Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2015 Contents A37
Tuesday, January 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Ephraim Serrette, president of
the National Association of Ath-
letics Administrations (NAAA)
says his Federation will accept
no blame for the absence of ath-
letes honoured at the December
29, 2014 T&T Olympic Commit-
tee Annual Awards ceremony.
Of the six awards presented on
the night, track and field athletes
took the lions share at the ceremony
held at Theatre 1 at the National
Academy for the Performing Arts,
but only one winner--shot putter
Cleopatra Borel--was in attendance
to accept the Sportswoman of the
Carifta gold medallist Machel
Cedenio was the Junior Sportsman
of the Year, while sprinter Aaliyah
Telesford emerged as the Junior
Sportswoman of the Year. Serrette
took the spotlight to receive their
London 2012 Olympic gold medal
winner Keshorn Walcott was named
Sportsman of the Year at the TTOC
ceremony, but like Cedenio and
Telesford, he (Walcott) was absent.
His manager Sean Roach accepted
the award and apologised for Wal-
cott s absence.
He said, "He s actually in the sta-
dium training and getting ready for
the 2015 season. But I m pretty sure
if he was here today, he would be
very happy and honoured with this
award. I know he would have liked
to thank his teammate Cleo (Cleopatra
Borel) who is always there giving him
the inspiration he needs to move for-
ward, his coach and his team that
supports him, as well as you guys for
cheering him on every time that he
goes out there."
Serrette refused to comment on
Roach s statement that Walcott was
on local shores, but chose to attend
a training session, instead.
The T&T Guardian learnt that on
the day of the awards ceremony Borel
also trained--twice, around 7 am and
close to 3 pm.
Serrette, "It was not an awards of
the Federation and it was up to the
Olympic Committee to contact the
Federation to find out if individuals
are present in the country and that
they could get invited or not. It is
not a fault of the Federation. In the
Federation s awards function, all the
athletes who have been nominated
for awards are written to. They are
informed. They are also asked to indi-
cate whether they will be present or
not. It is not a fault of the Federation.
It is a flaw of the Olympic Commit-
tee," he said.
The NAAA official added, "I
attended (the awards) and I had no
idea who the recipients were. When
they indicated Aaliyah Telesford was
Junior Sportswoman of the Year that
was news to me. I would have had
some idea that Machel Cedenio
would have been a contender for the
Junior Male. Cleopatra was a foregone
conclusion. I wasn t sure if she wasn t
the feature speaker, if she would have
been present either."
TTOC president Brian Lewis said
he did not considered Walcott s deci-
sion to attend a training session timed
simultaneously with the hosting of
the awards ceremony as a slap in the
face of the Olympic Committee.
"Of course not! I can say that
Keshorn always appears at our func-
tions. The TTOC relationship with
Keshorn is a close one. I am going
to ensure that our communication
processes would be significantly
reviewed. The TTOC let down a lot
of our stakeholders in the issuing of
invitations. As president I take full
responsibility. The invitation and
communication processes would be
improved in 2015," he said.
Commenting on track and field s
dominance at the TTOC awards, Ser-
rette said, "It s not the first time that
track and field has been rewarded in
a particular year for performances.
It s not the first time that track and
field has dominated the awards. It
augurs well for our sport."
He said: "As a federation, we
recognise what is required. We cannot
have track and field events without
athletes. We cannot have track and
field events without technical officials.
We cannot have track and field events
without a Federation. The key is to
have that synergy among all these
parts. We all have to be there to assist
athletes; athletes working with the
Federation to understand what are
our challenges and what we are trying
to do and vice versa. I would even
go are far as the parents. In Cleo s
(Cleopatra Borel) speech, she men-
tioned the need for support. It s a
challenge. It s a non-paying job, but
you do it for your country and we
just have to continue doing what we
need to do."
'It's not our fault'
T&T Guardian sports columnist Andre Errol Baptiste, left, was one of five
journalists honoured by the NAAA. Ephraim Serrette, president of the
NAAA made the presentation on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium,
Mucurapo. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
NAAA's head declares...
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