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FOUR-TIME TT Olympian Gene “Geronimo” Samuel believes there is a possibility national cycling coach Erin Hartwell, can ditch TT to seek greener pastures, after a wave of unexpected and uncomfortable issues within the local cycling fraternity over the past month.
The veteran cyclist/coach made these remarks following Hartwell’s recent decision to take some time off from his duties, just days before TT’s penultimate Olympic qualifier in Milton, Canada.
Samuel highlighted multiple intricacies which have occurred over the past four weeks, and even in his (Hartwell) previous tenure as TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) high performance director back in 2010, which may have played an integral part in the American opting to request leave at such a crucial time.
Hartwell though, is a familiar face among the sport locally, having been hired as national coach in May 2010 before his contract was terminated six months later under the then Minister of Sport Anil Roberts and TTCF president Robert Farrier.
The former world record holder then returned to TT in September 2017, on a three-year contract, to take up the post as the new technical director of cycling. Since his reintegration into the sport, TT cycling has been on the rise. However, with a flurry of unwanted issues within recent times, Samuel is worried Hartwell may have reached his breaking point while TT stands to lose its most essential cycling asset.
“After working wonders for the past two years, this is what it has come to?” questioned a fiery Samuel, on Wednesday. “It’s the last straw that broke the camel’s back. These are sad times for cycling. If he takes up a job elsewhere, he’ll be in charge, he’ll have equipment, nobody would be undermining him and they would be accepting of his time. It’s too much of favour and politics in TT.”
The respected local cyclist admitted Hartwell is doing an amazing job with the team but reiterated the multitude of administrative and athlete fluctuations which, according to him, can become overbearing as a professional coach.
In a short conversation with the American, on Tuesday, Hartwell said, “In light of the recent events in cycling that have impacted upon my professional reputation and career, I’ve been granted leave by the Sports Company to pursue other opportunities.”
These “recent events” can be summarised as the abrupt resignation of former TTCF president Larry Romany after just four months in office, a Pan American Games gold and silver medal stripping courtesy a positive doping test (controlled substance) in the same month and the removal of five Mavic wheels from Hartwell’s office by an athlete without consent from TTCF; all in December 2019.
Additionally, the personal omission of two riders from TT’s Men’s Team Sprint squad, who according to Hartwell, had a slim, mathematical chance to qualify for Tokyo. These cyclists though, deemed the task impossible.
“I know he wishes things could be turned around. It’s a pity the Team Sprint unit isn’t going (to Olympic qualifiers) and I know Erin has to be so mentally drained. Like Gary Griffith, an individual who is trying to do the best he can, Erin is frustrated. It hurts me because I’m the one who pushed Erin to take up the job during a conversation in pouring rain in Pennsylvania some years ago,” Samuel added.
With Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne and Quincy Alexander gearing up to compete at the UCI World Cup on Friday without their coach present, Samuel believes his absence may affect their mental strengths. He is, however, confident the team can still produce a dominant performance and still qualify in their respective individual sprint and keirin events.
“They are race horses and professionals and they have to do the best that they can and they will give it one hundred per cent. Erin has brought them this far,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, indicated he was not privy to all the information surrounding this matter and was unable to make a direct comment.
“I don’t have that information as this is news to me. But, who Jah bless no one curse. I just hope the athletes will stay focused through all the ups and downs,” said Lewis.
Attempts to contact TTCF president Joseph Roberts, for a comment also proved futile, since calls to his phone went unanswered.
KIELLE Connelly continued her unstoppable form, booking a spot for her team Police in the women’s final of the NBFTT National Invitational Championship to face Defence force on Sunday 8pm at the Maloney Indoor Sports Arena.
On Sunday, Police came up against the young and aspiring Enterprise/ Maloney combine and it was a lot closer than most expected in the earlier stages of the match but Police tightened up in the end to win comprehensively 100-56.
Connelly was all over the stats sheets once again, recording (35 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals). Her team-mate, Joelisa Cooper contributed (19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) while, Leslie-Ann Bacquain added (17 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals) and Afeisha Noel had a double-double with 12 points, 15 rebounds. For the combine team, 13-year-old prodigy, Carissa Ramdial had an eye-catching performing dropping a tournament high 8 three-pointers on her way to 30 points, 4 steals and her partner Breanna Charles notched a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Connelly, who has been dominant on both ends of the court this season, said, “It feels good to be in the final and I’m extremely excited to come up against TTDF because it’s a team with all-round players. Our team plans to work on our weaknesses and strengths so we can come out victorious.” She continued, “I’m a very competitive player and I give my all when it comes to my matches. However, I’ve been working on certain aspects of my game and the tournament has given me an opportunity to apply those skills.”
In the other semi-final match, Defence Force had a much tougher match-up when they defeated Brian Chase Basketball Academy 63-54. The gruelling encounter was exciting from the start but a strong fourth quarter finish from Army proved to be the difference. Towering centre Jameela Mc Carthy topped the charts for her team with 21 points, 13 rebounds and six steals while Alicia Liverpool managed 14 points, 7 rebounds and Crystal-Ann George chipped in with 10 points, 6 rebounds and five assists.
Brian Chase Academy`s Allison Young had a game-high 26 points, 19 rebounds five steals whilst Ize-Tao Best and Alicia Joseph added nine and seven points respectively. The bronze medallist will begin at 630pm followed by the battle of armed forces at 8pm.
CRICKET West Indies president Ricky Skerritt said the regional cricket body is committed to youth development and the brilliant start by West Indies in the International Cricket Council Under-19 50-over World Cup in South Africa, is the outcome of that investment. West Indies will be looking for their third consecutive win of the tournament after … Continue reading Skerritt: WI U19s benefiting from investment
Njoroge aims for hat-trick at 2020 TT Int’l Marathon
KENYAN-BORN Mexican Stephen Njoroge is eyeing a hat-trick of titles when the 38th edition of the TT International Marathon (TTIM) is held, on Sunday. The marathon will start at St Mary’s Junction, Freeport at 5 am and end at the Queens Park Savannah, in Port of Spain. The course will traverse the Southern Main Road … Continue reading Njoroge aims for hat-trick at 2020 TT Int’l Marathon
Defeated political leader candidate, Joel Jack requested a recount of votes in Sunday’s People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council elections but failed to show up for the process to begin.
Jack was one of three candidates who challenged incumbent Kelvin Charles for the post.
The recount request was confirmed on Tuesday by Returning Officer Tracy James, who said the recount would start at 3pm in the presence of either the candidate or his agent at the PNM Tobago Council’s Scarborough office.
But by 5.30pm on Tuesday, PNM sources said while they were prepared for the recount, neither Jack nor his agent had arrived.
Newsday attempted to contact Jack but all calls to his cellphone went unanswered.
Jack, a Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), finished third in the race with 1,066 votes, while Charles, who is hoping to secure another four-year term, got 1,513 votes. Ambassador to Costa Rica Tracy Davidson-Celestine received 1,447 votes and former THA presiding officer Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus got 904 votes. Charles will face Davidson-Celestine in a runoff on Sunday to decide the party's next political leader.
Field Officer candidate Kelvon Morris had also initially requested a recount but eventually cancelled it.
Scotiabank has decided to close its Scarborough branch on June 30, 2020 after assessing its damage from Tropical Storm Karen on September 22 last year. Scotiabank made it clear there would be no job losses as the branch would be consolidated into the Lowlands branch.
The announcement was made in a press release on Tuesday morning.
The bank, like many other businesses in Scarborough, was severely damaged from flooding as a result of the storm.
According to the release, “All customer accounts will be transferred to Lowlands, and customers will be contacted with details on their accounts. The Lowlands branch will be upgraded to manage the increase in customers and equipped with next generation ATMs that allow for 24/7 banking."
Scotiabank said its ATM footprint throughout Tobago would also be expanded.
The release said all employees will be reassigned to other positions within the business, including at Lowlands, so familiar faces will continue to be seen throughout the operations.
“We do anticipate as with any change there will be questions. Our customers may find it helpful to visit their current Scarborough branch to chat with an advisor for useful tips on accounts and the transition and stay tuned to www.tt.scotiabank.com for updates.”
SSCL 2020 bowls off: PowerGen GM urges youth development
POWERGEN general manager Surendra Ramsingh called on international players, who passed through the Secondary Schools’ Cricket League (SSCL), to get more involved in the all-round development of TT’s young and aspiring cricketers.
Ramsingh made the open request at Tuesday’s 2020 SSCL opening ceremony, which bowled off at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba. At the launch, the PowerGen executive member was pleased to highlight the tournament’s progressive evolution throughout the years.
He, however, appealed to TT’s current senior players and products of the league to share a more personal and professional relationship with the present crop of school cricketers, to aid their holistic development in both the male and female versions of the game.
“Over the years the league has made strides to improve the consistency of girls cricket, and last year we a saw very impressive girls final. I expect this year to see more progress in this area. As part of the evolution of the league, we’d like to see more mentorship activities from some of the players who participated in this league and are now internationally recognised. Perhaps we can start a mentorship workshop!” hinted Ramsingh.
PowerGen has been the SSCL’s main sponsor for the past 24 years of its 25-year existence and remains committed to continuing its support of cricket development locally. Ramsingh also advised the supporting student body to ensure they strike the right balance between sport and academics.
“No matter your talent, you will always need a solid education. The return on investment for us is seeing young people pick up a bat and ball, and not a weapon and seeing you strive for fullest potential is our ultimate reward,” he added.
SSCL president Surujdath Mahabir was also on-hand to bring greetings before the first ball was bowled between defending champions Hillview College, and last year’s third placed finishers, St Benedict’s College. Mahabir coaxed the Ministry of Education and other administrators to increase their overall support for all sporting disciplines.
“Moving forward in cricket, I want to urge all principals, teachers, supporters and coaches to support us. We have a tremendous relationship with schools and participation is one area that I’ve been trying each year to improve. And I’ll keep trying because we need the principals, administrators and the Ministry of Education to get more involved in the national sporting school bodies to ensure we have more participation,” said the schools’ league president.
Delivering remarks on behalf of the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs was director of sport in the Ministry of Education Patrice Charles, who also called on students to use their participation in sport to positively influence themselves, their peers and by extension, society as a whole.
Also present at the opening ceremony were president of the TT Cricket Board Azim Bassarath, curriculum officer for Physical Education Dudnath Nagessar, other members of the PowerGen executive and coaching staff and students of the competing schools.
Police and game wardens are now questioning several people in the Penal area and environs after a 500 pound female tapir was spotted wandering in the village of Ramjattan Trace, Penal on Monday morning.
The animal which is indigenous to TT is originally from South America. According to reports, on Monday morning, residents awoke to see the animal roaming the village.
The frightened residents contacted officials from Agriculture and Forestry Division. A team of game wardens including game warden II Andy Singh, Jeremy Dindial and Penal police led by Cpl Ramdial and officials of the Emperor Valley Zoo visited the village and started searching for the animal.
The animal was found in some nearby bushes and was put to sleep with a tranquilliser. It was then transported to the Zoo where it remains under the care of officials.
Police believe that the animal was smuggled into TT and are hoping to find the perpetrators responsible. They believe the animal may have been apart of an illegal shipment and may have escaped.
The fine for having possession of a protected animal without a permit is $5,000.