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T&T’s Olympic relay bronze brings joy
Sport Minister Anil Roberts burst into loud screams yesterday when he saw sprinter Deon Lendore crossing the finish line to give Trinidad and Tobago the bronze medal in the final of the men’s 4x400 metres relay. So passionate were the screams, Roberts said, he is sure that his neighbours thought he was losing his mind. He said so during an interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday.
Roberts returned home earlier this week after attending part of the Olympic Games in London where he also helped coach T&T swimmer George Bovell III. “At first, it was pure silence, looking at everything—the strides, the baton-passing—but then in that last 100 metres, when Lendore was running, and I saw the Brits coming, who had an advantage of over 83,000 supporters, I start to make noise. I started to scream, I’m sure the neighbours heard me and thought I was going mad,” Robert said.
Still sounding full of excitement, the minister said it was a fantastic accomplishment, which has been on the cards since last year. He said the athletes had been running consistent times in the relays, and even without local powerhouse Renny Quow, who bowed out the Games owing to injury, they were able to break two national records, while en route to the bronze medal.
Roberts praised the quartet of Lendore, 400-metres bronze-medallist Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon and Ade Alleyne-Forte, saying they ran a blistering race. He said the men ran with pride and passion for their country, and thanked the coaches for the strategic placement of the athletes. He was however sympathetic to the women’s 4x100 relay team, which was disqualified after dropping the baton after the first leg in the final.
“Our women, three of them, did not get to run in the finals, and it is very sad, but we knew that they would have gotten the bronze medal and they would have been sub-42. We want them to keep their heads high and stay focused for the World Championships next year, where the pain will be turned to glory. “We congratulate our women and we understand that it is part and parcel of relay running. The very Jamaicans and Americans who were are seeing on the podium suffered that same fate in past Olympics.”
Commenting on the accomplishment of the men, secretary of the National Association of Athletic Administration (NAAA) Allan Baboolal said,“ We are excited and very happy that they were able to win a medal after the disappointment by the women. I think they did exceptionally well.” Speaking of the women, he said, “Again we had a very strong team. These things happen sometimes, the baton doesn’t go all the way around. Today was one of those days. It’s tough luck, but we have to move on from that.”
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