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When a ‘man-child’ announced himself

Monday, February 3, 2014

Celebrated local coach Dr Ian Hypolite used the unwritten, yet still unfolding story of champion hurdler Jehue Gordon in the sport of athletics to inspire emerging athletes at the First Citizens Sports Foundation 2013 Junior Sportsman and Sportswomen of the Year Awards.


Delivering the feature address at the evening gala with the theme Dare to Dream, held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad,Dock Road, Port-of-Spain, on Friday, Hypolite said, “Just about seven years ago, I gave an ultimatum to a gangling youngster whose commitment to training did not match the obvious talent that he possessed. I suggested that he needed to make up his mind about whether he wanted to do track and field or not, but I made it clear that I was not happy with his occasional appearances. Interestingly enough, when I recalled the incident to him years later, he had no recollection of it.”


He added, “My words had effect and the end result is that he was able to find himself present at the Olympic games in Beijing while a 16-year-old, not as a competitor, but as a spectator having won a competition that he had to compete for on the track. The experience of Beijing must have had a tremendous impact on him. Indeed, who could escape the impact of Beijing?”


Gordon, won gold for T&T in the 400-metre hurdle event at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, back in August, before repeating his fashionable win at the Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium, a month later.


He returned home to tremendous national adulation and was voted Sportsman of the Year by the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) back in December and Male Athlete of the Year, by the National Association of Athletics Administrators (NAAA) in January.


At the Spirit of Sport Awards held in December, Gordon walked away with top accolades such as: Male Athlete of the Year, Breakthrough Performance of the Year, Sport Performance of the Year, and Consistent Performer of the Year


With the dream, said Hypolite, came the milestones which were important steps along the way to Gordon’s goal.


He recalled that a meet in Cuba, Gordon, who he described as not more than a boy among men declared, “I’m going for it!”


Hypolite said, “He did! In the process, he put a scare into the hearts of seasoned campaigners, men who, up to that time, he (Gordon) had only read about…And so, this ‘man-child’ went onto show himself to the world announcing his presence in the boldest way possible. It was then, in a hotel room in Berlin that his still gangling no longer anonymous youngster said to me: ‘I believe that I am the future of this event!”


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