PRESIDENT of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis is aiming to raise $1 million for the #10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation fund. Lewis will again be competing in the gruelling TT International Marathon, from Freeport to the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, on January 27.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Lewis said, “We have a target to generate pledges of $1 million from both corporate (TT) and the public.”
The TTOC boss said he remains committed to the race to help national athletes.
He said, “I’ve started doing the walk in 2015 to help raise funding, awareness and pledging for the fund. We always look forward to it. The 26.2 mile (race) is never an easy one. The motivation is the fund.”
According to Lewis, “A lot of focus is attached and given to the fund. We normally would get support from corporate TT in terms of people coming on board and partnering with the TTOC. We try to help the athletes as much as possible – that’s where the medal bonus comes out. It normally generates a lot of interest and it achieves its purpose in raising awareness for the fund.”
Lewis made it clear that he will not be running any portion of the race.
“I strictly walk because of a knee (injury),” he said. “Having played rugby for a number of years, I only walk.”
About his readiness for the marathon, Lewis said, “I’ve been basically preparing a group that includes Robert Dumas, captain Andy Cheekes from Caribbean Airlines, my son Esan, Bertram Smart and Merrill Sitai. We have been doing some long walks, 14-milers. I’m trying this year to put in a little more preparation that I would have done in previous years.”
He added, “We’re hoping to (complete the journey) in six hours or less.”
Lewis’ group will be getting support from Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez, I95.5FM radio personalities Andre Baptiste and Tony Lee, radio and television host Kerron “Sunny Bling” Sealy, and Republic Bank managing director Nigel Baptiste.
“We expect (support from) athletes (like) Roger Daniel, Michael Alexander, Joseph Quashie,” said Lewis.
“It’s going to be interesting. It’s not an easy effort. I think in difficult economic and financial times, it’s important for the TTOC to do different things that’s aimed at generating (funds) to support our athletes as best as we could. 2019 is a crucial year. I’m very determined.”