TT OLYMPIC Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis has put forward a request to the Ministry of National Security petitioning for expedited consideration for some of TT’s overseas-based Olympic hopefuls.
With the Summer Games just eight months away, he is concerned about the time it takes for foreign-based national athletes to secure travel exemptions.
Several potential Olympic prospects remain stranded in multiple countries owing to border closures and travel restrictions courtesy the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement Lewis issued on Saturday, he said, “It’s a very difficult situation asking for expedited consideration for our Tokyo 2020 Olympians given the desperate need for all the citizens who have applied for exemptions.
“But we have no choice but to do so as Team TTO athletes who need to return home have already applied to the Ministry of National Security.”
Lewis confirmed that a considerable number of foreign-based athletes are now financially struggling to stay afloat.
“The TTOC is coming under tremendous pressure as athletes preparing for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics now expected to be held in summer 2021 need to return home.
“With the covid19 pandemic restrictions and the disruption to the International Olympic qualifying schedule, a number of athletes have run out of resources and need to return home to clarify their preparation schedule and how they will finance their required training.”
While the TTOC acknowledges that a considerable number of citizens have also applied to the ministry for travel exemptions, Lewis saw it necessary to highlight the challenge facing TT’s Olympic hopefuls: "with eight months to go to July 23, 2021 opening ceremony, time is of the essence.”