Trinidad and Tobago will take their largest contingent to an Olympic Games when a team of 31 heads to London 2012 next month for the Games of the 30th Olympiad.
The last contingent in Beijing 2008 was 30. And with 26 track and field athletes, as well as competitors in the disciplines of boxing, cycling, sailing, shooting and swimming, T&T will be represented by the biggest-ever team.
There were few surprises as first-timers, boxer Carlos Suarez, sprint cyclist Njisane Phillip, sailor Andrew Lewis, and experienced Olympic campaigners, shooter Roger Daniel and swimmer George Bovell, have been confirmed for the Games.
Keston Bledman, Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson and Marc Burns and Rondell Sorillo will form the sprint team, while Emmanuel Callendar and youngsters Deon Lenore and Jamol James are on the 4x100m squad.
Jehue Gordon is T&T’s 400m hurdles hope, while outstanding javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott has earned the confidence of the National Association of Athletics Associations and will head to London.
Among the women, Kelly Ann Baptiste, Semoy Hackett, Kai Selvon and Michelle-Lee Ahye will lead the charge in the 100m and 4x100m events. Josanne Lucas will attempt both the 100m and 400m hurdles events.
And in the field, triple jumper Ayanna Alexander and veteran shot putter Cleopatra Borel-Brown will compete for T&T.
Most of the athletes will go into a pre-Games camp in Cardiff, Wales, while the team will assemble in London by July 23. The Games open on July 27.
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Larry Romany, who made the announcement last evening at TTOC House, has big expectations for the squad and is hopeful the team can break the national record of three Olympic medals at a single Games, secured in 1964.
The new number Romany is hoping for is five medals.
“Our expectations are high in terms of what the medal potential will be, specifically in the relays,” Romany stated after the announcement. “The 4x100m men and women, the 4x400m men and coming off of last weekends record-breaking run in the 4x400m (men), we are really excited by the potential at the Games.”
Romany said the TTOC had projected a possible contingent of 80 athletes, but T&T’s hockey teams and Olympic footballers failed to get past the final hurdle of Pan American qualifying. Still he is optimistic at T&T’s chances in London.
“Unfortunately for us we did not realize the team sports, and we are going to have to work harder at it for the 2016 Games. However, the team that has finally emerged is an extremely strong team. We’re very happy with the results we have received to date.”
T&T 2012 OLYMPIC TEAM
Men—Keston Bledman (100m, 4x100m), Richard Thompson (100m, 4x100m), Rondel Sorrillo (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Marc Burns (100m, 4x100m), Renny Quow (400m, 4x400m), Deon Lendore (400m, 4x400m), Lalonde Gordon (400m, 4x400m), Wayne Davis II (110m hurdles), Mikel Thomas (110m hurdles), Jehue Gordon (400m hurdles), Keshorn Walcott (javelin), Emmanuel Callender (4x100m), Jamol James (4x100m), Jarrin Solomon (4x400m), Machel Cedenio (4x400m), Ade Alleyne-Forte (4x400m)
Women—Kelly-Ann Baptiste (100m, 4x100m), Semoy Hackett (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Kai Selvon (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Michelle-Lee Ahye (100m, 4x100m), Josanne Lucas (100m hurdles), Janeil Bellille (400m hurdles), Ayanna Alexander (triple jump), Cleopatra Borel (shot put), Reyare Thomas (4x100m), Sparkle McKnight (4x100m)
Officials—Dexter Voisin (manager), Dr Ian Hypolite (head coach), Edwin Skinner (sprints/hurdles coach), Gunness Persad (sprints/hurdles coach), Ismael Lopez Mastrapa (throws coach)
Carlos Suarez (light flyweight 46-49kg)
Officials—Reynold Cox (manager/coach), Raulson Dopwell (coach)
Njisane Phillip (sprint, keirin)
Official—Peter Maharaj (manager/coach)
Andrew Lewis (laser)
Officials—Kairon Serrette (manager), Fernando Alegre (coach)
Roger Daniel (50m pistol, 10m air pistol)
Official—Altansetseg Byambajav (manager/coach)
George Bovell (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke)
Official—George Robert Bovell (manager/coach)
Chef de mission—Annette Knott
Assistant to Chef de mission—Wendell Labastide
Medical team—Dr Terry Ali (chief medical officer), Dr Anyl Gopeesingh (medical officer), Margaret Ottley (sports psychologist), Fitzbert Alleyne, Zephyrinus Nicholas, Ian Sharpe, Oba Gulston, Karielle De Bique (massage therapists/physiotherapists)