The trinidad Guardian / As another year comes to an end and our sportsmen join in the Christmas festivities, I put some thought into what were the major sporting achievements that stood out for me in 2017. Few things unite us quite like how sport does, and when any of our sportsmen achieve on the world stage, the pride that our people exhibit is second to none. There are so many examples of this with our inaugural FIFA World Cup participation in Germany in 2006 certainly at the forefront of this pride and jubilation.
Pride and place must go to our Men’s 4 x 400 metres relay team. The quartet of Jarrin Solomon, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon won gold at the 2017 World Championships in London.
Winning gold at a world championship is by no means an easy feat, but it was the manner in which these young men won that was extremely impressive. They had a desire, a will, a fight and the courage to ensure that they brought gold back to T&T in August.
They finished 3rd in 2012 at the same London track at the Olympics and then were disqualified in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. They inevitably had something to prove and I do not think many experts in the track and field arena tipped them to win gold, especially with the powerful USA team on display. That win ended the USA’s dominance of the prestigious title, denying them their 7th successive Men’s 4 x 400 world title.
Thank you Jarrin, Jareem, Machel and Lalonde, you made the country proud; keep working hard as 2020 is on the horizon and no doubt you will be public enemy #1 targeted by the other countries but you have absolutely nothing to fear. I hope and pray you all will get the support, like all of our other athletes for those Olympics.
The Knight Riders glow
Second on my list is the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and even though they are a franchise team in the CPL they are based here in T&T. They are loaded with local players and are led by the enigmatic Dwayne Bravo. Just like our 4 x 400 men’s team, they showed their fighting qualities both in getting to the final and in the final itself. Even when things looked bleak, they rallied to pull off victory against Chris Gayle and his Patriots. The TKR is an exciting team with a wonderful mix of talented individuals and fighters and it is a pity that the TTCB don’t take a leaf out of their book and try and instill some of those qualities in the Red Force – then perhaps we may see different results.
Women volleyballers did us proud
Third on my list goes to the T&T Women’s volleyball team which became the first team from the English speaking Caribbean to qualify for the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018. Once again, because of sport, T&T’s name will shine on a world stage. I expected for a country as small as ours, coupled with the amount of volleyball players that play the sport, it must have been great planning by the Volleyball Federation to get us there. I will have to go into depth on this in subsequent articles but hats off to the ladies!
Last but by no means least is the T&T men’s indoor hockey team that has qualified for the 2018 International Hockey Federation (FIH) Men’s Indoor Hockey World Cup which takes place from the 7th -11th February 2018 (Carnival Wednesday to Sunday) in Berlin, Germany. Playing Argentina in the final of the 2017 Indoor Pan American Cup to earn the last spot in the world cup would have created a lot of pressure on the team, but they pulled through with an emphatic 7-0 victory to qualify for a 2nd time at the tournament.
Our various sporting disciplines gave us something to be happy about this year, often displaying resilience in the face of adversity from the various political influences such as lack of funding and development – the same story over and over again.
My biggest disappointments for 2017, however, are the T&T Football Association (TTFA) followed closely by the Ministry of Sports, Sportt and the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB). I am sure the reasons behind these let-downs need not be stated here.
To all readers, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season and here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a successful sporting 2018!
Salute our sportsmen, women for the many successes of 2017
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