With the recent Olympic gold medal success of Keshorn Walcott in the men’s javelin at the London Olympics Games, long standing Toco track and field maestro John Andalcio is calling for the continuation of the National Throws programme in the village.
In a letter to the National Association of Athletics Adminstrations (NAAA), Andalcio called on the organisation to continue provide funding for Ishmael Lopez Mastrapa, the Cuban coach who prepared Walcott for his Olympic success and also several other junior athletes to national and regional glory in recent years.
“(Recent) athletic seasons have yielded tremendous results for the athletes from the North Coast region in general, with outstanding performances from the throwers including Kyle Preudhomme, Hakim Smith, Jamel Paul and all-rounder Cherisse Murray. Walcott has consistently broken the national record with fantastic performances over the last two years despite being a relative novice in the event. This was achieved in no small part with the assistance of coach Ismael Lopez Mastrapa and great sacrifice on the part of the region’s athletes and club officials.”
The IAAF certified multi-event coach and official contends that the cost of having Mastrapha travel to Toco is considerable less than the expenses incurred for Toco athletes travel to Port of Spain to train.
“Two weekly sessions are proposed for Tuesdays and Thursdays where Lopez will work with selected athletes from 10.00 am—12.30 pm.
“A small stipend of $200 per session is requested to compensate for his effort and to cover expenses e.g. defray the cost of transport to and from Toco, and the provision of lunch.
“This arrangement makes it much cheaper for the NAAA, since it has cost approximately $700 per session when the club had to transport its athletes to the Port of Spain training venue. The club also had to wait for a year to get some reimbursement.”
The retired school principal is also seeking resolution to the recent split in the Toco TAFAC athletic club. Andalcio, president of the club, said one athlete was threatened that he will not receive assistance (from the NAAA) to train if he fails to join the new break-away club in Toco.
“The athlete has returned to training with Toco TAFAC and he has been threatened that he will not receive the assistance unless he joins the new club.”
Andalacio said the threat was repeated by another coach.
Meanwhile, at the recent NAAA general council meeting, clubs called on the executive to pay coaches the outstanding monies owed to them, and also to change the nation’s abbreviation from TRI to TNT or T&T.