Home / Rio 2016 / Is T&T getting better or worse at the Olympics? Jabari uses history as his guide

Is T&T getting better or worse at the Olympics? Jabari uses history as his guide

Trinidad and Tobago’s performance at the Olympics should be analysed with a level head, acknowledgement of non-existent national sporting systems and within the context of its Olympic history.

The two island nation attended its first Olympics in 1948 and, between then and 1952, won three medals. Rodney “The Mighty Midget” Wilkes got silver in the men’s weightlifting featherweight event in London 1948 and bronze in Helsinki 1952 while Lennox Kilgour claimed bronze in the men’s weightlifting middle heavyweight category.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Lennox Kilgour got bronze in the weightlifting middle heavyweight competition at the 1952 Olympic Games. (Copyright MEP Publishers)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Lennox Kilgour got bronze in the weightlifting middle heavyweight competition at the 1952 Olympic Games.
(Copyright MEP Publishers)

Weightlifting has little national prominence today but that was not the case in the era of Wilkes and Kilgour.

Dr Basil Ince, in his book “Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympics”, explained:

“In the forties and fifties, when there was feverish activity in the lifting world, there was frequent competition among clubs in the north and the south [of Trinidad].”

Poor funding affected both athletes’ preparation for the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. The weightlifters, who already had long workdays with insufficient nutrition and rest, did not know whether they would go to Australia until the night before their trip due to insufficient funds.

Wilkes placed fourth in Melbourne and Kilgour was seventh. No Trinidad and Tobago athlete managed another medal again for the next eight years, although sprinter Michael Agostini made the 100 metre and 200 metre sprint finals in Melbourne.

Photo: Late ex-Trinidad and Tobago track star Mike Agostini. (Copyright Speedendurance.com)
Photo: Late ex-Trinidad and Tobago track star Mike Agostini.
(Copyright Speedendurance.com)

The Tokyo 1964 Olympics was—were before the 2012 competition—Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful Games in terms of medals captured.

Wendell Mottley snatched silver in the 400m, Edwin Roberts got bronze in the 200m and the 4x400m team got bronze. It took 48 years for another Trinidad and Tobago contingent to equal and surpass that medal haul at an Olympics.

Even so, unlike the case of Wilkes and Kilgour in ‘48 and ‘52, the athletes of 1964 and 2012 could not attribute their successes to local facilities, expertise and training partners.

According to Dr Ince: “[…] they had all honed their skills at US colleges and universities. In fact, with the exception of McDonald Bailey, all trackmen who had reached world-class status sharpened their skills on US soil.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 4x400 metre relay team (from left) Kent Bernard, Edwin Roberts, Wendell Mottley and Edwin Skinner pose with their silver medals at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. (Copyright Socapro)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 4×400 metre relay team (from left) Kent Bernard, Edwin Roberts, Wendell Mottley and Edwin Skinner pose with their silver medals at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics.
(Copyright Socapro)

This is an appropriate place to introduce Emmanuel McDonald Bailey, who was a fine sprinter, born in Trinidad and Tobago, who represented Britain because of petty island politics.

He was the son of McDonald Bailey, who CLR James described as a fine cricketer and a “great all-round sportsman” in Beyond A Boundary. And there were shades of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation’s (TTGF) rift with Thema Williams in the Olympic Committee’s decision to omit Bailey from its 1948 team.

Dr Ince quoted from a Trinidad Guardian editorial in 1948:

“… the most outstanding decision reached by the Committee is the one affecting McDonald Bailey, the brilliant Trinidad runner who has been so successful in Europe.

“The Committee decided not to include Bailey in the contingent, mainly because he had indicated on his last visit here that he would represent Trinidad only if a relay team were sent and this has not been found possible. Of course there are other reasons for the Committee’s action…”

Photo: Emmanuel McDonald Bailey (left) competed for Britain at the 1948 Olympic Games. (Photo: Hulton Getty)
Photo: Emmanuel McDonald Bailey (left) competed for Britain at the 1948 Olympic Games.
(Photo: Hulton Getty)

Bailey refuted the TTOC’s assertion:

“One simply does not set down conditions to be selected for an Olympic team. It is an honour to be selected, and I would have been honoured to represent Trinidad.”

The selectors claimed that they were concerned about how Bailey would perform after an injury. So, he opted to represent Britain instead and made it to the 100m final of the 1948 Games. And, unable to switch allegiance for the 1952 Games, he won bronze for the Queen in the 100m where the first four men got to the tape in 10.4 seconds.

In the 1950s, Bailey jointly held the 100m world record at 10.2. All of this to say that insularity and amateur/voluntary sport management have long caused trouble for some of Trinidad and Tobago’s most talented athletes.

There was a 12 year Olympic medal drought after Tokyo 1964 until Hasely Crawford became the “Lane one, champion/Montreal, gold medal…” and broke the drought spectacularly at Montreal 1976. Ask Maestro.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 1976 Olympic gold medalist Hasely Crawford. (Courtesy Caribbean Beat)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 1976 Olympic gold medalist Hasely Crawford.
(Courtesy Caribbean Beat)

Injury thwarted Crawford in 1972 but 1976 was his year, as he went to Montreal confident of his speed endurance after running several 200m races before the Games. He eased through the rounds and ran to gold from lane one, as rivals Donald Quarrie and Valeriy Borzov could not conquer him.

The fact that it took 36 years for Trinidad and Tobago to repeat that feat, shows how difficult it is to win Olympic gold.

Between the 1960s and 80s, even though we have never won a medal, Trinidad and Tobago produced several world class cyclists. Roger Gibbon made the final in the 1000m time trial at the 1964 and 1968 Games, where he placed eighth and fifth respectively.

At Mexico ‘68, seven cyclists were included on the TTOC’s team. And, in 1984, Gene Samuel narrowly missed out on bronze in the 1000m time trial.

Like weightlifting, cycling has virtually disappeared from the T&T sport circuit. And the spanking new cycling facility is unlikely to increase cyclists if there are no structured programmes, resources, bikes and coaches.

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)

No wonder Njisane Phillip has unfortunately retired in complete frustration. According to his interview with Wired868, his preparation for the Rio ’16 Olympics was down to his good fortune in being invited to train with Team Canada by a Canadian colleague.

During the 1990s, Trinidad and Tobago was spoiled by its greatest track athlete ever: Ato Boldon.

In a nerve-racking 100m final with three false starts, Boldon eventually got bronze in 1996 after his lightning start meant he led the race for the first 60 metres and was only beaten by a world record dash from Canada’s Donovan Bailey and an inspired finish by the experienced Frankie Fredericks, who took silver.

But, once again, little of Boldon’s success could be attributed to local scouting programmes or training. He was “discovered” in the USA and trained to glory there. His four individual Olympic sprint medals were matched only by the USA’s Carl Lewis—not counting his long jump medals—and Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks, until Jamaica’s Usain Bolt surpassed his tally in Rio this year.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago former Olympic star Ato Boldon (right) hugs an unidentified Nigerian sprinter during his track hey-day. (Copyright AFP 2014/Jeff Haynes)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago former Olympic star Ato Boldon (right) hugs an unidentified Nigerian sprinter during his track hey-day.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Jeff Haynes)

This is a great testament to Boldon’s longevity as a sprint doubler in his stellar career.

It is near impossible for a track athlete to maintain medal-winning form for three successive Games. Bolt is a physiological and mental anomaly and an exception to the rule.

Richard Thompson’s performance in Rio should not be measured against Bolt. Thompson ran in two Olympic 100m finals—winning silver in 2008—and anchored the 4×100 team to silver in 2008 and 2012 (upgraded).

He has represented his country with great honour and should not be ostracised for not making it out of the heats in the 100m at Rio. It is not his fault that a younger local runner was not able to dethrone him.

There is a similar case to be made for George Bovell III who, between sprint medals in 2000 and 2008, saved T&T from another Olympic medal drought.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell waits for confirmation on his finish in the 50 metre freestyle event in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 11 August. Bovell finished third in his heat and did not qualify for the semifinal round. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell waits for confirmation on his finish in the 50 metre freestyle event in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 11 August.
Bovell finished third in his heat and did not qualify for the semifinal round.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Bovell’s phenomenal swim in the 200m individual medley at the Athens 2004 Games was bettered only by the legend Michael Phelps—in an Olympic record—and his US teammate Ryan Lochte, who beat Bovell by two tenths of a second.

In Athens, no sprinter had yet been groomed to take over from Boldon, who was competing in his last championship. And succession planning has been a consistently weak aspect of Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic legacy.

The 2012 Games was the best Olympics for Trinidad and Tobago. Not since 1964 had the country delivered more than a single medallist. The men’s 4x100m team won silver, the 4x400m team won bronze and Lalonde Gordon won bronze in the 400m.

And, with the beautiful and poetic natural athleticism of a West Indian fast bowler and grace of a ballerina, Keshorn Walcott won the country’s second Olympic gold medal in London 2012.

Since then, those athletes who made it to Rio have generally not competed as well.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson (right) tries unsuccessfully to hold off Jamaica legend Usain Bolt in the first round of the 100 metre event at the Rio Olympics on 13 August 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson (right) tries unsuccessfully to hold off Jamaica legend Usain Bolt in the first round of the 100 metre event at the Rio Olympics on 13 August 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The warning signs were there as some showed little improvement leading up to the Olympics and had not been medalling in other competitions.

Do not be fooled by the TTOC’s ambitious “10 gold medals by 2024” campaign. Since 1948, the systems for continued success at the Games have not been put in place by the government or the various sporting administrations.

Successful athletes have achieved through sheer determination, personal and professional sacrifice and hard work. Medal returns have been purely accidental, due in no way to sporting administration.

From 1948 to 2012, T&T won 21 Olympic medals: two gold, six silver and 13 bronze. The fact that Christopher George, the first judoka to represent the country at the Games, had to create a crowd funding campaign to financially support his training tells all that needs to be known about how athletes are treated as they prepare for battle.

Walcott had his problems too.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's Keshorn Walcott competes at the Moscow 2013 World Championships. (Copyright AFP 2016/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott competes at the Moscow 2013 World Championships.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Wired868)

A changing body and the rigours of professional competition combined to create a lean run for the reigning champion between the quadrennial Games. Fair-weather fans taunted him as a fluke while his natural athleticism became the butt of many jokes and was used to put him down.

But, importantly, his throws grew in distance every year while he won silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and gold in the 2015 PanAm Games.

Citius, Altius, Fortius—Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger—is the Olympic motto and should be used a gauge for how our athletes are likely to perform.

Walcott passed that test and, hopefully, will prove his detractors wrong in the javelin final on Saturday night.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott competes in the Men’s Javelin Throw Qualifying Round at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 17 August 2016.  (Copyright Adrian Dennis/AFP 2016/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott competes in the Men’s Javelin Throw Qualifying Round at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 17 August 2016.
(Copyright Adrian Dennis/AFP 2016/Wired868)

About Jabari Fraser

Jabari Fraser
Jabari Fraser is a journalist employed at CCN TV6. He is an executive member of MATT.

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84 comments

  1. Stop Navel Gazing and Fix the problem, it very easy to do.

  2. good article, “non-existent national sporting systems” pinpoints the issue that reform is required, but in T&T there never is real reform

  3. My 2 cents is that i strongly believe that These guys got better because most events broke national and personal records is just that the rest of the world got better 2X. A more logical question could be how can TNT athletes and the relevant authorities improve the standard of coaches, facilities and get new faces into sports as well as change to the 21st sporting era where as athletes don’t have to do the regular 9-5 and train for Olympics.

  4. Excellent read Jabari Peter Bem Fraser.

  5. What we need as a country is to get these men and women to be training as the American ,Jamaican , Paris and other countries. Where their main purpose is to train only. These guys did really well. Coming soon for Trinidad will be greatness the world will ever seen. We just need to get up and have the country support these brave men and women that represented us… sponsors need to start investing big on Trinidad all year round

  6. A historical perspective is one of the best ways to offer a balanced view.Our angst should be directed at the various sporting administrations(and those in higher authority) whose priorities are retain power at all cost to manipulate situations for self aggrandisement.We have to call them out and make them accountable.Ease up on the athletes themselves.

  7. they did their bess yuh no how itis

  8. Does anyone know if we have any sports psycologists on our team?

  9. Excellent report. I esp liked seeing our past athletes.

  10. We have raw natural talent here but the discipline is not there . If training starts at 5am you can bet that there will be people coming at 6 and 7 am . The administrators exploit this by sitting on their asses and with their big stomachs waiting on the opportunity to fly their wives and mistresses to games around the world all the while telling he country the team is ready least they miss out on a paid vacation .

  11. My interpretation of “going back to the drawing board” means, leh we try a thing again and hope it works this time. No ideas!

  12. the facilities belong to TT citizens…STOP THE WINNING….concentrate on Tokyo Olympic in 2020….

  13. Everytime I hear somebody mention the government give us this and the government give us that I have to wonder where they think the government gets the money from.

  14. By the way, the facilities were funded by taxpayers’ money eh!

  15. STOP WINNING…trini…that is all you do….WINE…

  16. The PP gave us facilities and fired the coaches and didn’t pay funding to the athletes. Thanks much.

  17. the PP Govt. gave TT a brand new Aquatic centre, a brand new Cycle Velodrome, a brand new Tennis centre….TT start preparing for Tokyo Olympic in 2020…and stop winning….

  18. Did the Wilkes family get back their dad’s Olympic medal which was being sold unlawfully on eBay in March this year?

  19. To much politics we got the worst performance so far little hope still with relays an keshawn however was one of the worst preperation towards going into the games.

  20. Trinidad and Tobago do not respect high performance coaching or coaching methods ,let’s be real folks .Foster in Jamaica produces high performance athletic coaches who are professionally paid ,not vacation sports camps ,sthu

  21. We must learn from Jamaica Re: Tourism and Track & Field, and other stuff. I am very impressed with Jamaica after spending a few days there in May/June. Their coastal highway is far better than any we have in T&T. The Chinese built a toll highway from Kingston to Ocho Rios. The road to Blue Mountain, to the top, may not be as good but it is a great achievement for one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. They have spent tens of billions on creating & maintaining their tourism infrastructure. The Jamaica tourism brand is highly successful. Same for Track & Field. Jamaicans are very friendly. This is not my video.

  22. Bolt didnt really need it and Cedenio and Jehue chose to go pro after high school. Doubt that eliminates them.
    I agree, we do need our own system but like Jamaica, there must be enough quality opposition for the ones here. I may need to be corrected here but i believe prior to Asafa and Bolt Jamaicans went to US colleges. MVP and Racers track clubs have found a system that works for them. The young man that coaches Speed Factory @ Ato Bolden stadium spent 6 or 7 years in Jamaica working with MVP and has a wealth of knowledge. Lets see how that works out.

  23. ..Reliance on the US system would have eliminated Cedenio. And Bolt. We need a local system too. Like the Jamaicans..

  24. A few years ago in football the mantra was adopt the Panama system for youth development cuz Panama youth teams had a good run for a few youth tournaments now its bring on the J’can model for track and we’ll solve our problems. I can recall the Merlene Ottey era of the 80s and in the 90 the scores of femals doing well in track as most of them competed well on the US collegiate circuit so much so that some were recruited at US high schools to ease the transition into a college of choice. That has changed somewhat over the last years with some opting out to work with home grown coaches. The thing is the jamaican high school and post high systems can replicate the level of competition the US provides right there in Jamaica with their internal games. We in Trinidad simply can’t. We dont have the numbers that they do and with the quality.
    Prior to 2008 games and the Bolt legacy, Jamaica’s mens program was not as formidible as the female. In fact, Ato boldon ran in the 92, 96 and 00 finals and i dont remember any Jamaican being in those finals. As the article says, Bolt is an anomaly and we shoulnt try to measure up against him. Some of it may be cuz of good coaching and probably too a good crop of athletes.
    Whats wrong with continuing to piggy back off the US collegiate system? After all, it has literally developed everyone of the top track athletes we’ve ever produced.

    • The US system at the collegiate level burns you out. It’s grueling and unforgiving. Aside from having to compete almost every weekend, rain, snow or sleet, you have to maintain you grade level or lose your scholarship. Additionally, Americans despise having foreign athletes becoming world class competitors off of their tax dollars, sport technologies and techniques. They have made it known several times in the 80s an 90s. Hence the prime reason, most Jamaican athletes are nurtured at home passed the collegiate level.

    • Kenneth Ransome most of our athletes have had to do it and ive heard the grueling argument but the ones ive spoken to have said of they had to do it again they will. As for americans despising foreign athletes, that has not been my experience albeit in a different sport. If fact quite the opposite. I found a receptive and welcoming audience. With a penchant for competing and wanting to be the best, they were/are inquisitive about how they can learn from what occurs in a different culture. Athletes in other sports have said the same things about their experiences.

  25. This was pretty good, Jabari Peter Bem Fraser

  26. Very well and fair article describing the framework and mindset of sports in T&T… Rubadiri you raise like a 10,000 points in your few words that are very observant of a lot of ills in the sport. The main and core problem is a appreciation by thee country et large: you will see how all them sofa-experts that are so fast drawing conclusions will disappear for 4 Years next week to resurface at the next Olympics. This lack of constant support in the society is then matched by political and corporate lack of will. There is little to no support for anything that athletes need during the 4 Years where they getting ready to qualify for thee next olympics. That is not only about money. The Federations struggle due to a lack of support. To give you an Idea; Since i am involved in the management of our federation, funding from the Ministry is erratic at best, we have to submit quarterly and 6 monthly reports and documents and every-time we have to re-submit a lot of info that should be on file with the explanation that they need it on this new form, like it is the purpose of the ministry to design new forms….that takes a lot of effort, because most that stuff is double work and does not match our internal report and and progress control systems…. when we streamline them with what we think the ministry wants we being told, system changed…. there is one thing that is a guarantee for success: consistency and eliminate by mistake. You cant do that when the people that are supposed to support you constantly change the parameters or worse yet cant give you any. We try to plan long term: Triathlon is working on having an Athlete at teh Games in 2024, but how can i make a 8 Year (2 Olympic cycle) plan, if i do not know what my support looks like in a year or two from now.. At best i will have had to deal with at least two different Ministers of sports and you know how they all like to dismiss what the “others” did before…. Lasana tagging you..

  27. Absolutely, 100% true. Time for a national sports Institute. The correlations are all there… youth development, lower crime and truancy, better performing kids at school, empowered workforce, sports tourism, public upliftment…. etc etc.

  28. I think part of our problem with developing young athletes is that there really isn’t a proper functioning secondary school competition. At the primary school level it’s easy to identify young talent. These are the kids that shine at zonal games like Milo Games (for West) then they go on to win at Rotary games (POS) and then excel at National primary school championships. Of course the successful ones will be those kids who train regularly with a club. When these kids reach Secondary school the meets here are not well organized and the competition is not as strong as the club meets. So it’s really left to the clubs to develop the children and keep them motivated to excel. Of course this is all charity work. Coaches do this out of their love for the field. They don’t get paid.

  29. We are a lazy nation not only as far as effort is concerned but more importantly, strategy and pro-activity!

  30. Bring back Sports Day and make it compulsory in all primary and secondary schools and include scrabble, chess, draughts, bridge etc for those who may have challenges physically but can manage the mental and use all the big facilities that we now have to ensure that competitions among schools and clubs are ongoing. Make sure there are prizes even if it is a teacup and saucer. Encourage the right attitude and good sportsmanship. We can do it.

  31. ..Good historical analysis. The most important words for the future, which is our prime concern:

    ..”Do not be fooled by the TTOC’s ambitious “10 gold medals by 2024” campaign. Since 1948, the systems for continued success at the Games have not been put in place by the government or the various sporting administrations.

    Successful athletes have achieved through sheer determination, personal and professional sacrifice and hard work. Medal returns have been purely accidental, due in no way to sporting administration.”..

    Therein lies the rub..

  32. A very good overview and reasoned argument. I want someone to interrogate the connection if any of our Olympic contingent to the massive investment we have made in coaching throughout the system for numerous sports, the Elite Athlete program and the lack of extraneous supports for it, and the coming online of all the various sporting facilities we have built and their proper equipping and staffing. We have to connect those dots to understand the issues and disconnects….

    • Seriously, who, who in Authority will demand that this be done? Everything in T&T is a cover up, since ti can unearth some embarrassing information. and then what? 400 million attributed to a Sport Minister more than 2 years ago , who is holding the former Minister accountable. Silence, Sporting bodies receiving monies every year and no audited accounts. Everyone in T&T is related either friend or family, we are a corrupted society. Greed is the norm, people being paid large sums and producing nothing whether it be Sports , Art and Culture etc so what?

    • Other than the corruption which is real, we have to start to understand process and systems. It could be that the coaching upgrades in the last ten years has led to an increase in talented juniors but the issue is their graduation to proper elite athlete incubation Centres; it could be our elite athletes are training with outdated incubators and coaches; it could be we have a poor scouting programme that is not identifying the real talents in their times; it could be we are giving our Elite Athlete funding to live but no other advisory, injury, or training situations; it could be the facilities we built were too late for this current crop of athletes but can serve the under 16s coming up- but only if staffed with proper administrative staff, nutritionists, counsellors, coaches, sports doctors, and equipment staff. And how much does that cost? We have to be rigorous in investigation so we can build proper systems.

    • Eh-heh! here it is right there!

  33. This is an excellent article Lasana. MOS / sporTT and TTOC ALL need to get tough with the local sporting Federations – demand programmes, talent identification and development plans from each and every one of them. It is no good putting all your eggs in one basket when handing out funds – the talent pool needs to be deep if we are to become truly competitive on a world stage. Being involved in coaching the young girls of our land, I can attest that our talent pool is very deep – we need the authorities to demand MORE from the federations which govern and are supposed to ‘grow’ our sports. Otherwise we spinnin’ top in mud.

  34. Excellent and well researched article. I add “the more things change , the more they remain the same” We continue to do the same things repeatedly with little or no results. Send a contingent to Jamaica and see what is done, can tweak and apply to T&T. Re-introduced sports in primary and secondary schools. make stadiums available to athletes for training. Put serious sport administrators in place and make them accountable. Support the athletes-funding and training and more competitions and not wait twice a years. Jamaican Mediocrity seems to be the order of the day. Jamaican train at home, we have better facilities and don’t make use of it because of all kinds of trivialities. Put the oil money to proper use

  35. Given the lack of structure, we basically don’t have a 4×100 team for 2020.

  36. Guys like Richard Thompson and Rondel Sorrillo, who were late bloomers, would not have been identified at all n the Jamaican system.
    But at least they are working on something. So it is better than nothing.

  37. A fierce competitive environment has to be created so that there is a large talent pool so that the current marquee athletes are always being kept on their toes. The Jamaican model also ensures that there is continuity as far as the caliber of relay teams are concerned.

  38. I’d rather us widen the pond with more than one group, especially at that age. You miss talent that way. I’ve seen it happen in football.
    The Jamaica way is probably better than what we have now. But I’d prefer identifying and strengthening youth coaches at zonal level.
    I doubt there are that many running clubs anyway. it should be easy to get them up to speed. (Pun intended. Lol)

    • We actually have plenty. I looked at the Hampton games program just now and counted about 60. And not all clubs participated at those games. Some clubs are really small though.

    • Wow. Ok. We need to make sure that all clubs have certified coaches and that those coaches do refreshers regularly.
      And that they understand the importance of nutrition and strength and conditioning and so on.
      And we need a system that rewards clubs for finding and developing talent.
      For instance, Toco Secondary should have gotten a tangible reward too for Keshorn.
      Anytime an athlete sets a national record, their first and last club should get something. Even if it is just sporting equipment.

    • That’s a really good idea. I know the coaches for my son’s club Cougars are certified. And the club has also invited nutritionists to speak to parents and athletes about proper nutrition. But in a realistic sense many of the athletes in these clubs can’t afford proper nutrition which let’s face it is expensive. It would be great if clubs at the development level were given some basic funds to assist with training days. Even if it covers things like water and a sandwich to give the kids after training. Our club collects money from parents to cover this but many (most?) are delinquent. I think given the dearth of recognizable future Olympians right now SPORTT should spend some money on the development of the clubs yes.

  39. All I would say:
    “Successful athletes have achieved through sheer determination, personal and professional sacrifice and hard work. Medal returns have been purely accidental, due in no way to sporting administration.
    The fact that Christopher George, the first judoka to represent the country at the Games, had to create a crowd funding campaign to financially support his training tells all that needs to be known about how athletes are treated as they prepare for battle.”

    • John while i generally agree with you that Medals in the past were a product of chance and the determination of an individual Athlete, i am reluctant to be too fast in putting the blame too much onto the Admins in the Federations. Not only because i am one of them but mostly because of the “red tape” we have to go through (mainly with those we report to locally, not so much our International Federations that want to see us thrive) to achieve our and those of our Athletes goals …..

  40. I would strongly recommend the Jamaican model where there is a specialized high school where athletes who have been identified with strong athletic potential can attend an get the best of athletics training; while also excelling in academics.

  41. Curious to know how the number of NSOs has altered since 1948.

  42. Btw, I must add a note in defence of sport administrators. Before London 2012, the TTOC arranged for Njisane Phillip to practice in LA with the USA cycling team. And clearly that had a positive impact on his performance at that Olympics.
    So I think it might be a touch harsh to say that administrators had no impact at all on their successes.

  43. Too much of the pie going to football…

    • Trinidad and Tobago football really, really should not need so much money. That is usually down to corruption and mismanagement.
      They will need some help. Sure. But probably not as much as they get now.

    • Isnt the TTFA getting a automatic payment from FIFA every Year?

    • Yes. US$250,000. New FIFA president Gianni Infantino has promised to increase that payment to a whopping US$1.375 million per year.
      But he has not delivered on that promise yet.

    • oh boi we may just make that that in TT$ from ALL sources we have… you know what we could do with that money every year? Triathlon doesn’t get a cent from its IF other than Program support for youth and development camps and some other expenses (mostly travel expense reimbursement which usually does not cover the entire cost of travel….that may amount to a total of about TT$ 20,000.00 plus our subsidy that has been cut by 14% and is now less than $250,000.00 and a few sponsor deals mostly in product also totaling less than TT$ 100,000.00

  44. An excellent read. That being said, if I see “medal” being used as a verb one more time…

  45. Set programs and systems continues to be a far fetched reality smh

    • I really hope Wired868 can discuss this at more depth with the TTOC. Maybe we simply don’t know enough about what is being done.
      For instance, Njisane Phillip said the TTOC arranged for him to train with Cycling USA before the 2012 Olympics. And clearly Keshorn Walcott was also managed pretty well since he showed his obvious talent.

    • Of course it can be much better I’m sure. But I’d like to know about what systems are in place at present.

    • Would really like to see the progression of our athletes from the primary level all the way up to senior or highest level….that’s when we will know that something is working where we identify and nurture the talent early…and this goes for all sports…for some reason I only see this kind of progress from the cricket fraternity but I stand to be corrected by more experienced folks

    • Once we aren’t telling a fast eight year old that he is the next Bolt. Make sure the young ones have good coaches. But let them enjoy student life too.
      They wont be ready to start serious training until they are 16 or so.

    • Agreed but just would like us to have a starting point, a strong foundation.

  46. There is improvement but at a snail’s pace compared to most Olympian countries. While the ‘competitive’ countries are improving like Usain Bolt’s 9.63 performance in the 2012 Olympics 100M, T&T’s Olympian performance improvement is at the speed of 1896 Olympian Tom Burke who won the 100 yards (91.44 meters) in 12 seconds.