ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis’ proposal of an Elite Athlete Housing Assistance Programme is receiving positive support from sports and other  stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago.

Lewis , who said that the Housing programme would work along similar lines as the Elite Athlete Assistance Programme (EAAP) , envisions that housing for national athletes would be destined to those athletes who dedicate years of their youthful life to representing their country at Olympic and world level sport make tremendous sacrifices in respect of their careers, families , income etc.

"Their choice to dedicate themselves to national duty and service through sport ostensibly place them at a significant social and economic disadvantage. This is a situation and a burden that must be addressed . Currently the burden is a de-motivating one for athletes. Representing TTO at the Olympic and world level should be considered national duty and service," Lewis said.

The former Harvard rugby player said  unlike the EAAP, the Housing programme would  address team sports and the TTOC president is including team sports in the proposed #10golds24 Athlete Housing Assistance programme.

"The TTOC is preparing a request to send to relevant authorities with a view to having the proposed Athlete Housing Assistance Programme implemented as soon as possible," he stated.

Lewis added that there are national athletes who have served TTO with distinction for five years or more who need assistance to obtain HDC housing, and this intitiative aims to give  priority  to those athletes similar to the priority given to members of the national security services.

"I am proposing that a similar policy be implemented for national sports men and women who have a history of long and meritiorous service. Just as is done with the Elite Athlete Assistance Programme, the national sport organisation and the TTOC are well positioned to clarify and confirm those athletes in both team and individual sports that merit favorable consideration under the Elite/High Performance Athlete Housing Assistance Programme," Lewis explained Lewis believes that a policy for housing for national sportsmen and women, with a priority on those who have represented TTO at Olympic and World level in both team and individual sports,  is   a powerful statement of intent in respect of moving away from intangible praise to tangible reward.

"This country's athletes-Sportsmen and women have earned the right to receive consideration. Dedication to national duty and service through sport must no longer place our athletes at a disadvantage and compromise their constitutional and human rights to the dignity of a roof over their heads.

"Implement a Housing for national sportsmen and women aspect of the 100 houses a week distribution drive," Lewis expounded.