Merged NAAATT Open Championships to run from June 28-30

In this file photo, TT’s Tyra Gittens competes in the qualification rounds of the women’s long jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on August 1, 2021. AP PHOTO -
In this file photo, TT’s Tyra Gittens competes in the qualification rounds of the women’s long jump at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on August 1, 2021. AP PHOTO -

WITH the Olympic Games 30 days away, Trinidad and Tobago athletes and teams are seeking automatic qualification and/or a better world ranking in their respective events as only Jereem "The Dream" Richards (200m and 400m), the women's 4x100 and men's 4x400 relay teams have qualified automatically thus far.

Double Olympic men's javelin medallist Keshorn Walcott, veteran sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye, double Commonwealth medallist Richards, long jumper Tyra Gittens and young sprinters Devin Augustine and Leah Bertrand are all expected to compete on home soil as the National Gas Company sponsored National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAATT) Junior and Senior/Open Championships will be hosted at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, from June 28-30.

President of the NAAATT George Commisiong said via WhatsApp on June 26, that this is the first time in recent years the championships have been merged (junior and senior championships are usually separated) and there are a few reasons for it.

"It is for athletes to measure their prowess against each other and in doing so, identify our national champions in the respective events.

"This year it also allows for athletes seeking to represent Team TTO at the Olympics and/or the World Athletics under-20 Championships (in Lima, Peru at the end of August) to attain qualifications standards in their respective events."

Commisiong said the third reason was to allow team TTO selectors to see how the athletes perform to aid in the selection of national teams.

He added the process of getting everything in place for the championships is a "work in progress."

"Much has been done but much more will be necessary over the next two days.

"The technical meeting is tonight (Wednesday) where all clubs and participating athletes can raise technical matters and have them addressed."

The categories for these joint games will be – boys' and girls' under-17 and under-20, women's (Open), women, men, para men – mixed under-17 and mixed open (relays).

The opening day will have marquee events such as the men's and women's 100m, 200m and 400m preliminary rounds.

For the men, Augustine will look to defend his national crown against Omari Lewis – the two have been the closest to achieving Olympic qualification in the men's 100m event.

Ahye whose season best is 11.16 will try to defend her women's 100m crown but faces stiff opposition in 21-year-old Bertrand who has a season-best of 11.09 seconds.

On Saturday, the women's shot put (4kg) finals will take place with Portious Warren looking to book a spot in her second Olympic Games.

The men's and women's 100m semi-finals will also take place on June 29 with the finals taking place at night.

Women's long jump will take place around 5pm, with Tyra Gittens looking to defend her crown.

The men's javelin final will also take place on June 29.

Two-time Olympic medallist and three-time Olympian Walcott will be looking to gain automatic qualification but will need to throw the javelin 85.50m.

On June 22, he had a season-best throw of 84.89m at the Kuortane Games in Finland, ten months after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury at the World Athletics Championship in Hungary.

The men's and women's 200m finals takes place on June 30. Richards will look to improve on his season-best performance in the 200m of 20.13.

The 200m final will be followed by the 4x100m and 4x400m mixed under-17 and mixed open finals.

The men's 4x100 will also participate in a "do-or-die" battle on June 30.

A release from Commisiong on Wednesday said, "TT was precariously perched in position 16 up to June 19 –top 16 teams to compete at Olympics – however, the team has since been demoted and is now at position 17."

To qualify, the 4x100m quartet must run a better time than the Netherlands (38.30) currently in position 16 and ideally surpass Brazil (38.19) to be assured a spot in Paris.

With the championships two days away Newsday asked if there were any problems encountered thus far.

Commisiong said, "We are confident given our well-established track record in hosting both local and international events that we are capable."

He said this championship will be used to address preparations for the 2025 Carifta Games as TT will be the host.


"Merged NAAATT Open Championships to run from June 28-30"

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