T&T's women rugby sevens team yesterday began a valuable training stint in preparation for next month's Nacra zone Olympic qualifiers with a series of matches against Central and South American opposition at the International Campus of Women Rugby Sevens Tournament in Medellin, Colombia.
Led by captain Ayanna Skeete and coached by Carlton Felix, the sevens team arrived in Colombia on Thursday for the two-day round-robin tournament. They were scheduled to play a series of top quality opposition in Casco champions and hosts, Colombia, Nacra women's champions, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru. The first match, against Mexico, finished after press time last evening.
They then faced the host team in the second match. Today, the second and final day, T&T will meet Peru and finally Costa Rica.
The team in Colombia is comprised of Skeete, Nicolette Pantor, Kanisha Vincent, Ornella George, Jolyene Coward, Sara Griffith, Kafi Wright, Alesha Bruce, Apphia Glasgow, Maria Mendez, Victoria Caliste, Dalia Jordan-Brown, Fayola Jack14. Tenisha Samuel-Duke, Blossom Stewart and Kathleen Stephens. Felix's assistants are Jenilee Limada and Kelson Figaro. Ebony Young is the manager, while Derek Ashby-Williams is the team's physiotherapist.
The trip, funded by the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT), Ministry of Sport, the T&T Olympic Committee and Nacra, is unprecedented a T&T women's rugby team. Speaking ahead of the trip, Felix said the tournament serves a top opportunity to lift the women's game and increase the team's chances of success next month.
"I am really looking forward to this tournament, as it would provide us with ideal match preparation as well as give us the opportunity to have a closer look at some of the players," Felix said.
"The timing of it would also allow us to properly analyze the games and make the necessary adjustments before the Nacra Tournament in June. The opportunity to have this type of preparation, as we have not had before, I am pretty confident that it will boost our chances come June."
The women's team will visit North Carolina, in the US, for the June 13-14 Olympic qualifiers.