: Newsday : Jelani Beckles : 14.04.2023
DERRICK Simon was elated to be a part of the Trinidad and Tobago technical team at the 2023 Carifta Games in the Bahamas, highlighting the professionalism shown among the officials which he said would have helped support the performance of the athletes during the three-day meet.
TT ended the Carifta Games with 22 medals - five gold, eight silver and nine bronze. The meet, which ended on Monday, was held at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
Simon, a former national triathlon coach, was chosen as a coach on the Carifta track and field team for the first time. He was TT's middle and long-distance coach.
Experienced national coach Kelvin Nancoo, Simon's roommate during the Carifta Games, was the head coach of the Carifta team. Simon said he was like a sponge during the games, saying Nancoo has a wealth of knowledge and tried to learn as much as possible from the veteran coach.
The staff was filled with experience with the likes of Wendell Williams being appointed one of two jumps coaches (long jump/high jump) and 400-metre hurdles World Champion Jehue Gordon serving as the team manager.
"The management was on point," Simon said. "The coaches that we had together...as a former head coach for the national triathlon team this was the best group of professionals I have ever dealt with in terms of synergy."
Simon said it would be an honour to work with the Carifta officials again. "We are actually making a call to the federation to keep this pool of coaches together because it was on point. We were so supportive of each other and overlapping into other arenas to give support."
He said when the technical members get along it will rub off on the athletes. "The athletes see when it has that missing link among coaches, athletes see that."
Speaking about Nancoo, Simon said, "He is brilliant...Kelvin Nancoo has a wealth of experience."
All the Carifta coaches are aligned with various local clubs, but Simon said Nancoo always puts TT first.
"Kelvin Nancoo is a national coach. He is for nation, he is not for club. He is fair among the athletes and he is for nation, not for club."
TT succeeded in the middle and long-distance events copping three 800-metre medals and one 5,000m medal.
Simon was proud of the athletes, even the ones who missed out on medals. "It was solid, it was encouraging. Even the fourth and fifth-placed athletes they really performed well under the conditions."
Some of the middle and long-distance races had about 15 participants which meant athletes were bunched together and in an effort to make space for themselves made contact with each other. Some of the TT athletes came away with cuts on their legs from the spikes (shoes) of other athletes.
"They gave a good showing of themselves," Simon said.
Kelvin Nancoo (head coach); Jehue Gordon (manager); Michelle Stoute (assistant manager); Wendell Williams (coach - jumps); Michelle Alleyne-Pennie (coach - jumps); Joyce Thomas (coach- throws); Kerron Browne (coach - throws); Roger Moore (coach- sprint/hurdles); Don Dillon (coach- sprint/hurdles); Arlon Morrison (coach- combined events); Derrick Simon (coach- middle & long); Dr Anyl Gopeesingh (team doctor); Aqiyla Gomez (physiotherapist); Shurlan Bonas (massage therapist); Anthony Walcott (massage therapist); Kurlin Smith Zephyrinus (massage therapist); George Comissiong (president & congress delegate); Dexter Voisin (general secretary & congress delegate).