AN ICON PASSES | Local Sports

Long-standing sports administrator Alexander Chapman passed away yesterday. He was 93.

Chapman was a key personality in the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Movement. Between 1989 and 1997, he served as president of the T&T Olympic Association (TTOA). During his reign, the TTOA was renamed T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC). Prior to his election as president, Chapman was general secretary of the TTOA for 25 years, between 1964 and 1989. He was also a long-serving member of the First Citizens Sports Foundation, before resigning in 2018.

Current TTOC and T&T Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) president Brian Lewis was high in praise for Chapman.

“When I came into the TTOC in 1997,” Lewis told the Sunday Express, “Chappie was at the start of his term as immediate past president. I developed a good relationship with him. He was always willing to give information, knowledge and advice. We knew him as ’Mr Olympic’. He was an icon, a legend.”

Lewis also issued an official statement on behalf of the TTOC.

“The TTOC and the TTCGA express deepest condolences to the family of Mr Alexander B. Chapman. Mr Chapman’s contribution and service to the Olympic and Commonwealth Sports Movements in Trinidad and Tobago, the region, continental and international was tireless, dedicated and unwavering. He epitomised the meaning of volunteerism.

“His passion for sports and the joy found in effort and striving for excellence was boundless. A patriot who took immense pride in seeing Trinidad and Tobago athletes give of their best, a long-serving sports administrator, Mr Chapman’s contribution to the TTOC, the TTCGA and the Caribbean Olympic Movement in the early days can be described as pioneering. May he rest in peace.”

TTOC general secretary Annette Knott also spoke of Chapman in glowing terms.

“Alexander Chapman was well respected,” Knott told the Sunday Express, “as one of the pioneers in getting Caribbean officials onto international committees. He was an honorary life member of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and a regional vice president. He was a valued member of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Movements for the Caribbean.

“His wife, Mags (Margarita) passed away just a couple months ago. They were very much the couple in the Olympic Movement. She was always at his side, his right hand,” said Knott. “He has now joined her.”

Douglas Camacho succeeded Chapman as TTOC president, serving in the position until 2005. Camacho told the Sunday Express he learnt a lot from his predecessor.

“His total dedication and commitment to Trinidad and Tobago, and the Olympic Movement in general. Everybody in the Olympic world knew him, including the president of the IOC (International Olympic Committee). He was very well-respected, calm, modulated and thoughtful. Alec was always concerned about athletes, and at the same time very practical.

“Alec left no one behind,” Camacho continued. “He was kind, considerate, and looked out for everybody. He was truly a man for the people. When I started, he ensured that he introduced me to everybody. On a personal level, my wife and I always enjoyed the company of Alec and Mags.”

Camacho, who is currently chairman of the Sports Company of T&T (SporTT) and president of the T&T Hockey Board (TTHB), said that Chapman’s health had deteriorated in recent times.

“I felt for Alec. He sat in a wheelchair and was completely out of it. Knowing where he came from, he would not have been happy. He was a weightlifter and a weightlifting official, but he went on to transcend all sports, earning regional and international accolades,” Camacho ended. “Alec was truly an iconic sporting character.”

The Alexander B. Chapman award is presented at the annual TTOC awards function “for outstanding contribution to Sport and Olympism, particularly in the promotion of Olympic ideals.” It was, and will continue to be, a fitting tribute to a giant in sports administration.

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