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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) News Thread

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Sando prince:
For T&T
Olympic icon offers Montreal gold to 10golds24 fund
By Garth Wattley
Published on Jan 27, 2015, 7:57 pm AST (T&T Express)

Hasely Crawford put his Olympic gold medal where his mouth is yesterday.

Catching the audience at the atrium of the Guardian Group offices in Westmoorings completely by surprise, the 1976 Montreal 100 metres champion said he would put up the medal and the gear he wore on that historic day to be leased, in support of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.

“I am offering my Olympic gold medal, my jersey, my pants, the socks and the shoes to you, the Olympic Association,” Crawford said, addressing a stunned TTOC president Brian Lewis at the head table. “You need to work out some form of arrangement where it can be leased to support our young people.”

Crawford’s words were followed by sustained applause from the gathering that was there to witness a cheque presentation by the Guardian Group in support of the Olympic Committee’s #10golds24 project.

Before presentation time arrived however, Crawford made a passionate plea for public support for the Fund.

Recalling his own personal struggles in the build-up to his Montreal triumph, he said: “A lot of people do not understand what an athlete goes through, especially to win an Olympic medal.”

He then gave examples of the current need for corporate help involving, “two of our young, budding athletes, 16, 17,” who, “personally I feel they will be world beaters in time to come.”

Crawford recalled: “Their coach came to me and said, Mr Crawford, one of these athletes needs to have an MRI but he doesn’t have the funding...I made some enquiries and it was done.

“He brought another athlete, we talking about Olympic potentials, she did not have a proper pair of shoes or equipment to train. I’m saying these things so you all could understand how important these things are...

“Ladies and gentlemen, to win an Olympic gold medal is not easy. You need a lot of support, especially our younger athletes...The reason I stay with it is that we have a lot of very, very poor athletes. If we really want to win these 10 gold medals, we need to really come forward and support Mr Lewis.”

Speaking to the Express later about his offer, Crawford elaborated: “I am offering to them (for the medal and gear) to be leased to some company and the proceeds will go towards the Olympic Association.

He added: “It doesn’t make sense me having it in my house, it’s for Trinidad and Tobago.”

Crawford said he has other projects in mind, the full details of which are still to be worked out.

In response, a still shocked Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, who walked Sunday’s T&T International Marathon to kick off the Welfare and Preparation Fund said: “The gesture is awesome. I’m almost speechless at what Hasely Crawford today has offered to do, not only in support of not only the provision of 10 Olympic medals by the year 2024, but the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. I didn’t come here anticipating that was going to happen.”

TTOC in business
Olympic body gets more corporate help for #10 gold 24
By Mark Pouchet
Story Created: Jan 29, 2015 at 12:09 AM ECT (T&T Express)

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis’s smile was a bit broader yesterday after four corporate entities handed over cheques to the #10gold24 Athlete Preparation and Welfare Fund.

At the TTOC headquarters on Abercromby Street, Colombus Communications, Southern Sales, Toyota and Deloitte & Touche all delivered undisclosed amounts to the local Olympic organisation for the fund that Lewis launched with his 26.2mile walk in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon Sunday.

The investment follows the $250,000 cheque the Guardian Group donated yesterday to the Fund.

Just Tuesday, former Olympic committee president Douglas Camacho appealed to corporate T&T to stop the bandwagon jumping and step forward to help local athletes at the development stage.

Yesterday, Lewis hoped that this would be the start of a long-lasting relationship with the new investors.

“This is a first time for the Olympic Committee, not only because of the rollout of the #10 gold24 and the establishment of the athletes Preparation and Welfare Fund, but in terms of the signalling to the national community the transformation and the modernisation of the TTOC marketing approach,” Lewis said. He added that the TTOC was adapting a new social and digital media initiative to connect with a younger audience.

“We have to be scrupulously honest. The idea is we would love to see at some point it (this relationship) evolve and that you find the experience such a fantastic one that you want to take it to the top partner level but at this point in time it is really about the athletes and no one stakeholder can do it all, because it is not an inexpensive proposition,” Lewis said.

Lewis added that the TTOC is also taking a more proactive approach to fan and corporate engagement.

By expanding to other corporate stakeholders, Lewis hoped to secure more resources to help more athletes.

“What the Fund/project is allowing us to do is to satisfy the demands of our relationship with our top partners but also afford an opportunity to other businesses and corporate entities in the marketplace to engage and be part of what we believe is an absolutely powerful initiative which is to engage the young people of T&T in a contemporary and dynamic way ......I hope your involvement is not a one-off because we have to recognise that this is an ongoing relationship,” Lewis stated.

TTOC secretary general Annette Knot said the TTOC executive was extremely proud of Lewis and his initiative that has garnered so much support.

“The TTOC, we were really proud that Mr (Brian) Lewis decided to make this very bold step with this walk,” Knot said. “ We are very proud of him but I can’t tell you the momentum it has given us, because now we have so many more people very conscious of the Fund. Of course, just the evidence of you being here today says to us that the step he took was a bold step and we are very happy that he did, because we know it will actually transfer from being cheques today to being actual performances tomorrow and going forward.”

Lewis promised the sponsors and the national community that the TTOC will ensure through good accounting practices that all money given to the Fund will go directly to benefitting the athlete and the process will be transparent and accountable to stakeholders.

Steps in the right direction.

All aboard #10golds24 bandwagon gets rolling
By Fazeer Mohammed (T&T Express)
Story Created: Feb 1, 2015 at 8:10 PM ECT (T&T Guardian)

HOLDING COURT: Trinidad and Tobago’s first Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford addresses the audience at the Guardian Group’s office in Westmoorings last Tuesday. Occasion was the Guardian Group’s presentation of a $250,000 cheque to the #10 golds 24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund, an initiative of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC). Looking on from left is Douglas Camacho, Guardian Group Executive Director and Group President Strategic Investments, TTOC president Brian Lewis and Larry Olton, Group Vice President. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

It’s only natural to be suspicious of Brian Lewis’ motives. This is a country where walking the talk isn’t a priority, especially among public figures. So when the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) fulfilled his stated commitment to walking the marathon distance last week Sunday in launching a fund-raising effort targeting the next three Summer Olympic Games, it was time to take notice.

First of all, what planet is this fella on? I mean, in our history of Olympic participation going back 66-plus years, there are only two gold medals to show for it. Granted, the second came at the last edition in London in 2012, but to suggest that Keshorn Walcott’s out-of-the-blue triumph in the javelin could be the trigger for an avalanche (for us) of golden success in 2016, 2020 and 2024 is like the Prime Minister believing this latest matter surrounding the Attorney General will merely blow over after nine days or so.

Anyway, as utterly ludicrous as it sounds, the TTOC boss has already managed to snare some big-name corporate support, with the Guardian Group igniting the flame of private sector interest to the tune of $250,000. I actually thought it was a misprint when the information appeared in the media a week ago. Surely it was $25,000 and not a quarter-of-a-million dollars. Four others have since come on board, although their contributions are yet to be publicly disclosed.

Maybe Lewis should try selling snake oil in his spare time, or bags of party ice cubes to the Inuit of northern Canada. But his biggest coup, so far, was to get Hasely Crawford to sprint onto the bandwagon in pursuit of this ambitious, audacious project.

Anyone with even a passing interest in the life and times of the nation’s first Olympic gold medallist would be aware of his increasing bitterness and deepening sense of hurt over the manner in which he has been treated by successive governments and the general public since beating Jamaica’s Don Quarrie to the 100-metre finish line in Montreal, in 1976.

We can debate long into the night whether or not Crawford’s angst is justified. But right or wrong, it doesn’t change the fact that the man has been vex like hell for all sorts of different reasons for almost 40 years. So for him to announce that his Olympic gold medal and the gear he wore for that historic occasion is to be leased to the TTOC in support of the #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund – that’s the official name of the project – is almost as unexpected as Anand Ramlogan being contrite and apologetic about anything.

So what’s really at play here? Granted that as an insurance salesman he would know a thing or two about making an effective pitch, but how does he attract so much significant backing so soon when most administrators in other sports have struggled for years to garner even a fraction of that support?

As we know only too well, credibility is at the very heart of the problem when it comes to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, custodians of our most popular sport, to the extent that potential benefactors prefer to pay third parties to manage the money rather than let it go to the TTFA directly.

There are three things we claim to crave but really only demand it of others, not ourselves: integrity, transparency and accountability. Could it be that Lewis has convinced enough important people that he is prepared to abide by those three musketeers of effective, progressive governance in pursuit of a dream? If so, he has established for himself a dizzyingly high standard, one that very, very few are prepared to be held up against for at least the next nine years.

Will we even remember this ideal of ten golds by 2024 after the flame of the Games of that year is extinguished? What measurable difference will it make anyway to basic issues like quality of life or higher ideals like a sense of nationhood should the goal be attained or surpassed?

Whether or not you choose to remain sceptical or prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt, Brian Lewis has put himself out there in a manner few of us are willing to do. As encouraging as the early signs are, he must know that it only takes one false move for the whole thing to come crashing down around him. Rest assured, there are some willing the venture of fail for nothing more than narrow, selfish motives.

So stay on the fence if you will, but unless he is exposed as a crook, a thief and a charlatan, I am prepared to get on board for an exercise that could only be for the good of the country.

President Lewis walking the talk
Anand Rampersad (T&T Guardian)
Published: Sunday, February 1, 2015

Brian Lewis, President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) deserves commendation for his visibly proactive effort to lay a solid foundation for T&T elite athletes to win at least 10 gold medals by the 2024 Summer Olympics through the Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative.
Any unbiased observer will quickly acknowledge that Lewis is discharging his responsibilities with passion, optimism and practicality.
He is clear about what he would like to achieve, is passionately optimistic and is making every effort to ensure that these goals are attainable.
The success of modern day sports is dependent upon a number of primary and secondary stakeholders. The primary stakeholders are the athletes who through their respective skills and talent perform outstanding feats to the satisfaction of supporters, sponsors and everyone else who appreciate the value of outstanding performances.
However, it is important to appreciate that the success of athletes is connected to the organizational and managerial skills of sporting administrators. This may be more so in developing countries where economic resources and other infrastructural requirements may be lacking.
Behind the public scenes administrators work assiduously to ensure that all the relevant resources and opportunities are available so that elite athletes can train without undue non-training issues.
Administrators are responsible for the development and implementation strategic plans that will ensure continuous improvement of programmes to achieve clearly identifiable goals.
These plans are not only about the athletes but also the requisite human resource support.
This is required to ensure that athletes are provided with the current scientific training that is available so that they can compete internationally on an equal footing.
The TTOC Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative is a manifestation of the importance of a dynamic and proactive sports administrator. Achieving 10 gold medals or more will be a costly activity as potential Olympians have to be exposed to the best training and other resources available.
Therefore, instead of sitting back and awaiting for the state to dole out funds, Lewis and the TTOC have embarked upon creatively proactive strategies to raise funds.
Lewis’ appeal has been to both corporate T&T and the general public for sponsorship.
To raise awareness and to personally market the goal of the TTOC he put his body through the grueling demands of walking the 26.2 miles T&T marathon last Sunday from Freeport junction to the Queen’s Park Savannah.
It was a clear demonstration of leading from the front. The goal of this venture was to raise $500 000.
His feat was well supported by family, friends and members of the sporting fraternity.
At the end of the walk he reflected on the wide ranging support he received by stating “I am glad it (the walk) resonated so deeply with the public and it just goes to show there are still wonderful and tremendous people in this country who want to see the country progress.”
Lewis’s effort has immediately had an impact as the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, Hasely Crawford.
Crawford has pledged his support by offering for lease his gold medal and full outfit he wore when he defeated Donald Quarrie (Jamaica) silver medal and Valeriy Borzov (Russia) bronze medal to win 100 metres in 10.06 seconds at the Montreal Games. Crawford reiterated that winning an Olympic gold medal is no easy feat and hence the importance of providing support to young athletes in order for them to realise their goals.
Corporate T&T have also responded positively. The Guardian Group have donated $250,000 and other sponsors have been Columbus Communications, Deloitte & Touche and Southern Sales, Toyota. These gestures may be the cue for other corporate entities to follow.
The TTOC is also appealing to corporate T&T to provide internship, mentorship and work opportunities for elite athletes. This strategy will help provide the athletes with an important living comfort which will allow them to train freely without the burden of having to search for financial support.
Lewis has also used his weekly Guardian column to articulate his ideas about the administration of sports and also the importance of sports as a means of building the social and economic capital of the country. There are important lessons for administrators of other sporting administrators to follow.
There is an indeterminacy about sports so success is not guaranteed. There will be constructive critics and there will be the outright naysayers. The latter is an unfortunate feature of our culture- crab in barrel syndrome- some bask in failures or shortcomings of others. However, one cannot fault Lewis and the TTOC for making a concerted effort to achieve their goals of #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Donations to #10golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund can be made at any Scotia Bank Branch the TTOC Account number is 171188 or by cheque made payable to TTOC which can be dropped off or posted to TTOC Olympic House 121 Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad.


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