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Lewis: 'TT has world class sporting facilities'

Brian Lewis, President, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee.
Brian Lewis, President, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee.

TT OLYMPIC Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis says the country's sporting facilities are "world class" and sufficient for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

"When the Commonwealth Games Federation evaluation committee came here in February, we would have gotten high marks for the majority of the facilities," Lewis said.

He referred to the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua, and the National Cycling Centre and National Aquatic Centre in Couva, adding that he felt good about TT getting the opportunity to be a host for the first time.

There have been five Youth Games so far held in Scotland, Australia, Isle of Man, Samoa and the Bahamas since it began in 2000. TT will become the first Caribbean country to host the Games, and it will consist of nine sporting disciplines, including E-Sports and BMX. This leaves Africa as being the only region yet to host the Games.

Lewis said while it is a huge opportunity for TT, many citizens do not appreciate the TTOC's vision behind the bid which he described as "brave" and "courageous".

"The TTOC, since 2013, are interested in transforming from a very market-oriented perspective in building a sports industry in TT, a billion-dollar sport industry by the year 2030. We don't appreciate and recognize that we have spent billions of dollars to build facilities, and now we seem to be afraid or lack the bravery to take the necessary steps to utilise these facilities as parts of an effort to become a hub. Why have world class facilities if you're afraid of being a hub?" he said.

He said TT has a lot of potential to become a major contributor to the global sports market, and that the Youth Games is a great opportunity for the country's sporting industry.

Lewis said, "We have produced over 19 Olympic medals, world champions in various sports, qualified for the World Cup, so it's not to say we don't have potential, we just have to identify our niche."

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