Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis called on national sporting organisations to update the way they run their organisations. He underlined that the TTOC will continue to advocate the adoption of new and proper governance structures for its affiliates.


Lewis was speaking at the 17th edition of the TTOC’s Annual Awards Ceremony at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) on Monday evening.


In his address that opened the 50-minute programme, Lewis said the TTOC and the country must engage children and young people and reach out to them to bring them to sport and show them the power of sport and the Olympic values.


“We must ensure that their inspirational role models, our athletes, are at the centre of what we do and why we do what we do,” he said. “Moreover, it is essential that we meet the integrity challenge by protecting Olympic and Commonwealth sports from the dangerous threat posed by doping, gambling, the cycle of corruption and poor governance.”


Lewis said if the sporting authorities failed to confront face these challenges, their right to self-regulate, their autonomy, legitimacy and stewardship “will be taken away from us. To whom much is given, much is expected.”


Lewis added that to start dealing with some of those concerns, the TTOC will continue in 2015 to “vigorously promote the adoption of good governance and ethics across the country’s Olympic and Commonwealth Sport movement and that we be unwavering and advocate and vigorously promote a good governance code for sport in T&T and ensure that affiliated NSOs align with the Olympic Charter and include in their constitutions basic universal principles of good governance.”


He added that the TTOC must lead from the front in championing the development of a sport industry and articulating a framework that will inform the sport policy debate.


While congratulating the successful sportsmen for the year, Lewis said sport was still on the margins of T&T society and had to compete with different interests that present a threat to healthy lifestyles.


“The responsibility to create and shape a bright sustainable future for tomorrow’s athletes and for sport on the whole falls to our generation of sport leaders, administrators, athletes and coaches. We have to modernise how we market, promote and brand Olympic and Commonwealth sport and the Olympic and Commonwealth values and ideals to the current and future generation of public, media and corporate audiences.


The climb is steep. The hurdles are high, “ Lewis stated


At her turn at the podium, TTOC Sportswoman of the Year Cleopatra delivered the feature address in which she stated Lewis’ and the TTOC’s 10 gold by 24 athlete welfare fund initiative was a realistic one once the country embarked on providing the funding, resources, technical support staff unit and environment for elite athletes now.