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We must work on positives from Rio

Monday, August 29, 2016
Cleopatra Borel ..must be congratulated

Track and field was the biggest attraction in Rio. That was not unexpected. The world seemed ready for the likes of Usain Bolt and the Jamaican contingent, eagerly awaiting challenges from our own cadre of track stars, plus the USA, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar and the Bahamas.

The Caribbean commentary team provided only superficial information on the athletes, a factor which deprived the fans of knowing how things behind closed door have been going.

Were there injuries?  What was the current form of the athletes? By that time, the experience of training at the venue was of paramount importance to those who were fine tuning physically and mentally for their events.

Some had previously predicted the results which were based upon the lead up times and distances of the participants, based upon the performances during the period of the last two years, and most importantly, any surprises which may show up.

By now,  Thema Williams was temporarily forgotten and levels of optimism had reached an imaginary proportion of a huge medal haul which the NOC president was expecting from this time onwards.

The tension in the T&T camp was never discussed by either Alexis Nunes, Shaka Hislop or especially Dr. Ian Hypolite, the Caribbean commentators, so we all  crossed our fingers that all was well. TV, local and foreign, did not report on incidents within camp.

They were all positives with Mike Phelps being the super star on the verge of being the greatest swimmer ever or maybe the most successful athlete in history.

On viewing the local athletes in their events, their times, body language and eventual results sent many messages to us, not in a negative way.

For instance, our male sprinters had no evidence of reaching below ten seconds or 20.2 seconds in either the 100 or 200 metres.

Statistics may have exposed the fans to a few of the opponents who have been doing well, but, really, were we expected to match these lads, following their times?

What I actually saw were some very satisfactory efforts from Machel Cedenio, Rondel  Sorillo, Michele Lee Ahye, and our women’s relay team.

The fact is that none was able to win a medal, although their times  were comparable with the World class opponents.

Our men sprinters Bledman, Richard Thompson, Callendar all traveled to Rio without any quality times from their performances within the past year, hence the reason why much was not expected.

This is why there was need for on the spot analysis following their races which could spell out their shortcomings, whether they be poor judgmental pacing, absence of early speed from the blocks, failing to handle the curve in the 200 metres. Or was it that this group were just superior to our lads this time around.

This is where Dr. Hypolithe became essential. His vast knowledge and experience was able to pick apart the mistakes by our athletes and detect reasons for their inability to match strides with the more advanced ones.

He actually spoke at length about moments when late starting from the blocks, taking the long distance by not hugging the lane on the inside. I expected that errors like baton changing, failing to hold lanes, would have been adequately performed, seeing the we had four years to master the key aspects of their events.

Only good things could be said about the field representatives Cleopetra Borel, and Kishorn Walcott, and we should commend them in the same way we did to Cedenio, Lee Ahye, Njisane Phillips, canoe participant Ms. Chow, and Dylan Carter.

I now look forward for constructive critique coming from the coaches, with the hope of recognizing reasons for substandard performances, the mental and psychological issues, some of which may be detected after hearing unofficial comments from some of the athletes themselves.

I do not plan to explain to the fans that failure may bring consolation to the participants, but it is my solid view that selection to participate in the Olympic games is simply an opportunity to represent one’s country.

The joy and satisfaction comes as a result of their quality of performance.


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