Roberts confident T&T can host US swim team
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts is confident that Trinidad and Tobago will be successful in their big to host the US Olympic swim team ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games at the under construction George Bovell National Aquatic Centre.
The Minister was among the officials touring the facility on Thursday, currently under construction in Couva. The site was one of several stops by officials of USA Swimming. The team comprised Candi MacConaugha, national team director Frank Busch, national team managing director and Lindsay Mintenko, who visited Trinidad and Tobago to gauge its suitability to host the US Olympic swim team ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The group also toured the Hyatt Regency and Hilton Trinidad hotels as prospective team hotels, while there was also a presentation on the specifications of the Centre and a meeting involving Health Minister Fuad Khan, Minister of Trade and Industry Stephen Cadiz and National Security Minister Jack Warner to discuss proposed logistical arrangements.
Roberts feels T&T is capable of meeting all the team's requirements, and was happy with the US officials' "positive" responses.
"Imagine the buzz that will be created when athletes like Ryan Lochte land in Trinidad and Tobago," Roberts said. "The excitement will be palpable and everyone will be keen to ensure their stay is pleasant, safe and productive."
He also said apart from the economic benefits to be gained by having an 80-strong US squad coming to T&T for one week, the fact that the number one swimming team in the world would choose this country as its location for its final training camp before the prestigious games would be an endorsement of the George Bovell Aquatic Centre and by extension this country as a preferred venue for elite sport and training activities.
The Aquatic Centre is to be completed by September 2014 and will boast of state-of-the-art training and competition spaces for swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. The Centre is expected to achieve several objectives in the development of high performance sport including provision of top class training facilities for local and regional athletes, as well as the creation of a sport-related income generator through hosting of competitions and the spin-off of domestic, regional and international sport tourism.
T&T, as the only English-speaking territory being considered for this venture, expects to learn by the end of March whether USA Swimming will take up the offer to make this country their base camp before they head off to Rio.