Port of Spain (Trinidad), Aug 17 (IANS/CMC):
A $2 million Athletic Development Programme has been unveiled in Trinidad and Tobago, targeting promising athletes likely to represent the country in the next 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
State-owned oil company Petrotrin launched the programme in Port of Spain in the aftermath of the twin republic’s record four-medal haul in the recently concluded Olympics in London, reports CMC.
The four medals include Trinidad’s second Olympic gold medal won by Keshorn Walcott, after he threw the javelin at a distance of 277 feet, 6 inches.
“We are confident that we are putting in place a practical programme which will provide the support where it is most needed — at the individual level,” chairman Lindsay Gillette announced during a news conference at Petrotrin’s office in Port of Spain Thursday.
“We don’t want to just give out money (to athletes); we want to support them in everything possible.”
Petrotrin says the funds are for up-and-coming athletes and will be disbursed in tranches of $500,000 a year through respective associations, and athletes will be monitored to ensure they continue to meet the programme’s criteria.
A maximum eight track and field athletes, four swimmers, four boxers and four cyclists will receive assistance over the next four years.
“People wait for an athlete to get a gold medal or silver or a bronze medal,” said Gillette, a former senator, “before they begin supporting or are ready to get some support in the future, when in fact what an athlete requires is a lot of support before the actual achievement.”
Gillette told reporters that the programme, which does not include team sport, requires athletes to have a “high participation in sport” and “realistic chances” of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympics.