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Tennis Association misses selection deadline
The T&T Table Tennis Association (TTTTA) has missed its deadline for reselecting the four-member men's team representing this country at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, later this month.
On Monday, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Arbitration Panel ruled that the decision of TTTTA's selection committee to choose Curtis Humphreys, Aaron Wilson, Yuvraaj Dookram and Arun Roopnarine for the Games was flawed and should be set aside.
As part of its decision, the panel ordered that a new selection committee is appointed to reselect the team and that a decision should be made by 4 pm, yesterday.
However, before the deadline arrived, the TTTTA issued a press release in which it claimed that its ability to abide by the order was being hampered by discrepancies with it. The TTTTA claimed that it had attempted to contact the panel to clarify the issues but was unable to do so by 2 pm, yesterday.
As the TTTTA is in breach of the order, TTOC now has to make a determination on it.
Guardian Media Sports understands that veteran national player Dexter St Louis, 50, is consulting with his lawyers Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle and Sheriza Khan to decide whether to file a parallel lawsuit in the High Court to enforce the order.
The issue has to be resolved this week to ensure that T&T is represented at the Games, which will be held in Barranquilla, Columbia, from July 19 to August 3.
According to the release, the TTTTA is claiming that the order contravenes its national team selection criteria.
It is also questioning whether the panel ruled that the selection criteria used was flawed or if the ruling applied to its decision not to select St Louis, who initiated the arbitration procedure.
"How come it was flawed for the men and not the women which we did the same process, hence that team should be reselected? How are we selecting the committee to select the players and how are they providing their decision to the panel?" the TTTTA asked in the release.
The arbitration panel consisting of sports lawyers Tyrone Marcus (chairman), Stefan Fabien and Christophe Brathwaite.
In his challenge, St Louis, who is based in France, claimed that the committee ignored TTTTA policy and selected players who were able to pay their own travel costs to participate in a qualification event in Cuba between February 28 and March 3.
While the panel has already ruled on the issue, the TTTTA sought to challenge St Louis' claims in its release.
Although it admitted that several players were self-funded or sponsored due to cuts in Government subvention, the TTTTA claimed that its selections for participation in tournaments are based on merit.
"Within the last year, there were a few occasions where players who had finances were rejected spots on the national team because of not being our top players," the release said.
It said that only local players attended the qualification event in Cuba and that both local and foreign-based players were then invited for trials. The TTTTA claimed that only the local players responded by the deadline and were selected.
St Louis' stepdaughter Rheann Chung was eventually put on the women's team as local player Aleena Edwards was unavailable for the Games.
This is the second time for the year that St Louis has brought legal action against the TTTTA over its selection policy.
Earlier this year, St Louis and Chung were forced to file a lawsuit against the TTTTA after they were left out of the team representing T&T at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
In that case, St Louis and Chung also challenged the selection process used by the committee. St Louis and Chung had initially obtained an injunction barring the TTTTA from sending a team pending the determination of their case.
The TTOC eventually intervened and afforded St Louis and Chung, the most decorated athletes to ever represent T&T in the sport, additional places on the team.
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