Alia Atkinson became the first black woman to win a world swimming title when she triumphed in the 100m breaststroke at the world short-course championships in Doha on Saturday as more records tumbled.

Jamaican Atkinson, 25, claimed the title and equalled Ruta Meilutyte's world record of 1min 02.36sec in the process - although under governing body FINA rules this still equates to a new record.

Meilutyte appeared on course for a successful defence of her title only for her rival to move on to the Lithuanian's shoulder at the final turn.

Atkinson then clawed her way down the final length before out-touching the 17-year-old by 0.10sec.

She was completely unaware of what she had done, staring up at the scoreboard with an air of resignation before it gradually dawned.

"Me?," she mouthed, pointing at herself before the enormity of her achievement was absorbed and so started the celebrations.

She told AFP: "I couldn't believe it! It came down to the same thing as the 50 and on the 50 I got out-touched so in my mind I went straight back to that.

"I just thought 'oh okay' and looked up at the board and it didn't really click yet and then it really started to click. It took a while!"

Atkinson's role at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida is to encourage greater involvement of different communities in swimming and to promote water safety.

"Hopefully my face will come out, there will be more popularity especially in Jamaica and the Caribbean and we'll see more of a rise and hopefully in the future we will see a push," Atkinson mused.


Trinidad and Tobago Olympic sprinter Njisane Phillip had a disappointing day at the London leg of the cycling World Cup yesterday. Phillip who was fourth in the event at the London 2012 Olympics, did not get past the 1/16 finals.
Phillip, who had health issues this year, was just the 23rd fastest man in the Flying 200 qualifiers out of 41, in a time of 10.260 seconds. Edward Dawkins of New Zealand was top of the field in 9.975. Phillip’s low placing put him in a 1/16 rideoff with the second fastest qualifier, Robert Forstermann of Germany (10.008). Forstermann was the winner over three laps, with Phillip eliminated. Forstermann eventually placed eighth after the four-man race for fifth to eighth places.
On Saturday, Phillip’s teammate Kwesi Browne got to the repechage stage of the keirin where he was eliminated by Japan’s Kazunari Watanabe in a close race.


“We don’t support sport. We support events.”
Brian Lewis’ comment in the context of the overwhelming turnout and the peculiar behaviour of many fans for Tuesday’s do-or-die women’s World Cup qualifier was prompted by my lamentation over the preoccupation with fete, fete, fete before, during and immediately after the 1-0 loss to Ecuador that ended the dream of the national team.
It was during a commercial break of an interview with the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic on Friday’s “Sporting Edition” on TV6 that the point was being developed.
There’s very little about the Trini way of doing things that should shock or bewilder anymore. Still, this slavish obsession with inane, repetitive, re-heated trash to the extent that the football almost appeared to be getting in the way of the ragga-ragga, yabba-dabba doltishness leaves you to wonder.
Barely had the shrill blast of the referee’s final whistle died down than the whole cacophonous nonsense was pumped up to the max by the house DJ. Surely, though, this was the moment, notwithstanding the crushing disappointment of defeat when so, so close to a first-ever appearance at a senior Women’s World Cup finals, to appreciate the efforts of both teams then going through vastly different emotional experiences out on the field.
Most of the Trini girls were inconsolable, not least goalkeeper Kimika Forbes. So outstanding between the uprights in helping her side reach this far, she will, like Michael Maurice 25 years and 13 days earlier, re-live that moment in second half stoppage time when indecision coming off her line created an opportunity for Monica Quinteros to get the touch that proved enough for the South Americans to steal the victory and claim the 24th and final spot at next year’s tournament in Canada.
Maylee Attin-Johnson, outstanding throughout the game with her energy in battling for the ball in midfield and urging on her teammates, fulfilled her leadership responsibilities in shaking hands with all three officials on the field before returning to the company of her fellow players.
In stark contrast, the Ecuadoreans could barely restrain their jubilation. There were no more than 20 or so supporters of the visitors among the 22,000-plus at the Hasely Crawford Stadium but almost all of them enjoyed the moment to the fullest. Smiles, tears of joy and fulsome embraces among players, support staff and those few fans put the cap on a memorable night for the women’s game of that country.
Had the efforts of both teams been really appreciated, they would have been warmly applauded at the end of it all and maybe, just maybe, the Trinidad and Tobago players would have found an audience receptive enough to allow them a chance to walk around the athletic track and acknowledge the presence of the fans, especially as none of them had ever before experienced such an atmosphere in senior national colours.
Even if Ecuador had completely ruined the occasion for the hosts by virtue of that solitary goal, they deserved to be acknowledged as worthy competitors, hanging on tenaciously before making Trinidad and Tobago pay the ultimate price for failing to convert the handful of clear-cut chances that came the home side’s way.
I was thinking of using the phrase about Ecuador “spoiling the party” by their victory. However that clearly was not the case as the dancehall extravaganza was on in full swing, complete with hands in the air, legs in the air and posteriors rotating even as the Trinidad and Tobago players eventually trudged off back into the dressing room, their drooped shoulders and forlorn expressions completely at odds with the fete that was not only in full swing, but continued out along Wrightson Road and across to the limers’ ground zero: Ariapita Avenue.
Defeat in a sporting event is not a disaster, nor should it trigger a violent reaction. Surely though it should least a little bit. Shouldn’t it?
Lewis’ contention that we are not a society that really supports sport but merely celebrates the moments as isolated events was in response to my assertion that we may want to win very badly, but losing isn’t something that hurts so much that we vow to do whatever it takes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
At the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, where Trinidad and Tobago made an historic first appearance, a hard-fought goalless draw in the opening game with Sweden was followed by another battling performance against England where the favourites were frustrated for 82 minutes before Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard eased English discomfort for a 2-0 win.
It was a result that had Trinis chipping down the Western Main Road in St James in celebration of the defeat.
If losing doesn’t really matter, from where does the never-say-die will to win come?


The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association yesterday extended condolences to the family of former national football teams manager George Joseph who passed way in New York, USA at the age of 69 on Friday.

Joseph had been a cancer patient for seven years. The news was relayed by his nephew Garfield Wallace.
Joseph, a past member of the Defence Force served on several national teams. He was one of the assistant managers for the Trinidad and Tobago squad at the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany, under manger Bruce Aanensen. Joseph was also part of the team staff at the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup when T&T reached the semi-finals. He served as manager for national Under-20 and Under-23 teams in the past, working alongside Peter Rampersad, Richard Braithwaite and Sam Phillip to name a few.
In a media release, TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee yesterday remembered Joseph for his commitment to the operations of T&T national teams.
“George was passionate about his job and his role within our national teams. At the time I was a vic-president of the Association and I was fully aware of his functions  and his dedication towards carrying out his duties. He would go the distance to ensure conditions were in place for our teams both at home and when having to travel for matches abroad,” Tim Kee stated.
“We take this opportunity to have him and his family in our prayers and thoughts at this difficult time.”

The goal of two or more team sports qualifying for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games requires two fundamental elements (1) national sport organizations must share the TTOC's vision of Olympic qualification- qualifying for the Olympics must be as important to the national sport organization as it is for the TTOC (2) National sport organizations must have a  High Performance plan that is based on best practices .

In reviewing the performances of the national team sports at the recent Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games held in Vera Cruz, Mexico 14-30 November.

Only two team sports out of 9 won medals.

Men's Hockey returned home with the  silver medal and men's rugby 7s  bronze medal.

Rio Olympic Games qualification in most team sports would be determined in 2015.

The TTOC made it clear that team sports who medalled at the CAC Games would be shortlisted  for resource assistance in 2015 with the stated objective of qualifying for Rio 2016 Olympics.

The TTOC General Council will meet at 5pm  Monday 8th December at Olympic House.

Main item on the agenda is the CAC Games Vera Cruz 2014  report.

The Guyana national rugby team that created history by winning both the NACRA

15’s and 7’s titles in one calendar year returned home yesterday to a rather low-key welcome that had only Union officials in attendance.
The national ruggers commonly referred to as the ‘Green Machine’ was greeted by the media, but noticeably absent were members of the Sport Ministry and National Sports Commission whose absence stirred responses of disappointment by the history making champions.
Guyana has now won the NACRA Sevens Championship for the seventh time and the win gives the team automatic qualification to the 2015 Pan Am Games scheduled to be staged in Toronto, Canada, while a return to the IRB Hong Kong Sevens was also gained by the capture of the NACRA title.
The Guyanese came from behind to beat host Mexico 33-28 in the final with former sprinter Patrick King, who was playing in his first tournament at this level scoring four tries in a dream debut to ignite a dramatic fightback after trailing 7-21 at the half.
Speaking with the media at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the NACRA debutant said it was a great experience for him, but reminded that it would not have been possible without the support of his teammates.
“It was a great feeling I was not nervous until the final, but when I saw Mexico take a 21-0 lead I was just praying to get on the field because Kevin (McKenzie) told me to believe in myself and I went out there and brought it home for my team,” King told the media.

Captain Ryan Gonsalves told the media that Mexico brought the game to them and even though they knew that the encounter would not be an easy one they never gave up, adding that many other teams would have thrown in the towel, but praised his players for showing the fight and tenacity to rebound and take the title for the seventh time.
Gonsalves, who is also the Captain of the 15’s team, pointed to the deepness of the bench as one of the primary reasons for the team’s ability to erase even the most significant lead.
He said the year is indeed a historic one for the sport in Guyana, informing that it has never occurred before where this country held both titles at the same time.
Gonsalves when asked about the possibility of the team becoming the first one from these shores to represent this nation in a team sport said that Rio 2016 is a great possibility.
Head Coach/player Theodore Henry in his remarks reminded the media that the victory marks the second time that Guyana’s rugby was able to qualify for the Pan Am Games, while it also allows them to get back on the international scene.
“Missing last year was kind of a new experience for us, but the guys were determined to win. This year was really special for us we came from behind on both occasions (NACRA 7’s and 15’s) and won and it just shows how tough we are mentally and physically so I think that we need the support from all Guyanese as we prepare for much bigger competitions,” Henry stated.
Henry felt that Guyana could not have won without the kind of performance that King produced and credited him for his confidence and natural ability that helped them to get over the line.
He, however, expressed disappointment about the absence of officials from the Government and other agencies related to sport, asking what more must the team do to generate the respect that is afforded many other disciplines whose achievements pale in comparison with theirs.
The team was promised unmitigated support by the Minister of Finance Ashni Singh shortly after presenting the Union with a cheque on behalf of the Government shortly before they departed for Mexico.