In the middle of family life
August 2, 2018
Think ecological conversion
August 2, 2018

The family that trains together stays together

Coach Andrew Eligon (centre) shares a light moment with club athletes Hayden Reid (left) and Ayomide Gilbert-Semper.

The sun pierced through the bamboo patch with streams of translucent light reflecting hues of dark and light green ripples on the clear water. A gentle and sweet sea breeze warmed my face.

It was 6 a.m. one Saturday morning and time seemed to stand still. As I drew closer to the now-visible beach, I could hear the thunderous boom of a voice from the landing… REACH, CATCH, PULL… First cave and back. The voice seemed to intensify as I descended the three flights of stairs towards the beach.

That was my first introduction to a man who has dedicated his life to his craft. He has worked tirelessly championing the development of young athletes, and he is proud of the contribution he has made to his sport. He has worn many hats as an athlete, mentor, father figure, coach, and businessman for 29 years.

Coach Andrew Eligon vividly imagines, and ardently desires his dream coming to fruition—coaching an Olympic athlete from the Caribbean in the sport of triathlon.

I met Andrew in 2017 through the encouragement of a close friend who suggested that if I wanted to improve and become more competitive in triathlon, a sport I have grown to love, I had to get some help. I decided to join his club, and instantly I felt at home.

The overarching motto of CCT Multisport Club which Andrew has built and developed since 1989 has a clear mission: ‘A family that trains together, stays together.’ He seems to live vicariously through his athletes, moulding, nurturing, and supporting them as if it were him at the start line of every race.

“I have been a coach for most of my life, my passion is real, my commitment towards the development of triathlon, and my support of the athletes unwavering.  I have also been very fortunate to have been around the best in the business, and this has made me in my opinion, a world-class coach.

“From age 14, I took out an advertisement in the newspaper for $10 swimming classes because I was around persons who wanted to have extracurricular activities for their children but did not have the means. In one year, I had about 50 swimmers, and had to enlist the help of my father.”

He continues, “It has not been a bed of roses for me. I have made many sacrifices, lost relationships, and support in pursuit of this calling I have been given as a coach. Each time I felt defeated, there would be some victory that would be like a shoulder tap from God reassuring me that His plans would always be greater than mine.”

Andrew adds, “What continues to drive me is seeing athletes under the radar perform and succeed. The kid who could only swim across the pool, not even a full length, becoming a national champion in a relatively short space of time. I have been given a gift, and it is perhaps my purpose in life to develop athletes from underserved socio-economic backgrounds in a sport that is certainly for the privileged.”

“In 2018, we are hosting the CARIFTA Triathlon in Tobago,” he explains. “It’s an important milestone for me to see the second CARIFTA triathlon come to fruition as I have advocated for a West Indies Triathlon Team for many years. This year, I have been appointed as national team coach, and I am hoping that this championship continues to encourage the development of the sport regionally. We have all the natural resources in the Caribbean required to succeed in this sport.”

“I want to oversee with our team that Trinidad and Tobago’s athletes are well prepared, and compete for the podium in their specific age-groups.”

What does the future hold for Andrew Eligon in triathlon? “I would love to be part of a national high-performance academy for the development of the sport, and definitely to have a top twenty world ranked triathlete in my camp. Winning is not everything, but as the saying goes, it is the only thing!”

For more information you can email Andrew Eligon at 328-9554.

Jamila Gamero is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.

By Jamila Gamero,