T&T’s Olympic team members were given a warm welcome by local school children as they arrived at the Vale Resort in Glamorgan, Wales where they are stationed as they prepare for the London 2012 Games. A group of excited year six pupils from St Helen’s Primary School in Barry made flags and banners and treated the team to a special performance of an Olympic song and dance that they had prepared. Some of the team’s athletes, boxers, cyclists, sailors and swimmers were also given good luck cards by the children, and teacher Rebecca Benson. The 60-strong T&T team is one of 21 countries that the Welsh Government has attracted to Wales for their pre-Games training camps. With the 2014 Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, a conscious effort was made to target Commonwealth countries, such as T&T. The work to attract countries to Wales began several years ago, as Annette Knott, the T&T team’s Chef De Mission, said: “When this journey started three years ago, we always felt that it would have a wonderful ending. While we haven’t finished our journey yet, this has been an excellent experience so far.
From day one, everyone has gone out of their way to help us with lovely Welsh hospitality, and we were delighted to be given such a wonderful welcome from the young children of St Helen’s Primary School.” The T&T athletics team is training at Cardiff’s International Sports Stadium, and their track and field stars will also be on show at the stadium’s ‘Road to London’ international athletics meeting which is taking place tomorrow. The T&T team includes a number of top Olympic medal prospects, such as 100m sprinters Keston Bledman and Richard Thompson. Bledman is one of the fastest men in the world this year, having scorched to a career-best 9.86 seconds in Trinidad’s Olympic trials, while Thompson won the 100m silver medal four years ago in Beijing. In addition to their sprint kings, T&T’s other track and field stars include 400m runners Lalonde Gordon and Sparkle McKnight, as well as 400m hurdler Jehue Gordon.
Welsh Sports Minister Huw Lewis said: “Camps such as these provide an excellent opportunity to develop our sporting, educational and cultural exchanges with these countries, and I would like to extend a warm Welsh welcome to the T&T team team.”