FORMER sprint star Ato Boldon has blasted the "amateur" approach to track and field in Trinidad and Tobago, after he accurately predicted the country would end the 2020 Olympic Games without an athletics medal.
In fact, TT ended the games without a medal in any sport – the first time since the 1992 Barcelona edition.
Boldon expressed his frustration on Sunday as the curtains came down on the Tokyo Games, pointing fingers at the body in charge of track and field in TT – the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA).
Boldon has openly criticised the NAAA for years.
Boldon is a four-time Olympic medallist – two medals apiece at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games – and a World Championship (1997) 200m champion.
The build-up to the 2020 Olympics was not ideal as the local-based TT athletes were hampered by the covid19 pandemic. Many complained about lack of access to training facilities. The Government did allow training for teams and athletes preparing for international competition but there were still many challenges for the athletes.
Boldon, who did commentary during the Tokyo Games, is the lead track and field analyst for NBC Sports Group.
In a post on Facebook he said, “Oh, the irony of the winning Jamaican women’s (4x100m) team being plastered on the front page of the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. We were third behind them in 2015 at the World Championships.”
TT did not advance past the heats in Tokyo in the women’s 4x100m event.
Boldon asked rhetorically what changes would be made for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Same dotishness, same jokers talking a set of annual rubbish, same 1970s thinking, same personal agendas, same relay coaching roulette, same pretending sh---- Carifta/junior results are ok, same ‘we not changing a damn thing, this good enough.’
"Vex with me if you want for pointing out the obvious, but you vex with the wrong person."
For the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics TT did not have a representative in the men's 100m event.
The 2018 Commonwealth 100m champ, Michelle-Lee Ahye, narrowly missed a spot in the women's final.
The national men and women's 4x100 teams exited in the preliminary heats.
Four TT track and field athletes/teams qualified for finals for TT. Debutants Portious Warren (shot put) and Tyra Gittens (long jump) qualified for finals, placing 11th and tenth, respectively.
In the men's 200m final, Jereem Richards, on his Olympic debut, was eighth. He was part of the 4x400m relay men who competed in the final. They finished eighth after Dwight St Hillaire injured his hamstring on the third leg.
Boldon lamented, "We have been left behind by so many countries at the highest level of sport because we are stuck doing the same AMATEUR things and expecting a different result. It pains me to see where things are now.”
Boldon later mentioned the NAAA as he tweeted, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”
In a Newsday interview in early June, Boldon said, “I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is going to be a rough Olympics for us.
“We don’t have anybody right now that is a medal contender…that could change like I said, but right now on June 2, 2021 we do not have anybody in any event or a relay that is a medal contender.”