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Foundation helps inspire youth
Throughout its history, T&T has been defined in some way or another, by the achievements of our many sportsmen and women.
Whether it was Rodney Wilkes, winning the first Olympic medal; Hasely Crawford copping the first Olympic gold; the Soca Warriors uniting an entire nation with their World Cup qualification; and more recently, Keshorn Walcott’s Olympic Gold and the inspiring performances of the rest of the T&T team that represented us at the London 2012 Olympic Games; these things have come to define T&T as a nation.
In this vein, the blink | bmobile Foundation has eagerly extended its support to the Sports Desk Leadership Symposium, which entered its 15th year with its four-day mentorship progamme last week.
Held at the Cascadia Hotel, the symposium gave over 300 students the opportunity to spend four days being inspired by the country’s top sportsmen and women, which include George Bovell III, Ria Ramnarine, Shantol Ince, Daren Ganga, Kwanieze John, and Njisane Phillips to name a few.
blink | bmobile has been a long-standing partner of the event and continues to support, and according to Natasha Davis, executive vice president, marketing, “We see it as an important undertaking as it aligns with the goals of our Foundation.
“We’re very happy to have the blink | bmobile Foundation associated with us over the years,” said event organiser and founder of The Sports Desk, Valentino Singh. “They have continued to make a valuable contribution as this event grows bigger and stronger each year.”
He shared that blink | bmobile’s support enables us accommodate many students at the hotel throughout the duration of the event who come from rural areas and helps ensure that they are properly taken care of.
“We are very happy to have the blink | bmobile Foundation on board. What we do and what they do seem to run parallel. I think in many respects we are partners in what we do. The Foundation caters to the development of young people and being here, being with us, just continues along that line.”
Of the advice offered, former T&T cricket captain, Daren Ganga, shared the many challenges he faced trying to achieve his dreams, and what it took for him to put aside his disappointments and stay on course for success.
“A lot of times we talk about success but don’t talk about how we deal with failures,” he explained. Speaking on his first international tour to South Africa, after which he was dropped from the West Indies team, Ganga explained he learned the hard way that at the highest level, there is no room for excuses. I took the positives and I built upon it.”
He urged the young minds to stay focused on what they wanted in life and understand that however difficult it might be, it would only be difficult for a short period of time, while on the road to achieving their dreams.
World champion boxer, Ria Ramnarine, who dealt with pain—the physical and emotional aspects of it—noted that how you deal with pain defines who you are as an individual.
Ramnarine shared from her vast experience on the topic. “Pain is what you make it. I’ve dealt with pain in a lot of different forms and fashions and I can tell you that sometimes you have to forego the pain, in order to achieve your dreams.”
Cyclist Njisane Phillips told participants about his recent experience with kidney failure and his journey back to full strength, as well his London 2012 experience of coming extremely close to an Olympic medal.
“It was really tough for me, I just thought that I was going to go for the experience and prepare for 2016. But, my coach had me well-prepared; I wasn’t really expecting to be that fast. When I got to the finals, I was really proud of myself and I said you know what, this is possible, and this is the time that you can do it. But I wasn’t experienced at the time; I wasn’t ready. I cried a lot, maybe for about six hours I cried because at the time you’re not thinking that you’re going to medal, but when you’re in that moment, it’s like you’re right there, fourth place is like super hard to get and I thought that I let my country down and I was very disappointed so I cried.”
The symposium took place from April 7–10 and closed off by honouring past participants who were instrumental in growing the event over the years.
Among them were; TTOC president Brian Lewis, Sport Minister Anil Roberts, motivational speaker Don La Foucade, photographer Andre Alexander, entrepreneur Shari John, and Holy Name Convent, Port of Spain, and SAGHS.