The 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games will open on Thursday in Baranquilla, Colombia.

Team T&T (TeamTTO) will be represented by a delegation of around 300 athletes and support staff. A large undertaking financially and logistically. Regardless of the challenges the CAC Games is a multi-sport event that many of the sporting disciplines have the opportunity to display their bonafide. In many instances, it is, in essence, a gauge of medal prospects at Pan American (Pan Am ) Games and the Olympic Games.

In a difficult and challenging economic climate the support of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the respective T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) corporate partners and the importance of their support to the athletes in individual and team sports, deserve acknowledgement and appreciation.

The TTOC can’t for one second adopt an aura of entitlement and privilege. Any support given is considered an investment and that investment isn’t just financial it’s also emotional and social.

The challenges faced by this team will certainly be character building.

The financial and logistical problems are in a deeply profound way minor in comparison to the mental and emotional challenge facing the national men’s hockey team in particular and the entire delegation in general. The sudden and untimely passing of former TTOC youth camper and national hockey goal-keeper Kwasi Emmanuel and the impact of his loss two days before departure is heartbreaking and stunning.

Moving on from his passing is easier said than done.

The 21-year-old talent and potential was unquestioned, his determination, ambition and leadership qualities shone like a beacon.

At times, Kwasi seemed mature beyond his years while at the same time he was a young man coping, struggling and overcoming all that young people his age has to deal with.

His willingness to share, mentor and give back was evident when after attending the TTOC Olympic Youth Camp, he volunteered thereafter to be a camp coordinator.

The TTOC extends sincerest condolences to his family, friends, teammates, Malvern sports club. Baranquilla 2018 has gotten off to a rough start for Team TTO.

Editor’s Note

Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views expressed are not necessarily that of the organisation