Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lewis praises Commonwealth contingent


NATIONAL PRIDE: Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games athletes pose with newly-appointed Minister of Sport Rupert Griffith during a welcome reception for the T&T contingent at the VIP lounge of the Piarco International airport, yesterday. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

Mark Fraser

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis was full of praise for the T&T athletes as they returned home following a good showing at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, but at the same time he told them that they needed to raise the bar higher.

Lewis, speaking at a welcome reception for the athletes at the Piarco International Airport VIP Lounge yesterday, told the contingent “As much as we all may feel we have done our very best, we can do better.”

“As we pay recognition on the medallists it is always tempting to look down at who have not achieved but it is imperative as we focus on Rio 2016, the CAC games in Vera Cruz in November, the Youth Olympic Games and the Pan Am Games in Toronto next year, that we recognise that Glasgow 2014 is now history,” said Lewis.

“We need to take on board the lessons, the disappointments, the successes, and all work together to ensure our athletes build from this experience,” he added. T&T won eight medals at the games and among those who returned home yesterday was men’s javelin silver medallist Keshorn Walcott and boxing bronze medallist Michael Alexander.

Walcott said he is looking for more personal best as he tries to improve on his performances. “Each medal for me is a great achievement but winning my second medal internationally as a senior athlete and getting a personal best, I think that was the best aspect of the games for me,” Walcott told the media.

“I know the winner from Kenya, I know him from before, from Olympics, from Worlds so I knew he was my major competition and I did not underestimate him for anything, but I guess the better guy won on the day,” he added.

Looking ahead the Olympic gold medallist said: “I am just working toward betterment. Each and every time I just want to improve and hopefully in the near future I will have more personal bests. I had a lot of problems, I had a lot of injuries, so I am just trying to get back to where I want to be. My season is not over yet,” Walcott added.

Alexander also dreams of Olympic gold and is also motivated to improve after surprising himself in Glasgow on his way to securing bronze in his appearance at an international games. “It feels great knowing it was (my) first major competition and I came out with a medal. Seeing the other styles of boxing of other countries,” he said of the experience, before thanking his coaches for helping him along the way.

“If it was not for the coaches I would not have been so successful, so I would like to thank Mr Reynold Cox and Mr Floyd Trumpet,” said the southpaw. New Minister of Sport Rupert Griffith was also on hand to welcome home the athletes and noted that he will have to talk to the prime minister to see if she has any specific plans to honour the athletes.