ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) President Brian Lewis completed the Trinidad and Tobago International marathon today, as he aimed to raise awareness and funds for the newly launched #10gold24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation initiative.

The initiative is designed to provide financial aid to Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes in the country, helping them to compete at the highest level possible, with the ambition that by 2024 Trinidad and Tobago will achieve 10 or more Olympic gold medals.

The funds are set to support athletes in several ways from direct financial support and health insurance, to medal bonuses and anti-doping education.

Lewis had previously expressed his concern at what he considered a shortfall in sports funding across the nation and by completing his "walk the talk" challenge, he hopes the public support he received translates into greater support for the countries athletes as they target medals at major championships.

""I am glad it [the walk] resonated so deeply with the public and it just goes to show there are still wonderful and tremendous people in this country who want to see the country progress," Lewis said following the marathon, which saw him cheered by supporters chanting "Trinidad and Tobago, we want gold!"

Lewis' marathon lasted for around seven hours, starting in the early hours of the morning in Freeport and coming to a close at Queen's Park Savannah in the country's capital Port of Spain.

Lewis was supported by athletes and supporters throughout his walk, including marathon swimmer Christian Marsden, and although the TTOC President suffered from cramps in the closing stages he was able to embrace the pain and finish.

"I had to dig real deep," said Lewis, who completed the marathon draped in the national flag.

"The pain from the cramps were so severe and after a while it actually felt that I had pulled my left hamstring in the last two miles.

"But quitting is not in my make-up."

Lewis will hope that his marathon will have a lasting effect for Trinidad and Tobago athletes with funds being raised to help the countries elite athletes to compete at the highest level.

Lewis goal prior to the marathon was to raise TTD$500,000 (£51,000/$79,000/€65,000) which will be used to help fund athletes preparing for Rio 2016.

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