TrackAlerts.com correspondent, speaks with President of the Trinidad and Tobago Track and Field Association (NAAA) Ephraime Serrette about the 2016 track and field season. This took place at the NAAA’s Seventh Development Meet held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on February 28
TrackAlerts.com (TA): Several athletes achieved Carifta Games qualifying performances. Your thoughts on those performances?
Ephraim Serrette (ES): Most of the (Carifta qualifying) performances we saw were in the field events. In the track events we just have a few qualifiers.
TA: Is that a concern?
ES: It is a concern and it has always been a concern but (for) some reason at the (Carifta) Trials, some people find their space and put on their performances. We have been collecting data and will be looking at consistency over the seven Development meets and will make decisions on selection based on that.
TA: What are your thoughts on (the) decision to begin the Development Meets in December?
ES: It was a decision we had to take with the early staging of the Carifta (Games) held on the Easter weekend. In (some) other countries the outdoor track season begins as early as November. So we took a conscious decision to make sure we had competition so that our athletes will be better prepared for the Carifta Games and future competitions this year.
TA: Your thoughts on the overall performances at the Development meets?
ES: Every year you get a different set of athletes. Some are moving from one age group to another and don’t do the transitioning too well. For the ones coming from the under 16 to the under 18, it is always a challenge, but we are going to work with it and see what we have. We have standards set and we will see what the selection committee puts forward to the Executive. I am not impress where the track athletes are concerned. I have not seen a performance of the World Junior level. It might be early days yet, but I have not seen that performance that would tell me that an individual is one to look that this year.
TA: After the Carifta trials, what will happen in terms of preparations?
ES: When the team is selected, the management team will work with the team. We normally make arrangements for the Tobago athletes to come down to do some sessions, especially where the relays are concerned. With the Falcon Games going back to the Dwight Yorke Stadium (in Tobago), the team is expected to compete (there). The relay teams will compete in the high age groups. The under 18’s will run in the under 20 (division) and the under 20 in the open. We have continued to do that and it will not change this year.
TA: This year is an Olympic year. What are some of the plans by the NAAA with regards to preparations?
ES: We (the NAAA) continue to work closely with the TTOC (Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee) because the Olympic Games are under the auspices of the Olympic Committee. We try not to duplicate resources so we are working closely with them in the planning. They (TTOC members) would have gone to Rio to look at areas for camp purposes. We continue to use Penn Relays for our relay preparation.
TA: Will the NAAA be sending teams to the Penn Relays?
ES: We should have athletes available (for the Penns). Most of them are out of school (university) now. The challenge before was that athletes were in schools and we could not get them to run at the (Penn Relays). We have competing (at the Penn Relays) on our agenda once the invitations come. We are sure for the men’s 4x100m, 4x400m and the women’s 4x100m. We are not sure of the women’s 4x400m but we are working to see what we can do get the women’s 4x400m team in competitive gear.