media_artricles :: 2018
TTOC president ‘Walking the Talk’ in support of athletesGeorge Baptiste :: Newsday :: 16.01.2018
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis, is preparing to "Walk the Talk" on Sunday in the TT International Marathon in support of the TeamTTO #10Gold24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund.
In a continued effort to raise financial support and awareness for the fund, Lewis will undertake the arduous 26.2-mile journey from Freeport to the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain. Walkers get going at 3.30 am with the runners and Relay starting at 5 am.
The marathon walk is one of the main fund-raisers for the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund which was established in 2015. Money raised is earmarked to assist TT athletes with preparation for major competitions, direct support and subsistence, health and accident insurance as well as the provision of medal bonuses which were introduced for the first time during the last quadrennial for the Pan Am and the Olympic Games.
Lewis is urging sports fans and the general public to pledge, and honour their contributions which he says supports dreams and aspirations of local athletes who are talented and full of potential.
"The reality is, when you are competing against the absolute best in the world, you are up against athletes who are well resourced and have the best available support and preparation that money can buy. The fund addresses the holistic aspects of our athletes, understanding and recognising that they need support. Most of the times, the challenge is that they may not necessarily get that financial support when they need it most. This is why we do ongoing fund-raising — to as far as possible, and as best as possible, provide the athletes with some measure of assistance when they need it most," Lewis said.
The corporate sector has also contributed to the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund since its inception.
Lewis said, "We have corporate partners who are very clear that their partnership with the TTOC is directed specifically towards supporting the athletes, and we embrace that. They have identified the fund as being a key area where they want to make their contribution. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the fund is dedicated to supporting athletes."
The fund has an annual target of approximately TT $6 million; and the TTOC president is working towards seeing it evolve into a full foundation, creating the structures for sustainable financial support. However, he says this weekend's venture extends beyond that.
"We are not only raising funds, but also promoting healthy and active lifestyles. People may want to show solidarity for some particular initiative that we are doing. It could be Future is Female. It could be Replace Guns with Medals. Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee has done a lot over the years in terms of how we position the brand – TeamTTO. We have in many ways expressed a sense of social responsibility."
Lewis, now participating for the fourth consecutive year, has been preparing mentally and physically for the feat which he is hoping to complete in under six hours. He will have at least 15 committed supporters to accompany him from sports administrators and former national players to media personalities including Tony Lee, Anton Lafond, Dexter Skeene, Andre and Nigel Baptiste, Clayton Morris, Leslie Figaro, Elizabeth Griffith, Roger Daniel, Captain Andy Cheekes, Richie Rahim, Dale Lutchman, THA Secretary for Sport and Youth Affairs Assemblyman Jomo Pitt, Mayor of Port of Spain Alderman Joel Martinez and Kerron 'Sunny Bling' Sealy.
Pledges in support of the TeamTTO #10Gold24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund can be made by calling the TTOC Olympic House headquarters at (868) 625 1285; via email at email@example.com; via the TTOC website at www.ttoc.org; or make a direct contribution to the fund at Scotiabank (account number 171188).
WALKING THE TALK: Brian Lewis, front, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, is congratulated after finishing the TT International Marathon in January 2016.