Following on the heels of the resignations of T&T Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) members Anderson Charles, president of the TTGF Coaching Body and Dale Ali, another member earlier this week, it was confirmed yesterday that two other members, Carynn Chen and Sarah Lambert, have also tendered their resignations.
The federation, under pressure for their decision to replace gymnast Thema Williams with Marissa Dick at the Rio Test Event which was used as an Olympic Qualifier on Saturday, could see a lot more resignations in the coming weeks. Yesterday, general secretary of the TTGF, Elicia Peters-Charles said she cannot predict if there will be any resignations and the amount, but revealed her members have been under tremendous pressure from the public and their employers.
"Federation members have been labelled by the media as dishonest with no integrity. They have even said we have done things like a thief in the night, which has gotten the attention of some of our employers," Peters-Charles said. She added, "Some people who have worked with companies for many years without complaints, were summoned by their bosses and warned etc and the sad thing is that they are doing this for free."
Peters-Charles, who broke her silence for the first time, said Lambert offered her resignation after she felt the committee had broken down and there was need for fresh faces. She, however, could not give a reason for Chen. Both Ali and Charles called it quits because of the way the TTGF handled the Thema Williams issue.
TTGF members also received death threats, Peters-Charles revealed, adding it was why there were members of the Police Service at Wednesday's press conference at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmoorings. The federation on Wednesday filed a report at the Four Roads Police Station, Diego Martin, due to the death threats.
"There is a lot of hate, anger and other emotions out there and we cannot afford to take it lightly, which was why we got police protection for us all and not just Dick alone," Peters-Charles said.She said it will be difficult to secure the officers during their personal day-to-day affairs, as it was too costly.
Peters-Charles took a swipe at some of their members, saying some of those who resigned were part of the decision-making process to pull Williams from the Rio Test. She said she is convinced her federation did what was right, in the interest of the athlete, after a letter from the Williams' coach John Geddert described her performance as a disaster.
A letter sent to TTGF members hours before the start of the Rio Test stated Williams had fallen six times. Peters-Charles said, "How many times have we seen athletes being destroyed because of injuries. Why should we persist with an injured athlete when there is an alternative there, fully fit and waiting."
She also sought to clear the air on concerns that her federation did not follow proper protocol by consulting Head of the Delegation in Rio, Nicole Fuentes on the injury to Williams, saying Fuentes was a massage therapist only, and not the head of any delegation.
"There was only one athlete in Rio and therefore we didn't need a head of delegation, saying this is only needed when there is more than one athlete. In this situation the coach did the right thing by contacting the head of the federation to make the decision and the president got the support of nine of the 15 members in deciding to pull Williams out," She said.
Since being pulled out of the event, Williams' handlers have taken legal action.