Four-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Sportswoman of the Year Cleopatra Borel backed the ‘10 gold by 2024’ objective set out by TTOC president Brian Lewis and gave a five-step plan how to achieve it.
Borel was speaking at the 17th TTOC Annual Awards ceremony on Monday night at the national Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA). The 2014 Commonwealth silver medallist said that while things have improved over the years on team T&T, there is still a lot of room for growth.
“To meet this goal we must become the kind of country that strategically produces champions. We must ask ourselves, is it possible for Trinidad and Tobago to evolve into a sport loving, butt-kicking, hard-working, sacrifice-making, Olympic medal-winning nation? I dare to say ‘yes it’s possible’,” she told the audience, referring to Lewis’ pronouncement of the ‘10 gold by 24’ Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund last week.
Borel said we already have two gold medals from Hasely Crawford and Keshorn Walcott and would have to win at an average of 2.66 over the next three editions of the quadrennial games to achieve that goal.
“This is by no means an easy undertaking, but it is possible. Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Portugal, Greece and Argentina, are all established sporting nations, but each won less than two gold medals at the (2012) London Olympic Games. However, I still believe it is possible for Team T&T to meet the challenge set by Mr (Brian) Lewis,” the two-time CAC gold medallist stated.
Borel suggested that to compete against, and perform better than countries that have bigger budgets, better facilities, and larger populations than Trinidad and Tobago, the authorities have to put the athletes first.
She detailed a five-step plan, including creating a large pool of coaches, sport administrators, sport medicine personal and support staff; creating a large pool of potential Olympic athletes; selecting our target Olympic events, that is, events and disciplines in which the country has the best chance to medal; providing for the basic needs of our athletes—healthy food, clothing and shelter; and providing the necessary equipment, facilities and technological expertise.
“It is my opinion that our athletes and coaches have done well in light of the obstacles faced. However, more is needed if we are serious about winning Olympic gold medals. I ask you once again ...members of the sporting fraternity, can we meet the needs of our athletes? I believe it’s possible,” Borel concluded.