Four-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympic medallist, now sports broadcaster Ato Boldon believes it is going to be tough for Trinidad and Tobago to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“We are less than 10 months away from the Olympics and we have to be honest, it is going to be tough to win a medal. We will have chances, maybe one or two including Keshorn Walcott, but it is not going to be easy.”
Boldon made the comment during a wide-ranging interview with Andre Baptiste on the ISports programme on I95.5 FM on Saturday.
However, Boldon said he believes T&T can improve significantly in the 4x100 metres women’s relays. Pointing out that he had experience working with the coaching team in 2015 when the women won bronze in Beijing. Boldon said they remain the tenth-ranked team in the world. He offered his US-based facility and time to help prepare the team for next year.
“As I have said before and will say now, there are two athletes (Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett) and three if we include Khalifa St Fort, who all live in the same state, all the NAAA has to do is arrange for Michelle to fly over from her base and bring across the athletes from Trinidad and Tobago and we can use my facility here in Florida, it can be done,” Boldon said.
“I am willing to do that, but I get the sense as if it is because it’s an Ato Boldon idea, then they feel no we are not going to do this. This is about the country, I saw that was happening and I told persons about this more than three to four years ago, it was the titanic, but nobody was listening to me.”
Boldon also identified the fact that “because I talk up matters and raise questions, people always tell me to shut up, but I am from a culture of results that counts and that if you do not get that you are out.”
“I am just glad that I do not have to deal with the bacchanal that always seems to happen with me involved with the NAAA,” Boldon explained.
Asked about his relationship with Crawford and the National Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA), Boldon said, “This is nothing personal with me and Hasely Crawford, this is that the NAAA follows whatever Hasely Crawford says, whatever he suggests, all of them fall in line.
“That is the way the hierarchy is and I am saying that because you have a stadium named after you, or because you won a race some 43 years ago, that your policies are the way to go. People disagree with that, that is not a popular opinion. In Trinidad, you must hush your mouth and follow what everybody else doing.”
He added,“I do not subscribe to that. That is the reason that sports are where they are now because you have a bunch of people who are unwilling to step outside the line, they just towing the line and whatever is said goes. But I am sorry, you can look back at a lot of the philosophies and practices of the NAAA, which are reflective of what Hasely says should happen ... look at the results, Carifta results poor, World Youth poor, World Juniors, again no finalist in an individual event, so this is not an Ato versus Hasely thing.”
He also cleared whether he was interested in a position on the NAAA executive.
“I do not want any position on the NAAA but I sadly believe that maybe it takes us winning no medals in the Tokyo Olympics for this current team to realise that they are obsolete,” he said.
“For instance, all of the persons who have Trinidad and Tobago connections in the world are constantly calling me and leaving messages. Why in this day and age the NAAA does not have an open line, or use social media, to get out the word all around the world about athletes with Trinidad and Tobago connections … other countries like the USA, Jamaica, Great Britain are doing it but we are not … so now when I get a chance, I check around and once I get good information I pass it on to Peter (Samuel).”