Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis has strongly criticised the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) for giving the impression that eight countries had “bungled and forgotten” to enter athletes for Glasgow 2014.
But Commonwealth Games Federation officials have since refused to retract their claims.
Speaking after the conclusion of the General Assembly meeting yesterday, Games Federation President Prince Imran and chief executive Mike Hooper each reiterated that the countries should have met the deadline of June 11, and that such behaviour will result in sanctions in the future.
Trinidad and Tobago was one of eight countries named as submitting athlete entries after the deadline. The other countries were Jamaica, Bahamas, Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Games Federation revealed on Monday that special dispensation had been granted to some 48 athletes from these countries to ensure they did not miss their events.
This waiving of the deadline was accompanied by a stern warning from CGF President Prince Imran, who revealed the governing body was considering imposing sanctions in the future, against “those Commonwealth Games Associations who fail to meet important deadlines that impact on the Games’ operations and their own athletes”.
The Games governing body claimed that holding National Championships after the deadline was not a good enough excuse, and national organisations should have communicated to make sure they were held earlier.
But TTOC President Lewis, who also heads the Caribbean country’s Commonwealth Games delegation, has hit back, lambasting what he called the “regrettable and disappointing assertions made by the CGF President”, which are according to Lewis “certainly not in keeping with the Commonwealth Games brand positioning as the ‘Friendly Games’ nor the sport value of fair play”.
Lewis said “The President of the CGF and the chief executive, Mike Hooper, are well aware of the totality of the facts. “They are well informed or ought to be that the June 11 deadline presented an intractable problem to some Commonwealth Games Associations such as Trinidad and Tobago, since the selection process for athletics is the National Track and Field Championships scheduled for the third weekend in June, Lewis stated.
“Trinidad and Tobago wasn’t the only country facing this challenge,” he reiterated.
Lewis explained Trinidad and Tobago had unsuccessfully attempted to extend the deadline to a later date in line with International Association of Athletics Federations and Olympic final deadlines for entries.
And he pointed out that in an effort to work within the June 11 deadline, TT were hard pressed to get the final track and field team 100 per cent accurate.
Lewis insisted that the suggestion that the countries had “bungled and forgotten” their entries is regrettable.
“I would not speculate as to the motives behind such alleged declarations coming from the President of the CGF,” Lewis declared.
And he added “We are confident that our efforts to ensure that our best available track and field team will participate at Glasgow 2014 is a reflection of our support and abiding respect for the people of Scotland and organisers of Glasgow 2014 and the values, mission and purpose of the Commonwealth Games and the CGF.”
Lewis continued by saying: “The Commonwealth Games is struggling to retain its relevance and importance on the global sporting calendar. Glasgow 2014, he concluded, represents an opportunity to highlight the Games in a positive and dynamic light.”