GO, TT, GO
By JOEL BAILEY and YOHANSEH ASIKULE Saturday, July 28 2012
Four-time Olympian, Marc Burns, smiling broadly while holding the national flag at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, proudly led his compatriots at the parade of nations at the Olympic Stadium as 16 days of sporting excellence began with much fanfare in London.
Burns, 29, donning a brilliant red blazer, black shirt and tie, was followed by the beaming TT contingent which included gold medal contender, Kelly-Ann Baptiste; cyclist Njisane Phillip and national sprint champ, Keston Bledman.
The TT uniforms were designed by Richard Hope and Nivanya Abraham.
“It is a tradition from which we never deviated,” Annette Knott, chef de mission of the TT team, was quoted as saying. “The opening ceremony outfit was always red jacket and black pants or skirt with the national tie and scarf. I wanted the team to wear something different, a bit more contemporary in cut and look.”
Marc Burns is part of the country’s 4x100m Olympic team while he will also be competing in the individual event. Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Marc’s father, Alec Burns, expressed pleasure at his son’s achievements.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s always good to represent your country whether one, ten or 12 times. It’s an honour.
“It’s not everybody gets the chance to do that,” continued the former national cricketer. “Someone has a chance to do that, especially in an Olympics, and having done it four times, that in itself, it’s extremely satisfying.”
Asked how it feels to know his son was given the privilege of carrying the flag, Alec replied, “that in itself is an honour. I’m very proud of him and I’m sure Trinidad and Tobago is proud of Marc.”
He admitted that he would not be in London to support his son at the 100 metres and the 4x100m relay due to “financial constraints. I’m not fortunate in that respect.”
The Burns family, instead, will have to be content to watching the events on television at their home in Trincity.
In related news, mother of ace sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Hazel Taylor, revealed yesterday that she is very happy for her daughter’s entry in her third Olympic Games and also, for the first time, she will be watching the national 100m sprint queen from the stands at the Olympic Stadium. Taylor and three family members will be leaving Plymouth, Tobago for London on Tuesday.
The trip was partly facilitated by the Division of Sport in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and, according to her, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Kelly-Ann knows that (we) will be coming so it will not be a surprise to her,” Taylor said. “With family members around, it can serve as a motivational factor and Kelly-Ann will indeed be happy to know her family is there cheering her on.
“Kelly-Ann has a very good chance to medal because of her ranking presently,” added Taylor. “(She) is very confident, in the right frame of mind, runs very well plus is familiar with many of the athletes.”
Taylor stated that because of how focussed Kelly-Ann is, as her mother, she avoids commenting about daughter’s track exploits or what is expected from her because it would serve as a distraction.
The most her mother would say was that, “we love you, do your best and at the end of day we would like to see you win a medal but if it doesn’t happen, we still love and support you.”
Sadly, the atmosphere in Tobago for the Olympics is non-existent and Taylor wondered why no posters or banners were posted around the airport and other places to feature the Tobago athletes. Despite that, she is in constant contact with her daughter through cellphone and said Kelly-Ann is in very good spirits.
Track and field (women)
Wayne Davis II