President of the T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) David Marquez admitted the head of delegation of the T&T Gymnastics team in the Rio Test event, Nicole Fuentes, was not properly consulted before pulling Thema Williams out of the event but the federation had to make an informed decision.
At a press conference at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmooring, yesterday when Marquez was asked whether Fuentes was given the opportunity to say if Williams was unfit to compete before sending Marisa Dick to the test event, he said: "No, she didn't."
He explained that Williams' coach, John Geddert, sent an email late, stating she was struggling in training.
"Because of that email, and we got it very late, we had to act on it. It was the best thing for the athlete and also for the country," Marquez added.
It was reported that according to the player's contract the head of delegation, the physiotherapist, coach and athlete must be consulted before the athlete can be removed.
Marquez explained that the board had to make an informed decision.
"We all read John Geddert's email saying that Thema had an injury and we made a group decision. We tried to contact everyone on the board but it was late in the night and we got the majority to agree.
"Because of what the email said we had to make a decision. The athlete was at risk and the athlete was not 100 per cent fit. It was a hard decision but we had to make the best decision.
"We tried to get Geddert on his cellphone and hotel room but was not successful so we sent an email explaining the situation. We thought we would be putting the athlete in danger. It hurt her (Williams) and we knew. To get to the Olympics it is very hard. They trained their whole life for this," Marquez added.
Dick said she was proud to put T&T on the map in gymnastics.
"I am really proud that T&T will be represented in the Olympics whether it's myself or Thema. Gymnastics is a growing sport in T&T and the Olympics is the biggest event in sport. For T&T to be represented in the Olympics is just really exciting," she said.
On all the negative attention gymnastics has been getting in the media Dick added: "This is tough, it gets in your head. You have to focus on what is important and what is important is competing at the Olympics for T&T and putting us on the world map."
She said Williams has supported her. "Yes she supported me in Rio and I supported her after Worlds. I was heartbroken that I would not be the one going to the Olympics but I was so supportive of her because it's T&T that will be going to the Olympics it's not myself or Thema it's T&T. We have both been supportive of each other just because we know it's not just us it's about the country," Dick explained.