Caribbean Women Sports

Supporting Women in Sport int he Caribbean

Women hit the headlines in sport – why aren’t there more writing about it?

Women hit the headlines in sport – why aren’t there more writing about it? 150 150 CWESN

Suzanne Franks –

Two weeks of Olympic coverage are a rare time when sustained coverage of female sports stars hits the headlines. The airwaves are full of women running, jumping, cycling and riding.

Yet outside the period of major sporting festivals, evidence from the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation suggests that only 5% of total sports coverage relates to activities by women.

Women’s sport attracts a tiny proportion of the total sponsorship and, as is well known, the salaries and facilities are minuscule by comparison to men’s.

Yet it is not just women playing sport which is ignored, but women reporting and writing about it. In 2012 and 2013, my colleague Deidre O’Neill and I looked at bylines across UK newspapers and found that at no point in any of the periods we examined was the proportion of female bylines higher than 3%.

There were occasions where the female contribution on one newspaper for one week reached just over 4% (at the Guardian and the Daily Mail), but the averages were well below this.

Over all the periods we studied the average proportion of stories written by women was a mere 1.8%.

We have followed that survey up with interviews with the handful of female sports journalists in the UK’s national press and found that things appear to be changing at a glacial pace, if at all.

As the Sun’s Vikki Orvice said at a recent London Press Club event on getting into sports journalism:

“I thought when I started out in tabloids in 1995, there would be a trajectory of women starting to emerge in sports writing, but it has not been the case at all. In fact, it has got worse … Women in sports writing peaked in 2000 … The only females at the Sun are me and two secretaries.”

In recent years there has been some considerable progress regarding the visibility of women in broadcast sports journalism. The London Olympics and the starring role of presenters such as Clare Balding and Gabby Logan was a watershed for UK broadcasting, but there are still relatively few female sports writers in the newspaper industry, and sports journalism worldwide remains largely male-dominated.

Several of the reporters we spoke to raised the link between participation in sport and reporting it. Laura Williamson, who writes for the Daily Mail pointed out that a traditional route into reporting on sport is by playing it at top level:

“Fewer women have grown up with or played sport to the level where they might be encouraged to report on it.”

And, along with a number of other interviewees, she pointed out that the popularity of football can limit reporting opportunities for women:

“Men’s football is the dominant sport – and it is played, managed and run by men. This makes it more difficult for a young women to build contacts and network, simply because she belongs to a different demographic [there has never been a female chief football correspondent]. And the readership of sports media is overwhelmingly male, so they are more likely to regard sports reporting as a dream job.”

Martha Kelner, who writes for the Mail and was young sports writer of the year in 2012, agreed: “It’s more natural for men. [Lots of boys] want to be a footballer, and if they don’t make it, they may want to stay close to the sport by writing about it. Because fewer girls play football, this possibility is unlikely to even be on their radar.”

In addition, in the UK we have only seen women’s football taken more seriously and given better media coverage in the past couple of years. However, the popularity of women playing football has markedly increased at the same time. With the growing professionalisation of the women’s game, it is possible we may in future see more women who have played coming through as football sports journalists.

Alison Kervin’s appointment in 2013 at the Mail on Sunday as the first (and only) female sports editor of a UK national newspaper was a milestone. Around half of national newspaper sports desks have no women.

Kervin agrees with other female sports writers that there are still challenges which prevent more women breaking through, although she thinks things have improved since she first started and would file her reports from rugby matches as A Kervin, because she knew that using her first name would put editors off.

Yet she may have been unduly optimistic. Last year one of my students, a long-time rugby enthusiast called Andrea, applied for a paid internship reporting on the Rugby World Cup. In her application she called herself Andy and when she was appointed and then showed up, the editor of the site was visibly shocked to find she was not a man.

After her internship was over he told her that he had been pleasantly surprised at how good she had been – with the obvious implication that this was in spite of her gender.

Several women sports writers, such as Janine Self or Amy Lawrence, highlighted annoying attitudes which still persist. Other reporters emphasised the problem of declining local and regional papers, offering fewer entry roles for sports reporting, as well as the highly unsociable hours worked by sports reporting as off putting towomen.

Particularly worrying is the way that female sports journalists are treated on social media. As elsewhere they face sustained abuse not because of what they write, but because of who they are.

Frequent comments include “Get back in the kitchen” or much worse. Martha Kelner worries that things have deteriorated on Twitter:

“I have been called a slag and told I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m a woman. It’s more common when I write about (male dominated) football than a sport like athletics … There are people in darkened rooms spoiling for a fight. We may not get more online abuse than men, but it can be more vitriolic and insulting and our gender is often the first port of call for someone sending an abusive tweet.”

This atmosphere could be a further deterrent to aspiring female sportswriters. Yet despite such hurdles, at City University’s department of journalism we teach modules on sports reporting and an encouraging number of women take this class.

Many of them show boundless enthusiasm for sports writing of all kinds – from boxing to badminton. We are hoping to see their bylines on the back pages (and equivalent) before too long.

WoLF Scoring with Social Media

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Media coverage of women’s sport is something that most women’s sport organizations struggle with globally.

With a little innovation though, Women’s Football League Media manager, Jinelle James effectively combatted that issue through social media.

“One of the major highlights of the league this season has been the use of social media; facebook and twitter, to drive engagement of the league,” said James. “Through these mediums a lot of networking took place which greatly benefitted the league and brought greater awareness about women’s football and our players.

James’ efforts included timely score updates of daily matches, photos that she took her self, fixture updates, short video highlights of the matches as well as interviews with players.

In addition to media efforts, the Japs sponsored league also held a boat cruise to raise funds during the season.

This years’ competition also saw the inclusion of players from St Vincent and Puerto for the first time. James explained that this not only provided the opportunity for players from other Caribbean islands to play at a much higher level than if they were at home, but it also helped to raise the quality of competition in the league here.

Also coming out of the league for the first time was the ability of U20 players to vie for selection on the national team. “The League has helped to give players who would not normally be seen an opportunity to vie for a spot on the Women’s National U-20 Team,” explained James. “In the preliminary round of the Women’s U-20 World Cup Qualifiers, 50% of the team came from the League in, Shuntele Baptiste, Otisha David, Leah Pope, Chelsea Gibbs, Asha Jones, Jennette Wilson, Tkeyah Phillip, Akilah Sparks and Rhonique Alexander.

Additionally, it was found that three teams consisted of players who averaged 14 years of age. The discovery James said, prompted league officials to introduce an U15 and U17 league which will serve as a breeding ground for senior teams, which she hopes will partner with the younger teams.

James explained that a competitive league plays a huge role in the development of women’s football and the WoLF is definitely doing its part with regard to providing an opportunity for players to be selected on the various national teams.

Digital Crayon – Passion and Persistence

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I have lost track of how many people have asked me what CWESN is about in the past two weeks.

And every time I am posed with the question, I actually find myself at a lost for words. It is hard to describe an emotion, harder to describe passion and even harder to tell a total stranger your dreams.

In simple words, CWESN – Caribbean Women Entertainment Sport Network – is an online media company that covers women’s sports. Although, I have now made the transition from being entirely online, to having a physical presence with the printing of this first issue of CWESN the Magazine. peaked at the 104th most visited site in Trinidad and Tobago and 247,000 on the world in just six months after its launch. The site is now nearing one million visits. CWESN The Magazine has gathered over 100,000 views – 13,000 in only the first day and over 73,000 in less than two weeks.

That is it in a nutshell!

To the average onlooker, that is what they will see. To me, it is a lot more than that. CWESN is a concept; it is the idea that I can change the way women’s sport is perceived in the world.

How I go about doing that will be no simple task, 18 months of doing this has been no easy task, but I just deal with the challenges as they arise.

Recently the challenges were met with celebration when I was given the National Youth Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Winning the award was special, being nominated for it though, meant a lot more to me. It meant more because I was nominated by someone I look up to a great deal.

West Indies Women coach, Stephanie Power, nominated me for the award … two days after the deadline. Thankfully we live in Trinidad. Thankfully neither of us decided to give up just because the deadline had already passed. An interesting lesson that was – had we just forgotten it just because the deadline had passed, I would not have gotten the award.

Stephanie is one of my role models. One of the kindest people you will ever meet and full of life. She is the West Indies women coach, but unfortunately not involved in T&T cricket. She is by far one the most qualified women’s cricket coach in T&T and the Caribbean. A former WI player and captain, her success as a coach rests greatly on her ability to motivate players.

She was one of the first people I interviewed when I started CWESN and remains one of my biggest supporters. 

I would like to publicly thank Stephanie for her support. I would also like to thank everyone who has been with CWESN since its inception. Fans who tune in religiously to cricket updates, people who support behind the scene; those who give motivation when things are going horribly wrong.

For CWESN to be successful, it requires more than just the simple coverage of women’s sports. It requires the support and change in mindset from every society around the world.

Mind Games

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By Kamasha Robertson

Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan was once asked during an interview which one of the skills he was more proud of: his athletic skills or the mental skills and which one was more difficult to keep up? How do you think he would have responded to such a question? There is no doubt that becoming a professional athlete takes tremendous physical work, endless hours of gym work, specialty training, diet and recovery work…Yes even recovering takes work!

Very seldom, however, does one think about the ‘Mental’ side of sports and the major part that it plays in the holistic development of an athlete. Many a time as it turns out, I have found that not even the athlete is aware that certain aspects of their training that they engage in are actually psychological techniques and strategies. Who can blame them though? The field of Sport Psychology is a relatively new one that was first introduced as a University Course in 1923 at the University of Illinois by American Professor Coleman Griffith.

Since then Sport Psychology has slowly trickled its way down to the Caribbean, and to a greater extent, Trinidad and Tobago. Sport Psychology is an interdisciplinary science that combines knowledge from the fields of Kinesiology and Psychology and analyses the effects of psychological factors on performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors.

Today applied sport psychology is widely accepted by many professional athletes worldwide who have seen and benefited from the positive effects that building psychological strength has on the athlete. So why is it that locally, there is still a stereotype that when one uses the services of a ‘Sport Psychology Professional’, they are seemingly “crazy”? As a Sport Psychology professional and athlete myself, this question has definitely awakened within me, a yearning to edify and inculcate the aspects of a profession that are so very relevant to the modern day athlete.

Though nothing but a fledgling taking flight in comparison to many others in this profession, I embrace this as it brings forth the possibility of gaining new knowledge with every task even as I teach others. Sport Psychology, is indeed the unsharpened tool in the shed full of sporting professions such as Managers, Coaches, Physiotherapists, and the like that are better understood and in constant demand in Trinidad and Tobago. This nonetheless, makes it any less significant.

Why not chat with the athlete who experiences severe anxiety before competitions, or unable to cope under pressure or the athlete who was denied a spot on his Varsity Basketball team, but later grew up and rebounded to silence critics and become ‘basketball royalty’? Yes Michael Jordan was not always the strong and confident MVP he became; he attributed learning mental skills and how to apply them to his game as one of the major components of his success, which brings us back to his reply to that reporter:

“The mental part is the hard part because you have to take everything you’ve learned and tie that back into the physical part of the game, physically it is a little bit easier, but the mental part is the hardest part and I think that is the part that separates the good players from the great players.”

Perhaps its quotes like these that will help inspire the upcoming talent in not just basketball, but rather, the multitude of athletes worldwide in diverse sporting disciplines who thirst for success. Hopefully it will also urge them to tap into that “Intangible Resource” known as the mind and explore beyond the limits and boundaries of the ordinary athlete, to eventually become something much greater than they could ever have imagined.

Kamasha Robertson B.Sc., M.Sc. is a Sports and Exercise Psychology Consultant (Kamasha Robertson & Associates). At present she is a Sport Psychology Officer at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) she is also a long time High Performance Badminton Player and Pan American Certified Umpire in her sport.

T&T hoping to take back what’s theirs

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West Indies skipper, Merissa Aguilleira will lead T&T as they try to regain their position as regional champs in the WICB Women’s Regional Tournament from August 8-18, in Jamaica.

Jamaica ended T&T’s two-year reign last year, with a 30-run victory in the final of the competition.

The hosts, will hope to regain their title in front of their home crowd in the round robin competition, which will feature 8 teams including; Jamaica, T&T, Barbados, Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Guyana

Speaking before T&T left for Jamaica, Aguilleira said the team’s preparations have gone extremely well and they are confident about bringing home the title.

“I think we are pretty confident about everything. As a team we played a lot of cricket and we are excited and looking forward to continuing our progress,” she said.

As for T&T’s batting, which failed them last year, the wicket-keeper said it was an area the team has been focusing on.

“We have been doing a lot of batting and have really concentrated on that particular area. We have seen an improvement and all we can do is hope everything comes together as planned.”

T&T’s batting will be strengthened by the addition of former Barbados and WI player, Deandra Dottin. Aguilleira explained however, T&T will not be depending on Deandra’s batting alone, and solid performances by the entire team are needed if they are to win the tournament.

The competition will see a change in format this year, with the usual 50-over competition being replaced with a T20 version.

The change was made as part of the WI women’s preparations for the T20 World Cup, which takes place in September. The WI will then leave for England in early September where they will play 5 T20s.


August 8

Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) vs St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

Jamaica vs St. Lucia at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Guyana vs Grenada at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Barbados vs Dominica at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 9

Barbados vs Jamaica at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

Guyana vs T&T at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

SVG vs Grenada at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Dominica vs St. Lucia at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 11

St. Lucia vs Grenada at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

SVG vs Dominica at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

T&T vs Barbados at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Jamaica vs Guyana at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 12

St. Lucia vs SVG at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

Grenada vs Dominica at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Guyana vs Barbados at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

T&T vs Jamaica at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 14

St. Lucia vs T&T at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

SVG vs Jamaica at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Grenada vs Barbados at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Dominica vs Guyana at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 15

Grenada vs T&T at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

SVG vs Guyana at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Dominica vs Jamaica at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Barbados vs St. Lucia at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.

August 17

Dominica vs T&T at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

Barbados vs SVG at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Guyana vs St. Lucia at Chedwin Park, 10 a.m.

Jamaica vs Grenada at Chedwin Park, 2 p.m.


August 18

3rd vs 4th at Sabina Park, 10 a.m.

1st vs 2nd at Sabina Park, 2 p.m.

7th vs 8th at Kensington Park, 10 a.m.

5th vs 6th at Kensington Park, 2 p.m.

Digital Crayon – Women’s Sport and the Media

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I did a search of the most searched female athletes in the world – I found something not so hard to believe.

The list of the top 50 most searched women athletes is populated by athletes who 1) make a lot of money and 2) play their sport in very skimpy get-ups. So I guess you can imagine that there are more tennis players on that list than any other sport.

The list includes, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams (who tops the list), Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, Anna Kournikova and Caroline Wozniacki. Tennis of course is one of the most exciting women’s sports hands down, but it does help that the athletes dress ‘appropriately’ for their audience.

Sexist? Maybe, but don’t blame me, tell that to the millions of people who created the statistic.

But how do you get your sport recognized by the press if you don’t fit the description of a ‘bikini wearing babe?’ it is not easy and you will probably not accomplish 25 million searches in just one year, but some press is better than none right?

The first thing you should understand is the nature of the sports room – it is most likely populated by testosterone driven guys who would prefer to have that popular beat that gets the other guy all the attention. There are very few women who write sports.

And even if your sport fits the ‘bikini wearing babe’ description, they will still not be entirely inclined to follow a woman unless she is in fact HUGE news like Serena. It is simply a very sad fact. There are those who will, but the majority will not.

So what do you do? Here are a few tips from my own experience:

  1. Bring the news to the press – If they won’t come get it, carry it to them. Reporters actually have no problem with you doing their job for them, so get the details, even if you can’t write – scores will do, take your own photos, identify your star players.
  1. Identify a reporter who seems the least bit interested and befriend them. Put them on your mail list and ensure that they ALWAYS know what is happening in your sport. Show that reporter some love, food will help, as well as press releases that make their lives easier.
  1. ORGANIZE BETTER – This is one of the MAJOR flaws with most women’s sports – they are very badly organized. You CANNOT send a newsroom information 3-7 days after the event has occurred, by then it is old news and no media house likes carrying old news. Some will use it, but only if they are desperate to fill pages. It also looks bad on you when reports appear more than a week after they happened.
  1. ORGANIZE BETTER (this is not a typo, it simply needs greater emphasis) – If you meet a reporter like me, DO NOT send me hand written information. I simply have no time to transcribe – it adds to my workload – get someone to type it up, this is the 21st century. If I have to call 3 different people to get scores, I am going to be annoyed and I will not follow your sport unless forced to. Identify someone who will always have the information on hand and in a timely manner.
  1. Work Harder – the fact remains that getting news on your sport into the media will probably take more effort, so you simply have to work harder to become more organized, understand the system and learn how to exploit it.

Sands Disturbed

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There’s a saying that goes ‘getting to the top is easy, but staying there is the challenge.’

Misty Mae Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have never heard this saying! Surely, they never have! The saying has probably never heard of them either.

As fellow American beach volleyball player, April Ross put it; their accomplishments are “just ridiculous”.

Having British big wigs, like Prince Harry, David Beckham and British Prime Minister, David Cameron among others, buying advanced tickets to cheer you on pretty much says it all. 

And it’s not that the teams they face are ‘bad’, they are just REALLY good!

London marked their third consecutive and final Olympic gold medal win and it was truly sad to see the pair depart even at the top of their game. They have been the face of beach volleyball for over a decade. And when I say the face, I mean just that – they are the ambassadors of the sport. The names Misty and Kerri are synonymous with beach volleyball, not just women’s beach volleyball.

To say the American duo has dominated the sport would be an understatement of great proportions.

At one point in their career, they were unbeaten for 108 games, which included their run from Athens to Beijing.

They were feared on the sand, there is definitely no question about that and rarely gave their opponents even the slightest hope of beating them. Chinese duo Xue and Zhang came extremely close in a thrilling Olympic semi-final match which ended 22-20, 22-20. But when you’re Misty and Kerri, there is always that mental edge that has defined their game over the years.

Their decision to compete in London was unexpected and last minute though and thus the reason, they were ranked no. 4 going in, but never underdogs.

Both took sabbaticals from the sport they love to focus on their families after the Beijing Olympics, sending signals that it might have been the end of the US beach volleyball powerhouse.

Walsh had two baby boys and May- Treanor tore her Achilles heel, keeping them both out of the sport for approximately 18 months.

They both took to the sand after with different partners, but it would turn out that neither are any good without each other. May for instance, went winless in 2010 with Nicole Branagh and decided to sit out 2011.

Before the start of the 2011 spring season however, she contacted Walsh about making a comeback and the two began rebuilding their marriage pretty late with the Olympics right there.

But to come back from babies, surgeries and injuries, enter London as the fourth best pair in the world – a position unknown to them – and still cop their third straight Olympic gold medal was outstanding to stay the least.

They know how to win and they don’t just win – they demolish and humiliate their opponents.

It’s a standard that any athlete or team in any sport would do well to duplicate. It’s a standard that has already written history and will remain there forever. The sands will not be the same without these two.

Closing the Gap with Even Pellerud

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With the Olympics a few days away, and the US women looking for revenge against Japan in the football final, talk of whether or not T&T will ever get there looms.

T&T is filled with talented players, the women’s programme has been fortunate enough to have the services of the highly successful women’s coach in Even Pellerud and has even hosted a women’s World Cup. Why then have the national teams failed to make it out of qualification tournaments and in some cases were ousted in the first round?

To get the answer to this question, we went to the man who should be able to answer it, given his portfolio – Technical Director of Women’s football in T&T, Even Pellerud.

Even, we think is the right person to ask, not only because of his current position, but more so in light of his background, having participated twice in Olympic events as a coach – leading Norway in 1996 (Bronze medal in Atlanta) and Canada in 2008 (5th place finish in Beijing).


CWESN: Women’s football has become one of the most competitive Women’s sport across the globe now, why is it that T&T cannot qualify for World Cups and Olympic playoffs, while a small country like Norway and an ice hockey dominated country like Canada can qualify and do well in the Olympic summer games time after time, but Trinidad & Tobago cannot?


His Response:

If a country wants sustainable success in football, only a systematic approach works! Successful football federations take control and develop clear guidelines when it comes to Goal setting, analysis of Consequences and Demands, thus creating a committed Action plan and making sure plans are Implemented. This is a 5 point plan that I find useful as a general guideline for success:


Point 1 


These goals must be built by the National organization. A High performance department is set up. All hiring in the High Performance Environment need to reflect the ambitious goals in this department.

Example: T&T should reach WC/Olympic playoffs on a regular basis (high, but realistic goal)


Point 2.


All parties involved in National teams needs to take on an ownership attitude towards these changes. Changes are painful, but necessary.


Point 3


In this point, details are crucial; training plans, domestic programs, international events, mental training, tactical/technical approach, match analysis, player development, international contacts etc, etc. 


Point 4


Hiring of relevant staff based on competence – corporate sponsorships – reporting lines – support functions – control functions (are we going in the right direction?) – etc 


    Point 5


    The Director is accountable for budget control, mentoring and personnel issues. The Head coach is accountable for the team’s results. Thus the technical staff has full control, but they will also be responsible

    for any failure!


I find that we tend to criticize our athletes; we talk about their lack of passion and the absence of discipline, work ethic and consistency. There is no doubt that we do have problems to solve in these areas. My point is; maybe we as leaders need to change first? If we are not systematic and disciplined, how can we expect the players to be? If the coach is not timely, why do we expect the player to be? If we find excuses for our shortcomings, so will the players. If we are not prepared for international football, how can we prepare the players for it?


If the athletes recognize excellence around them, they will respond – not immediately, but over time they will. The systematic approach that I have outlined above is about transparency, accountability and consistency. When athletes recognize class around them, they will be motivated and respond with class.

Our tendency to go day by day, and make decisions on the go – does not create success, only frustration. Success in sport is about good planning, long-term commitment and stamina.


In conclusion; Although Trinidad & Tobago has a very small population and is lacking in sporting infrastructure, I am convinced that we can reach much higher. Progress can only be achieved by systematic work over time!

Queen Cleopatra

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About a month ago, I had a tourist moment, right here, in my own country, on Independence Square.

I looked up, and staring down at me, was Cleopatra Borel-Brown, perched upon the Excellence City Centre building, being bathed in the light from the mega screen atop KFC on the opposite side.

It was breathtaking – for me at least.

Here was this woman given a throne. It could have been any of T&T’s male athletes or even Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who has been having a stellar 2012 season.

But instead, it was Cleopatra – shot put in hand, about to deliver.

“It’s really difficult to explain how the poster makes me feel,” she said of it. “It makes my family, especially my mom happy, it make me feel a sense of duty to the people of T&T.  I feel so much support and love.”

And why not Cleopatra? She has made three Olympic appearances and is one of the most successful field athletes in the Caribbean.

It must be her year you would think and as the old saying goes; ‘the third time’s the charm’.  2012 was been a spectacular one for the Mayaro resident; she threw a year best 19.42 metres in Paris just last month and followed it up with a 19m throw which earner her a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Track and Field Championships in Jamaica, just before heading to London.

In Athens she finished 10th and was 17th in Beijing. In London she will be looking to better those accomplishments as it could very well be her last Olympics at 31-years-of-age and with 10 years of competition under her belt.

She has no firm plans of retirement though.

“I feel as if I’ve done the best that I could have possibly done to prepare for these Games. My prep did not start this year, but I’ve been working very hard for a very long time to get to this point,“ she says.

And by ‘very hard for a very long time’, she means just that.

Shot put is not one of the glorious track events like the 100 metres or 200 metres races. It’s a low-key sport that has not really gotten much attention in T&T save for Cleopatra’s accomplishments.

So back when she started track and field in Mayaro, with her older sister Nathalie, it was definitely not the direction one would go in, expecting to make a living from it.

She started off running, and her father Raymond Borel, encouraged her in the throwing events, but it was not until she moved to the US in 1998 that she really got serious about becoming a professional athlete.

The little girl from the fishing village on the North Coast of Trinidad has not changed much except in size though, and the passion and zeal she first had when she took up the sport has remained with her throughout.

That perhaps is what has made the difference for the Virginia Tech coach – she just loves throwing.

It’s her ‘bread and butter’ and thus her motivation to succeed at times, “At this stage in the game throwing is my job, so if I don’t do well I don’t eat! Luckily, I love throwing so I really love my job,” she explained.

“I feel like I’ve been successful because I really enjoy throw and representing T&T! Hopefully, I’ve done my small part to positively influence the perception of our Country, especially the women.”

It still hasn’t been easy according to her though, as shot put is not as well financed as other track events and so as throwers, you don’t get paid as much. But she remains motivated thanks to the support she gets from her fans and simply being able to represent her country.

“There are a lot of die hard fans of the throwing events; we get each other. I’m also encouraged by a lot of people in T&T who try to understand what I do, and those who appreciate my efforts regardless of their knowledge.”

To young women trying to follow in her footsteps, she simply advises them to take advantage of any opportunities they are presented with, whether it’s abroad or right here in T&T.

“The most important thing is to learn, grow and have fun,” says Cleopatra.

“I try to be a good role model for the youngsters, I encourage them to work hard and have fun.  I let them know that you can find a way to get to your goal. I always tell the kids to set BIG goals and then come up with a plan to get there – set smaller goals that will get u there.  You have to do something Everyday to get where you want to be.”

As for her, she doesn’t look up to any Cleopatra Borel-Browns herself, just “ordinary people who do extra ordinary things – I look up to people like my parents and siblings, teachers who love their kids and coaches that stand in the rain with their athletes.”

Football Roundup

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Living legacy

Two years ago, when T&T hosted the U17 Women’s World Cup, there was talk about a legacy programme for women’s football and T&T becoming the home of women’s football.

Two years later and much controversy after, the legacy would have been lost if not for the efforts of a few dedicated individuals who have kept women’s football alive.

In 2009, Women’s League Football (WoLF) was launched, it was a huge success, until 2010 when it all fell apart and local coaches and players were of the belief that it was just another element of the U17 preparations.

In 2012 WoLF was revamped and it brought out 19 teams consisting of 420 registered players in two divisions. They enjoyed increased media coverage, a spot on Synergy TV every Wednesday and did their own marketing via social networks.

They fell short of funding for the Big Four final, but a dedicated Women’s Technical Director, Even Pellerud, seeing the commitment of those in his charge offered to sponsor the finals.

League Public Relations Officer, Jinelle James expressed her pleasure on the 2012 season, explaining that it was a huge success compared to past seasons and the goal now is to improve it in 2013.

“We, the Executive, feel this was a good start for us and hope to build on this by trying to attract more sponsors for the 2013 season.

“The media has been really helpful and we have been more visible than ever. We know however that we still have lots of work to do with regards to improving the administration and the overall branding of the league,” she said.

James and the WoLF team have already begun their preparations for 2013.

Real Dimension Rips WoLF Apart

Real Dimension Football Club copped the FA and League title in this year’s Women’s League Football (WoLF) competition.

Captained by national player, Janine Francois and boasting national players the likes of Dernelle Mascall, Natasha St Louis and Tiana Bateau, among others, Dimension eased to victory in both tournaments. They won all but two games in the league – losing to Tobago FC and drawing with Trincity Nationals before sealing the FA trophy thanks to a last minute goal by St Louis.

Step-by-Step, lead by pro player, Ahkeela Mollon emerged as winners of the Big 8 competition and First Division in the league.

Malick City – Empowering Women Through Sport

Malick City is more than just a football club.

Since its inception, MC has been the home of many national footballers including national captain, Maylee Attin-Johnson and national defender Anastasia Prescott.

Team founder, Abdul Salick believes that in order for Trinidad and Tobago to develop, its women must be empowered and sport and education go hand in hand in doing so.

He has therefore invested his time and resources in creating an outlet for women to empower themselves while building the community of Malick, Barataria.

“To empower a nation, education is key,” says Salick. “The young women of Malick City Football Club are examples of powerful women – footballers and scholars, who will set the example in their sport and their community.”

Prescott shared Salick’s sentiments explaining, “The club is about building something special. It’s about comfort and shedding light on a stigmatized community.”

“Women love football just like men do, but a blind eye has been turned towards us to an extent. This year the league made an attempt to resurrect the life of women’s football in T&T and Malick is just one piece of the puzzle in assisting in the development of women in football.”