T&T ace shooter Roger Daniel shot his way to first place in three individual events at the COPA del Caribe shooting championships held at the Albergue Olímpico training centre in Puerto Rico from July 12-18. Daniel was among T&T’s six-member contingent who went up against approximately 100 of the region’s best shooters from Barbados, Martinique, Aruba, El Salvador, Guatemala, US Virgin Islands and the host nation. Daniel, a two-time First Citizens Sportsman of the Year, was totally unsurpassed in the men’s individual pistol events. He snatched the 25m standard title ahead of compatriot, Rhodney Allen, who secured third place. Daniel also took the 10m air title and went onto retain his title as the 25m centre fire defending champion. Allen brought home T&T’s fifth individual medal when he successfully defended his men’s 50m free pistol title.
Daniel’s winning performances at the championships will serve as a confidence boost as he proudly represents the country in the sport at his third Olympic outing at the London Games which gets under way tomorrow (Fri 27). Curtis Blunt and Marlon Moses were T&T’s rifle shooters, with Moses finishing eighth and Blunt also ranking. Lone women’s local competitor, Marsha Bullen-Jones, put out her best shots in the women’s 10m air and 25m sports pistols events. She managed to finish among the top ten, ending in eighth place in both events. Daniel and Allen then combined forces with Clement Marshall to secure T&T two medals in the team pistol division. Together the trio took silver ahead of Martinique in the men’s standard pistol. First place was taken by Puerto Rico. The host team also took gold in front of Barbados and T&T which placed second and third respectively in the centre fire pistol.
Allen, who also served as the team’s manager, yesterday told the T&T Guardian that the championships was a good experience for the national players. When asked about sponsorship, Allen divulged that the players had to use their money to pay for their trip. Allen said team members had to put out a total of approximately $16,000TTD (inclusive of airfare, accommodation and match fees). Allen said that a plea for financial assistance was made to officials of the Trinidad Rifle Association (TRA) who said that they would contact the Ministry of Sport for possible refunding. He is also pleading to corporate T&T to hop on board as sponsors for the sport to prevent this from happening in the future. The team is still thankful to the TRA, T&T Chief of Defence Force, Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj, and Major Kak Sebastian for their help and interest in the team.