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25
Sun, Aug

OLYMPIC COUNTDOWN: Olympic qualifier Andrew Lewis, left, shares a joke with TTOC president Brian Lewis, centre, and TTOC Rio Olympic Games chef de mission Dr Ian Hypolite at the event to mark the 100-day countdown to the quadrennial Games yesterday at the TTOC Olympic House on Abercromby Street.

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The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) yesterday celebrated the occasion of 100 days to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic House on Abercromby Street in Port of Spain, announcing a host of events to come off during that period.

TTOC president Brian Lewis said besides a planned Pre Olympic Games camp, tentatively scheduled for 10 days in Sao Paulo prior to the start of the Rio Games on August 5, the TTOC will also lend its social media platform support to the NAAA Senior National track and Field Championships in June at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“Because it forms basically the Olympic Trials and we all know that the athletes will be competing for positions,” Lewis said. “And we also have planned inside this period the Olympic Youth Camp, the Olympic Day celebrations and we have our commemorative brochure. It will also be the first time we are hosting an Olympic Games wear launch, and that is something to look forward to.”

TTOC chef de mission for the Rio Games, Dr Ian Hypolite said five disciplines had already qualified, including swimming (George Bovell), sailing (Andrew Lewis), rowing (Aisha Chow), boxing (Nigel Paul) and cycling (Njisane Phillip).
“We are acutely aware of the impact the performance of the T&T team had on the national community in 2012 and we are eager to reproduce that same type of atmosphere come Rio 2016,” said Hypolite. “We are eagerly awaiting qualifiers in other disciplines.”

Those include the Olympic flagship of track and field, with Machel Cedenio, Michelle Lee-Ahye and Kai Selvon showing some good early season form.

“Everything points to a fortified track and field team presence in Rio,” said Hypolite, adding that the TTOC is seeking $1.2 million for the pre-Games camp.

“That particular aspect of our planning played a major role in our success last time in London,” he added.
TTOC secretary general Annette Knott, who was chef de mission for the London 2012 Games, stressed the camp’s importance to the team’s success.

“We were in Wales for 10 days before the Games and that camp we felt made a world of difference to the whole atmosphere with the team, so that when we got into the village we were a very strong team,” Knott said. “We look for good accommodations; it wasn’t dormitories. We stayed in luxury hotels which we think that our athletes really deserve after their training, and the type of facility we can bond and stay together.”

She added that in Wales, team TTO enjoyed the services of a huge conference room, table tennis facilities and a pool table, with medical staff on hand.

“It really made a difference to the bonding before we got into the Games Village, so we feel it is very important for us to do this going into Rio, hoping that we have the same result, except more medals,” Knott concluded.

The TTOC celebrated by cutting a cake on which was engraved “100 days” which was cut by Lewis and Hypolite in front of their corporate partners including Flow, Press Play Jukebox, Scotiabank, Toyota, NLCB, Adidas and the Guardian Group. The Guardian group, through their representative Larry Olton, also presented their annual cheque to the TTOC—the 16th cheque in as many years.

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