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I HAD A FAVOURITE by Priya Ganness-Nanton

posted 16 Aug 2012, 11:40 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 16 Aug 2012, 11:41 ]
Being a Trinidad and Tobago national, working at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, being a member of the
groups and a member of other organisations long in solidarity with Cuba, I was not sure which hat to wear in making these comments. So I am writing it as me, which includes all of the above...

Ismael Lopez Mastrapa
Words cannot express how proud I am of Keshorn Walcott, Olympic Gold medallist and Ismael Lopez Mastrapa, his Cuban coach. This historic victory put Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba in the world spotlight in a positive way, and the phone at the embassy has been ringing off the hook with queries about vacation, study and training in Cuba.

I have been watching Keshorn since early this year when he visited Cuba for training. He sat and waited as we processed his visa. He was polite, friendly and spoke little. While I did not expect a gold medal, I hoped for it. Everyone around me knew that although I was not avidly following the Olympics, I had a favourite for the javelin and it was Keshorn. My phone rang and rang and rang as my friends called to say my favourite Olympian was bringing home gold.

I really could not imagine a better Independence Anniversary gift to our Nation. I watched Keshorn receive his medal and cried as the national anthem was played. And then I cried again, when I looked at the replay. My neighbours must have been concerned as I cheered every time I saw Keshorn embrace Lopez when he realised they had won Olympic gold. Congratulations Trinidad and Tobago! Thank you, Cuba!

At the same time, to have Cuba on the lips of the world is magnificent. As someone who stands in solidarity with this great country and who has worked, especially over the past year, to develop and nurture a strong network of solidarity, I am delighted that Keshorn's coach is Cuban. DELIGHTED!! I have not been able to stop practically singing it, "His coach is Cuban!" followed promptly by "Viva Cuba!"

So, on behalf of all those I represent and sincerely from my heart, congratulations again to Keshorn and all our Olympic athletes, congratulations and thank you to Ismael Lopez Mastrapa and all the Cuban coaches. And Happy 50th Independence to Trinidad and Tobago!