Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Commonwealth Games Association (T&TCGA) is defending concerns raised from several quarters in the national community regarding the number of officials that are accompanying athletes to the Commonwealth Games which starts on Wednesday in Glasgow, Scotland.
The T&TCGA has appointed 47 officials to assist more than 100 athletes.
The team officials comprises exercise physiologists, sports nutritionists, doctors, athletic trainers, chiropractors, team managers, coaches, as well as Dr Ian Hypolite, the contingent's chef de mission, Annette Knott, secretary of the TTCGA, who is the assistant chef-de-mission and Lewis.
"T&T claims to be a sport loving public and they watch a lot of international events, but still hold the view that sports psychologist, sports nutritionist, athletic trainers, chiropractors, exercise physiologist and all of these conditioning experts are unnecessary. If people feel that it is unnecessary, then we are in the wrong business and we are not talking about high performance sport. Then we are doing our athletes a disservice. The TTOC/CGA has no intention of doing our athletes a disservice," said Lewis.
"All over the world, success drive success. I am convinced that for the TTOC/CGA, National Sporting Organisations (NSO), the athletes and coaches that attend major events such as the Commonwealth Games, go to perform and not just to participate. T&T athletes have passed the stage of just being happy to barely qualify. We've gone past that stage. That is no longer an acceptable position. We are going to these Games to perform. It's not about going for a joy ride or a vacation. It's about performance. I expect quality performances."
Lewis said Dr Hypolite had the experience having attended several high level games in the past and he understands what is required to bring home gold by creating the right environment from the administrative side of things.
"In the past, people complained about all the officials going and there are still people that have that view. If they pay attention to what is happening in the modern environment, you will see that support staff is crucial. And in many ways, T&T still have a long way to go. Simple things like video analysis I think should be part of the team. There are lots of things we need to do, but it's a building process. We are also reviewing how we construct medical services for athletes. For me the focus has to be on the podium and how do we ensure that our athletes have what they need to perform at their best on the day, to deliver their full potential," Lewis explained.
He added: "We are focused as a CGA and our partnership with the Michael Johnson Performance Centre in the USA and BPTT to compliment the training programmes that the various coaches have for the various athletes. It's all about working as a team. The Commonwealth Games still remains very much an important event for T&T. Within recent time the Commonwealth Games were held in November or around that period or like in 2006, in March-April. So it has been quite a while since we have been able, on paper, to go into the Games with what should be a very strong track and field contingent. That is really a big boast for us. We have the opportunity this time around because the Games are in July. It will be a very interesting Games and I am very optimistic that we would see some huge performances."