OF all the subjects written for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) this year, the results of physical education and sport were the best overall.
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Trinidad and Tobago will be well represented in today’s Limacol Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 final as T&T skipper Denesh Ramdin will lead the Guyana Amazon Warriors against T&T teammate Kieron Pollard, who captains the Barbados Tridents.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have expressed their regret at the withdrawal of Nigeria and Sierra Leone from Nanjing 2014 because of the Ebola crisis but claimed they needed to think about the health of competitors from other countries.
Both countries pulled out of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, which are due to start in the Chinese city on Saturday (August 16), last night.
Sierra Leone claim they were advised not to take part by the Chinese Government, while Nigeria withdrew after their athletes were "quarantined, isolated and barred from training alongside athletes from other countries" in Nanjing, according to officials.
Sierra Leone's delegation returned home while in transit and are now back in Freetown.
Nigeria's team are making arrangements to travel home from China.
"The IOC is working closely together with NYOGOC (Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee) and the Chinese authorities to find the right balance - always under the guidance of the World Health Organisation," and IOC spokeswoman told insidethegames.
"We clearly need to balance the safety of all the participants with the rights of the young athletes from the countries affected.
"We regret they could not take part and we understand they are suffering twice, with the outbreak in their country and then not being able to compete.
"Working closely with the NOCs (National Olympic Committees) we will make sure that these young athletes aren't forgotten and we will look into ways to help them get over this disappointment."
More than 1,000 people have died in an Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has touched Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.
It is not clear whether Guinea and Liberia will also be forced to withdraw.
World junior silver medallist Dylan Carter will be the flag bearer for the Trinidad and Tobago contingent at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Some 4000 athletes from 204 countries from around the world have converged in the southern Chinese city for the second edition of the 15-day quadrennial Games, whose inaugural event was in Singapore in 2010.
Carter will represent the red, white and black in the parade of teams and national sporting organisations (NSOs) at the Nanjing National Sports Center Stadium in front of an expected capacity crowd in the 60,000-seater venue.
Carter, this country's top junior swimmer who competed in his first senior open meet for T&T at the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is spearheading the 11-member T&T YOG team that also includes fellow swimmers David Mc Leod and Johnnya Ferdinand; track and field athletes Jeminise Parris, Kashief King, Aduwelle Wright, Akani Hislop and Chelsea James; beach volleyballers Chelsi Ward and Malika Davidson; and sailor Abigail Affoon.
On the eve of the opening ceremony, all athletes will mingle and mix in the YOG "Let's Get Together Festival" at the Youth Olympic Village square, a welcome session for the athletes, put on by the YOG Cultural and Education Programme (CEP) where the Young Ambassador Jeannette Small will be performing.
Interested persons can follow the progress of the T&T team at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee social media websites, twitter www.ttoc.org and the Games' website www.nanjing2014.org/en
The action at the Games gets underway Sunday with Mc Leod in the Men's 100m backstroke preliminaries and opening round beach volleyball encounters for Ward and Davidson.
BRIAN LEWIS, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), has issued a call for the stipulations for Elite Athlete Assistance Programme (EAAP) to be adhered to so no other local athlete will go through what national 110-metres hurdles record holder Mikel Thomas has had to endure.
Thomas, based in the United States, has not received funding since May 2013 and was recently evicted from his apartment due to non-payment of rent. The 26-year-old has had to sell his car and is currently using a bicycle to commute in an effort to cut his costs.
On June 7 this year, Newsday exclusively highlighted Thomas’ financial plight. The hurdler was forced to use a fund-raising website to help him purchase a plane ticket back to Trinidad to compete at the National Track and Field Championships.
The University of Kentucky graduate was ranked as high as fourth in the world in 2012 and won gold at the Gugle Games in July this year in Austria.
Thomas’ financial situation seems to have definitely had a negative effect on his form on the track though as he failed to make it past the preliminary round at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month. After registering the 11th fastest time in the world for 2013 (13.19 seconds), this season he has recorded a mere 13.42 seconds, the 30th fastest. Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Lewis lamented Thomas’ plight but still believes the EAAP in its current existence can still work.
“There is a structure in place that deals with the Elite Athletes Assistance Programme. It is a public document. The Cabinet guidelines on that indicate a criteria. In the main, that has worked for a number of athletes who have met the criteria however there are some athletes who have had some difficulties. Once that system is working how it is supposed to work, athletes who met the criteria ought not to have difficulties,” he said.
Lewis noted though a critical aspect of the process is the National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) involvement and an endorsement by the TTOC before the application goes to Ministry of Sport for determination of the disbursements of funds.
“If it has not come to the NSO or TTOC then we cannot monitor it. That is important. (When) athletes go directly to the Ministry which is not in accord with the Cabinet approved guideline then it would be difficult for the NSO or TTOC to monitor,” he explained. Asked whether the embarrassing situation Thomas has had to go through could dissuade other athletes from choosing to represent this country in the future, Lewis remained optimistic that it would not.
“I don’t think it would. Once there is an understanding of what is the proper process then the Elite Assistance Programme is meant to work and deliver. Once that process is followed and the guidelines are followed I don’t see why there should be issues,” he added. “The environment that we have here in TT has proven (successful) for the athletes that have had to make that choice in the past — whether it be an Ato Boldon, a Njisane Phillip or a Mikel Thomas,” he continued.
In conclusion, Lewis stated that what is important is that the Elite Athletes guidelines and the contributions of the NSOs and TTOC must not be circumvented and all parties must stick to their portfolios. “Overall, I am very confident that we have the platform and foundation to build upon. There are areas that require improvement but we are on course. It doesn’t mean all is well but once there is cooperation of the stakeholders we have a good thing going. I think that some of the problems that occur is when there is a misunderstanding of the roles and responsibilities. I think the Sports Company and Sport Ministry are facilitators and that the NSOs should be allowed to be responsible for administrating managing and governing their respective sports,” he declared.
GLASGOW, Scotland ----- Commonwealth sports ministers and senior officials have called for “the power of sport” to be recognised as an important driver for social and economic development. They made the call at the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting in Glasgow this week.
Commonwealth governments also reiterated their collective commitment to combatting match-fixing and other issues affecting integrity in sport, and ensuring good governance and safeguards for children and other vulnerable participants.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, who opened the meeting, said: “We are well aware of the important and transformational part sport plays in the lives of many young people. With over 60 percent of the population of the Commonwealth being under 30 years of age, sport has a unique potential to reach, engage and empower these young people.”
Shona Robison Member of the Scottish Parliament and Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games and Sport in the Scottish Government, chaired the meeting on behalf of the United Kingdom. The meeting brought together delegations from 45 countries.
Shona Robison said: “We recognise the valuable role of sport in development and peace, as an approach to addressing a range of challenges and delivering significant benefits,” said the national representatives in their Meeting communiqué.
“This work occurs in a wide diversity of cultural and demographic contexts, and contributes to various development goals such health, education, youth empowerment, gender equity, equality and inclusion, social cohesion, economic growth, and community and peace building.”
The call comes as governments globally look to agree a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of 2015. The ministers noted in their statement how sport can support a range of development outcomes and is therefore important to the “successful delivery of the post-2015 development agenda”.
Other attendees at the sports ministers meeting were representatives of overseas territories of member states, as well as observers from organisations including the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, UNICEF, UNESCO and members of the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport.
During their discussions, ministers commended the governments of Barbados, Rwanda and Sri Lanka for piloting a set of guidelines developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which focus on advancing development through sport. The national representatives also applauded the formation of a Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace working group and endorsed its call to give young people a voice in decision making in government sport processes and sporting organisations.
The Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport, a 14-member group of sports policy experts, meeting which met the previous week, had earlier urged member countries to recognise and invest in sport as a key vehicle for improving the lives of citizens.
In their communiqué, ministers reaffirmed their request for the sports advisory body to work towards a framework Commonwealth consensus on integrity issues in sport, such as good governance, safeguarding of participants and combatting match-fixing.
The meeting took place as Glasgow city began welcoming visitors for the 20th Commonwealth Games. In this major sporting event, approximately 6,500 athletes from 71 countries and territories will be competing in 17 sports over 11 days from 23 July to 3 August.