Next year's edition of the T&T International Marathon (TTIM) will be done virtually. The adjustment was made by the T&T Marathon Committee (TTMC) due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"We hope that all runners and their loved ones are well and in good health. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed each and every one of us under unexpected emotional and financial stress and has caused us to adapt and to be flexible in this new situation," the committee said in a release on Sunday.

"The TTMC is no different and we understand how everyone feels, we will maintain communication with all our stakeholders with the view of keeping them abreast of changes as they are presented. As such and in compliance with new health guidelines laid out by the Government of T&T through the Ministry of Health (MOH) and by extension the National Association of Athletics Administrations of T&T (NAAATT), the TTMC have adjusted their races for 2021 only, into a virtual event."

According to the release, the TTIM Virtual (VR) Marathon & Ultra Challenge will consist of four races over the distances of 35, 26.2, 13.1 and 3.1 miles. The TTIM VR Marathon 26.2 which represents the 39th Edition of our TTIM; the TTIM VR ULTRA 35, a 56K race which extends on completion of the 26.2 marathon distance; the TTIM VR Half 13.1, a rejuvenation of the TTIM Half Marathon, and the TTIM VR 3.1, the race for the fun runners.

"The Challenge is out for you the runner to raise the bar and complete the Ultra Challenge!" said

Runners can choose any distance or any combination to receive their race medals. Participants can also team up with friends or go it alone. Runners will have a window of three weeks, January 1-24 to complete all races. Limited numbers for each race distance.

"Runners in the VR-M 26.2 will have the opportunity to beat their age group best time and brag with friends on any course they choose. The VR-H 13.1 distance has been offered for the half marathon lovers, while the VR 3.1 or 5K for fun runners make it a little something for everyone.

"Branded products will be available to mark this memorable occasion being the first TTIM virtual races, get yours early. More race/registration details will be posted on the TTIM website www.ttmarathon.com and social media, such as facebook https://www.facebook.com/TTIMARATHON/ and Instagram to ensure understanding of this new format.

"Our sponsors have been the backbone of our TTIM successes and we thank them for continuing to partner with us as we finalise details we invite everyone to try out the new format and challenge themselves for the 2021 and 39th Edition of the TTIM. We encourage you to Stay Safe, Wear a Mask, and Maintain Social Distancing, it will save lives."

The TTIM also revealed that it is close to meeting its charitable obligations in presenting a cheque for $9,045 to Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) for the #10Golds24 Athlete Welfare & Preparation Fund. The figure represents proceeds from this year's event and according to the release, the organisation is looking forward to supporting additional charities next year.

The 38th edition saw an increase in runners in the marathon with 242 participants, of which 120 were early starters. Women showed a vast increase of 57 runners, mostly in the 30-40 age group while men maintained a stronghold in the younger and older groups.

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The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) 2020 Olympic Youth Camp will be conducted this year through a video conferencing platform for the first time since its inception in 2003. The camp will run for four consecutive Saturdays which started from 17th October, 2020.

The annual Olympic Youth Camp was first established as a daily camp in Trinidad and Tobago in 2003 and a few years later it was transformed to a live-in camp with workshops and outings to various locations, the Annual Olympic Youth Camp has grown in popularity has been oversubscribed every year.

This year some 80 participants including one from the USA, seven from St Lucia and the rest from Trinidad and Tobago will join in the camp that started Saturday from 9-10:30 am.

The local health restrictions and the prioritization of safety and health of young athletes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, encouraged the staging of the TTOC Virtual Olympic Youth Camp that will be conducted over the Zoom video conferencing platform.

" The target age group for the camp is 12 to 17 years. The TTOC has taken what we believe to be the responsible and necessary decision," TTOC president Brian Lewis said, ‘It's difficult but we believe it is in the best interest of the Youth campers".

The Youth Camp was launched on July 24th to coincide with the one-year countdown to the rescheduled Tokyo2020 Opening Ceremony acknowledgment.

Activities for the camp include dealing with Olympic Education and Olympic Values as well as media training.

Campers will also be exposed to the elements of anger management / conflict resolution and corruption and bribery while they will also be taught about sports nutrition, anti-doping and mental health.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member Nicole Hoevertsz and Mexican Olympic Committee vice-president Jimena Saldana participated in the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee's (TTOC) Advancing Women in Leadership Forum.

The fourth edition of the Forum was titled "Embracing Change and Transformation during a Pandemic", with the event held using Zoom.

Hoevertsz was the first woman to serve on the Panam Sports Executive Committee and become only the fourth to become part of the IOC Executive Board when elected in 2017.

The former synchronised swimmer said creating more opportunities for women is key, with the aim of equality in decision-making positions.

"It is great to be the first in but I have to make sure I am not the last," Hoevertsz said, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

"So it's about sending down the elevator and creating more opportunities for women.

"The IOC has been pushing for National Federations to have women in leadership positions.

"On the athletes' level, it is almost 50-50 but not in the decision-making positions."

Aruba's Hoevertsz suggested women should undertake training, mentoring and online courses to ensure they are ready to take opportunities when they arise.

Saldana echoed Hovertsz's sentiments and said men can play an important role by working to open up opportunities for women.

"The sports world is controlled by men but there are those who believe in women and have opened up opportunities for women," Saldana said.

"Men have the power to open up opportunities for women and as Nicole said it's about 'sending down the elevator' and understanding the importance of opening doors for women."

Hoevertsz and Saldana praised the efforts of TTOC President Brian Lewis in seeking to promote gender equality and greater opportunities for women.

Lewis, who also serves as Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees President, gave the opening address at the Forum.

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe also participated.

Pascal's Bakery chief executive Melissa Pascal, archer Priyanka Dhanie and West Indies cricketer Stacy Ann King were among other panellists.

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Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development delivering the feature address at the 4th Annual Advancing Women in Leadership Forum 2020 Virtual Edition on Sept 26.

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A universal sigh of relief was breathed by the participants of the fourth T&T Olympic Committee's Advancing Women in Leadership Forum on Saturday morning, knowing that someone out there, have their backs.

This year's theme "Embracing Change and Transformation during a Pandemic" was thoroughly dealt with by the knowledgeable panellists and speakers at the virtual webinar via Zoom, leaving viewers highly motivated to face the 'new normal' that COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

Bursting with an enthusiasm to share on their own experiences in sport, each speaker ranging from administrators to active athletes to a consultant and a medical expert gave a bit on their background but used the opportunity to encourage all women to keep striving even more during this period of the coronavirus.

After quoting the figure from the World Economic Forum on gender equality which stated that it will take 217 years to reach parity, Nicole Hoevertsz, the secretary-general Aruba National Olympic Committee (NOC) and an Executive Member Pan Am Sports International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, said: "I am worried and frustrated by this figure. It is too long."

The former synchronised swimmer from Aruba was one of the three speakers in the second of two panels in the event. She opened by paying homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death last week (September 18).

An advocate for gender equality and women's rights, winning many arguments before the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was an inspiration to Hoevertsz who has had several firsts including the first woman on the executive committee of the Pan American Sports Organisation.

"It is great to be the first in but I have to make sure I am not the last. So it's about sending down the elevator and create more opportunities for women," said Hoevertsz, is loyal to the Olympic Movement.

"The IOC (International Olympic Committee) has been pushing for National Federations to have women in leadership positions. On the athletes' level, it is almost 50-50 but not in the decision-making positions."

Hoevertsz encouraged women to do personal training, mentoring, online courses so when the opportunity arises, a prospective can say: "Yes, I am ready to take up a position in leadership."

Fostering this growth, Hoevertsz highlighted the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president Brian Lewis, who gave the welcome address, and Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe.

"Brian is a dynamic leader. We are happy we have a president like him," said Hoevertsz, adding that this is the reason why he is referred to as "He for She." A nickname which amused moderators Giselle Laronde-West, TTOC executive member, and Nadine Khan-Seemongal, assistant secretary-general, as it was the first time hearing of it but both visually agreed with the reference.

Hoevertsz also gushed about Cudjoe, saying that T&T has a dynamic Minister of Sport who believes in the "power of sports".

Cudjoe gave the opening address and there was one part that stood out for all: "Women belong". To which feature speaker Dr Safeeya Mohammed, chief executive officer (CEO) of SISU Global Wellness, expanded in her keynote address saying: "Women belong in sport, leadership, business... everything." She went on to elaborate on managing stress and being resilient during this time of COVID-19 and then followed by panel one speakers of Melissa Pascal, CEO Pascal's Baking Limited, Priyanka Dhanie, National Archer athlete and Stacy Ann King, West Indies women's cricketer.

In closing, Hoevertsz shared her mantra saying: "She believes, she could and she did."

She is living proof of this simple expression. So too, is fellow panellist Jimena Saldana, vice president Mexican Olympic Committee and vice president Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO), member of the executive council Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

She advised the viewers to learn to never to take things personally and push away politics from their real goals.

"Believe in your inner voice, your instincts," said Saldana, who also recognised the work of Ginsburg, citing her contribution led to "real change" and like Hoevertsz was in high praise of Lewis. She believes men have a huge role to play in achieving gender equality.

"The sports world is controlled by men but there are those who believe in women and have opened up opportunities for women. Men have the power to open up opportunities for women and as Nicole said it's about 'sending down the elevator' and understand the importance of opening doors for women."

A move greatly supported by Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing, the final vibrant speaker in the second panel. The consultant, population and development with a specific focus on women, supported all that her fellow panellists had said and zoned in on helping the younger generation.

"I challenge women to help young women," said Lee-Sing adding that one should take advantage of the opportunities they have in their life. "Bloom where you are planted."

As did, national archer Dhanie who dared to launch her business at the start of the pandemic. Her business is about health and wellness critically important during this time.

"Part of embracing change is sharing with others, sharing knowledge," said Dhanie, who is helping others manage their mental health as highlighted by Dr Mohammed in her feature address.

Like the others, Dr Mohammed has been inspired by Ginsburg and advised all to tap into their superpower, which she hopes is resilience, not fear but most importantly, prioritise their "well-being and wellness" during this COVID-19 period.

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Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs (MSYA) Shamfa Cudjoe sent her greetings to commemorate Olympic Day today.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) has moved its Olympic Day initiatives online due to the pandemic.

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THE TTOC (TT Olympic Committee) and CANOC (Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee) are jointly staging an Online Caribbean Coaching Certificate Programme (CCCP), which began on Monday and runs until Friday.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) will host its first ever on-line course when the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) Caribbean Coaching Certification Programme (CCCP) launches today (Monday 27th April).

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