Trinidad and Tobago may have to miss the Caribbean Boxing Championships for the second consecutive year, as the national team is still short of funds for the tournament which takes place in St Lucia from December 13-16.
The national boxers still require approximately $65,000 to attend the Boxing Championships. The trip costs just over $100,000 and currently only eight on the 19-member contingent can afford to attend.
Rio 2016 Olympian Nigel Paul is part of the team and Cecil Forde, president of the the local boxing association, said the Caribbean Championships will be an important step in evaluating his progress as he builds towards Tokyo 2020. A team of 12 boxers is aiming to compete, along with referees, judges and officials.
Forde is hoping the Ministry of Sport and corporate TT help the team as the young boxers have trained hard for the Championships.
“We are trying to get some pledges from some people who said they will assist, but it is not encouraging right now.
“We have worked so hard and the kids are prepared,” Forde said.
Forde said participation at the Caribbean Championships will help the local boxers prepare for bigger events in 2018. “Next year is a big year because next year is CAC Games and next year is Commonwealth Games. This Caribbean Championships is the biggest one because you have to win a medal at Caribbean Championships to go to CAC.”
Five referees/judges are also hoping to go to St Lucia to complete the International Boxing Association (AIBA) exam.
Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith said yesterday he is awaiting word from the Ministry of Finance before making any promises. “We have not gotten any releases as yet, so we are waiting on that. I don’t want to make any commitments to any teams until we get the releases (from the Ministry of Finance).”
Smith said the Government unfortunately has to prioritise in these tough economic times, but is hopeful the boxing team will be able to attend the Caribbean Championships.
Smith said, “We are hoping (everything will work out). We told them that and we are working with them, but our hands are tied now and we can’t commit to something unless we see it in the account, but that is the sad reality.”
TT SQUAD: Michael Alexander, Jesse Beckles, Brendon Dennis, Nigel Paul, Joshua Sylvester, Nickell Joseph, Tyron Thomas, Tyrone St Clair, Nyrell Hosien, Blessing Waldropt, Tiana Guy, Angelique Quevedo (boxers); Cecil Forde (manager); Floyd Trumpet (coach); Christopher Hospedales, Merril John, David Brown, Michel Agard, Latoya Providence (referees/judges).