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Richards: New Sport Policy a step forward for TT

News day / JELANI BECKLES

DOUBLE 2017 World Championship medallist Jereem Richards, expressed joy after hearing the news that a new National Policy on Sport (NPS) 2017 to 2027 was announced in Parliament that included an incentives and rewards framework for national athletes.

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith made the announcement in Parliament on Friday. Athletes will no longer have to wonder how they would be rewarded after winning medals at major sporting events.

The policy under the incentives and reward framework said, “Emanating from the NPS and equally as important, is the institution of a formal documented Incentives and Rewards Framework for national athletes who medal at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Cup and/or World Championships in identified sporting disciplines and thereby bring international recognition to TT.”

Athletes will be rewarded TT$1,000,000 for gold medals, $500,000 for silver medals and $250,000 for bronze medals at the Olympic Games.

Richards was happy to hear of the reward incentive, saying it is a step in the right direction, “I think it is definitely a great achievement, that athletes know now that when we compete (and earn medals we know what to expect), instead of wondering what is going to be given to us or what rewards we might get or might not get. Now, we definitely know that it is written and it is on paper that something is going to be rewarded to us. It is definitely a great achievement and a great step forward in the movement of sport.”

At the World Championships and World Cup events, athletes will now be awarded $500,000 for gold medals, $250,000 for silver and $125,000 for bronze.

Athletes who medalled at major events from 2015 to 2017 will benefit also. The policy stated, “Cabinet also agreed to the application of the framework to recompense individual athletes who medalled at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Cup and/or World Championships from 2015 to 2017, and considered the special case made for the rewarding of national teams which medalled at these competitions over the same period.”

Richards will benefit from this new policy, as he earned bronze in the men’s 200m event and gold in the men’s 4x400m event at the 2017 World Championships.

Richards, who described the new reward policy as a great motivator for young athletes, is glad that the gold medal performance by the TT men’s 4x400m team at the 2017 World Championships will be recognised.

“It is definitely a sign of relief in terms of wondering what was going to happen, so I am really excited and awaiting the presentation,” Richards said. The 4x400m team included Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon and Machel Cedenio.

The policy will also cater for junior and para-athletes. The policy said, “The incentives and rewards framework also identifies rewards for junior athletes as well as para-athletes who medal at these high-level competitions.”

National senior teams have not been left out of the NPS, as approval was granted to reward senior national teams for first-time qualifications only for the Olympics, World Cup or World Championship meets.

Former TT men’s 400m athlete Alvin Daniel, who has been calling for the Government to develop a rewards policy, was glad to hear a new reward policy was developed. “That makes a lot of sense. Too long now you have people representing TT and when they do achieve, you have them feeling like beggars still because you waiting to see what it is they offering you.”

Daniel said TT athletes do a lot for the country saying, “You’re competing to achieve something for yourself and also to put TT on the map.”

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