Rawlson Dopwell head coach of the junior national boxing team is happy with his athletes, but complained about the budgetary cuts to the live-in camp programme.
There are currently seven boxers in training to represent the country at the World Youth Games, Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympic Games and ultimately the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The training camp, one of the initiatives of both the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Boxing Association (TTABA) and the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC), is located at the Alicia’s Palace in St Ann’s and has an enlistment of junior boxers whose ages range from 14 to 16.
The other training camp which has been installed at the Cosmic Gym in Marabella presently houses approximately 16 elite boxers, both male and female.
Recently, the young pugilists completed a tour of Guyana.
“While we don’t want to use Team Guyana as a milestone, we need to have our team on the circuit, competing at regional and international tournaments so as to gauge the athletes’ performance and in doing so, build their confidence from being on the circuit. We have been struggling with funding for the entire year and this has been and still is part of (the) problem. We have gotten a reduced budget from the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago—from $3million dollars to $700,000 dollars—which barely covers the operational cost”.
Dopwell believes he and assistant coach Wlliam Willibord are doing an excellent job given the budgetary constraints.
Coach Dopwell stated he has invested approximately $10,000 of his personal funds to keep the camp, which includes youngsters from humble backgrounds.
He said all he’s hearing is that the money has not been released to the Boxing Board as yet and would like to know when the Ministry will release funds so the camp can continue to be sustained.
Coaches Dopwell and Willibord believe the live-in training camps will help greatly with the development of the athletes at an early age to represent the country at high level games, mainly the Olympic Games.
The athletes who are in camp at Alicia’s Palace are: Ryan Cummins (age 16); Akmal Stroude (age 16); Christian McDonald (age 16); Justin Paris (age 14); Malcolm Benjamin (age 15); Jarel Nunes (age 16); Kyle Johnson (age 19).