TRINIDAD and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) head Brian Lewis has called for greater effort nationally in promoting and developing local sporting talent to redound to the benefit of the entire nation.

He made the call and promised the TTOC’s lead role in this goal while delivering the feature address at the Committee’s 17th annual national sports awards on Monday at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain.

At one of the marquee events on the local sporting calendar, the cream of the crop of local sports was honoured with shot put champion Cleopatra Borel and reigning Olympic javelin gold medalist Keshorn Walcott, leading the way in being announced the Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year, respectively.

Other athletes were honoured on the night for excelling in their respective sporting disciplines. Lewis spoke of the bountifulness of Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting talent. He said the TTOC must lead the way in championing the cause of developing sportsmen and women and maintaining sporting facilities as part of the design plan for nation building.

“The sheer talent, promise and potential of the nation’s youth and young people as represented by our athletes are simply breathtaking but you have to watch and pay close attention .

“In pursuit of their dream, in striving for excellence our Olympic and Commonwealth athletes endure punishing hours of training and the arduous task of endless repetition. Often their inspiration, dedication, resilience, commitment and self-discipline go unnoticed. Through Sport our talented sons and daughters break boundaries on the global platform that is the Olympic, Commonwealth and other multi-sport Games,” Lewis said.

He added that the TTOC remains indomitable and passionate in its belief that the goal of the Olympic movement to use sport to educate and serve young people is as relevant today as it was 2,000 plus years ago.

“One thing is certain, when we engage children and reach out to them to bring them to sport, we must ensure their inspirational role models our athletes, are at the centre of what we do and why we do what we do,” he said.

He reiterated the need to protect Olympic and Commonwealth sports from the “dangerous threat” posed by doping, gambling, the cycle of corruption and poor governance. “If we don’t face these challenges our right to self-regulate, our autonomy, legitimacy our stewardship will be taken away from us. To whom much is given much is expected.”

In this respect, he then proposed that TTOC will continue in 2015 to vigorously promote the adoption of good governance and ethics across the country’s Olympic and Commonwealth Sport movement and be unwavering in advocating and promoting a good governance code for sport.

“The TTOC must lead from the front in championing for the development of a sport industry. This will require not just lobbying and finger pointing but the articulation of the conceptual framework that will inform the policy debate. Our collective challenge is to take sport mainstream,” he said adding that in many instances, sport remains on the margins of TT society.

“The children, youth and young people of contemporary Trinidad and Tobago have a lot of different interests that present a threat to active sport and healthy lifestyles. The responsibility to create and shape a bright sustainable future for tomorrow’s athletes and for sport on the whole falls to our generation of sport leaders, administrators, athletes and coaches,” Lewis said.