ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Monetary bonuses are to be offered by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) to national athletes competing here at the Pan American Games as part of a plan to improve sporting performances, it has been announced.

Any athlete who receives a medal at an competition associated with the national team, beginning at Toronto 2015, which opened here last night, will be offered these incentives, with the highest award of $3,000 (£1,900/€2,700) being offered to a gold medal winner in an individual event.

Relay runners and those competing in team events will receive different levels of incentives.

The initiative follows the launch last December of the Caribbean country's #10Golds24 drive to improve sporting levels at Rio 2016 and beyond, an effort engineered by TTOC President Brian Lewis.

Offering bonuses is seen as a key way to encourage athletes into sport, and to take that step up to the top level.

Most of Trinidad and Tobago's medal hopes here will compete next week when athletics competition begins, with the biggest hope undoubtedly Olympic champion javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, fresh from a mammoth a national record of 90.16 metres to win the DIamond League meeting in Lausanne last Thursday (July 9).

Sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste and up and coming 400m talent Machel Cedenio are other leading hopes, while Athens 2004 swimming Olympic bronze medalist George Bovell is probably the leading contender away from the track and the field.

“The introduction of medal bonuses is an essential component of the ten or more Olympic Gold medals athlete welfare and preparation programme," a statement from the TTOC said.

“In pursuit of its strategic goals and objectives, the TTOC acknowledges the support of its corporate partners: bpTT, Guardian Group, Scotiabank, adidas, Lisa Communications and NLCB.

“Its an exciting time for the TTOC."

The announcement follows the launch earlier this month of a landmark "Going for Gold" project introduced by the TTOC in conjunction with the National Lotteries Control Board in order to raise funds for potential Olympians.

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