George Bovell III’s timing was impeccable in Dubai yesterday. Trinidad and Tobago’s most decorated swimmer, competing on the 52nd anniversary of the country’s independence at the second leg of the FIN/Mastbank World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, grabbed gold again in the 100 metres individual medley (IM).
The Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Foundation has continued its partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), presenting a cheque for $150,000 to them towards camps for the national junior athletes during the July-August school vacation period.
The Foundation’s annual sponsorship with TTOC afforded these young athletes the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Youth Camp held in Tobago from July 7-12 and in Trinidad from July 21-26. The Olympic Youth Camp targetted national junior athletes with the aim of preserving Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting Olympic culture.
The Scotiabank Foundation has been partnered with the TTOC since 2010, contributing to the administration of various programmes. The Olympic Youth Camp is just one of the initiatives the TTOC has embarked upon for 2014, with the assistance provided by the Scotiabank Foundation.
The camp attracted athletes, ranging in ages seven to 14 years, who were engaged in art, song, dance, sport and educational sessions. During the camp, the young athletes were challenged and inspired by five Olympic principles — Balance between Body, Mind and Will; Fair Play; Joy of Effort; Respect for other and Pursuit of Excellence.
Daily educational sessions included Leadership, Self-Esteem, Communication, HIV/Aids Awareness, and Paralympic sport.
The campers were introduced to the following sports: Blind Hockey, Cheerleading, Volleyball. Tennis and traditional games such as rounders, hop scotch, jump rope, moral and marble pitch. They were also taken on zip lining and aqua aerobics field trips.
Scotiabank’s support of the TTOC Olympic Youth Camp was made possible through the Scotiabank Bright Future Programme, which is aimed at supporting and investing in initiatives that create opportunities for the sustainable development of youth and communities in which the Bank operates. These initiatives are geared towards the enhancement and well-being of youth particularly in the areas of sport, education, health, community development and culture.
For the second time in little over a month, T&T’s sole reigning Olympic gold medalist Keshorn Walcott broke his national record in men’s javelin by nearly half a metre with a second placed finish in the penultimate leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday.
Walcott threw the spear 85.77m on his first attempt, which was 0.49m greater than the effort in the Commonwealth Games javelin qualifying event late last month. The 21-year-old, who took the world by storm in 2012 after becoming the youngest javelin gold medallist at the Olympic Games and the first from the region, was beaten by number-one ranked Diamond League thrower Thomas Rohler of Germany. Rohler also threw his best mark, 87.63m, on the first attempt.
Walcott was unsuccessful on his second throw but landed 81.11m, 77.38m and 83.99m on his subsequent three attempts.
Finishing third was Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki (85.12m).
T&T athlete, Richard Thompson, was also in action yesterday in the men’s 100m. He placed seventh in 10.26 seconds. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole claimed a season best 9.96 to win the race, while Michael Rodgers (USA) and James Dasaolu (Britain) finished second and third in 10.05 and 10.06 seconds, respectively. Thompson is one of only two T&T athletes to have won a leg in the Diamond League this year.
He opened his account with a 10.02 finish in the first leg in Oslo, which was the fastest time. Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women’s 100m event in Lausanne (10.98) and Glasgow (11.01).
Jamaica then claimed the 100m double, with Veronica Campbell-Brown stealing the women’s race in 11.04 seconds in a photo finish edging of Ivory Coast superstar Murielle Ahoure, who clocked the same time.
Finally for T&T, in the men’s 400m hurdles, Jehue Gordon, who is ranked fourth in the Diamond League, clocked 48.91 seconds to finish fifth. Cornel Fredericks of South Africa won it in a season-best 48.25.
World record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida could only finish third in the 800 metres, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.
Amos, who beat Rushida to gold at the Commonwealth Games last month, won the event in 1 minute, 43.77 seconds.
Souleiman finished in 1:43.93, edging out Rushida on the line by three hundredths of a second.
Elsewhere, world champion LaShawn Merritt comfortably won the 400 with a time of 44.36, beating fellow American Gil Roberts in 44.96. Isaac Makwala of Botswana was third in 45.03.
In the women's events, Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States beat Olympic champion Sally Pearson and European champion Tiffany Porter in the 100 hurdle.
The Zurich leg of the Diamond League will be followed by the final event in Brussels next Thursday.
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).
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has vowed to "do his best" to allow exhibition events and initiation programmes to be showcased at future Olympic Games, although he admits this will require much "study and consultation".
Bach was speaking this afternoon shortly before the Closing Ceremony of the Summer Youth Olympic Games here, where a Sports Lab featuring four demonstration sports - roller skating, skateboarding, sport climbing and wushu - has been of the highlights.
A series of initiation events have also been held to encourage new participants in sports already on the programme, with athletes and local people among those to have benefited.
Lillehammer 2016 chief executive Tomas Holmestad told insidethegames during the Games that he would love to introduce a Sports Lab similar to the one seen here, although he admits it would be harder to adapt the concept to winter disciplines.
After praising the success of the venture, Bach revealed the IOC will speak with the Winter Youth Olympic organisers, although he also echoed the doubts of Holmestad.
"We will have to consider the difference between the Summer and Winter, and also the host country," Bach said.
"In Lillehammer we are in the heartland of winter sports.
"The kids of Lillehammer, they are all on skis before they even start to walk, so this kind of exploration is maybe not so much needed."
Bach also spoke enthusiastically about the initiation events, and sees it as something they will discuss with both Lillehammer 2016 and Rio 2016.
Once again he was optimistic but cautious, referring implicitly to the already tight construction timetable faced by Rio 2016 as something that could prevent there being time for such a plan.
"Not only are we looking to have a Sports Lab but also to offer some of the International Federations, if they want it, to present the kind of initiation programme you saw here, to make themselves more popular all over the world," he revealed.
"This will need some study and consultation because, two years before the Games, the Organising Committee and everybody has to concentrate on the delivery and success of the Games, and you may have to set priorities.
"We will do our best."
Elsewhere, Bach was in a jovial mood, praising multiple aspects of Nanjing 2014, with the Youth Olympic Village selected as his favourite aspect.
He claimed the IOC has "made a great effort" to make these Games successful and financially feasible, and that they will continue to do this at future Games.
"In Lillehammer, we are financing the construction of the Youth Olympic Village and we will also do so in Buenos Aires [in 2018]," he said.
"We have already met with organisers and representatives from the City Government, to see how Buenos Aires can learn from the sustainable part of the organisation, to make the best use of existing facilities, and to take advantage of their great culture of sport."
There will be a focus on sustainability at the next Winter Youth Olympics Games, in Lillehammer in 2016 ©Getty ImagesThere will be a focus on sustainability at the next Winter Youth Olympics Games, in Lillehammer in 2016 ©Getty Images
Reflecting on an issue that has formed a running theme here over the last two weeks, Bach admitted being surprised at the enthusiasm with which everyone took on board his call for everyone to take as many "selfies" as possible, made during the Opening Ceremony.
"That was fun," he said.
"I would never have expected such an impact in the Opening Ceremony.
"I still remember the first discussions we had in the IOC when the communications team tried to come up with the idea, and they did not dare to ask whether I would consider it!
"But I liked the idea from the beginning and the only discussion was when and how to do it, and I decided to do it at the beginning as it would have such an impact."
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.