By Paul Osborne

Athletes like Keshorn Walcott, winner of the Olympic gold medal in the javelin at London 2012, helped portray a positive image of Trinidad and Tobago, it is claimed ©Getty ImagesThe Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), is anticipating that sport will receive increased policy focus when the new national budget is announced tomorrow. 

The budget is due to be read by Senator Larry Howai, Minister of Finance and the Economy, in Parliament in Port of Spain tomorrow with the TTOC hoping for a number of sport specific measures to provide a clear direction for local sport across the country.

Among the measures the TTOC is hoping to see introduced in this latest budget announcement is an allocation for a special Olympic Podium Pathway for Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and beyond, providing athletes, like London 2012 javelin gold medallist Keshorn Walcott, coaches and national teams access to dedicated funding

It also hoped that a sport fund will be set up, similar to that seen in other countries, which would use the National Lottery to help develop sport within Trinidad and Tobago.

Brian Lewis, President of the TTOC, believes that increased support for sport in the national budget can be justified.

"The implementation of an agreed good governance code and principles as a requirement for funding will alleviate and mitigate the risks of malfeasance and misuse of public and private sector funds," he said. 

"Trinidad and Tobago continues to derive tremendous international positive profile as a result of the Olympic and World Championship qualification and success of our sportsmen and women and national teams.

"The benefits of sport and an active lifestyle to the health and quality of life of the citizens are unquestioned.

"The positive impact of sport values on the social development and the fight against crime and at risk life choices of children and young people is accepted worldwide."

Brian Lewis President of the TTOC believes that increased support for sport in the national budget can be justified ©TTOCBrian Lewis President of the TTOC believes that increased support for sport in the national budget can be justified ©TTOC

The TTOC is also hoping for an allocation of funding for the establishment and running of the National Anti-Doping Organisation and the implementation of the anti-doping in sport legislation in order to remain World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) compliant.

The WADA is due to introduce its new code on January 1, 2015, in order to increase the fight against doping in sport.

Other measures the TTOC hopes to see introduced include:

- Provisions for the promotion of sport entrepreneurs and a sport business sector as part of the diversification of the Trinidad and Tobago economy.

- Allocation of funds for the support of the grassroots level of sport, including sport clubs and sport within the communities.

- Measures for the completion of facilities and the maintenance of those facilities.

- Measures to establish a Sport Commission.

- Measures aimed at clarifying the process for tax exemption for sport equipment and gear that are specific to the national sport organisations, athletes and coaches.

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