Ex-TT Olympic Committee president held strong views on equality

Former TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis - SUREASH CHOLAI
Former TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis - SUREASH CHOLAI

FORMER president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis said creating a level playing field by being a voice for equality was one of the important achievements during his nine-year tenure.

Lewis became president of the TTOC in 2013 and ended his nine-year run, on Saturday.

“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have served my country,” Lewis said.

He will remain as a member of the executive committee as the immediate past president.

It was only fitting that Diane Henderson replaced Lewis, as the former TTOC boss has been an advocate for women, using the tagline the Future is Female over the last few years.

Henderson, an experienced sport administrator, became the first woman and the 11th president of the TTOC.

Lewis has also been a voice for racial equality and LGBTQI+ rights.

Lewis said even before Henderson created history on Saturday, his decision not to continue in his position as TTOC secretary general in 2013 opened the door for Annette Knott to become the first woman to serve as secretary general.

“The TTOC would have had their first ever female secretary general in Annette Knott. The reality is that would not have come about had I decided to then take the safe option and remain and seek re-election for the position of secretary general,” Lewis said.

“Our future is female…that programme…was deliberate and intentional. It is a fact and a reality that the Olympic movement and the Commonwealth is still very much patriarchal, male dominated.”

He added, “I have very firm and strong views about gender equity, anti-racism etcetera in the Olympic sport movement. Example, the entire staff of the TTOC is female.”

Speaking more about equality across the board, Lewis said, “It’s the core and the essence of my philosophy in life.”

During Lewis’s tenure, women played significant roles when TT represented on the world stage. Women served as the chef de mission for the TT team during many sporting events.

Lewis also created the Athlete Preparation and Welfare Fund to promote the needs of TT athletes.

Every year, Lewis and a team of supporters would make the 26.2-mile trek from Freeport to the Queen’s Park Savannah in the TT International Marathon in an effort to highlight the needs of national athletes.

Being market oriented, athlete centred and having good governance were key areas Lewis focused on in his “transformation agenda.”

Reflecting on the challenges, Lewis said the pandemic proved a hurdle.

“Even though during my tenure there may have been things I wished were different, there were challenges, there were mistakes, (but) it was all part of the learning process and then of course we had covid19 which disrupted a lot and basically set the transformation agenda back significantly by the loss of literally two years, but we pressed on.”

Some of Lewis’s other accomplishments or programmes were Get moving TT, Replace Guns with Medals and the annual Sport Industry TT conferences which created awareness about the business of sport and entrepreneurship.


"Ex-TT Olympic Committee president held strong views on equality"

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