Message to Team TTO by The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development – Tokyo Olympic Games

It is with immeasurable pleasure that I extend best wishes and God’s richest blessings to our esteemed athletes and our distinguished Trinidad and Tobago team for the 2020 Olympic Games, being staged in Tokyo, Japan this year.

Sport in its various incarnations presents an opportunity to bring people together.  It fosters a sense of community amongst fans, who may start off as strangers but soon become friends or even family through this unique and common bond. Sport is the unifier that brings an indescribable joy to nations far and wide. This is evident by the recent resumption of sporting activities, whether football, cricket, basketball, athletics or tennis, sport lends to a pride like no other to every who follows his team, and goes the distance to support his favourite athlete.

We, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago are honoured to stand steadfastly with our team, as Team TTO gets ready to make magic in Tokyo.  When I reflect on the past 16 months,  the sacrifices we have all made to arrive at this juncture, I am indeed humbled.  Humbled by the passion and resilience embodied by mankind as we overcome the many hurdles presented by the pandemic. Humbled by the perseverance and grit shown by our athletes and their coaches to ensure that we remain relevant, ready and competitive.  Humbled by the devotion and determination of our athletes who have chosen to remain hopeful in our darkest days and represent the red, white and black on the international stage.

 Today, we are in the fourth gear of these preparations as we send off our team TTO to grace the Olympic stage Tokyo.  While this year’s games were plunged into deep uncertainty, your commitment remained unwavered and your coaches, and administrators kept hope alive by extending their support. You trained rigorously in the most testing of environments,  honed your mental aptitude, you earned  Olympic standard in your respective disciplines and now you’re finally headed to the Games.

On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I salute you for standing tall in a time when giants are needed. We at the Ministry of Sport and Community Development are immensely proud of your success in representing team Trinidad and Tobago at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. This Olympics is a historic one for our twin-island Nation. While we may be small in size, we are big in talent, as evident in the largest contingent our country has ever seen, 33 competitors being sent off in our national colours.  Of these 33 athletes, 24 will be fielded in the discipline of athletics, of which 6 Tobagonians form part of this haul; three athletes for Cycling, two athletes for Swimming, and 1 each for Boxing, Rowing, Sailing, and Judo.   Globally, we have achieved 48.8 per cent female participation among the 11,090 athletes expected to join the Games. We hope that the 2024 Olympics will see full gender balance.

Our government wishes to acknowledge the dedication of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee whose remarkable thrust for increased female representation in sport continues to revolutionize sport development in our country. The TTOC continues to holistically develop various sporting disciplines and provide much needed support to the Government and the sporting fraternity.

As Minister of Sport and Community Development, I feel privileged to lead the sporting industry during this time. I have been able to witness first-hand the unparalleled volume of determination, grit and courage demonstrated by the sporting fraternity, more than any other period in our nation’s history.

1.4million strong, we are all behind you, our trailblazers, our standard bearers, our sporting ambassadors as you take Tokyo by storm, as you sprinkle your magic and as you bring the glory and honour home.  Now take the baton from yesterday’s version of yourself and run your very best race. Go forth with courage and confidence, always remembering that only you can do YOU to the best of your ability.

With boundless faith in our destiny, we stand beside you solemnly and steadfastly to the very end.

May God keep you safe and bless your journey, and may He continue to smile on Trinidad and Tobago, our beloved country.