National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

media_artricles :: 2016


Mental toughness beats criticism

Sean Nero :: Trinidad Guardian :: 25.08.2016

Olympic shot put finalist Cleopatra Borel and sailor Andrew Lewis said their mental toughness allowed them to conquer the wave of criticisms from T&T nationals on social media, which flustered many of their teammates.

Borel and Lewis were two of four athletes who returned home yesterday from Rio. Emmanuel Callender and Marcus Duncan, accompanied by chef de mission Dr Ian Hypolite, T&T Olympic Committee secretary general Annette Knott, as well as managers and technical experts also returned.

Present to meet them were TTOC president Brian Lewis and acting Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

Addressing the media at the VIP Lounge at Piarco International Airport, Borel said, "I always encouraged my fellow athletes to let their purpose shine. And, they have to know what their purpose is. Their purpose is to go out there. Do your best! Represent your country! Represent your family! Anyone can say anything on social media these days. We can't take that stuff personally, because for every individual who says something negative, there are literally thousands that are saying positive things to us. We have to focus on the positive."

Asked how he dealt with the barrage of negative posting across numerous social media platform, Lewis replied, "My goal was to be at the Olympics. That was my dream. So when you are achieving your dreams and people are saying whatever they want about me, it's irrelevant. There was way more positivity that would have pushed aside anything that would have come my way. I feel welcomed."

He continued, "My Olympic experience was completely positive from start to end. I'm a very competitive person. I hate losing. But we can't defer the realities of life. I went out there having my accident. I did the best I could. The winds did not favour me, at all. I thought I would have met light winds, which would have given me a chance to win a medal…all ten races had very strong winds. With my weight, my strength at this point in time, it's impossible to produce what I would have liked to. Nature is something I have no control of and I felt I did as best as I could. I'm extremely happy with the team around me. My support from the entire country was phenomenal and I would like to thank everybody for that, because that's what keeps me in high spirits, when I'm not winning races."

Borel spoke of plans to initiate a fitness campaign through which she would marry health and fitness with her experiences and help more people improve their well-being. The move she said was a direct response to ongoing annual request which came her way from person enquiring about training routines tips to developing a comprehensive workout plan.

Focusing on her future, she disclosed that plans to immediately proceed on retirement have been shelved. A sobering conversation with her coach Ismael Mastrapa Lopez caused the reversal in her early decision when she failed to medal in the final of the shot put.

"He doesn't want me to just stop competition… just stop training. He wants me to take a gradual decline in my career and then end. Tokyo is a far commitment, but definitely next year and the year after that. We are trying to do at least two more years. The end point four years ago was Rio, now the end point is the Commonwealth Games in Australia," she said.


Mental toughness beats criticism
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Cleopatra Borel to end career at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Guardian Media

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