It was a first! The Na­tion­al Steel Sym­pho­ny or­ches­tra con­duct­ed by Dr Akua Lei­th play­ing both the pres­i­den­tial fan­fare and the na­tion­al an­them at the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) 24th An­nu­al Awards cer­e­mo­ny at the Ball­room Hy­att Re­gency Ho­tel, Wright­son Road, Port-of-Spain on Sat­ur­day.

The black-tie event was well at­tend­ed, among the au­di­ence T&T's Head of State and the twin Is­land Re­pub­lic's first fe­male pres­i­dent, Her Ex­cel­len­cy Paula-Mae Weekes and The Ho­n­ourable Sham­fa Cud­joe Min­is­ter of Sport and Youth Af­fairs.

Fea­tured speak­er was Olympian and a pi­o­neer in her own right Can­dice Scott. Among the award re­cip­i­ents were his­to­ry-mak­ing cy­clist Teneil Camp­bell who re­ceived her Fu­ture is Fe­male Award from 2017 awardee Mau­ris­sa Aguillera, who was the first re­cip­i­ent of the award.

Michelle-Lee Ahye took away the TTOC sports­woman of the year while Shani­qua Bas­combe will reign as the T&T Olympic Move­ment's 2018 Ju­nior Sports­woman of the year.

Should Bas­combe re­main dis­ci­plined and fo­cused and seek to em­u­late fe­male ath­letes and role mod­els such as Can­dice Scott, Kel­ly-Ann Bap­tiste, Cleopa­tra Borel and Ahye much more will be on the of­fer­ing in the fu­ture from the tal­ent­ed ath­lete. But that's if she re­mains dis­ci­plined and fo­cused and stay true to the ful­fil­ment of her po­ten­tial and tal­ent.

Off the field role mod­els such as Her Ex­cel­len­cy, Paula-Mae Weekes is some­one whom our youth­ful and tal­ent­ed fe­males with the po­ten­tial to be Olympic cham­pi­ons can look up to.

The times are tough and the temp­ta­tions and dis­trac­tions are many and ever present. In all as­pects the - Fu­ture is Fe­male - but pos­i­tive role mod­els to em­u­late will be im­por­tant.

The T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee is mak­ing a con­cert­ed ef­fort in its push to set a new bench­mark for the in­volve­ment of women and girls in sport. The search for fu­ture is fe­male lead­ers and Olympic cham­pi­ons can't on­ly fo­cus on the phys­i­cal it must al­so em­brace the emo­tion­al and cog­ni­tive.

The signs are there that the fu­ture is fe­male but there are many pot­holes and stum­bling blocks along the way. How­ev­er, one can sense we are on the verge of a break­through and there is an en­er­gy of pos­i­tiv­i­ty but it's a frag­ile bal­anc­ing act that can eas­i­ly turn neg­a­tive.

The year 2019 is un­der­way and its fair to say that 2018 may very well be seen as the year when the gold­en era of women in Olympic sport be­gan here in Trinidad and To­ba­go.

A quick point re the na­tion­al steel sym­pho­ny or­ches­tra. It's the in­ten­tion of the TTOC to vig­or­ous­ly pur­sue the recog­ni­tion and use by the IOC of the steel pan ver­sion of the T&T na­tion­al an­them played by the na­tion­al steel sym­pho­ny or­ches­tra. The in­ten­tion is to com­plete the process by Tokyo 2020.

Hap­py New Year to all of Trinidad and To­ba­go.

Ed­i­tor's Note: Bri­an Lewis is the Pres­i­dent of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) and the views ex­pressed are not nece­sar­i­ly those of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.


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