Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Sport have officially launched their “Podium Push” initiative, designed to help the country’s athletes achieve their target of 10 Olympic and Paralympic gold medals by 2024.
The Ministry's director of sport Gabre McTair vowed to give their athletes the best possible preparation for next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and has called on the various sporting bodies in the country to put forward competitors who they think have a realistic prospect of earning a medal.
The scheme will also cover expenses for Trinidadian and Tobago athletes, including travel to overseas competitions, training camps and sessions with nutritionists and psychologists.
“Our Elite Athlete Assistant Programme needed some refocusing to ensure that our sporting elite received proper funding, I recognised that even more was needed to help Brian Lewis and his team at the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) achieve their aim of ten gold medals by the year 2024,” McTair said.
“Providing funding to take our top athletes to the Olympics is not enough.
“I realise that getting there is not the challenge but finishing in the top three requires additional commitment and effort from the athletes, coaches support teams and the Ministry of Sport.”
As well as the scheme, launched at an Achievers’ Luncheon hosted by the Ministry of Sport at the grand ballroom of the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, members of the Trinidad and Tobago team at the Special Olympics, which concluded in Los Angeles last month, were awarded plaques for their achievements.
They claimed a haul of 48 medals at the event which included 15 golds, nine silvers and 24 bronzes.
Also honoured at the luncheon were Trinidad and Tobago’s medallists from the recent Pan American Games in Toronto, where they took home three golds, three silvers and two bronzes.
The development is the latest initiative aimed at increasing the success of Trinidad and Tobago at Olympic level and follows the TTOC announcing they plan to turn Lord Harris Square in the capital Port of Spain into an Olympic Village ahead of Rio 2016.
Since making its Olympic debut at London 1948, Trinidad and Tobago have won only two gold medals, Hasely Crawford in the 100 metres at Monteal 1976 and Keshorn Walcott in the javelin at London 2012.
Trinidad and Tobago have never won a Paralympic medal of any colour having competed at both the 1984 and 1988 Games, before they returned at London 2012 following a 24-year absence.
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