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As the coun­try cel­e­brat­ed 181 years of Eman­ci­pa­tion on Au­gust 1st, there were those cus­tom­ary mes­sages that high­light­ing the po­si­tion of the African com­mu­ni­ty in the coun­try.

Where­as neg­a­tives such as crime re­ceived much at­ten­tion ob­vi­ous pos­i­tives and up­lift­ing deeds did not get the same de­gree of recog­ni­tion. There is no gain­say­ing that the African com­mu­ni­ty has con­tributed im­mense­ly in every field of so­ci­ety such as in the econ­o­my, ed­u­ca­tion, pol­i­tics, sports and cul­ture. The African com­mu­ni­ty em­bod­ies the de­vel­op­ment of the so­ci­ety just as every oth­er group and this must not be lost even as we strive to cor­rect the ex­ist­ing so­cio-eco­nom­ic and po­lit­i­cal short­com­ings in our so­ci­ety.

Giv­en the afore­men­tioned, it is im­por­tant to recog­nise the sport­ing con­tri­bu­tion of the African com­mu­ni­ty to T&T and the wider Caribbean that we take for grant­ed and or do not see as im­por­tant as ar­eas such as ed­u­ca­tion. Ar­guably the best ex­am­ples of African achieve­ment in the sport­ing land­scape of the Eng­lish-speak­ing Caribbean is the West In­dies crick­et team es­pe­cial­ly the team of the 1980s in­to the ear­ly 1990s lead by first­ly Clive Lloyd and then Vi­vian Richards. They were con­sis­tent win­ning role mod­els who ex­celled at what they did to the ad­mi­ra­tion and even en­vy of the crick­et­ing world no less than the Eng­lish who in­tro­duced the game in the re­gion. Their achieve­ments in­stilled a great sense of self-con­fi­dence and be­lief not on­ly among crick­eters but among politi­cians, busi­ness peo­ple and the wider pop­u­la­tion.

Some of our African ath­letes who have flown the T&T flag with great pride and dis­tinc­tion whether they have won a medal and or placed re­gion­al­ly and in­ter­na­tion­al­ly over the years are:


*Claude Noel first world cham­pi­on, Mex­i­can Rodol­fo Gon­za­lez to win the WBA World Light­weight ti­tle,1981

*Leslie Stew­art won the WBA World Light Heavy­weight ti­tle in 1987 de­feat­ing Mar­vin 'pops' John­son

*Giselle Sa­landy mul­ti­ple World cham­pi­on- WBA, WBC and WI­BA mid­dleweight ti­tles

*Micheal Alexan­der- Bronze medal­ist Light Wel­ter­weight, Pan Amer­i­can Games 2019; mul­ti­ple medal­ists at Pan Amer­i­can, CAC and Com­mon­wealth Games.

*Body Build­ing- Darem Charles, Michael Her­cules

*Crick­et- Bri­an Lara world record hold­er for the high­est first-class score (501 not out) and high­est Test score (400 not out). Sir Learie Con­stan­tine, Bernard Julien, Ian Bish­op, An­tho­ny Gray, Ann Browne-John, Kieron Pol­lard, Dwayne Bra­vo, Daren Bra­vo, Stephanie Pow­ers

*Cy­cling - Nicholas Paul- Sprint Cham­pi­on Pan Amer­i­can Games, 2019; Keron Bram­ble, Njisane Phillip and Nicholas Paul- gold medal­ists, Team Sprint, Pan Amer­i­can Games 2019; Njisane Phillip- sil­ver medal­ist Sprint, Pan Amer­i­can Games, Li­ma, Pe­ru 2019; Maxwell Cheese­man; Hyl­ton “Bar­racu­da” Mitchell; Roger Smart.

*Dis­tance Run­ning- Lynette 'Granny” Luces; Toya Nero; Michael Alexan­der; Cur­tis Cox; Paul Voisin.

*Foot­ball- Ken­nya Cord­ner; Dwight Yorke won sev­er­al cham­pi­onships in Eng­land and Eu­rope with Man­ches­ter Unit­ed; Alvin Corneal; Sed­ley Joseph; Lin­coln Phillips; Ever­ald “Gal­ly” Cum­mings; David Nahkid, Rus­sell Lat­apy, and Sha­ka His­lop; 'Strike Squad' 1989; 'So­ca War­riors' 2006

*Hock­ey- Kwand­wane Browne

*Net­ball- 1979 World Cup-win­ning team- In­grid Black­man; An­gela Burke-Brown; Peg­gy Cas­tana­da; Heather Charleau; Cyre­nia Charles; Mar­cia Dim­soy; Jen­nifer Nurse; Sher­ril Pe­ters; Eu­ge­nia Theo­dosia 'Jean” Pierre; Veryl Prec­sod; Althea Thomas-Luces; and Jen­nifer Williams.

*Swim­ming- Shan­tol Ince; Siob­han Crop­per; Cer­ian Gibbs;

*Ta­ble Ten­nis- Ver­na Ed­wards; Aleena Ed­wards; Li­onel Dar­cueil Sea­mus Clarke, Dex­ter St. Louis

*Ten­nis- Lystra Lewis; Bev­er­ly Cor­bie; Ivor Grazette,

*Track and Field-

*Hasley Craw­ford gold medal 100 me­tres Mon­tre­al Olympics 1976

*Keshorn Wal­cott gold medal javelin Lon­don Olympics 2012, Pan Amer­i­can Games, Toron­to 2015

*Je­hue Gor­don gold medal 400 me­tres hur­dle IAAF World Cham­pi­onship in Moscow, Rus­sia in 2014

*Cleopa­tra Borel gold shot putt Pan Amer­i­can Games Toron­to 2015

*Jar­rin Solomon, Ren­ny Quow, Machel Ce­de­nio and Lalonde Gor­don 4x400 gold Pan Amer­i­can Games, Toron­to 2015

*Kel­ly-Ann Bap­tiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Re­yare Thomas and Se­moy Hack­ett 4x100 bronze, 1AAF World Cham­pi­onship, Bei­jing, Chi­na, 2015

*Khal­i­fa St. Fort, sil­ver 100m IAAF World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship, Cali Colom­bia, 2015

*Ron­dell Sor­ril­lo, Ke­ston Bled­man, Em­manuel Cal­len­der, Dan-Neil Teles­ford, Wen­dell Mot­t­ley, Ato Boldon, Richard Thomp­son Daryl Brown, Marc Burns, Richard Thomp­son, Mikel Thomas, and Kam­ria Du­rant

*Michelle- Lee Ahye- Gold Medal­ist 100 me­tres- Com­mon­wealth Games 2018- Gold Coast, Aus­tralia.

*De­on Lendore; Jereem Richards; Asa Gue­vara and Machel Ce­de­no- 4X400 Gold Medal- World Re­lay Cham­pi­onship, Yoko­hama, Japan, 2019.

Weightlift­ing- Rod­ney Wilkes was the coun­try's first medal­ist at the Olympics win­ning the sil­ver medal in the feath­er­weight cat­e­go­ry at the 1948 Lon­don Games. At the 1952 Helsin­ki Games, he won bronze at the same event.

It is quite ev­i­dent from the se­lect­ed few ath­letes and sport­ing dis­ci­plines that over the years the Afro-Trin­bag­on­ian com­mu­ni­ty-pro­duced both fe­males and males who have ex­celled so much to the plea­sure and cel­e­bra­tions of the di­verse pop­u­la­tion of T&T. There is no ques­tion that sport will con­tin­ue to be an av­enue for all of our peo­ple in T&T to demon­strate their achieve­ments which will re­dound to the ben­e­fit of this beau­ti­ful twin-is­land Re­pub­lic.

I am sure you can re­call a name or two your­self to help em­pha­sise my point with­in the con­test of this col­umn.

"I don't feel it is nec­es­sary to know ex­act­ly what I am. The main in­ter­est in life and work is to be­come some­one else that you were not in the be­gin­ning." Michel Fou­cault.

Anand Rampersad - PhD (NEW)