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Ace Trinidad and Tobago swimmer George Bovell made a winning start to his 2014 FINA World Cup campaign when he took the gold medal in the 100 individual medley (IM) on the first day of the FINA/Mastbank World Cup meet in Doha, Qatar yesterday.
Bovell who left the Commonwealth Games without a medal, got back to his winning ways when he touched the wall first in the 100 IM final in 52.80 seconds to win comfortably ahead of South African Leith Shankland who was second in 53.77, while Austria’s Martin Spitzer was third ion 54.77.
Halfway through the race, Bovell lay second behind Australian Bobby Burley,with a 24.55 split, but the 31-year-old multiple Word Cup medallist was strongest over the final 50 metres.
Earlier, Bovell, swimming in heat two, was the fastest qualifier in 51.15 seconds.
Bovell, will also contest his specialty 50 metres freestyle today. He was expected to go in heat four.
However, yesterday, he also competed in the 50m breaststroke but failed to make the final. Bovell was the 10th fastest in the field in 27.51.
South Africa took their second-straight men’s event when Roland Schoeman won the race in 26.35.
Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli placed second in 26.54, and Switzerland’s Martin Schweizer was third in 26.80. Schweizer’s swim broke the old Swiss national record by .09 seconds. South African Giulio Zorzi, a former Worlds medallist in the long course version of this event, was fourth in 26.94.
Yesterday’s medal was Bovell’s 30th in the World Cup series, including the last two years. In 2013, he had a haul of 13, including one gold, five silver and seven bronze. In 2012, Bovell had done even better with 16 medals (nine gold, seven silver).

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The IOC President, Thomas Bach, gave a very positive assessment of the second summer edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing when talking at the closing press conference today. The YOG close tonight after 12 days of exciting competition, and educational and cultural activities.

In line with the vision of the YOG to use existing venues, President Bach started by commending the organisers, “We have an organising committee that was not only an efficient one, but also a very sustainable one. I congratulate them on making excellent use of existing venues and facilities from the 2005 Chinese National Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.”

A popular addition to the Games has been the brand new Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab concept, where roller sports, skateboarding, sport climbing and wushu were showcased in one space attracting some 3,000 visitors per day.  “We are very happy about the success of the ‘Sports Lab’, and we are already are thinking about its future and what role it can play in the Youth Olympic Games,” said President Bach.

Nanjing also witnessed the resounding success of new events such as 5-a-side hockey and an 8x100m relay in athletics; new sports – golf and rugby; and confirmation of the extraordinary appeal of the mixed team and mixed country events. As the IOC President affirmed, “These have been Youth Olympic Games of innovation.”

Social media played a unprecedented role in Nanjing to engage with the young athletes. The #YOGselfie campaign reached over 400 million people in the first 24 hours after the IOC President mentioned it at the Opening Ceremony. In China alone, 56 million people have posted #YOGselfie and 147 million #nanjing2014. Some 600,000 interactions were also registered via YOGGER, a key given to each participant to share contacts.

The athletes were also given the opportunity to take part in a number of fun and educational activities that will not only help them better understand important issues such as leading healthy lifestyles and the dangers of doping, but will also teach them about the meaning of the Olympic values and what it means to behave in a socially responsible manner. The Culture and Education Programme in Nanjing attracted a record number of 100,000 participations and aims to help those taking part in their future careers.

President Bach finally commended the seamless organisation and the efficiency of the Chinese hosts, and praised the volunteer programme, which will be one of the many strong legacies of these Games.

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NATIONAL SPRINT queen, Michelle Lee Ahye, has been positively recovering from a recent hamstring injury which she sustained after capturing her first European sprint-double at the annual Spitzen Leichtathletik meet in Lucerne, Switzerland, on July 15.

Following her ailment, the 22-year old ace sprinter was forced to sit out her campaign at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, where she was internationally favoured to produce another golden showing in both the 100-metre and 200m events. At the Swiss meet however, which was used as a prep ahead of the Commonwealth, Ahye pulled up on the line in severe pain after winning the 200m in a speedy 22.77 seconds.

In the process, Ahye equalled her personal best clocking she recorded at the National Championships in early July and also beat to the line two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica), and Americans Tiffany Townsend and Kimberly Duncan.

“My recovery is coming along really good. I’m not back to a hundred percent as yet, but I’m close to it. I’m back at training to the max but still have a little more work to do. I just want to end my season on a good note and walk away healthy and with a new personal best time in both the 100m and 200m,” she explained.

Three days before her sprint-double in Switzerland, Ahye also raced to victory in the British Athletics Grand Prix IAAF Diamond League women’s 100m clocking 11.01. Here, she claimed the scalps of Jamaica’s two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (silver 11.10 and 2011 World 100m champion, American Carmelita Jeter.

Upon the revelation of Ahye’s inability to represent the red, white and black in Glasgow, several local and international athletic gurus questioned the large amount of meets she contested leading up to the Commonwealth Games. Some were of the idea that she may have been a bit too overworked. Speaking with the athlete from her Houston, Texas, base over the weekend, she revealed that it was the lengthy waiting period for the medal ceremony in Switzerland, which may have played a crucial role in her left hamstring injury.

“My injury was caused after the 100m in Lucerne. They (officials) had me waiting for the medal ceremony and I (my body) got cold and wasn’t able to get worked on (by physiotherapist) before the 200m, so I went into that event cold. The speed I was going at in the 200m made my muscle tie up,” she added.

Presently, the Tranquility Government Secondary is ranked second fastest (10.85) on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) senior outdoor women’s 200m list and sixth fastest (7.10) on the indoor circuit.

Ahye, who competes locally for club Rebirth, heaped praises on her coach Eric Francis and agent Treshell Mayo, for her continued success. She acknowledged their significant input into her athletic training and development regime and for providing her with a professional and comprehensive outlook on sprint training.

When asked about her personal feeling after beating Fraser-Pryce and Campbell-Brown at both European meets, Ahye stated, “Me beating the reigning Olympic gold medallist, that is one feeling I’ll never forget. I really can’t explain it, but all I knew after everything settled after that race, I took some time to myself and started to cry and was thanking the Lord. My confidence and motivation went sky high after that day.”

Ahye is presently with her coach in the US recuperating from her injury and preparing to conclude her 2014 competitive season. Her ultimate objective as a TT sprinter is to capture precious metal on the sporting world’s biggest stage, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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It is imperative that the TTOC, NSOs, the Minister of Sport , Ministry of Sport and Sport company of Trinidad and Tobago have a shared vision and consensus on the way forward.

Change brings with it uncertain , doubt ,confusion and a loss of confidence.

Knowing what are our shared  priorities , getting them right and following  them will be a critical success factor if local sport is to overcome the perceived crisis it has fond itself in. We can't  act as if all is well. It is not. Its not business as usual.

When times are good there is a margin for error.

With Rio 2016 on the horizon there is no margin for error.

There are issues that must be addressed .

We can't allow red tape and bureaucracy to become an insurmountable obstacle.

We have a duty and responsibility to approach the current situation with a sense of urgency. We don't have the luxury of time.

The journey to achieve Olympic and World level sporting success is a long and difficult one  we are almost  to Rio 2016 . We can't afford to slip up.

We run the risk of 8 to 12 years of planning  going down the drain.

The planning for 2020 and beyond is already in train.

There will always be setbacks and detours but how we react will determine if we remain on course for success or not.

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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has joined International Rugby Board President Bernard Lapasset and the global Rugby family in hailing the inaugural Youth Olympic Games Rugby Sevens event.

Bach was joined by a host of IOC and NOC members at a packed venue in Nanjing to see the newest Olympic sport and witness a compelling, exciting tournament with boys and girls teams from around the globe competing for the first Olympic Rugby gold medals to be awarded in 90 years.

With the festival atmosphere making the Rugby Sevens one of the must-see events in Nanjing, Australia’s girls and France’s boys made history by claiming the inaugural gold medals. China’s girls delighted the home crowd to take bronze and Fiji claimed a first-ever Olympic medal with bronze in the boys’ competition.

Bach said: “It's a great competition, you can see how dynamic and fascinating Rugby Sevens can be and is, and we are looking forward to a great tournament in Rio. It is always critical to get it right at a big event like the Youth Olympics Games or Olympic Games.”

It was an historic and emotional occasion for Lapasset, who is now looking forward to ensuring a successful and spectacular Rugby Sevens debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“It was a very special, emotional and historic occasion for the global Rugby family and the players and the competition was exciting and played in the shared values of the Youth Olympics and Rugby,” said Lapasset.

“The future is certainly bright for global Rugby and we can now look forward to delivering a Rugby Sevens event at the Rio Games that is great for the Olympics, great for Rugby and great for Brazil.”

Embraced by the host nation, the IRB has worked in partnership with the IOC and the local organising committee to deliver its Get Into Rugby participation programme. Centred on participation and enjoyment, the Get Into Rugby activity in Nanjing featured team visits and coaching clinics to local schools during the Games, capping a programme that has introduced more than 3,000 local boys and girls to Rugby in the last three years.

Double Winter Olympic Games gold medallist and Rugby Canada player Heather Moyse was on hand to assist in her capacity as an IOC Athlete Role Model.

“There is no doubt that Rugby Sevens will be a hit at Rio. We have witnessed a great competition that has captivated the locals, provided our young players with an incredible experience on and off the field and showcased Rugby and its character-building values to the world.”

“Rio is going to be a great event. It will be massive for Rugby’s growth and there is no doubt that our top players are looking forward to it.”

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Top local women’s beach volleyball pair, Ayana Dyette and Nancy Joseph sealed a ticket to the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games scheduled for Mexico, in November when they won their best-of-two series against Elki Phillip and Pauline Woodroffe at Saith Park, Chaguanas, Beach Volleyball Facility, on Sunday.

The tournament was expected to be a four-team one, but with Malika Davidson and Chelsi Ward at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in China, and Apphia Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph absent, the second-leg of the qualifiers was a two-team affair between Dyette and Joseph, and main rivals, Phillip and Woodroffe.

And despite only playing one match, Dyette and Joseph did not have things all their way though as they needed to come from a first set deficit to earn their victory, 12-21, 21-13, 15-13 to stretch their unbeaten run to nine tournaments locally for the season.

Last month, Dyette and Joseph took the bold step towards earning the lone ticket to represent T&T in the women’s competition in Mexico when they played unbeaten in the first of three, four-team round-robin qualifiers at Chaguanas.

The experienced duo, who have been T&T’s lone women’s representatives on the Norceca Beach Volleyball Circuit this season, outplayed FIVB World Under-21 Championships participants Ward and Davidson 21-11, 21-17 before powering past Phillip and Woodroffe 21-9, 21-13, and Glasgow and Joseph 21-16, 21-8 to end with a 3-0 record.

Phillip and Woodroffe took second spot with a 2-1 mark after beating Glasgow and Joseph 21-10, 21-16, and Davidson and Ward 17-21, 21-14, 21-19 while Glasgow and Joseph defeated Chelsi Ward and Malika Davidson 15-21, 21-14, 15-11 for third.

So far this season, Dyette and Joseph were 12th in the fifth leg on the sand courts of Huixquilucan, Toluca, Mexico, in June after starting off with an 11th-placed finish in the Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands followed by 12th in Guatemala City and a best so far of seventh, in Antigua, Guatemala, during the third leg.

After missing out on the sixth and seventh legs of the tour in North Bay, Canada (July 9-14) and Varadero, Cuba (August 20-25), the local women will return to the tour for the eighth leg in Puerto Rico from September 17 - 22.

The remaining legs will then take place in Chula, Vista, California, USA, (October 1-6); Vera Cruz, Mexico, (October 15-20), Costa Rica, (October 22-27) and the final leg for a third straight year, in T&T, Pigeon Point to be exact, from November 12-17.

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