The National Lotteries Control  Board  (NLCB) has formalised its partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee  (TTOC ). The historic agreement resulted in the creation by the NLCB of a new instant money (Scratch ) game called Going For Gold that will carry the #10golds24 logo. The projected contribution is $200,000 with potential to generate one million dollars or more  per annum.

The upper end is an ambitious target that will require the Going for Gold game to be extremely popular and well supported by the public. It’s a start compared to what is received from national lottery funding  in other countries. Aside from the cash injection into the Ten or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation fund, there are a number of other athlete focused elements such as internship, ongoing training etc.

But the real win for the TTOC and NLCB is the creation of a new paradigm in respect of thinking outside the box. The willingness to come up with new answers to old questions is a credit to the decision makers at NLCB. Senior executives at NLCB were focused on creative solutions so as to support the TTOC to meet challenges and optimise opportunties.

How can we get sport in T&T to flourish? One of the key priorities is to take the guess work out of how sport is funded. What are our most important financial goals? Is our financial resources the determining factor in how we are able to plan and acheive set targets? There are pros and cons to everything.

Some of our athletes are extremely motivated to work hard to acheive their Olympic dreams and goals. Their motivation is evident. NLCB is a wonderful example of a corporate/state entity committed to finding a way to help and support the Olympic Dream. Our athletes are dedicated. They  have national pride and are fiercely competitive. To build a successful career in elite sport requires those three attributes among others in abundance.

Our athletes  matter. They have an unbridled excitement and enthusiasm and determination to give their all for their country. They have stories that everyone should hear. Since 1997, when national lottery funding was introduced to directly help British Olympic and Paralympic sport, Team GB has become one of the leading Olympic nations in the world.

Their legendary Olympic great Sir Chris Hoy has said without dedicated national lottery funding he would not have achieved his Olympic dreams. The British approach to national lottery funding for Olympic sport is now being adopted by a number of other countries.

So while the NLCB Going for Gold Instant Money Game rolled out to the public on Monday is new, it is not unprecedented around the world. It is a first and historic step to advance the discussion for T&T to follow the British approach to national lottery funding for Olympic sport. UK national lottery funding is supporting the stories of courage and resilience of British athletes who aspire to win Olympic medals and become Olympic Champions.

I believe a similar, dedicated and specific national lottery funding approach that is transparent and accountable will have a huge and transformative impact on Olympic sport here. To acheive the target of ten or more Olympic gold medals, the first challenge is for the NLCB and TTOC to ensure that the Going for Gold Instant Money Game is a success.

Brian Lewis is the President of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank account number 171188.

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