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Mc Kay, Among Others, Inducted Into Youth Elite Programme

In 2017, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), in collaboration with the National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT), launched the Youth Elite Programme to provide specialist coaching to a select cohort of 10 athletes who have excelled at regional and international events and proven their ‘podium potential.’ The programme aimed to help these athletes attain excellence in track and field while emphasising the significance of having an all-round academic and life skills foundation.

On November 23rd 2021, NGC joined with the NAAATT to provide an update on the NGC/NAAA Youth Elite Programme via a virtual media briefing. As disclosed at the event, thus far, after moving through the stages of the programme, the initial inductees have performed with distinction at several regional competitions. Collectively, Youth Elite athletes bagged four medals at the 2021 North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Championships, including two gold medals. They also performed commendably at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships. Two sprinters and a long jumper also qualified to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Tokyo Olympics. The results of 2021 added to the medal count from previous years at such events as the CARIFTA Games, Pan American Combined Events, and the IAAF World Junior Championships. In addition to medals, many athletes supported by the NAAATT have gone on to earn scholarships to international universities, while others - including new inductees - have set new national records in their events.

Delivering remarks on behalf of the NAAATT was Mr. Ian Carter, technical director of the Youth Elite Programme. He gave an overview of highlight achievements and evolution of the programme over the past four years and added his encouragement for closer collaboration among stakeholders and his gratitude to NGC for its support of track and field. “I urge all involved to continue developing our relationship as it will assist us in having a clear, transparent and accountable programme. I wish to thank NGC for their vision and unstinting support to the development of track and field, not only in the Youth Elite Programme, but in other spheres of track and field.”

NGC and the NAAATT introduced the athletes inducted into the Youth Elite Programme. They include: Avindale Smith; Jayden Scott; Kelsey Daniel; Natasha Fox; Savion Joseph; Shakeem Mc Kay; Shaniqua Bascombe; Gianna Paul and Janae De Gannes. Also speaking at the virtual media briefing was NGC’s Manager, Corporate Communications, Ms. Lisa Burkett, who explained the impetus for this programme and NGC’s investment: “We at NGC have long recognised the role that corporate Trinidad and Tobago can play in athlete success by building a strong support system for track and field. We believe that no athletic potential should go unfulfilled for lack of training or equipment or opportunity. For this reason, we are longstanding partners of the industry, and have invested heavily in track and field over the years to help equip our athletes with the tools they need to succeed. The Youth Elite Programme represents an extension of our support to these disciplines, and a reinforcement of our belief that Trinidad and Tobago has a wellspring of talent capable of medaling for our country on the biggest international stages. Through our sponsorship of this athletic programme and our partnership with the NAAATT, we hope to generate more momentum for local track and field, and help our talented young athletes fulfil their potential and career ambitions.”

At the event, NGC and the NAAATT also unveiled the Youth Elite Programme Handbook which was produced as a guide for athletes, their parents and guardians on the objectives and expectations of the programme.

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