First Cit­i­zens has come on board as a tier one, a plat­inum part­ner of the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee to­wards its #10Golds24 ini­tia­tive.

The part­ner­ship was an­nounced by Karen Dar­basie, Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer First Cit­i­zens along with a cheque pre­sen­ta­tion for an undis­closed sum to T&TOC pres­i­dent, Bri­an Lewis at First Cit­i­zens Cor­po­rate Cen­tre, Queen’s Park East, Port- of-Spain, yes­ter­day.

The T&TOC is on a mis­sion to achieve 10 or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 (#10Golds24).

Through its Ath­lete and Prepa­ra­tion Fund, they seek to cul­ti­vate a sys­tem of ex­cel­lence that clar­i­fies the de­vel­op­ment path­way and per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem that will holis­ti­cal­ly fos­ter, men­tor, nur­ture and de­vel­op Olympians and Olympic cham­pi­ons and First Cit­i­zens has come on board in sup­port of lo­cal ath­letes in their jour­ney to­wards achiev­ing that goal.

Dar­basie, in her ad­dress, likened the part­ner­ship formed be­tween her com­pa­ny and the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee to a 'gayap'.

Dar­basie said, "The T&TOC's in­vi­ta­tion for part­ner­ship, draws from the ex­act ideals that have made the 'gayap' such a tried and true sys­tem - cel­e­brat­ing the spir­it of uni­ty, to achieve a shared goal.

"To­day, hav­ing ac­cept­ed that in­vi­ta­tion, First Cit­i­zens has part­nered with T&TOC for the very first time, as we join oth­er cor­po­rate spon­sors on the jour­ney to achiev­ing 10 gold medals by 2024.

She not­ed that there was very lit­tle op­po­si­tion among her peers as to whether First Cit­i­zens should get in­volved when ap­proached by the T&TOC say­ing: In fact, there was lit­tle de­lib­er­a­tion over whether we should be in­volved in an ini­tia­tive that stands to cat­a­pult the sport­ing sta­tus of our coun­try and our ath­letes, by leaps and bounds."

"Like the T&TOC we un­der­stand the im­mense re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing a home­grown brand to the glob­al stage. Some days the jour­ney feels like an ex­cit­ing dash, where the on­ly thing that stands be­tween you and suc­cess is 100m.

"Oth­er days it takes 're­al bel­ly' as we say in lo­cal par­lance, to stay the long and ar­du­ous course. What­ev­er the chal­lenge, its all a part of the quest for glo­ry."

She added, "Like the 'gayap' part­ner­ship is what will make these 10 golds pos­si­ble and that cer­tain­ly doesn't mean re­ly­ing sole­ly on the as­sis­tance will come from the Min­istry of Sports. The part­ner­ship means all of us work­ing to­geth­er with our ath­letes, the gov­ern­ment yes, but al­so, the ad­min­is­tra­tors, the me­dia, cor­po­rate cit­i­zens, in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zens, com­mu­ni­ties, par­ents, fam­i­ly, friends, and the ath­letes."

Re­flect­ing on Keshorn Wal­cott's his­toric javelin gold medal at Lon­don 2012, Dar­basie said, 'I am cer­tain we will re­call that when Keshorn Wal­cott won gold, whether you were from To­co or To­ba­go, you felt like that was your gold medal too, and every­one ap­pre­ci­at­ed a na­tion­al hol­i­day to cel­e­brate a na­tion's hero. That's the essence of our na­tion­al mot­to, "To­geth­er We As­pire, To­geth­er We Achieve.'

"And so the vi­sion of the T&TOC is like­wise our vi­sion. We hope that our con­tri­bu­tion will go a long way in help­ing our ath­letes to re­al­ize our Olympic dream.

"It's an op­por­tu­ni­ty for T&T to show the best of the hu­man spir­it, to de­fy the odds and to cre­ate nail-bit­ing mo­ments that we will talk about for gen­er­a­tions.

Dar­basie in giv­ing her full sup­port to the ini­tia­tive told Lewis that First Cit­i­zens, it's Sports Foun­da­tion and the group that stands be­hind the Sports Foun­da­tion is re­al­ly hap­py to part­ner with the T&TOC.

She added, "We are re­al­ly hap­py to part­ner with the head sport­ing com­mit­tee, look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the part­ner­ship, we have start­ed the road and we are go­ing to con­tin­ue the road with you all. It's a big step for­ward and a step on a jour­ney we in­tend to con­tin­ue."

Lewis not­ed it may sound cliche but to­day (yes­ter­day) is a very im­por­tant day for the T&TOC as it marked the dawn of a new era with First Cit­i­zens.

Re­call­ing the bank's his­to­ry or the DNA of First Cit­i­zens which be­gan in 1914 as the T&T Co-op­er­a­tive Bank (Pen­ny Bank), fol­lowed by the Work­ers Bank, Na­tion­al Com­mer­cial Bank and then mor­phed in­to First Cit­i­zens Bank in 1993, there were many peo­ple in our so­ci­ety wish­ing it will fail, and who did not share the as­pi­ra­tions and dreams to lift our coun­try and lift our peo­ple and lift the young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar of T&T, stat­ed Lewis.

And it is in that DNA and shared val­ues that the T&TOC stands and Team T&TOC stands be­cause when we ar­tic­u­lat­ed ten golds by 2024, we were laughed at, but we don't take that per­son­al we take that as an in­spi­ra­tion and as mo­ti­va­tion.

We be­lieve in the po­ten­tial and tal­ent in the youth, and we can as­pire to be a glob­al brand and sym­bol and mo­ti­va­tion of suc­cess.

For us at the T&TOC it is not a job, we do it vol­un­tar­i­ly, we do it un­paid, we do it as part of our ser­vice and con­tri­bu­tion to the youth and young peo­ple of T&T, and it is in that re­gard that we stand proud­ly, and we are hap­py to em­bark up­on a new phase of our jour­ney with First Cit­i­zens be­cause they are an in­dige­nous bank, they rep­re­sent and en­cap­su­late the vi­sion, the dreams, and as­pi­ra­tion of T&T.