DOUBLE OLYMPIC men’s javelin medallist Keshorn Walcott, in-form sprinters Michelle-Lee Ahye and Jereem ‘The Dream’ Richards, multi-event athlete and reigning Sportswoman of the Year Tyra Gittens and quarter-miler Machel Cedenio, are all expected to feature on home soil this weekend as the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAATT) Open Track and Field Championships takes place at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Several of TT’s top foreign-based and local athletes are gearing up for the sport’s biggest domestic competition which runs off on Saturday from 3 pm and concludes with the second segment on Sunday.
The two-day affair is mandatory for athletes seeking to represent TT at the World Athletics Championships (July 14-24) in Portland, Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England (July 28 to August 8).
Walcott, Ahye, Gittens and Richards have been busy on the international circuit of late, and are intent on delivering powerful performances at the championships which had been put off for the past two years owing to the pandemic.
A statement issued by the NAAA on Monday said that Richards and other members of the Adidas Camp based in Orlando, Florida are expected to arrive this week for the Champs. They will be coached by former national athlete and Olympic medallist Keston Bledman, who recently retired and is now an assistant coach with Adidas.
Additionally, the United States-born sprinter Eric Harrison, who his TT debut at the Tokyo Games last year, will compete for the first time on home soil against his colleagues from the Olympic men’s 4x400m team: Akanni Hislop, Adell Colthrust, Kion Benjamin and Jonathan Farinha.
Also on show will be some of the TT’s best junior athletes, “several of whom competed at the 2022 Carifta Games. The Championships provides an opportunity for the juniors to attain qualifying standards for the World Under-20 Championships which will held in Cali, Colombia from August 1-6.”
NAAA president George Comissiong confirmed the stage is set for the annual meet. So far, three foreign athletes are also guaranteed to feature at this weekend's Champs.
Comissiong said 2013 World Championships double 100m and 200m silver medallist Murielle Ahoure (Ivory Coast) has affirmed participation and will line up alongside Ahye in the women’s sprints.
Additionally, two Tokyo 2020 debutants – Jasmine Abrams (Guyana) and Tristan Evelyn (Barbados) will also feature in the sprint events.
Former TT athletes turned administrators Jehue Gordon and Jamaal James have been tasked with marketing the event. Admission is $60 and children 12 and under are free.