we vote for

  18. I agree with Gene Samuel TTCF only sending members on free trip on the expense of cyclist send Varun he is more qualify

  19. Ttoc has not made correct decisions when they need to. If it was agreed previously why go back. They are missing a glorious chance. In short they are idiots with their own agenda.

  20. Allyuh to f$@k up in this place. Deh f$@k up thema now they want to do nijane the same. The boy ask for he two people, give him his two people please. Allyuh eh fed up mess up athletes in this country.

  21. Man i am so fed up of these local sporting bodies , they’re like little fiefdoms , run by people who care little for those who matter..

  22. Give him what make’s him comfortable and forget the rest

  23. Greed for trip in associations is ubiquitous!

  24. Smh. That is complete and utter BS. How can you mess with the man’s regime and training team SO close to the games?!? Not only that, but not even have the balls to tell him nor the man that was being replaced??? They hear it through the media. Same BS throughout each federation I see. We need a complete overhaul of the system bcs this same madness is going to continue on with the exact same results every time.

  25. What they fail to realize is that it is not about them. It is about the athlete and who he feels comfortable with and who will help him perform to the best of their ability. It is not about them. But greed is a serious thing. This is serious business, you don’t mess with professional athletes decisions in a time like this. You have to suck it up and respect it.

  26. Mr Sports Minister time to earn your pay…Step in NOW!!

  27. SHAME……. SHAME…….SHAME

  28. When dexter had qualified for beijing in 2008. They were all jumping on the case to go. Lol. Dex wanted me to go with him and these officials in the association did not want that. So dex made it very clear and told them if he does not get want he wants he will not go. They backed off.

  29. Tired of the bullshit, where is the Sports Minister in all of this.

    • The IOC rules spout a lot of werbiage about no political interference. Bottom line the local Oh Limpid Committee can accept funds from government agencies but they have no say nor can they interfere.

    • Let the Minister stay just where he is. Govt does not elect these private Organisations that have there rules and report to the governing international bodies. The athletes do not run organizations They are represented by them. He has a choice stay or go or make use of the support allowed you This business is no emotional roller coaster. Money not flowing like rain no more. We have too many chiefs.

  30. Jowan Ortega i can’t even. They will never learn

  31. Hahahahha yes indeed. These associations are ALL the same. Man hungry for food (trip ) . Disgusting behaviour.

  32. When will those responsible for the care of our athletes put them and T&T first? When will eat a food and nepotism stop. Time for air tight contracts that include a clause that penalties/ termination can be applied if ‘they’ are found to be working against the interest of the athletes/T&T. Who pay them the big $..anyway.

  33. Lol. The ugly word for it is ping pong!

  34. doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result is madness, but I believe since no one in T&T make s jail, everyone believe they can do the same (no transparency and accountability) and get away. its the norm in T&T.

  35. Also, the cost for a ticket fromTobago to Brazil on GOL Airlines is only US$600. Let those who want a free trip pay for themselves.

  36. Lewis and his TTOC crew don’t seem to get it. Nepotism is still the order of the day.

  37. where is the transparency in the selection of athletes, something smells fishy here, which means something stinks here

  38. He wants Varun, give him Varun, end of story!

  39. just out of curiosity,, why was Roger Daniels ommitted, who to my knowledge Has been consistent. was he not preparing over the last 4 years, or is this another decison made high up and disregard the athletes

  40. The TTCF makes it appear that a Manager’s position is vital to the athlete performance, it is NOT….That belief is over stated. The Manager’s portfolio is basically to provide colours..(.in team sport Principal and Secondary) go to meetings to establish protocol and rules, secure any other requirement necessary which the athlete wouldn’t have the time to do. and any other GO-FOR functions, anyone with any Managerial experience could perform those duties AND you are informed re meetings times dates etc…SO NO biggie. Whereas a Trainer Coach Massage therapist and in this case a training partner are all necessary personnel. All the functions they spoke of were local and do not relate to when you are on tour. In this case they are infringing on the athletes mental conditioning, having someone around who is not accustomed to his routine is useless and detrimental to the athlete.We are looking at a PROSPECTIVE MEDAL OPPORTUNITY …to the TTCF ..Please reconsider the selection of your team for RIO….to be exact..DAVID FRANCIS FOR VIRAN MAHARAJ…it happened with Gene, it happened with Gymnastics..don’t allow it to happen again for the sake of a ride to RIO.

    • Earl Best

      Mervyn, Don’t you have any porridge that needs you to blow on it to cool it down? Your breath is put to much better use doing that than trying to talk to these f—king self-important people we habitually put in charge of our sports.

  41. just the mere fact Njisane had to find out Maraj and Greene through
    the media, shows your total disregard. the TTCF always put self first not the requirement of the athlete

  42. are you a masseur Mr Francis and TTCF (nepotism)

  43. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

  44. Earl Best

    “…We are focused on the athlete.”

    But what if the cyclist, Phillip, did not want him there?

    Francis said he was willing to “sacrifice” his position on the Olympic contingent. But only if the TTCF asked him to do so.

    “If it comes down to us making a sacrifice, the Federation will have the final say,” Francis told Wired868.

    Someone should tell Mr Francis “Doh try dat!” Genuine interest in the athlete usually manifests as an UNCONDITIONAL willingness to do what is best for him, not what someone else (the body of which you are a voting member? Ha!) determines is best for him.

    Same old, same old! New year, same shit. When will we ever learn?

  45. “Njisane has an excellent chance to medal and he has the full support of the Federation,” said Francis. “We have done everything that was humanly possible to make sure he qualified [for the Olympics]. We have been extremely supportive and we have gone beyond [the call of duty].” What Tom Foolery I reading here?? As a sport manager myself, there is no such thing as ‘BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY’

  46. The only problem in this situation is the fact that they got verbal agreement of yes and turned out to be a no…

  47. THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN AGENDA, MAKING MILES, LOL

  48. Steups!! another screw-up!!

  49. The only problem on this situation is by them telling him yes and then going against it

  50. That is why I does always say our sports cannot reach anyway with these set of assholes they does want to put at the helm who does only seek dey friends and partisan interest. Time to stop the bullshit and then d so call minister does nothing.

  51. The Gymnastics Federation seems to officially be the standard bearer for poor administration though. All parties referred to it in this matter.

  52. Sickening, that the selfishness, total disregard of athlete’s counsel, cronyism, and stupidity of leadership continue to flourish in Trinidad and Tobago spots management. I recall a couple of Olympics past in which the support staff was larger than the size of the number of T&T athletes and the officials were people hardly known to the athletes. Not one medal was won

  53. This could be another test of the support system for athletes, namely the TTOC and the Sport Ministry. Hopefully common sense will prevail.

    • how does the Ministry factor in here? It’s not responsible for the selection of national athletes or officials.

    • Because the Sport Ministry can sometimes intervene to talk to all parties as a mediator.
      I swear I wonder sometimes as to what Ministry officials see as their jobs. So unless the Ministry can force a change they rather sit back and do nothing?

    • I think the operative word you used is ‘sometimes’. Not every organisation wants political interference because that is exactly how Ministry involvement in matters such as these will be perceived. It’s really up to sporting bodies to do THEIR jobs and not play politics and favouritism with athlete’s lives and careers.
      Where are the members and executives of this organisation when disputes like this arise? Should the Ministry ‘intervene’ because the matter becomes public? The Ministry is not where the buck stops. It can only function transparently as a facilitator. The buck stops with the organisation responsible for managing the sport.

    • The term “political interference” should be thrown at people who don’t work in sport and understand it. Not me.
      The sport ministry asking representatives from cycling and Njisane’s camp if they would willingly come in to chat about the upcoming Games and how we can put our collective best foot forward is not politician interference.
      When the Sport Ministry put a list of places that had political interference, those cases involved the heads of NSOs being thrown in jail or thrown out of their headquarters.
      So let us be sensible. I’m not trying to fool anyone and the ministry shouldn’t be trying to fool the public either.
      If the ministry can’t be bothered just say but don’t make silly excuses.

    • I do agree that it is obviously the responsibility of the sport body. It is the responsibility of your child to do his or her homework too. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask them about it.
      Why so nervous to be always cleared of having to do anything?

    • I’m making excuses? Brother, as my manager told me this week, I’m not here to give opinions but to do as ‘m told. So please don’t mistake my comments regarding the circumstances as a position or excuse or rationale from the Ministry. Let’s get that clear. I’m positive you will never hear any official of the Ministry say anything remotely close to what I’ve said so there’s no need for the self-righteous grilling. Save that for when you have someone in front of you who actually makes decisions about these things.

    • Natasha I accept that it is your position then. Although I do think it similar to at least one other heavyweight there.
      The old school thinking is: operate by force.
      Therefore if you cannot force someone to do what you want, then why try.
      To me, that thinking has no place in modern society and is almost as bad as the abusive sport administrators.
      This isn’t a personal attack. But I feel we should try to better appreciate and utilize collaboration.
      It won’t always work. But I think it is much better than nothing.

    • Your boss is an idiot Natasha Nunez for saying that. No good can come from that management style.

    • Lasana, I more concerned that my position is being treated as official when it’s not. I don’t speak on behalf of the Ministry nor Sportt. I’m merely adding another perspective to the conversation.
      I also understand that sport in Trinidad and Tobago is all about ego and off the field is essentially a popularity contest. That’s what is the root of all these disputes and scandals. But the deference to mud-slinging, finger-pointing and innuendo over critical analysis blurs the lines and everything between them. How can there be collaboration when there is no trust?

    • Ok Natasha. And I do agree with you on that point too. Many people don’t understand their roles I think.

    • Although, like Kendall, I think no good will come of it when employees feel like they have no say and are just doing as they are told.

  54. Once again these leaches we have in Trinidad with the mentality of they are entitled to freeness because they have a piece of paper to their name to call themselves a manager just to get a free trip, free accommodation, free food and the works. To hell with the money these athletes put out over the years to train, to qualify, they catch their ass and struggle to put us on the map and Boom! just like that some jackass want to ride on their backs for free. You people have no shame, just because you in charge you feel you can treat people like shit, you disgust me!!!!!!

  55. Continued weak leadership from the top guy in the TTOC down to all sports management board members in T&T. They have no damn shame

  56. Send me a ticket, I can braid Njisane’s hair so it wouldn’t blow in the wind and keep him back when racing.

  57. Thank you. Nobody even picked up the phone!!! Just like how Thema is still waiting on a phone call from TTGF to tell her she is no longer the rep and that she is apparently injured. I just can’t with this place! Ugh!

  58. Selfish selfish……. This makes me so angry, Njisane has a really good chance to medal in Rio, he has been working to a plan, why disrupt it now for all the selfish reasons? Varun and Njisane is a team, please do not disrupt this synergy. There is enough officials going that can fill the role on Manager……

  59. Our Olympian got this news via the media. Sigh. All these well paid officials & full time staff & no one can pick up a phone & call Njisane? Maybe there would be more money for our athletes if we got rid of the hangers on. Christopher George had no clue if he’d get funding to go to Rio & spent precious training time trying to personally raise funds. You’d think Daniel & Anil Roberts would send him a small cheque to help out, eh?

    • Doesn’t inspire confidence in their ability to master the critical communication and coordination in Brazil, which is the reason given to bump the athlete’s picks.

    • why is it everything a bacchanal in this country. why do Sport Administrators continue to frustrate athletes, weeks before Rio , this is nonsense. I agree with Njisane this is the end. who more than Njisane would know Maharaj is the best person to be with him , having done the preparation for over 3 years. Mr Francis don’t expect a pat on your back you did the job you were hired to do. However, your conscience would tell you that Maharaj is the man for the job. I’m sure TTCF knew that Njisane wanted Green and Maharaj. Imagine he has to learn this through the media. Total disrespect, but everyone wants GOLD, How you think that comes by hard work , not by one person but by a team. this is Njisane team. so do the right thing, pay your own passage or watch it on TV like us and cheer him on Everyone wants to attend Rio at the government expense. the feeding frenzy continues

    • Great point Rossana. I would think it is the TTCF’s responsibility to handle the paperwork of its athlete.
      So without a chance to travel, nobody would have bothered to register him?

  60. My thing is they agreed. They AGREED. This idea of being bound by agreements, whether written or verbal. These things clearly mean nothing here. If a federation rep needs to be there ok, but what does that have to do with reneging on what was ALREADY AGREED upon???

    • Earl Best

      Abeo, Here’s the bit you need to read:

      “The problem, according to Farrier, was the TTOC could only fund two officials to accompany a single athlete. And the eight-member racing committee, which is chaired by Joseph Roberts, decided to send Francis instead.”

      The “They” who agreed to send is not the same “They” who fund the officials.

  61. Can an athlete go to the games without a representative from the Federation? In any sport?

  62. I am so tired of this place. And the lying and thieving and selfishness and disregard for law and others and basic common sense and decency. It’s like this madness is part of our DNA. Oh gosh man, is every blasted sporting body or government institution, or state board so. Not one could be upstanding? Not one? Oh eff man!

  63. Sport admin in this country is such a testament of how blatantly dishonest we are as a ppl. We put no effort in even keeping up appearances. And why, because we know that systematically our dishonesty is actually supported, and they there will be no repercussions. Trinidad and Tobago the place where dreams come to die.

  64. Abeo Jackson here we go again!!!

  65. Them shameless no integrity so called officials using lame senseless excuses to cheat for ah trip.

  66. There is no change in sports management in T&T. Nepotism and cronyism always raise their deplorable heads. Every major international sports event, without fail, there are questionable ‘management staff’ who are ‘sent on vacation’. Be it football, cycling, boxing, swimming, cricket, gymnastics, track & field etc, careful review of the accompanying staff will expose some management staff. No one dear say a word or else! Winning is not a priority so good luck with that 10 gold medals in 2024 strategy.

  67. the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  68. Or what sporting body I should say

  69. You know who my mind crossed on here Rheann…

  70. I want a free trip to Rio too… I can go to wave our national flag in the stands and ensure all the bars in Rio are up to international standards. I will also take the opportunity to ensure all the Rio women are happy.

  71. Its a shame that this is happening. He and his team don’t need this kind of disruption leading up to the Olympics

  72. ..sad development..J’s needs should be fulfilled…this is not a backyard cycling event…this is the Olympics..

  73. “The one time I had someone there to warm me up [at the Havana 1991 Pan American Games], I set the world record that still stands today.” Should we let TTCF jeopardise this?
    SMH Shame shame shame! In this day and age, T&T’s sporting authorities are continuing their ridiculous nepotistic activities with no regard for the athlete’s well-being or assuring the best outcome for our medal run? Unbelievable!!
    TTCF, TTGF, does anyone see a pattern here? Leaches indeed Helga!! And they are indeed the epitome of disgusting!!!

  74. Grrrrrrrr……..when will they realise the athlete’s MENTAL fitness is as important as his physical fitness! They not serious about TnT winning medals, they only looking for a “lime”

  75. This is not the first time- The Olympics for some is a trip for family and friends at the expense of athletes who have worked hard to pave the way- and it is allowed over and over again.

  76. Agree. Absolutely no comparison to what happened to Thema. And you’re right, Francis should do the right thing and step aside.

  77. Document everything,
    One of our top athletes had to cut short their European stint because the President of the Association agreed to let the person be exempted from National event then a week after a mandatory letter to participate was sent

  78. “…and the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) agreed, via email, on 14 June 2016…” – so they can say one thing to the athlete, and then do entirely another when the athlete isn’t around. This simply isn’t acceptable.

  79. Ummm. Varun Maharaj not qualified as a soigneur, ok. Is David Francis qualified as a Manager ? Does he need to be qualified ?

  80. This is not worse than what happened to Thema.
    Francis should step aside without request from the cycling federation as it is now clear that the athlete prefers to be accompanied by somebody else who would serve a different, and at this stage arguably, a more crucial role.
    Rio is not the place to be fighting down a trip to at the moment.

    • I agree with you once Varina is prepared to accept the Manager’s role so that if anything goes wrong in that critical area, the TTDF will not then be blamed. Teams and athletes have had to make choices over the years and while some persons can multitask well, others cannot or prefer not to.

  81. Start a go fund me, so that your pick can go.

  82. This is just terrible and embarrassing. An athlete who competed on his own steam, makes suggestions about his needs, and it’s vetoed by the TTCF for completely different issues. Psychologically, I would not want to deal with this crap before a meet/tournament… The opening of Lasana’s piece sets the tone; Phillip is learning of a decision via the media… Did he make a media announcement that he wanted Maharaj to be his soigneur? This is a basic matter of good governance, management and communication skills at fault here. How hard was it to sit and discuss this with the athlete amicably? Something is very wrong in TT.

  83. # Lasana Liburd in this nation we always talking about the governments corrupt practices. Yet there is saying that goes like this ” a government of its people by its people for its people” I think you getting my point. If the sporting bodies are corrupt then we can’t say the government corrupt . We are a corrupt nation. Why do we need all these sporting bodies. Since they don’t pay for the persons undercharge still have to run the government for money. Get rid of the sport bodies put them under a department of the ministry. Who sole purpose is to ensure that the individuals have what they need, once they fail to provide we could fire them and blame the government one time cut out the middlemen and women. My two cents

    • Thanks Marcus. We need rules to protect the people/athletes. And then we need them enforced. This is the starting point I think.

    • It would be worthwhile to examine the structure from the ground up. What are the requirements to run an NSO? To whom are they accountable? How much say do the athletes themselves have? Lots of questions need to be answered.

    • The Athletes and the People… Two bodies that seem to be afterthoughts in our local governance structures.

    • And the two groups that are supposed to be at the forefront of all structures’ considerations.

    • The purpose of the sporting bodies, is to protect the interests of the athletes under it’s governance. They can’t aptly be under one blanket. A cricketer cannot know the needs of a gymnast, just as a gymnast cannot know the needs of a cricketer. So it makes sense to have a singular body, who understands the need of the athlete to champion their cause. The problem we’re seeing now, is that there is a lack of integrity, and accountability from these institutions. The people who’re supposed to have the athlete’s best interest at heart, prefer to ride the athlete’s coat tails in order to get something out of it for themselves. Thereby, undermining the purpose of the institution, and losing the confidence of the public, and especially the athletes under it’s charge. So when our star athletes decide to go to world championships under the banner of a different country, we cannot give wrong, because their own country, doesn’t care about them.

    • The suggestion that the TTCF went beyond the call for Njisane by registering him for meets… That makes me wonder what they consider their normal jobs.

    • Remember, when the TTGF missed a SPORTT meeting, they were quick to point out that they’re volunteers.

    • It’s not like the athlete can’t do any of those things for himself. Registering entails filling out a form by a certain time, and handing in all necessary credentials and paperwork with that form. Meeting aren’t scheduled everyday, and they take into consideration that attendees also include athletes, trainers, and medical staff. So he doesn’t need a manager. In the TTCF’s comments, at no time did he mention the athlete. His training, his physical, and mental fortitude, his warmup, his general fitness. It shows the vast disconnect between the TTCF and it’s star athlete.

  84. Reminds me of the days of the NAAA when there would be five athletes and 10 administrators.

  85. The.age of undeserved freeco seems unending.

  86. Wow. It’s like all our teams are filled with corruption. Everyone trying to get something out of it, without focus on the athlete. Shameful!!!

  87. Why does it always have confusion in any sports before a big meet or match its like we deliberately try to stress out our athletes .

  88. I’m so glad these things are coming to light… My annoyance peaked reading this.