National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

media_artricles :: 2017

 

T&Tís relay men call for respect

Walter Alibey :: Trinidad Guardian :: 26.01.2017

The IOC's unfortunate decision to disqualify the Jamaican sprint relay team of the Gold medal it won at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, has led calls by the T&T team for more respect from Ministry of Sports officials.

The team of Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Marc Burns and Aaron Armstrong faces the possibility of having their silver medals upgraded to the more prestigious Gold, a decision that will only be confirmed after Nesta Carter, who was tested positive for use of the banned substance methylhexaneamine more than eight years after the race, has said he will challenge the IOC's ruling through the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS). His decision to do so however, can cost him a whopping US$13 million and he has 21 days to signal his appeal.

Yesterday, however a release from Thompson and his teammates was littered with complaints of the horrendous treatment they faced, ranging from broken promises to blatant refusal to re-imburse them for personal finances they used to prepare for international competitions in the past.

According to the release, "As we move forward, what does this medal mean for us, the men who have literally sacrificed our livelihoods to represent T&T. In 2016 we returned our bronze and were given our silver medals. There was a function held for us by the President (meaning Anthony Camona), which we so greatly appreciated. There was a big buzz from the T&T people and media, then there was a follow-up convo that we had with (Sport) Minister Smith regarding retroactive financial compensation as well."

The release continued: "We were promised in July that something would be done to assure that we were rewarded for our efforts and representing T&T with integrity. There were media releases and pictures taken...and then nothing! We were forgotten about and disappeared to them like magic" members of team TT explained.

They added. "To make matters worse, in trying to prepare for the Rio Olympics, we endured immense struggles to receive elite funding, which was intended to assist us with our Olympic preparation. To this date, I still have not received funding despite several attempts to coordinate with the minister, his assistant and the ministry officials. I spent over $150,000 of my own money, and so did the other members of the 4x100 team to prepare for Rio, which included coaching fees, massages, physical therapy, doctor's visits, supplements, meals, transportation and flights to competitions. I am now being told that I will be unable to receive any reimbursement."

The athletes are also calling for repayment of monies spent for their stay at hotels many times a year to come to T&T for meets such as the NAAA National Championships.

The achievements of the T&T 4X100 metres relay men exceeded their performances at the 2008 Olympic Games as they also gave credible performances at the World Championships, Commonwealth Games, World Relays, Central American & Caribbean Games and PanAmerican Games and the recent Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro Brazil where they were disqualified in the Finals.

They are contending that while they do not want to sound bitter or ungrateful for some of the luxuries afforded to them in the past, they felt compelled to illustrate to the people, the obstacles they face in order to perform against the best in the world.


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T&Tís relay men call for respect
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Members of the T&T 2008 4x100m relay silver medal team from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, from left, Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender, March Burns and Keston Bledman show of their silver medals during a function held at the Anchorage to celebrate their achievement back in July 2016. The event was hosted by the President of the Republic of T&T Anthony Carmona. On Wednesday, the IOC announced that it had stripped the 2008 4x100m relay gold medallist Jamaica following a doping violation committed by one of its runners. T&T is inext n line to be up graded to the gold medals. Photo: DION ROACH

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