Top local and international cyclists will feature in 18 races at the Michael Phillips Republic Day Cycling Classic tomorrow around the Nelson Mandela Park (formerly King George V Park), Port-of-Spain, from 2 pm.

Heading the local contingent are endurance riders Varun Maharajh and Jovian Gomez. The pair recently returned from the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Mexico and will be among the favourites. On Sunday Maharajh won the elite open/invitational category of the Keep Fit Criterium on the Diego Martin Highway. Gomez will be hoping for a medal this time around after finishing fourth on Sunday.

A pair of T&T siblings are also expected to line up tomorrow. Adam and Joshua Alexander will face the starter, while Jude and Marc Codrington will aim to get on the podium.

The main event will close the day’s proceedings at 4.35 pm with a 30-lap event. The first prize in the main event is $1600 and a trophy, while the second and third place finishers will walk away with $800 and $450 respectively. Prior to the main event, riders will battle in categories such as the ladies senior, ladies junior, tinymites, juveniles and Veterans 60 and over.

There will also be races in memory of the late Roger Smart and Clinton Grant, who both served T&T cycling for many years.

At a media conference yesterday at Flair restaurant, Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain, former national cyclist Michael Phillips and event coordinator, reflected on his journey over the years as a cycling promoter. Phillips started his company Phillip Promotions in his grandmother’s home and is now one of the leading promoters of cycling in the country. “When I decided to take this up (promoting cycling), people told me I was wasting my time, I said it was a challenge I wanted to take.” Phillips also owns a bike store called Mike’s Bikes, opposite Flair Restaurant.

Former national cyclist Roger Gibbon and former president of the T&T Olympic Committee Larry Romany lauded Phillips for his efforts in promoting cycling for the past 18 years. Gibbon said: “Competition is critical to the development of the athlete. Sport needs someone like Michael Phillips.” Gibbon told Phillips there would be obstacles along the way but not to give up on promoting the sport.

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A FIVE-MEMBER national badminton contingent will fly en route to Queretaro, Mexico, today for the 2014 edition of the Pan American Sports Festival which serves off at the Jose Ma Arteaga Auditorium from Saturday till Monday.

The Festival, which has the participation of several other sports including athletics, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, rowing and weightlifting to name a few, began on July 11 and is scheduled to end on September 30.

The badminton delegation will be sending four of its top athletes which includes two seniors — Keston Friday and Nekeisha Blake — as well as two juniors — Will Lee and Jada Renales. Friday is a former triple crown Under-17 title holder and has won the National Men’s Doubles trophy on three occasions with TT’s top-ranked Men’s Singles player Kerwyn Pantin. Friday is also one of the top Singles players in the country. Meanwhile, Blake is a multiple Women’s Singles title holder and recently won a bronze medal in the Women’s Doubles at the Caribbean Regional Badminton Championships (CAREBACO) with one of the region’s leading athletes, Solangel Guzman.

Additionally, Lee is currently one of the top Under-19 Boys Singles players in the country and also bagged bronze in the CAREBACO Singles. Jada Renales is also one of the nation’s top junior athletes who holds the Under-17 National Singles title. Renales also recently attained silver in the Girls Singles at the regional tourney.

The squad will be lead by national junior coach Derwin Renales.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Sport held a celebratory award function for the returning CAREBACO team. Both the junior and senior teams won silver in the Team events and the overall count of medals from the team was that of 24. This comprised of four gold, ten silver and eight bronze which is the largest haul ever the country has ever had in the sport and at the Tournament. Renales, also president of the TTBA, expressed his gratitude for the recognition and added that even though the sport of badminton achieved such wonderful results without a home for the sport and faced other obstacles, her was indeed satisfied with the efforts that were made by the athletes and staff involved in the preparation for the Tournament and looks forward to many more successes in the near future.

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Diane Henderson, Assistant Secretary General of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee(TTOC) is representing the national Olympic committee at a Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games  Chef de Mission seminar currently taking place in Toronto, Canada. At the seminar attendees will visit venues and address a number of issues related to next year's MULTI SPORT event.

The Pan Games will be held 10-26 July, 2015 and the Parapan American Games 7-15 August.
The 2015 Pan American Games will become the third Pan American Games hosted by Canada and the first by the province of Ontario. Previously, Canada hosted the 1967 Pan American Games and the 1999 Pan American Games, both in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 2015 Parapan American Games will be held twelve days after the Pan American Games.

The TORONTO Pan Am 2015 Games, which open on July 10, 2015, will feature an estimated 6,000 athletes from 41 countries competing in 36 sports, including women's baseball and golf for the first time, in venues located in 15 municipalities in southern Ontario. Together with the Parapan Am Games, they will be the largest international multisport Games ever held in Canada.

For a long time, Tobago have been dependent on the coaching skill of Bertille St Clair, who led Trinidad and Tobago to a 2000 semi-final berth, its best-ever showing at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

 

Thursday’s international friendly, which was won 3-0 by Guadeloupe, gave Tobago a chance to expose a new coach to international football. Given the job was Marlon Toppin, a former Goal City footballer, who led Roxborough Lakers to a close second spot to Goal City in the Tobago Premier Divison last season.

 

“We have a young coach, Marlon Toppin. He has been working with Roxborough Lakers, but it’s his first time in charge of a Tobago team. So, the Guadeloupe match also gave him exposure and the chance to grow as a coach as well,” stated Everton Alfred, general secretary of the Tobago Football Association (TFA).

 

Given that they did not have much of a preparation, Toppin had Tobago playing quite well, particularly in the first half, against Guadeloupe. Toppin gave almost every player a run, using an entirely different team in either half. And if the TFA has its way, Toppin may get a few more chances to coach Tobago in other friendly internationals.

 

“This is one of the few ways our coaches get to take a step further and learn the game at an international level,” Alfred added.

 

Not that Tobago is trying to break away from the Trinidad and Tobago national team. Instead, Alfred thinks Tobago players need exposure apart from a T&T national team, and a few games separate might give T&T national coach Stephen Hart the chance to scout the talent on the sister isle.

 

And Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) apparently have no problem with Tobago playing on its own team from time to time. In fact, TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is also Mayor of Port of Spain, sees it as a partnership.

 

“I know there are a lot of good players in Tobago and at times they are not known, they are not seen, and all the dynamics. We have to put an end to that,’’ declared Tim Kee. “So, when we got the games against Guadeloupe, we offered Tobago the opportunity to handle it. We had at times assisted them with how to organise it, but its all part of my promise to involve Tobago in the international football.”

 

Among the players Tobago fielded against Guadeloupe were Stokely Vale’s Tyronne Manning, one of the top five National Super League players of 2011; Akini Ferguson, last year’s top-score with Tobago champions Goal City; his brother Kerlon Ferguson (Goal City), a former player with 2010 T&T Pro Legue runners-up T&TEC; defender Omar Charles, who played Pro League football with both Central FC and Point Fortin Civic in 2013-2014; Gem Gordon, a 2013 trialist with England club Walsall, who played for Pro League champions W Connection; and McKenzie Denoon, the 2013 keeper for Tobago schoolboys football champions Speyside, who came on and made several good second half saves.

 

Since the demise of Tobago United, the sister isle does not have a professional team, so Tobago players have to come to Trinidad to play club football at the highest level. Among them are Rundell Winchester and Trevin Caesar, who a few months ago were playing for Central FC and North East Stars, but are now playing for clubs in the Belgium and US, respectively. Darren “Chucky” Mitchell is also Tobago-born, but now plays for Central FC.

 

“There is an exodus of players leaving once again, going to Trinidad because they want to ply their trade at the best level,” stated Peter Granville, coach of the now defunct Tobago United, Tobago’s only Pro League team. “But you never know what will happen in the next couple of years.”

 



TOBAGO SQUAD:

 

1. Joel Sampson (GK), 2.Simon Nedd, 3.Mensa Pollard, 4.Omar Charles, 5.Vernon Wilson, 7.Staffano Wright, 10.Kerron Phillips, 11.Arthur Moses, 12. Andel Brown, 16.Kern Harris, 17.Tyronne Manning, 19.Kerlon Ferguson, 20.Larry Potts. SUBS: 6. Nyron Orr, 8.Deon Thomas, 9.Anson Campbell, 13.Karlon Morris, 14.Gem Gordon, 15.Carmichael Sealy, 18. Akini Ferguson, 21.Devon Leacock, 22(GK) McKenzie Denoon.

Local Sport Organisations and Governing bodies, sports clubs , athletes have had great difficulty over the years obtaining Sports Insurance policies specifically designed and tailored for sports people .

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has made solving the problem  a priority .

It has proven a complex  process for the national Olympic committee and its corporate partner Guardian Group along with Dalian Medical Concierge Services Ltd to develop and design a  Group Sports Health and Accident  insurance plan .

Significant progress has been made and the TTOC is optimistic that Group Sports Health and Accident Insurance  cover for sports related injuries will soon be a reality.

TRINIDAD and Tobago will tackle the hosts when the second edition of the Pan American Women’s Under-23 Volleyball Cup serves off tomorrow in Peru. The clash will take place at 7 p.m., two hours after the battle between the other two teams in Group A, Argentina and Mexico.


The Group B matches are also scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. with Costa Rica and Dominican Republic taking the court to follow the Colombia/Cuba encounter. The winners of both round-robin groups will move straight into Friday night’s semifinals, while the runners-up and third-placed teams will contest quarterfinals the night before.

The champions will be crowned next Saturday. There are five countries – Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico and T&T – representing the NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) region and the top two will secure tickets to next year’s World Under-23 Championships.

Argentina, Colombia and Peru are the South Americans involved and the team which finishes the highest of the three will earn the other ticket.

All T&T’s group matches are at 7 p.m. and they will face Argentina on Monday and Mexico the day after.

This country’s team is spearheaded by star national player Channon Thompson, who was voted Best Server, Best Spiker and Most Valuable Player (MVP) when T&T were crowned Caribbean champions for the fifth successive at home last month. Marisha Herbert and Malika Yorke, who were also on that squad, are also in Peru, and the team also includes national player Zahra Collins and top juniors Kaylon Cruickshank, Alexandrea Jones and Reann Young.

Jones was the Best Digger, Best Receiver and Best Libero while Cruickshank was the Best Blocker and Best Spiker and Young was the Best Scorer and MVP when T&T were crowned Caribbean Under-19 champs for the third straight time at home last December.

The team is being coached by national senior player Saleem Ali, who will be assisted by national senior coach Nicholson Drakes.

T&T is the only newcomer to this tournament, replacing Canada, the sixth-placed finishers in the inaugural event two years ago when Dominican Republic defeated Brazil for the gold medal and Argentina picked up bronze.

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