Trinidad and Tobago Dragon Boat Federation

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A Dream Come True

Posted by Alicia Rostant on May 22, 2012 at 10:15 AM

How would you feel if you were given the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch in London this year? Well, 18 year old Shaquille Roberts knows exactly what it feels like! Due to his involvement in London 2012's International sports legacy program, International Inspiration, Roberts has been granted this opportunity. He is among a group of 20 young people involved in International Inspiration who will take part in the Olympic Torch Relay in Nottingham int he UK on 28th June. In an interview with gieMagazine, Roberts indicated that he is a bit nervous, but he is not going to allow that feeling to overcome him. "Being part of the Olympic Games has always been my Dream" said the Toco Secondary School Student. The long distance runner also has high hopes of representing Trinidad and Tobago in the Olympic Games in 2016. Shaquille Roberts is not your average sportsman. While many think that sportsmen exhibit that usual egotistical air, Roberts does not live up to that superficial stereotype. Instead, he spends his time mentoring younger students under the International Inspiration programme. The programme is bringing to life the promise made by the London 2012 bid team where they pledged to reach young people all around the world and connect them to the inspirational power of the Games so they are inspired to choose sport. The programme is delivered around the world by a unique partnership of organizations including the British Council, UNICEF UK and the UK Sport Foundation. The vision of International Inspiration is to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of young people of all abilities in schools and communities across the world, especially in developing countries. Why does Roberts prefer to spend his time mentoring others? Posed with this question, he simply replied, "I love to help children, both with their academics and sport". The athletic and ambitious youngster was nominated by his Physical Education teacher, Avianne Tobias, who has seen Roberts grow from a young, shy boy to a confident, young leader. Each youth participating in the Olympic Torch Relay was nominated on the basis of being an inspiration to younger individuals in their community or overcoming challenges in their lives. Roberts actually fits the two pre-requisites for being a yung torch bearer at the 2012 Olympic Games. When he was less than a year old, Roberts had accidentally swallowed a battery. At the time, it was surgically removed through his nose. The battery damaged his vocal chords which left him with a speech impediment. Luckily, he was able to attend therapy sessions and is ow speaking clearer. During the interview with gieMagazine, Roberts took his time and expressed himself, ensuring that he was properly understood. Being a long distance runner Roberts has to keep his body as fit as possible. He usually trains three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. In addition, he swims at least two miles whenever he goes to the beach in Toco. His fitness level is not only used for Track and Field but also for the sport of Dragon Boating. Roberts is currently a part of the under 18 National Dragon Boat Team. He accompanied the team to the World Nationals in Miami, where they were able to bring home seven medals. Still, the 18 year old's list of activities does not end here. Soon, he will be adding boxing to his list. The athelete also balances seven CSEC subjects. When asked how he balances it all, he declared, "When it's time for sport, it's time for sport and when it's time for work, it's time for work; a simple motto,but very plain and effective. I learnt a lot about time management with sports. Sport helps you feel in control and makes you relieve a lot of stress" So what advice does this Olympic Torch Bearer have to offer you young sportsmen and sportswomen? "Never stop. Keeping going for what you want and always work hard". Look out for Shaquille roberts at the Olympic Games 2012. Courtesy: The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper. Plublished Monday, May 21, 2012

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