Andrew Lewis

FLASHBACK: Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis, during the second race in the 2012 Olympic Games men’s laser class event, on the Weymouth Bay South course, in Dorset, England. 

Trinidad and Tobago sailor Andrew Lewis is back home, and continuing preparations for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Lewis was at his training base in Canary Islands, Spain, for close to four months, but seized the opportunity to return to T&T in June.

From mid-March to early May, Covid-19 restrictions in Spain forced Lewis and his teammates out of the ocean. On May 5, outdoor training resumed. Lewis was happy to be back on the water, but wanted to be home with his wife, Olivia.

While in Spain, sailing was not the only focus for Lewis. The two-time Olympian kept close ties with T&T, teaming up with motivational speaker Don La Foucade for Positive Moments With Andrew & Don, a 16-part webinar series sponsored by Republic Bank as part of the Power to Make a Difference programme.

Former national footballer and respected ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop, West Indies white ball cricket captain Kieron Pollard, T&T track stars Jereem “The Dream” Richards and Khalifa St Fort, karateka Chennise Charles, soca artiste Nailah Blackman, former news anchor Golda Lee Bruce, and 1986 Miss World Giselle La Ronde-West were among the guests on “Positive Moments”. Lewis, Richards, St Fort, Charles and Blackman are all Republic Bank brand ambassadors.

In an interview with the Sunday Express (KL), Lewis (AL) spoke about his return to T&T and the “Positive Moments” initiative.

KL: How difficult was it to get back home?

AL: I waited patiently for the right opportunity to come up, and put in my exemption application with full patience and understanding of what was going on out there, how important it is to be safe, and not wanting to be a risk to my country. Many months later, I got news of an opportunity to return home directly from the Canary Islands. With all protocols being done, quarantining and corona testing in the Canary Islands before I left—and the list goes on of how rigorous and how unique this travel experience was—I returned home on the 26th of June, did my two-week quarantine, and then eventually I was back with my family.

KL: Where did you spend your quarantine period?

AL: Upon returning home, I was quarantined at University of the West Indies (UWI), Debe. Fortunately, I was able to have my wife bring some of my training equipment to continue training during that two-week period. I’m also very happy and grateful all four of the Covid-19 tests that I did, from the ones in Spain all the way to now, all came back negative.

KL: What was it like to finally see your family again at the end of your quarantine?

AL: It was an extremely special moment for me, landing in Trinidad, coming out of quarantine, seeing my wife and my family again. It seemed like I was in another world. My imagination has never even touched the realm of quarantine and pandemics. It has been a very unique experience. I’m very grateful to have been able to return home, and also very grateful for the opportunity of a direct flight. A very, very, very secure route home presented itself.

KL: How is training going now that you’re back home?

AL: I have my fitness trainer here, and I am back in the ocean sailing. It’s been a wonderful experience to be back home. As we look forward to the now 2020 Olympics in 2021, I’m making the necessary preparations to continue training here until it is safe to head back out there to my training camp. Once I achieve all the goals I have set to do here in Trinidad, and it’s safe to do so, and it’s also in favour of the government and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, I will head back to the Canary Islands.

KL: Was the “Positive Moments” series a success?

AL: Positive Moments With Andrew and Don was a magnificent experience. You never know what you’re going into, what kind of numbers you’re going to get. We had some people who never missed a single session. If you go on the YouTube page, you’ll see all the guests that we had.

KL: Which episode stands out?

AL: It’s a really hard call because there were a lot of amazing ones. But Golda Lee Bruce was just so natural. Even the way she closed the show, talking to young people, which was not planned at all. That really blew me away and most of the audience too because on YouTube that episode was the most viewed of all.

That’s season one, and in the making is something else. Potentially season two, maybe on a TV screen near you or maybe on a laptop near you. The only reason we’re going to continue doing any of this is the same reason we started. To help people. This is not find followers. This is not a make money programme. Yes, there’s money involved to allow the platforms to be available. But this is a help people across Trinidad and Tobago and around the world get through tough times, find positive moments in their life, and continue to be the inspiration that we all are, or in some cases can be.

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