At the closing Ceremony of the XXII CAC Games in Veracruz on Sunday 30 November 2014, Nolan Tash of Volleyball was the flag bearer for Trinidad and Tobago. The Games opened on the 14th November with Dexter St Louis veteran of 5 CAC Games bearing the flag.
The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee continues its focus on our athletes. The theme for this Game was honoring our Athletes and especially the ones who have been long serving members of the National Teams. Athletes who have dedicated the past 20 years, wearing the Red White and Black
Nolan Tash and Dexter St Louis are two athletes, who have won many individuals awards at the CAC Games and other tournaments. They both now in the twilight of their careers were voted by the CAC Administrative team to be the flag bearers, in honor of the many years of dedication and commitment to our country in their respective sport
What can we say of these athletes whose commitment to representing our country has been unwavering. Our Gold medalist at these Games George Bovell III and Cleopatra Borel are three peat and two time Gold medalist respectively, both who have been able by their own wits to continue to be full time athletes. Yes at times they would have benefited from funding from many different sources but the reality is that today they both continue to do all in their power to make ends meet to continue to represent this country. We were honored to have them on our team.
The Trinidad and Tobago team was made up of 97 female and 103 male athletes. Not the largest team ever but the first team to have such a strong female presence. 5 female teams represented the country and while it was the male teams that medaled, Hockey Men, the silver medal and Rugby men the bronze, it was a great achievement for women’s sport in Trinidad and Tobago. The only female medal was a good one as Cleopatra continues to show our young athletes that dedication commitment is rewarded at least in competition with a Gold Medal.
As always the questions will be asked. Why not as many medals as in 2010? Why such poor performances in some of the team sports? Why so many 4th place finishes? A few will venture to speculate that our Athletes are not committed, that foreign coaches are needed, that administrators are not providing the right environment. The list goes on; lack of facilities, lack of training hours on courts and so on and on.
One my even venture to say that these are just excuses but the reality is that we have great expectations for our athletes at all Games but should we not ask the question? Have we given our athletes the tools to represent our country to the best of their ability?
What about the motivation intrinsic and extrinsic to be an elite athlete? (It is well documented that athletes are required to train a minimum of 20 hours a week to be considered a high performance athlete)
90% of the athletes that represented our country at the CAC Games were part time athletes. However these athletes are no longer competing against part timers in any of their sports. The Athletes from Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic Venezuela and many more of the Spanish speaking countries are predominately full time athletes. How can we compete? How do we stay competitive? How do we close the gap? Where do the conversations begin?
The reality is that unless we make the changes we will continue to have false expectations. We cannot continue in Sport the way we have in the past. It cannot be “business as usual” when we attend these Games. We must decide whether we are high performance sport or whether we are recreational sport.
The medical support at the Games was superb. The outstanding team of Doctors, Physiotherapist, Athletic trainers and massage therapist were kept busy from the arrival of the first athletes. This type of support should be ongoing for our athletes and not only provided by the TTOC Medical team at Games. This would be only the start of the conversations.
Our nations athletes deserve more. We must not only begin the conversations but act on them as Dexter St Louis, Nolan Tash, George Bovell and Cleopatra Borel just wont be able to fly the flag forever.
Chef de Mission
XXII CAC Games Veracruz
Chef de Mission Annette Knott led the delegation, which included 280 officials, coaches and athletes in
Athletics, Swimming (Pool and Open water), Waterpolo, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayak, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Taekwondo and Volleyball (Beach and Indoor).
The medal haul included - 2 Gold, 1Silver and 8 Bronze.
George Bovell lll - Men's 50m Freestyle (Swimming)
Cleopatra Borel - (Shot Put)
Kwesi Browne - Men's Keirin (Cycling Track)
Michael Alexander – (Boxing)
Christopher George - Men's 100 kg (Judo)
Roger Daniel - Men's Ind. 10m Air Pistol (Shooting)
George Bovell lll - Men's 50m Backstroke (Swimming)
C. Humphreys/D. St. Louis - Men's Doubles (Table Tennis)
Dorian Alexander - Men's Under 68kg (Taekwondo)
Men 7’s Rugby