Two known national sport teams, women’s hockey and men’s cricket and some individuals will be into the hard grind of regional and international competition even as Carnival festivities roll on in their homeland at this time.
Insofar as the festivities go tonight is a signal night with the ever-exciting dual Soca Monarch competition again set to play out to a sold-out stadium audience and with millions tuned in across the world.
Expected to conclude at dawn tomorrow, the event will be followed by the riveting steelband Panorama finals tomorrow night, the Dimanche Gras potpurri of king and queen of the Carnival as well as the Calypso Monarch, this on Sunday night and on Monday and Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the parade of costumes bands and individuals on the roads of the twin-island state.
In the case of the women’s hockey team for the World Hockey League’s Round Two tournament starting tomorrow and runing until the 22nd in Montevideo, Uruguay, work and education-related matters were specified as reasons for some nine players withdrawing from the team.
In the case of Trinidad and Tobago Red Force fielding a team shorn of marquee players like Dwayne Bravo, Reyad Emrit, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, it’s unavailability either because of West Indies duty in Cricket’s World Cup opened yesterday in New Zealand and co-hosts Australia or for personal reasons.
Cindy Martin-Martin, the T&T Hockey Board national team’s administrator, acknowledging the absence of key players, did not let the Carnival activity escape her saying before the team’s departure to Uruguay two days ago, “Any Trinbagoian knows when it comes to Carnival how everything else takes a backseat, but hats of to my hockey women. They have been training hard for yet another international tournament.
The women’s hockey team with replacements of Under-21 players have to face up challenges from countries like Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, France, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Uruguay in a eight-team tournament which would guarantee the top two finishers a place in the semi-final of the competition, where the coveted berths at the 2016 Olympic Games are on offer.
Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the Round 2 by winning Round One held in Jamaica last October.
The men’s cricket team meanwhile, a veritable cast of youth, starts sixth round matches in the west indies professional cricket league against Barbados in Barbados today – the match a four day affairprovided like TT’s last game in St Lucia they are not beaten again.