Athletes share $5M for medal success

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe, from left, track and field athlete Jereem Richards and President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, Brian Lewis. AYANNA KINSALE

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TT$5 mil­lion was dis­trib­uted to na­tion­al ath­letes yes­ter­day at a func­tion host­ed by the Min­is­ter of Sport and Youth Af­fairs, Sham­fa Cud­joe at the Na­tion­al Rac­quet Cen­tre in Tacarigua where the min­is­ter used the op­por­tu­ni­ty to of­fi­cial­ly launch the Na­tion­al Pol­i­cy on Sport 2017 – 2027.

It was done in the pres­ence of a num­ber of sport­ing dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing T&T’s first Olympic gold medal­list Hase­ly Craw­ford, world bat­ting cham­pi­on Bri­an Lara and tal­ent­ed foot­baller Rus­sell Lat­apy, who were each pre­sent­ed a copy of the 64-page pol­i­cy.

“Sports have the pow­er to change the world. It has the pow­er to in­spire, the pow­er to unite peo­ple in a way that lit­tle else does”. said Min­is­ter Cud­joe, quot­ing the for­mer fa­mous South African pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela.

“I am sur­round­ed by he­roes,” said Cud­joe, who al­so had the at­ten­tion of Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion An­tho­ny Gar­cia, Min­is­ter of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices Cher­rie-Ann Crichlow-Cock­burn and Lyn­dell Hoyte-Sanchez, Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor of Sport at the To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA). “It is my priv­i­lege and plea­sure to be here to launch the Na­tion­al Pol­i­cy on Sports 2017-2027 as we recog­nise sport­ing ex­cel­lence with our na­tion­al ath­letes who would have medalled at the re­gion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al Games,

“The 2002 pol­i­cy fo­cused on the de­vel­op­ment of sport un­der two main ar­eas, to­tal par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport and high-per­for­mance sport. Though at the time the 2oo2 pol­i­cy was con­sid­ered to be holis­tic in its ap­proach to sports de­vel­op­ment, it was nev­er ful­ly im­ple­ment­ed.

“The na­tion­al pol­i­cy on sports 2017-2027 would have cap­i­talised on any de­fi­cien­cies iden­ti­fied with the pre­vi­ous pol­i­cy and rec­ti­fied. The new pol­i­cy adopts a com­pre­hen­sive and col­lab­o­ra­tive frame­work for ac­tion.”

Cud­joe promised that her min­istry will en­sure that all in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions re­spon­si­ble for ser­vic­ing the needs of the sport are equipped with the nec­es­sary skill and com­pe­ten­cies to ad­e­quate­ly do same. As­sur­ing that the sports min­istry will work with the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to­wards the de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment plans for na­tion­al gov­ern­ing bod­ies.

She said: “We will es­tab­lish the sport­ing in­dus­try as a vi­able can­di­date for eco­nom­ic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion by cap­i­tal­is­ing and max­imis­ing rev­enue gen­er­at­ing po­ten­tial and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. And es­tab­lish T&T as a re­gion­al de­vel­op­ment cen­tre for sport in the Eng­lish-speak­ing Caribbean Re­gion and cap­i­talise on ex­ist­ing sports in­fra­struc­ture and mar­ket them to the wider Caribbean.

Cud­joe al­so in­di­cat­ed that her min­istry wants to in­stall struc­tured phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes in pri­ma­ry and sec­ondary schools which re­ceived a rous­ing round of ap­plause from the au­di­ence which al­so in­clud­ed Com­mon­wealth cham­pi­on Jereem Richards, Sprint­er Kyle Greaux, hur­dler Rue­bin Wal­ters, box­er Nigel Paul, sprint­er Re­yare Thomas who col­lect­ed on be­half of the sil­ver-win­ning women’s re­lay team (Se­moy Hack­ett, Kali­fa St Fort, Za­kiya De­noon), mem­bers of both the men’s hock­ey team and the women’s vol­ley­ball team, both bronze medal­lists at the CAC Games in Bar­ran­quil­la, Colom­bia and Parath­letes Akeem Stew­art and Nyoshia Cain.

Denise Arneaud, deputy per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Sport, gave the open­ing re­marks while per­ma­nent sec­re­tary Nico­lette Duke pre­sent­ed an overview on the pol­i­cy.

Lat­er on, T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) pres­i­dent Bri­an Lewis and chair­man of the Sports Com­pa­ny of T&T, Dou­glas Co­ma­cho, ex­pressed their plea­sure in be­ing part of the process and Patrice Charles, Di­rec­tor Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Sport in the Sports Min­istry closed with a vote of thanks.

Cud­joe ad­vised that Cab­i­net ap­proved the re­ward of na­tion­al teams which cre­ate his­to­ry by qual­i­fy­ing for their re­spec­tive World Cups for the first time, like the women’s se­nior vol­ley­ball team, who will make their de­but at the World Women’s Vol­ley­ball Cham­pi­onships in Japan lat­er this year.

So ap­pre­cia­tive of the sup­port, the Renele Forde-led team pre­sent­ed Cud­joe with an au­to­graphed vol­ley­ball and to­ken of ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the Sports Min­is­ter.

En­ter­tain­ment in­clud­ed pan­nist Der­ron El­lies and singer Ne­hilet Black­man, who sang “Sweet Mu­sic” off her Lega­cy al­bum.

RACHAEL THOMP­SON-KING

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