Exclusive: Trinidad and Tobago Olympic chief slams CGF for claiming they had "bungled" Glasgow 2014 entry

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Glasgow

Brian Lewis has criticised the CGF for accusing Trinidadian athletes of bungling their Glasgow 2014 entry ©TwitterTrinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis has strongly criticised the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for giving the impression that eight countries had "bungled and forgotten" to enter athletes for Glasgow 2014, but CGF officials have since refused to retract their claims. 

Speaking after the conclusion of the General Assembly meeting this afternoon, CGF President Prince Imran and chief executive Mike Hooper each reiterated that the countries should have met the deadline of June 11, and that such behaviour will result in sanctions in the future.

They claimed that holding National Championships after the deadline was not a good enough excused, and they should have communicated to make sure they were held earlier. 

This followed their revelation yesterday that special dispensation had been granted to nearly 50 athletes to ensure they did not miss their events, even though the deadline for entries had closed.

This waiving of the deadline was accompanied by a stern warning from CGF President Prince Imran, who revealed the governing body was considering imposing sanctions in the future, against "those Commonwealth Games Associations who fail to meet important deadlines that impact on the Games' operations and their own athletes".

The total of 48 athletes reportedly spanned a variety of unnamed sports and came from Australia, Bahamas, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as from Trinidad and Tobago.

But TTOC President Lewis, who also heads the Caribbean country's Commonwealth Games delegation, has hit back, lambasting the "regrettable and disappointing assertions made by the CGF President", which are "certainly not in keeping with the Commonwealth Games brand positioning as the 'Friendly Games' nor the sport value of fair play".

"The President of the CGF and the chief executive, Mike Hooper, are well aware of the totality of the facts," the official told insidethegames. 

"They are well informed or ought to be that the June 11 deadline presented an intractable problem to some CGA's such as Trinidad and Tobago, since the selection process for athletics is the National Track and Field Championships scheduled for the third weekend in June.

"Trinidad and Tobago wasn't the only country facing this challenge."

World champion 400m hurdler Jehue Gordon is part of the Trinidad and Tobago athletics squad for Glasgow 2014 ©Getty ImagesWorld champion 400m hurdler Jehue Gordon is part of the Trinidad and Tobago athletics squad for Glasgow 2014 ©Getty Images





Lewis explained they had unsuccessfully attempted to extend the deadline to a later date in line with International Association of Athletics Federations and Olympic final deadlines for entries.

In their effort to work within the June 11 deadline they would always have been hard pressed to get the final track and field team 100 per cent accurate, he insisted, before reiterating that the suggestion they had "bungled and forgotten" their entries is regrettable.

"I would not speculate as to the motives behind such alleged declarations coming from the President of the CGF," he told insidethegames in a strongly worded conclusion.

"We are confident that our efforts to ensure that our best available track and field team will participate at Glasgow 2014 is a reflection of our support and abiding respect for the people of Scotland and organisers of Glasgow 2014 and the values, mission and purpose of the Commonwealth Games and the CGF."

"With the much anticipated Opening Ceremony just 24 hours away, we believe the focus should remain on the athletes and the collective efforts to ensure that the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is the best ever .

"The Commonwealth Games is struggling to retain its relevance and importance on the global sporting calendar.

"Glasgow 2014 represents an opportunity to highlight the Games in a positive and dynamic light."

Contact the writer of this story at nick.butler@insidethegames.biz


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July 2014: World champion Gordon and Olympic gold medallist Walcott lead Trinidad and Tobago Glasgow 2014 athletics squad
June 2014: Olympic medallist Bovell leading name on Trinidad and Tobago squad for Glasgow 2014
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