With COVID-19 putting a stranglehold on sporting events worldwide for this year, T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis is staying positive with the prospect of this country being able to host the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) next year.
"I remain confident that the Commonwealth Youth Games will be successful," said Lewis. "Given the negative impact of Covid-19 on our economy, Trinbago2021 is important!"
A defiant position against a grim outlook presented by the coronavirus which has already knocked off the greatest sporting event in the world, the Tokyo Olympic Games, from this year's sporting schedule. On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organising Committee made the joint decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to next year.
Lewis fully supported the decision citing that the health of the athletes and all Olympic stakeholders is the number one priority of his organisation saying: "The TTOC appreciates the certainty this decision provides athletes and NOCs who can now plan on the basis that the Games will not take place this year but not later than summer
"We can't downplay the public health risks with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating around the world. COVID-19 is creating havoc around the world with devastating economic consequences."
A good enough reason financially for the head of the TTOC to be so adamant about the multi-sport Youth Games, which was entrusted to T&T last year, coming off. Thanks to the efforts of Rheeza Grant, Kwanieze John and Chanelle Young, who conceptualised, developed and envisioned the successful bid, to upstage other bidders Gilbrator.
Lewis said, "It's going to be an important event for our economy, in particular, the tourism, hospitality, travel event planning and entertainment sectors with 2000 projected arrivals into the country."
The CYG, which targets athletes between the ages 14-18 years, is carded for August 1-7, is part of a compact sporting schedule which include the Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe, the Junior Pan Am Games, the Track and Field World Championships, Fina Aquatics World Championships and the Track and Field World Indoor Championships.
Showpieces which elite athletes will feature and now with the Olympic Games added, they face another dilemma which IOC will have to resolve eventually, likely with events being axed.
"The IOC will have to negotiate with those two sports. Either to reschedule or incorporate into the Olympics and probably pay financial compensation," said Lewis, who is
troubled by what effect the pandemic will have on the fight against doping.
"A big concern for me is COVID-19 has compromised the anti-doping efforts worldwide. Out of competition testing is an essential factor in the fight to protect clean athletes. The credibility and integrity of the Olympics are compromised if dopers and cheaters can use Covid-19 to avoid out of competition testing.
"The postponement gives needed time for a high level of out of the competition to be conducted in the build-up to the rescheduled Games. The playing field must be as level as possible for clean athletes.