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Hurdle clinic starts today at HC stadium

Friday, February 7, 2014

IAAF certified coach Dr Ian Hypolite, the 2013 Spirit of Sport Awards Coach of the Year, will lead a team comprising former Olympic medal and world record athletes at a three-day conference and clinic focusing on the track and field discipline of hurdles at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo today.


Record Form Hurdle Clinic is the title given to the event at which Americans Kevin Young, holder of the world record in the 400-metre hurdles and Roger Kingdom two-time Olympic gold medallist in the 110-metre division of the event, will collaborate with Dr Hypolite to disseminate information aimed at developing this country’s capacity in this discipline.


The brain-child of Keron “Scoops” Cooper, technical director for sport in the Life Sport programme, the Record Form Hurdle Clinic has been endorsed by the National Association of Athletics Administrators (NAAA) and the Sports Ministry. The State agency has signed on as sponsor of the event.


Sports Minister Anil Roberts is expected to attend today’s opening ceremony scheduled to begin at 8 am.


Designed to facilitate 30 coaches and 60 athletes, Cooper and his team were on the brink of disappointment, citing that responses up to Monday’s deadline were not encouraging, even though registration for participation in the development programme was at no cost to the stakeholders. Over the last three days, however, interest in the project took a turn for the better.


Thirty-two coaches, up from 11 have signed up to take part in Record Form Hurdle Clinic.


Citing yesterday’s rains which affected play in the Nagico Super-50 Tournament at Shaw Park, Tobago, Cooper told G-Sports that his team still intended to conduct training sessions on the main track at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, but should that plan be interrupted by inclement weather, contingencies are in place to ensure the sessions go on as planned. 


“Most time clinics focus on sprinting or they might throw in shot put. Right now our sport of track and field is sprint-centric and shot put-centric. We have not broadened our horizons. Other than the 100 (metre) and the 400 (metre), we have no athletes that are dominant, neither do we have the numbers. As a fan of hurdling ever since, and a student of the sport; and then of course with Jehue’s (Gordon) recent success, this was seen as the best time, the most opportune time to bring a clinic of this sort, to bring awareness of the event T&T; so that we could increase the number of athletes that participate in the sport. By increasing your pool, you also increase your chances of finding an elite athlete in that pool,” Cooper said.


He added, “I took the idea to Mr Ahswin Creed, the PS (permanent secretary). He like it! He liked every part of it. He pushed it forward. He believed it would be good for track and field in the nation. I had the idea to bring down Roger Kingdom, but it was Mr Creed’s idea to include another world class hurdler. That is how Kevin Young got into the picture as well.”


Cooper explained that the vision for this programme, once approved by the ministry, was to host at least four clinics throughout the year, in track and field to keep local coaches sharp by introducing new and relevant techniques, while realigning the vision for sports in T&T annually.


Not every athlete would get the opportunity to train abroad, he said, and therefore, the need to impart expert knowledge from local and foreigners would help ensure that local athletes evolve.


“The end results should be that we are able to compete at that high level and challenge our international competitors: America, Jamaica (and) Great Britain. We had a gold (medal) in the javelin in 2012 (Olympic Games), but then it just stopped there. There was no push to get more athletes involved in this event. We didn’t take advantage of that time frame. It’s never too late and hopefully there will be in the works, soon enough, throws clinics: javelin, shot put (and) discus clinics that would take place for our athletes,” said Cooper. 


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