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Thompson cautious of world ranking

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Multiple Olympic medallist Richard Thompson says he will not allow the new national record and ultimate world number one world ranking he has attained to betray his overall objective to continue making T&T proud. At last weekend’s Sagicor/NGC Senior Open Track and Field Championships, held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Woodbrook and hosted by the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA), Thompson broke his own national record of 9.85 by three hundredths of a second –9.82 in the 100-metre rematch against fellow Olympic medallist Keston Bledman.


On Tuesday, the IAAF in its revised rankings declared Thompson was the fastest man in the world for that performance. The listing showed that Thompson’s impressive come-back performances from injury earned his two other top ten spots. They were for performances at the IAAF World Challenge’s Fanny Blankers-Keon, held in Hengelo, Netherlands, on June 8, where he won in a time of 9.95. It allowed him to clinch the fourth spot, too, on the honour roll. Three days later at the Diamond League series on Oslo, Norway, he won in a time of 10.02, and was now ranked ninth. A closer look at his new national time revealed that Thompson was reputed to be the ninth fastest athlete in the history of the sport, too. “As an athlete, the goal is to be the best in the world. Obviously, being at the top of the (world) rankings holds high significance to me, however, I think more than a world ranking or more than a time, it means something more in terms of actually lining up against significant competition at the Commonwealth Games and beating the field there. “The fact that I am able to run that fast and the fact that I’m at the top of the list obviously means it puts me in good stead to be able to achieve that goal that I have of being a Commonwealth gold medallist,” he told G-Sport.


“But I have to stay focused and stay grounded. I can’t get ahead of myself and start claiming medals, and saying that I am going to be champion because I know it’s not as easy as saying it. I have to go out there and to perform well. I have to stay healthy within the next month. I have to do the right things to ensure I am ready to run fast in Glasgow, because that is what matters most. A lot of times people go into a championship with fast time, but they don’t necessarily perform up to standard and my goal is to perform up to standard in Glasgow.” But Thompson was not the only track athlete who delivered performances that made this country proud with reference to the IAAF rankings.


Michelle Lee Ahye was the fastest woman having won her 100-metre event in T&T two weekends ago in a time of 10.85 seconds. It was but one of three top rankings she had to her name.  
Recording a time of 10.88 at the weekend (wind +1.2) Ahye tied for second with Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown. The latter athlete’s time was 10.86 (wind +2.0). Back in May, Ahye won the women’s 100-metre in 11.04 seconds, at the Francisco “Papuito” Montaner Stadium, in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Keston Bledman’s ability to run ten seconds flat earned him the eight spot according to the IAAF Web site, while Darrel Brown’s performance in the same event placed him in the 17th spot with a time of 10.05.


Renny Quow, the 400m specialist was 18th in the world. Deon Lendore’s victory at last month’s Southern Conference Track and Field Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, in May (in 44.36) in the 400m, had him third in the world, while Lalonde Gordon, who competes in the same discipline ranked tenth. Commenting on the pedigree of his colleagues, Thompson said, “To be honest, I am not shocked to see T&T doing so well. I’ve always said T&T is a country that has a significant amount of talent. It was just a matter of tapping into what we know we can do and produce. To see people like (Keston) Bledman in the top ten—because he has been doing well for a long time—Darrel Brown may be a surprise to a lot of people because he’s been down for a while. He has been injured for a long time. But clearly, he is on the right hand this season and we are seeing signs of the old Darrel Brown, which is great.”


He also said, “Michelle (Lee Ahye) has also been doing well. Deon Lendore, the rest of the 400m guys prove that we have depth since 2012 by winning the bronze medal at the Olympics. Heading in Commonwealth Games I think T&T is going to be force to be reckoned with. This is good for T&T. Anybody who is patriotic I know they will be have to see us win. We just hope to generate this force toward Rio (2016 Olympics) and beyond.”


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