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TTOC to speak out on gymnastics saga

Decision day tomorrow...
Published: 
Sunday, May 1, 2016
National gymnast Thema Williams was controversially removed.

The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) will announce tomorrow if it will accept the spot in the women’s artistic gymnastics competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which runs from August 5-21.

The TTOC has a deadline of May 9, but stated a decision will be made tomorrow at a press conference to be held at Olympic House on 121 Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, from 10.30 am.

The press release yesterday stated that the TTOC Management Committee planned to meet Friday and yesterday to discuss the matter which has brought about intense national debate and public interest.

The release explained, “The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Games Management Committee will meet on Friday 29th April and Saturday 30th April to consider the National Olympic Committee's response to the International Gymnastics  Federation (FIG ) re the TTOC's acceptance or not of an allocated place in the women’s individual artistic gymnastics competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

National gymnast Thema Williams was controversially removed from the Olympic Games Test event in Rio on April 16 and replaced by fellow national gymnast Marisa Dick, who competed in the Test event and became the first T&T gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.

Williams was pulled out of the Rio Test Event as the T&T Gymnastics Federation felt she was not physically fit to compete following a report from Williams’ coach John Geddert.

The battle between Williams and Dick has been going on for a long time. Williams’ participation at the Rio Test event was in doubt since she qualified for the event. After Williams finished ahead of Dick in the World Gymnastics Championships in October, Williams believes she should have been the automatic choice to represent T&T at the Test event. 

However, the TTGF announced that Williams and Dick will have to compete in two more events before one is chosen. After deliberation Williams was chosen for the Test event.

In February semi-nude photographs of Williams and Dick circulated on social media which forced the TTGF to take the matter to the Federation’s Disciplinary Committee. Williams’ attendance at the Test Event was then in doubt again, but after consultation the TTGF confirmed last month that Williams will be T&T’s representative at the Rio Test event. Then on the eve of the Test event Williams was removed and replaced by Dick.

On Friday, FIG stated that only Dick is eligible to compete at the Olympics for T&T. In the meantime, Williams’ lawyers headed by Keith Scotland are weighing their options. They plan to take the matter to the Tripartite Olympic Commission and then the Court of Arbitration for Sport in an attempt to get their client to the Olympics.

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