Prakash Persad

COVID ‘SHAKE’: Prof Prakash Persad, UTT president (acting), left, and Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis bounce elbows at Friday’s signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two entities at Olympic House, Port of Spain. 

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday at Olympic House in Port of Spain as TTOC president Brian Lewis urged the local university to go in the direction of research and development (R&D).

Lewis said that the MoU was a first for the TTOC and a symbolic event. And Lewis, also president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), warned that UTT must be laser-focused on galvanising its resources to conduct R&D.

He said the world of elite level sport had gone beyond the label of recreation to high performance and there was a need for entities like the UTT to deliver the sports and science-based support to assist local top level athletes.

Lewis also stated the MoU must deliver on much-needed science-based developments and not serve as window-dressing for advancement of a personal agenda.

“This MoU is therefore not ticking a box for some courses but (must help in) delivering technology and processes based on research and development. It must complement the work of the national sporting organisations.” said the former Trinidad and Tobago Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) general secretary.

Lewis further stated the real opportunity of the MoU afforded was to be a start point for R&D. He said the priority for the TTOC is moving beyond the talk of execution to actual implementation of the objectives of science-based knowledge and expertise.

Ian Pritchard, acting senior manager, UTT Sport and Recreation indicated that the MoU will establish a framework for collaboration between UTT and the TTOC, increasing the research, educational and training opportunities available to members of both institutions.

Pritchard further indicated that a Partnership Committee, whose primary responsibility is to implement and execute the proposed goals stated in the MoU, will be established, comprising representatives of both the TTOC and UTT. The UTT official also looked forward to working with the TTOC to strengthen the organisational capacity of the two institutions to the benefit of the wider society.

Over the past five months the TTOC has hosted a series of courses and webinars and has forged new collaborations — such as the one Friday with the UTT — aimed at weathering this Covid-19 crisis, as well as making available digital and online forums and platforms to assist in preparing and updating the skills of Team TTO athletes, coaches and administrators for the future sporting environment.

According to Annette Knott, TTOC’s secretary general: “A meaningful collaboration has been established with the UTT as we explore all the opportunities in education and research. Our joint webinars and research projects have included care and injury prevention, where the medical staff volunteers of the TTOC have joined with the scientists at UTT to look to the best practices during this period.”

Knott further stated, “as we navigate the next steps in our sporting environment our expectation can only be that our strength will be in continued collaborations with all the stakeholders.”

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