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Dear Editor: ‘Our athletes have not failed; our administrators have failed them’

“[…] The blame for our poor showing has to rest with the government and the national sporting organisation: the NAAATT.

“The athletes have been complaining for years about the non-support and lack of planning by the administrators but these grievances have not been addressed…”

The following letter to the editor on Trinidad and Tobago’s showing at the Tokyo Olympic Games was submitted to Wired868 by Canada-based Trinidad and Tobago track coach, Tony Hatt:

Image: Team Trinidad and Tobago!
Art Direction @that_guy_ren
Character design and Lineart: @lyskette
Colors @_stratuss_
Editor @swaggrlyn
(via TTOC)

As we look forward to the last event on the track of the 2020 Olympics, Trinidad and Tobago’s medal chances rest on the shoulders of these four runners: the 4x400m men’s relay team.

Team Trinidad and Tobago has endured a medal drought at this Olympics and we cannot blame the athletes. The blame for our poor showing has to rest with the government and the national sporting organisation: the NAAATT.

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The athletes have been complaining for years about the non-support and lack of planning by the administrators but these grievances have not been addressed.

When the achievements don’t come, many of these athletes feel the venom from devastated fans. It is important to separate an athlete’s worth from their achievements or natural ability. They are not inherently a better person because they achieved, or less of a person if they did not. 

Importantly, when an athlete does achieve, there is cause for celebration; but we need to celebrate the effort, the sacrifices and attitude that got them there. For many of our athletes, they got there with limited support from the administration.

Photo: Tyra Gittens competes in the qualification rounds of the women’s long jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
(Copyright AP)

So don’t blame the athletes, blame those in charge and demand better administration. The athletes have done their best and, although hampered by the Covid pandemic, they soldiered on without assistance.

Let’s applaud them for their efforts; but at the same time we need to let the administrators know that they have failed again and again and continue to set up our athletes for failure.

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3 comments

  1. The medals we’ve won in the pass have all been as a result of extreme hard work and determination of the successful athletes. Unless we get genuine/smart administrators and tangible inputs from government and corporate T&T (to fund the technical upgrade of coaches etc) it may take a very long time before we come remotely close to repeating those ‘successes’. Outside of that we have to continue to hope U.S. colleges give scholarships to our athletes so they can get the exposure to quality programs i.e NCAA Division one schools (not 2nd and 3rd tier schools which is better than staying at home anyway). To get the necessary competition/experience under their belts. Athletics have evolved to a level that athletes are supported by a cadre of highly trained personnel backed by the best sport technology and science have to offer. Basically we (individuals) are coming up against highly specialized athletic programs and the results are what we are seeing now

  2. In Trinidad, we should have at least two fully equipped centres for athletes where they have “first class” accomodations, weight facilities, physiotherapy attention/treatment, food and nutrition catering, transport to and from the facilities, cold/ice baths, clothing and footwear, the centres to have top class security, equipment to be well maintained and replaced as necessary, etc
    All the above to be financed by the government.
    I believe giving an athlete temporary accommodation in Federation Park does not help them improve performance in their event .
    Regards,
    Alan

  3. Tony, the die is now cast. As far as track and field is concerned, there are no medals to come home from Tokyo.

    Surely you need to say more than you have said here. Surely you owe it to the athletes to identify the concrete ways in which the administrators have let them down.

    I feel sure Wired868 readers would love to hear the reasons why, you think, we failed so miserably, unable to bring home a single medal of any colour.