Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 28th 2014 Contents Recently I read an article about
the reasons why the New Zealand
7s rugby team was so successful
under Gordon Tietjens. Tietjens
coached the New Zealand team
for 20 years. His success is leg-
endary. He expects his players to
make extreme sacrifices. He
revealed that the players have to
undergo tests for strength, repeat-
ed speed and Beep/YoYo testing.
Tietjens stated that players have
to comply with conditioners stan-
dards." If they don t, I don t pick
them". He expects his players to
look after their nutrition, fitness
levels and to manage their
Success is mandatory and selec-
tion is ruthless. He told the
reporter that success in sport, just
as in business, depends on culture.
His approach and ethos is mir-
rored in almost every high per-
formance sport programme across
the developed world.
Here in T&T, some people label
our sportsmen and women pam-
pered and mentally soft. This is
an unfair and judgmental state-
ment meant to cover over the defi-
ciencies of sport leaders, decision
makers and the sport system.
There are two sides to every
story. What are our athletes say-
Individual and national team
sport athletes determined to main-
tain their focus and attention on
becoming a Continental, Olympic
or World champion feel they are
being impeded in their efforts by
a dysfunctional, bureaucratic, inef-
ficient, ineffective and unsympa-
thetic sport system.
That there are gaps along the
pathway from junior to develop-
ment level and the system is failing
those who have the talent and
potential to be successful elite level
sportsmen and sportswomen.
To achieve excellence they need
excellent coaches, excellent training
programmes, access to facilities
and financial support.
They perceive there is a lack of
financial support, lack of coaching
expertise and support, lack of
Sportsmen and women perceive
the sport system here as an obsta-
cle rather than a success factor.
It makes little sense hiding the
extent of the problem.
Lack of support is an obstacle
that can negatively impact per-
In the modern world of elite
sport, an amateur athlete or
national team is required to train
full time to the detriment of other
areas of their lives.
Our sportsmen and women need
help now, not tomorrow. We have
to stop putting the bandwagon
before the horse.
Several conclusions can be
drawn from the responses of our
athletes and national teams.
We are selling our sportsmen
and women and national teams
short. Our sport system is too far
There is a growing gulf between
our sportsmen and women, elite
level athletes and national teams
and national sport organisations,
national governing bodies, Ministry
of Sport and the TTOC. The prob-
lem needs to be addressed now
not later. The landscape is evolving
We are fast becoming a relic of
a bygone age.
The deficiency has been collec-
tive. Elite and Olympic level sport
isn t nebulous. It is performance
Successful athletes and national
teams inspire a generation of young
We need successful athletes and
national teams. Sport provides
almost immediate feedback of
what you have achieved or not
People generally have passionate
views for a reason. We have to cre-
ate the sport environment that will
inspire our athletes and national
teams to strive, achieve and main-
Our athletes feel that those in
power sit in their ivory tower and
remain detached from the feelings
and concerns of sportsmen and
women. This is not only frustrating
but should be of concern to those
entrusted with the power and
authority to make a positive dif-
The time to start is now.
• Brian Lewis is the President of
the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic
Committee. The views expressed
are not necessarily those of the
National Olympic Committee.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
THINGS THAT MATTER
MAUI---Bermudian triathlete Flora Duffy s dream
of a world title has come true after she stormed to
victory on Sunday---despite a nasty bike crash.
Duffy, 27, won the Xterra World Championships
in Maui, Hawaii, defeating the world champion in
Having been a top ten finisher in this year s Com-
monwealth Games triathlon in Scotland, Duffy went
into Sunday s event with high hopes---and promptly
She completed the 1.5-kilometre rough water swim,
30.4-kilometre mountain bike and 9.5-kilometre trail
run in a time of two hours and 48 minutes.
Chile s Barbara Riveros was second in 2:50:05,
while defending champion Nicky Samuels of New
Zealand came third in 2:56:32.
"The win was my goal for 2014 and to achieve it
is pretty special," said Duffy after the race.
"I ve always dreamed of being a world champion
and to do that today is pretty cool. I knew it was
to cross the line first.
"I led for pretty much most of the race and didn t
really know where everyone else was. I was kind of
racing blind and just pushing myself as hard as I
Duffy had to pick herself up after suffering a crash
during the bike segment and ripping her suit.
"I crashed so hard, I literally don t know how I
got on my bike," she said.
"It was a steep, gnarly descent, I hit a root awk-
wardly and just flew into the trees head first with
my bike on top of me. I was lucky I fell into some
Duffy, who has thrived on a tough winter training
camp in South Africa, placed 24th overall, with Dan
Hugo, her South African boyfriend, finishing fourth
in 2:36:29. (CMC)
world title in Hawaii
T&T becoming relic of bygone age
Gordon Tietjens...coach the
New Zealand team for 20 years.
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