A Republic Day salute to our sporting heroes

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It was in­deed en­cour­ag­ing to see the young ath­letes re­ceiv­ing ac­knowl­edge­ment for their ef­forts. Dr Ian Hy­po­lite was al­so ho­n­oured. All in all, it was good 42nd Re­pub­lic Day for Sport in Trinidad and To­ba­go.

We all should join in the ap­plause for our ath­letes who were ho­n­oured by Her Ex­cel­len­cy the Pres­i­dent Paula-Mae Weekes at NA­PA, Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day. Women's cy­clist Teneil Camp­bell, swim­mer Dy­lan Carter and the men's cy­cling trio of Nicholas Paul, Kwe­si Browne and two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip to­geth­er with for­mer box­ing cham­pi­on Michael Paul - with the Hum­ming­bird Medal - Sil­ver.

Al­so list­ed is Ha­ji Mo­hammed Ho­sein, a re­tired school Prin­ci­pal, who was ho­n­oured for his con­tri­bu­tion to Sports and Ed­u­ca­tion.

And fi­nal­ly, Kent Be­de Bernard, who proud­ly com­pet­ed main­ly in the 400 me­tres event in the 1960s and 70s for T&T and Dr Ian Hy­po­lite, who was one of the na­tion­al coach­es at the 2013 World Cham­pi­onships in Moscow, Rus­sia, where helped guid­ed then 21-year-old Je­hue Gor­don to a his­toric gold medal in the men's 400 me­tres hur­dles event, and who lat­er named the North Amer­i­ca, Cen­tral Amer­i­ca and the Caribbean (NACAC) Coach of the Year, were both recog­nised with the Hum­ming­bird Medal - Gold.

Mean­while, ear­ly on Re­pub­lic Day morn­ing at 4 am to be ex­act, the Shell In­vaders Re­pub­lic Day Tra­di­tion­al Jourvert Jump Up got un­der­way. It was fan­tas­tic to see every creed and race com­ing to­geth­er and hav­ing a good time. One couldn't help but no­tice that most present were a num­ber of sport­ing per­son­al­i­ties and icons from the past. It served as a time­ly re­minder that there was a time in Trinidad and To­ba­go when sport and cul­ture went hand in hand. Many of our sports per­son­al­i­ties were very in­volved in Car­ni­val and the steel band fra­ter­ni­ty.

Sport, mu­sic and Trin­bag­on­ian cul­ture re­flect the best of us dur­ing this Re­pub­lic Day cel­e­bra­tions.

Noth­ing show­cas­es our quin­tes­sen­tial Trin­bag­o­ni­aness like our sport and our mu­sic and the cre­ative side of us all.

As the sun came up and the pul­sat­ing sound of our steel band mu­sic ser­e­nad­ed the large crowd chip­ping along Tra­garette road and around the Queens Park Oval.

The cho­rus we can make it if we try rang out as those chip­ping along sang lusti­ly. It seemed as if it was a state­ment of de­fi­ance.

We can make it if We try Trinidad and To­ba­go.

For six hours it was if as one the Shell In­vaders led Jump Up was de­ter­mined to reaf­firm that this coun­try be­longs to the peo­ple of this twin-is­land Re­pub­lic.

Trinidad and To­ba­go would not suc­cumb to the crim­i­nals or the cor­rupt or those hell-bent on de­stroy­ing or di­vid­ing our coun­try.

A num­ber of peo­ple were over­heard say­ing.." they could do want they want noth­ing will make me leave this coun­try Trinidad and To­ba­go.

It may very well have been the pure joy of sweet steel band mu­sic. Who knows. But re­gard­less Re­pub­lic Day did high­light what's great about our peo­ple and this beloved Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to every­one who re­ceived na­tion­al awards and in par­tic­u­lar the sports per­son­al­i­ties.

To Shell In­vaders well done may the Re­pub­lic day Tra­di­tion­al Jourvert Jump Up grow from strength to strength.

Ed­i­tor's Note:

Bri­an Lewis is the Pres­i­dent of T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) and the views ex­pressed are not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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