President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis said there is no margin for error and all obstacles must be removed, as the T&T athletes begin their final preparations towards the 2016 Olympic Games.

The 2016 Olympic Games begin on August 5 next year in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Lewis, speaking at a press conference yesterday at the Olympic House, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, said: “Today around the world the Olympic movement is being celebrated - one year to go to the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Games. A journey for some that started when they were five years old and will culminate in Rio.”

He added: “There is no margin for error, as our athletes, coaches and administrators will tell you we are at a particular point where everything that can be done, must be done. Whatever obstacles there are, they must be removed. Whatever door is closed, must be opened. Whatever channels are blocked must be freed.”

The TTOC president said that next year’s Olympics is the beginning of the goal for ten or more gold medals by 2024.

“A couple years ago I had a vision for ten or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024. Initially the majority of the people I spoke to were negative. But there are a couple I would like to mention because they were an inspiration at that point in time. One of the first people I had that discussion with was Keshorn Walcott. I then spoke to Hasely Crawford and he was supportive.”

Lewis also stated that National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette, Senator Elton Prescott Secretary General Annette Knott and the TTOC executive also showed their support.

Lewis said the performance of the national athletes at the Pan American Games made more people believe that ten or more gold medals by 2024 is possible. “The performances of our athletes at the Pan Am Games in Toronto started to make some people believe that it may be possible and after all it was not far fetched and unrealistic.”

T&T won eight medals at the recently concluded Pan American Games, the most in the country’s history.

Lewis has also spoken to mayor of Port-of-Spain Raymond Tim Kee about making Lord Harris Square into an Olympic Village and calling the surrounding area Olympic Neighbourhood.

Pan American medal winners Keshorn Walcott, Emmanuel Callender and Dan-neil Telesford were all in attendance to receive their medal incentives. Walcott won gold in the javelin, while Callender and Telesford were part of the 4X100m men’s team that won bronze.

National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette, said the relationship between the TTOC and the NAAA is excellent. “I always believe in team and as the president indicated we have an excellent working relationship, we understand what it takes to get to a high level. I am very fortunate to be at the helm of the Association at this time and have the support of people like Hasely Crawford who understands what it takes to get to the top.”