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TTOC Chooses Dick

Published: 
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis addresses members of the media as he announced that national gymnast Marisa Dick would be representing the twin island republic at the 2016 Rio Olympics during a press conference at Olympic House, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Also in the photo are TTOC Games Management Committee members Diane Henderson, centre, and Dr Ian Hypolite. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ

After two days of intense meetings and a statement by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) explaining the Olympic qualification process of a gymnast, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Games Management Committee announced yesterday that Marisa Dick will represent T&T at the Rio Olympic Games in August.

The announcement made yesterday at the Olympic House on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, ended weeks of speculation whether Dick or Thema Williams will represent T&T at the Olympics or if the TTOC will decide not to accept the spot in the women’s artistic gymnastics event.

Members of the TTOC Games Management Committee Brian Lewis, Dr Ian Hypolite, Dr Terry Ali, Diane Henderson and Annette Knott (not present) made the decision after meetings on Friday and Saturday.

Lewis identified the contents of the letter by FIG to the TTOC explaining why Dick is the only athlete who can represent T&T. The letter stated that the dispute between Williams and the T&T Gymnastics Federation is an internal affair. 

FIG also stated that Williams’ initial registration to participate at the qualifying event was duly made by the TTGF respecting the FIG rules since the qualifying spot was not nominated and the federation had the choice to select and register at their discretion.

The letter further stated that the name change from Thema Williams to Marisa Dick was duly made by the TTGF and respected the FIG rules including time limits which allow such a change. FIG confirmed that Dick has successfully completed at the Test event and obtained a nominative place in Rio and her spot has to be confirmed by the TTOC. Since the qualification place earned by Dick is nominated, no name change or replacement is possible. 

Lewis said: “The TTOC Olympic Games Committee has therefore ruled that the TTOC has no choice but to include Marisa Dick in the Team TTO Rio 2016 declaration.”

Lewis explained that it has been a challenging time for the T&T Olympic Committee. “The past few weeks have been gruelling and difficult as this situation has taken very emotional dimensions in the public eye. We at the T&T Olympic Committee acknowledge that the situation has shaken public confidence in the integrity of the decision making process.

“This circumstance and situation is a dark cloud over the T&T Olympic movement. Public confidence in the governance of sport has been shaken. This is not what the Olympic spirit and values are about. We at the TTOC deplore the situation in which the TTOC has found itself. The way in which the lives of two talented athletes have been picked apart is not sportsmanship.”

The battle between Williams and Dick to qualify for the Olympics has been ongoing for the past six months. 

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 thought she would have been the automatic choice to represent T&T at the Test event. However, the TTGF announced that Williams and Dick had to compete in two more events before one was chosen. After deliberation, Williams was chosen.

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