This has been one of the most anticipated Nationals for two basic reasons. The fact that it is the Olympic trials created its own interest and excitement. Secondly, this was the first time that Renny Quow and Richard Thompson were seriously challenged and dethroned. The clash between Thompson and Bledman brought back the spark in track. In the 400 metres Deon Lendore the young Abilenian and Lalonde Gordon realised that Quow was vulnerable. They defeated him. Clearly, track and field, because of the competitive nature of the sports, won the day. The athletes must be congratulated for bringing some energy, both physical and emotional back to track and field.
One must admit that there is indeed a Trini culture. However, some things could be overkill and taken too far.
As a track and field advocate, one sincerely hopes that the rhythm section and the DJ do not become an integral part of the landscape of track and field in T&T. When fans want to feel the rhythm they go to Borough Day in Arima and Point. When they want to prance and carry on they go to a place where the DJ will be burning up the place.
A track meet is not a fete match and there ought to be no semblance of one. Having the drums booming and the DJ blasting while the long jumpers are competing is totally inappropriate and unnecessary. Someone mentioned that the noise was so loud that some people had to give up their preferred seat to move as far away from the band instead of their usual position close to the finish line. Having the DJ playing while the 1,500 metre race is in progress is unacceptable.
This is not a fete in here; this is madness. Play, play mister DJ. Is it that track and field cannot stand on its own merit that we need all the appendages? It is my understanding that serious competitors need to focus, concentrate, visualise, verbalise, analyse, listen to their inner self and engage in meditative, mental and psychological processes. It is a fact that some of these processes could be interrupted and obstructed by music and sounds of a particular nature, volume, tone and beats per minute. Oh well, It must not be a Trini thing. How is it possible that at National Championships and Olympic trials false starts could be permitted? The starter and the assistant starter have critical roles to play. One of the roles is to ensure that no athlete is at a disadvantage in any way at the start of the race. On no less than three occasions the starter allowed the race to proceed when it was quite obvious that one athlete false started. The events included: the men’s “A” 200 metres race, the 100 metres women’s “B” race and the women’s “B” 200 metres. The starter and his assistant both did a great and grave injustice to athletes in those races. Why won’t these races recalled? What occurred at the start of the 800 metres race with James that created a delay?
Something must be done to increase the number of spectators at our track meets. The NAAA might be extremely satisfied with the turn out for the nationals. Did you notice that this year the entrance fee was $50 and not $40 as in previous years? Come on man; organise a big championship and charge people $100 or $150. Are we afraid that the stands would be empty? If that’s the case, then you would know the status of track and field in T&T. An increase of $10 was not warranted. 20% of the onlookers went in free. Last year there were only two athletes in the women’s 1,500 metres race. This year the same thing occurred. The very same two athletes competed. What are the strategic plans to develop the 800 and 1,500 metres women? What are the plans to develop the triple jump, high jump and long jump for women and men? The NAAA should partner with the Ministry of Education to provide buses to schools to have our children talented or not attend the games at least one day as an education exercise or field trip?
Would the NAAA want to meet the Ministry of National Security to bring out all the members of the Police Youth Groups across the country? How about having a conversation with the Ministry of Community Development in bringing out the youth groups around the country to the meet? Is there a place for the Ministry of Sport in assisting in mobilising all those sporting groups to attend the National Championships? It is worth a try—building our nation through sports. Our youth and the general population need to be part of these events for a variety of reasons. Our citizens need to experience these sporting events in greater numbers. Do you think if the NAAA brings Machel and Destra to the championships next year they could full the stadium? How about if the government bring down Shaq and Lebrun? Congratulations to all those athletes who competed in the true spirit of track and field and were selected to the team for the Olympic Games in London—wishing “Team TTO” every success. Remember these words: “Though I compete against you, you are not my enemy, you are my adversary. Your strength gives me courage, your will ennobles me, your spirit defines me. Though I aim to defeat you, if I should succeed I shall not humiliate you, instead, I shall honour you, because, with out you I am a lesser man.”