As Trinidad & Tobago prepares to host the CCCAN Championships, the largest aquatics event in the hemisphere at the end of June, the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad & Tobago (ASATT) received a welcome financial boost today from the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs and the Sports Company of Trinidad & Tobago, under whose ambit the local governing body falls.
At a press conference today, the Honourable Darryl Smith, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs was delighted to offer the support, in the amount of TT$1m and encouraged corporate T&T to follow suit, saying that "Since the opening last year, all areas of the Aquatic Centre have been utilised extensively. It has undergone routine maintenance and is prepared to host an event of this magnitude. I assure corporate sponsors that they will get bang for their buck if they choose to invest in the tournament. With over 1500 visitors expected, plus local spectators and viewing audiences across the region, there are unlimited opportunities to promote your product or service. I also have full confidence in ASATT to deliver on the promise of an efficient and exciting tournament in all five disciplines - swimming, open water, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming."
Team T&T will number over 60 athletes and will feature a mix of experience and youth, as standouts Joshua Romany, Kristin Julien, Cherelle Thompson and Olympian Dylan Carter are all expected to compete in swimming events. According to ASATT President Wendell Lai Hing, the talent pool is extensive as the entries are coming in thick and fast. He said, "I wish firstly to thank the Minister and SporTT for the financial and other support, and assure you that we won't let you down. We are excited at the prospect of hosting CCCAN and making it a truly national event of which every citizen can be proud."
Lai Hing continued, "The national team will represent in four of the five disciplines (swimming, open water, diving and water polo) and we expect to be competitive. We will have two divers for the first time and we thank SporTT for facilitating the athletes in all disciplines to train at the Aquatic Centre, familiarise themselves with the space and ensure we have a 'home court' advantage. This will certainly come into play as the event is FINA-sanctioned, meaning those in Open categories can qualify for FINA World Championships."
In addition to the financial support presented today, SporTT has been working closely with ASATT over the past months to procure specialised equipment for the competition, as well as contributing to the overall planning of the event through the participation of key personnel on the Local Organising Committee.
The CCCAN Championships run from 24 June to 2 July 2017. All events take place at the National Aquatic Centre with the exception of the Open Water event (24, 26 June) which will be held at Turtle Beach, Tobago, in partnership with the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Tourism Development Company (TDC).