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NAAA president predicts best medal haul for T&T
Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) says his athletes are ready to deliver on the high medal expectations the T&T public have of them at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Games, which begins tomorrow, would feature the 53 countries that constitute the Commonwealth, competing in 17 disciplines.
Serrette said unlike previous Games, which clashed with other major meets, this year’s scheduling made it possible for all his senior athletes to report for national duty and therefore give the Games the excitement it deserves.
This country’s last Commonwealth gold medal was won by Ato Boldon back in 1998 when the Games were held in Kuala Lumpur.
“Seeing that the Commonwealth Games falls at a time when there are no other major championships, all our athletes are prepared to represent T&T. I don’t like to predict, but I think this should be our best performance at a Commonwealth Games ever, based on the availability of all the athletes. The type of performances we are seeing by Michelle Lee Ahye (100metre) and Richard Thompson (100-metre), it should be our best performance ever,” he said.
He added, “I must say that this year, we recognised a high level of performance by our athletes. It started at the Carifta Games where we would have sent our largest contingent ever, based on standards that were set for athletes to attain. We had a number of athletes attaining the standard; likewise, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, where we would have sent our largest contingent, as well. The results are great. The athletes are understanding the progression from Carifta to CAC and now Commonwealth and World Junior (Championships).”
With respect to the World Junior Championships, he said, T&T had quite a few athletes on the IAAF world listing in the top ten. Machel Cedenio, the 400-metre specialist was ranked tops.
Serrette said, “He is going to the World Junior Champions with the top performance in the world this year: 45.23 and 45.28. These are the top two times for a junior in the world in the 400. We have people like Jonathan Farina who is ranked in the top ten in the 100 metres and the 200 metres as well. Shaquille Waithe in the javelin is ranked in the top ten. Our 4 x 400 and our 4 x 100–male and female teams are ranked in the top ten. I think we can see very good performances once our athletes stay healthy.”
He added, “We have programmes to educate officials and athletes about doping in sport. T&T was in a good position to set up our own National Anti-Doping Organisation. For us as a Federation, we will continue to comply with the IAAF.”