So on Sunday 12th May 2019 (Mothers Day), when four young men, who travelled to Japan under no fanfare for the 4x400 men IAAF World Relays, with almost no concern or care from the people of T&T set about to make us proud again, nobody apparently gave them a chance. Except, of course, the quartet and the NAAA itself.
In the end, with great unity and team spirit, the Awesome Foursome of Deon Lendore, Jereem Richards, Asa Guevara and Machel Cedenio with Onal Mitchell produced a marvellous team effort to win gold in a tight finish with the later disqualified USA men’s team.
And while, I give full praise, full acknowledgement to our team, I cannot and will not do likewise to our people.
However, from the moment the race was over, everyone was in euphoria, at Church, at the market and all over, began to celebrate the feat.
Yet 95% of these persons who shared videos and commentary of the exciting finish with Cedenio running down the USA ‘s Paul Dedewo do not support our athletes by attending athletic events. We are a society of critics when our sportsmen fail to achieved success.
Interestingly, the USA’s disqualification was about lane changing when Fred Kerley who had run the anchor leg in 2017 in London but was overhauled by La londe Gordon, was switched to the second leg. Kerley must be still having nightmares of Trinidad and Tobago. So while the rest of the sporting world, understands the skill and ability of our athletes in many spheres, our own people could care less. Many talks, from politician to preacher, from principal to teacher, but few ever really deliver in action.
The media is as much to blame as anyone, for all the talk of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT), there is no unity, there is little care really for those who would have represented this country in the past, because on Saturday the day before yet another great performance by our sporting athletes, there was a function hosted by the Anton La Fond led team at C.A.R.E (Complete Assistance Respect Equity), for those over 70 years old, who have contributed to the fabric of sports in this country , and I could have counted on one hand , the number of media persons present to cover and meet these caring, loving, sportspersons, like Margaret King ( Netball) , Walter Peters (Boxing), Gerry Brown (Football), Molly Boxhill (Boxing), Grace Parkinson – Griffith (Netball), Garnet and Ian Harris ( Hockey ) , Edwin Skinner ( athletics) ,Tansley Thompson (Horse Racing, Boxing and Football) Marilyn Gordon (Former Hockey player and Sports Minister) and many others.
So the absence of all these MATT persons, because it was not a breaking or bacchanal story, signifies why many have lost faith with the local sporting media. Much thanks though to one of the classiest and most professional journalists in the country, Ms Sandra Maharaj and her team from TTT, who ensured they were there from the start and did not only come for the drinks and eats like so many in the media. Even the TTEN network ensured they were clear and present on the day inspired by Peter C Lewis.
So yes, we can all be happy for the next 48 or 72 hours, but yet still the reality is that for all the press releases, for all the best wishes and good words, that is not going to get us anywhere without proper support, whether through planning and discussion with the various sporting organizations. There is little doubt that the Ephraim Serrette led NAAA is by a wide margin the best run sporting organization in this country, and no wonder they win administrative awards yearly four out of the last five years.
Serrette, himself is asking for assistance because as he noted and as all of us who travel overseas recognize, it is the sporting personalities, the athletes, sportsmen, sportswomen that give this country, our country, the identity we all crave for. As Serrette admitted,” Wherever, I go, I am asked about Brian Lara, Dwight Yorke, Hasely Crawford, Ato Boldon.”
Therefore today, while I am happy for Team TTO I know that when the National Championships comes around in July the Hasely Crawford Stadium for our National Championships in July 2019. But yet still it is the headline NEWS all around this country. It is so obvious that this is the good news that the country is crying out for and when you talk to the tireless Brian Lewis (President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee) or Peter Samuel (one of Cultural Icons who loves Sports), the pain is evident in the words of both men, crying out for more support and more assistance. Come on Trinidad and Tobago, we can do better than that.