TTOC boss on small Olympic team: 'Chances are as good as any'

TTOC president Diane Henderson -
TTOC president Diane Henderson -

Although TT will be sending a slim 17-member contingent to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Diane Henderson is backing the team to make the nation proud when they leave these shores for France in the coming weeks.

The games will be held from July 26-August 11.

On Saturday, the TTOC announced the squad, with two-time Olympic medallist Keshorn Walcott, former 400-metre World Indoor champion Jereem Richards and ace swimmer Dylan Carter among the headline names. The TT contingent also features ace sprint cyclist  Nicholas Paul, who grabbed a sixth-place finish in his pet men's sprint event at the Tokyo Olympics, which was held in 2021 owing to the covid19 outbreak.

Sprinter Jereem Richards -

With at least nine athletes set to feature at their first Olympics, the quartet of Carter, Richards, Paul and Walcott will shoulder the responsibility of trying to get podium finishes for TT. The athletes finished without a medal at the 2020 Olympics.

Walcott, who had a memorable gold-medal performance at the 2012 Olympics in London in the men's javelin event, grabbed TT's only medal at the 2016 Olympics when he landed javelin bronze.

TT's contingent at the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympics all exceeded 30 athletes, with a record number of 33 at the latter games.

In this case, Henderson reckons the small number of athletes doesn't equate to a lack of quality.

"The team's chances, generally, are as good as any," Henderson told Newsday, when asked about the team's likelihood of capturing medals in Paris.

"We have athletes who are elite and their performances speak for themselves."

Sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye -

Henderson pointed to the recent performances of Carter, Richards and Walcott, and pinned hopes on them to get to the finals in their respective events, along with veteran sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye, who copped a bronze medal at the Pan American Games in the women's 100-metre event in Chile last year.

Walcott and Ahye are TT's most experienced Olympians and will both be competing at their fourth Olympics. The 32-year-old Ahye will contest the 100m event and will also be expected to spearhead a 4x100m women's relay team which includes the youthful quartet of Leah Bertrand, 21, Akilah Lewis, 23, and twin Sanaa and Sole Frederick, 18.

On the men's side, TT's 4x100m quartet was unable to seal Paris qualification, but Richards will lead a 4x400m men's team into Paris on the heels of lifting the national 400m crown at Hasely Crawford Stadium on June 29.

At the World Athletics Relay championships in Bahamas in May, Richards booked 4x400m qualification alongside the trio of Asa Guevara, Shakeem McKay and Che Lara. McKay will also form part of the men's 4x400m team at the Olympics, which will be completed by Elijah Joseph, Jaden Marchan and the 36-year-old Renny Quow, who first turned out at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cyclist Nicholas Paul -

Henderson said TT's relay teams have a "tough draw" but can do well and progress to the final once they get the baton passing and mechanics of the race right.

Asked about the size of TT's contingent, Henderson acknowledged it as a changing of the guard and she said the younger athletes must be given the time to rise to the occasion. She also said it was a difficult qualifying period for athletes given the shortened cycle after the last Olympics ended in 2021.

"A good few of the athletes are younger. It's a shorter cycle. These are human beings and you can't expect them to continue forever.

"These are not the CAC or Pan Am Games – 33 was the number (of athletes for the Tokyo Games). (This figure) isn't totally outside of the scope we've had before."

She said the squad number of previous teams would have been bolstered by the participation of additional relay teams, as well as competitors in sports such as judo and boxing.

At the Tokyo Olympics, TT had representation across seven different sporting disciplines: boxing, cycling, judo, rowing, sailing, swimming and track and field, which included teams in the men's 4x100m, men's 4x400m and women's 4x100m. At the upcoming games, TT will be represented in just three disciplines: cycling, swimming and track field.

Henderson said the respective sporting bodies have to plan strategically to ensure the consistent nurturing of athletes at a high level, and she believes the issue isn't specific to TT.

"We need improvement in all areas. That's a result of several things as well. The older and more experienced guys are no longer there.

"It takes eight to ten years for athletes to reach their prime. It's not just going to happen like that...we ask the TT community to rally behind them and push them to excellence."

Team TTO Olympic contingent:


Michelle-Lee Ahye - 100m & 4x100 relay

Leah Bertrand - 100m & 4x100 relay

Sole Frederick- 4x100 relay

Akilah Lewis - 4x100 relay

Sanaa Frederick - 4x100 relay (reserve)

Portious Warren - Shot put

Keshorn Walcott - Javelin

Jereem Richards - 200m, 400m & 4x400 relay

Devin Augustine - 100m

Jaden Marchan - 4x400 relay

Shakeem Mc Kay- 4x400 relay

Renny Quow - 4x400 relay

Elijah Joseph - 4x400 relay (reserve)


Nicholas Paul

Kwesi Browne


Dylan Carter - 50m and 100m freestyle

Zuri Ferguson - backstroke 100m


Chef de mission - Lovie Santana-Duke

Social media personnel - Melanie Gulston

Chief medical officer - Rudranath Ramsawak

Physiotherapist - Verne Alleyne

Physiotherapist - Alban Merepeza

Massage therapist - Keisha Fraser

Massage therapist - Brent Elder

Welfare officer - Maria Thomas


Manager - Dexter Voisin

Coach - Keston Bledman

Coach - Charles Joseph

Coach - Ismael Mastrapa

Manager - Rowena Williams

Mechanic - Elisha Greene

Manager - Tracy Montrichard-Carter

Coach - Dexter Browne


"TTOC boss on small Olympic team: ‘Chances are as good as any’"

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