July 11th, Toronto, Canada – In the first official day of competition, the women warriors fought to a well-deserved 2-2 draw against Argentina in their opening match at the Hamilton Soccer Stadium. Argentina drew first blood in the 52nd minute, but Trinidad and Tobago proved up to the challenge with Mariah Shade equalizing in the 59th minute. Shade’s equalizer sent the small but vocal group of fans into ecstasy, chanting “Trinidad we ready for it. We want a goal” while drumming on the backs of their seats.
The chants and cheers seemed to inspire a sense of urgency in the team, with Trinidad and Tobago’s Kennya Cordner coming close to scoring on two occasions. Moments of silence were punctuated with shouts of “Let’s go Trinidad and Tobago, Nice, Well Done and Let’s Go!!”
Argentina regained the lead in the 88th minute but the warriors never wavered, and were rewarded for their industriousness on the ball when substitute Maylee Attin Johnson scored the equalizer. Her goal sparked another wave of loud and raucous celebrations by the Trini fans in attendance, showing a clear understanding the significance of this draw.
Following the game, defender Ayana Russell said “We were going for the win from the start. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but to come back and equalize in the 90th. I’m very proud of the team. We’re going back to the drawing board and hopefully we get the win in the next game.” Trinidad and Tobago will next face Columbia on Tuesday July 14th.
In the days other events, national badminton Champ Nicholas Bonkowsky lost his first round match against American #4 seed Sattawat Pongnairat at the Markham Pan Am Centre in straight sets (2-0). While Pongnairat was the more skilful player, Bonkowsky showed great promise with some classy shots in the second set. Artistic gymnast William Albert, competing on the rings ended the day with a score of 13.050. He is currently ranked 55.
Today Trinidad and Tobago will face competition in the men’s 10m Air Pistol (Roger Daniel), Sailing (Kelly Ann Arrindell and Andrew Lewis), Artistic Gymnastics (Marisa Dick) and Open Water 10K Swimming (Christian Marsden). Marsden is the reigning Carifta Champion, and at 16 is one of the youngest qualifiers for this year’s games.