TEAM Trinidad and Tobago open their account at the inaugural Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe on Thursday against Barbados in the opening netball fixture from 8am (TT time).
At the Laurel Flessel Complex, TT then battle St Vincent and the Grenadines from 1.30pm. Six teams make up the round-robin pool which also includes Jamaica, St Lucia and the host nation.
On Friday, TT face Guadeloupe from 5pm and play their remaining matches against St Lucia (8am) on Saturday and Jamaica (2pm) on Sunday.
All nations play each other once and the team atop the standings will be crowned first-time Caribbean Games netball champions.
Jamaica are the highest-ranked Caribbean team and sit fourth on the world rankings. TT are tenth, Barbados 12th, St Vincent and the Grenadines 20th and St Lucia 21st.
At the Abymes intercommunal swimming pool, TT’s swimmers begin their medal quest at 5.30pm.
TT will be represented by Aqeel Joseph (Sea Horse Aquatics), Nikoli Blackman (Marlins Swim Club), Jahmia Harley (Tidal Wave Aquatics), Mark-Anthony Beckles (Flying Fish Swim Club) and Ornella Walker (Tobago YMCA) and led by coach/manager Mosi Denoon of Tobago YMCA Warriors.
Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president Brian Lewis hailed the games’ first edition as a “historic moment in the history of the Caribbean.”
The former TT Olympic Committee president said, “This has been a journey of so many miles, overcoming so many obstacles and challenges and against all odds, that the Caribbean Olympic movement is united to use our strength of our unity whether we are Spanish, French, Dutch, French or English-speaking.
“The unwavering and indomitable will that the collective has shown to make this moment happen sends a clear and loud statement of intent, inspiration and motivation to the youth and young people of the Caribbean, in particular, the Caribbean communities and societies.”
TT’S CARIBBEAN GAMES TEAM
ATHLETICS: Akilah Lewis (100m/women’s 4x100m relay), Tamia Badal (100 hurdles/women’s 4x100m relay), Leah Bertrand (100m/women’s 4x100m relay), Naomi Campbell (100m/4x100m relay), Rae-Anne Serville (400m/4x100m relay), Jaydon Moore (100m/4x100m relay), Che Lara (400m/4x100m relay), Kion Benjamin (100m/4x100m relay), Lorenzo Luces (triple jump/4x100m relay); Jehue Gordon (manager), Wendell Williams (coach).
BASKETBALL 3x3: Addaya Moore, Afrika Lewis, Breanna Charles, Nikiya Baptiste; Kern George (coach).
CYCLING: Tariq Woods (road time trial/road race); Roger Frontin (manager/coach), Kevin Tinto (mechanic).
FUTSAL: Elijah Shade, Isaiah Williams, Che Benny, Josiah Joseph, Kalev Keil, Omri Baird, Darnell Hospedales, Symron Wiseman, Zion Mc Leod, Delaney Zamore; Paul Decle (coach), Nigel Roberts (manager), Brent Elder (massage therapist).
NETBALL: Katty Ann Graham, Tiana Dillon, Kelelicia George, Tia Bruno, Annabella Augustine, Ebony Williams, Faith Hagley, Akeima Estrada, Rayann Bristol, Rehanna Ali, Nicolette Osbourne, Shaniya Morgan; Sojourner Hyles-Lewis (coach), Vanessa Forde (manager), Simone Morgan (assistant coach), Keisha Fraser (massage therapist), Shenice Gittens (massage therapist).
SWIMMING: Ornella Walker, Jamia Harley, Nikoli Blackman, Mark-Anthony Beckles, Aqeel Joseph; Mosi Denoon (coach/manager).
He also credited the efforts of Guadeloupe Olympic Sport Federation and the authorities there who supported such a vision to host the games.
Lewis said there was “massive disappointment” in 2009 when the first edition was scheduled to be held in TT, but was cancelled by the then government because of the H1N1 virus.
He continued, “But we have also overcome the devastation and the debilitation of the covid19 pandemic. The games were rescheduled from 2021 to this year. It’s massive. It’s awesome and immense.”
On Friday, TT’s athletics team hit the track at the Gosier Stadium, cyclist Tyriq Woods competes in the men’s time trial, the men’s 3x3 basketball team squares off against Haiti and Guadeloupe and the futsal contingent begin their campaign against the hosts.
Altogether, TT will have a squad of 62 athletes who will be involved in six sporting disciplines – track and field, netball, swimming, cycling, futsal and 3x3 basketball.