Former national sprint legend Ato Boldon believes strong performances by this country’s relay teams in recent times can lead T&T to its best ever medal haul at the Rio Olympics from August 5-...
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Cedenio saves face for T&T at Junior Champs
Shakeil Waithe, T&T’s last athlete with a chance to improve this country’s medal count at the IAAF World Junior Championship in Athletics, placed fifth in the men’s javelin final on the closing day of competition in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday.
Waithe threw 70.78 meters on his third and best attempt. His first and last attempts out of the six reached 70.15m and 68.14m, respectively, while the others were faulted. Gatis Cakss won the event in 74.04m.
Waithe was T&T’s final chance to build on the medal count following six days of action at Hayward Field. T&T’s lone medalist at the championship came from Machel Cedenio in the 400m final on Thursday.
Cedenio lit up the event when he rewrote the world junior leading time to claim gold in 45.13 seconds. He brushed off competition in the one-lap race to leave Japan’s Nobuya Kato (46.17) for the runner-up position by over a second. Cedenio, who had been in tremendous form before the start of the tournament began as an outright favourite for success, following his fifth placed finish at the same event two years ago in Barcelona.
However, as he claimed this country’s first medal at the Championship, it also proved to be the last, despite suggestions by T&T’s management of high expectations particularly for the relay teams. There were also suggestions by management that this country can expect similar or greater success in comparison to the T&T team that claimed one goal and one bronze medal in Barcelona. T&T’s reigning Olympic javelin champion, Keshorn Walcott captured gold in 2012 with a 78.64m throw. T&T’s other medal came from the men’s 4x400m relay team, which included Asa Guevara, Jareem Richards, Brandon Benjamin and Machel Cedenio, who clocked 3:06.87.
This time around, the men’s 4x400m relay team failed to advance to the final after a disappointing 16th-placed (second from last) overall finish in the heats. The clocked 3:12.06. Ironically, T&T had previously held the world leading time in the 4x400m relay, which it secured in Fort-de-France, Martinique, in April, with a 3:06.02 mark. However, that too was erased by the Americans, who topped the heats in 3:03.97, en route to last night’s final.
The closest T&T came to claiming a medal was from the women’s 4x100m relay team, who maintained their placing in the heats to finish fourth in the final on Saturday night. They clocked 44.68 seconds, behind the race winners of USA, who set the bar as they did in two other relays new with world junior leading times. The Americans secured a time of 44.03 seconds and were followed by Jamaica (44.22) and Brazil (44.61).
Also on Saturday night, T&T’s 4x100m men’s relay team clocked a solid season best time of 39.92 seconds, but could only finish sixth. USA once again led the pack with a world junior leading time of 38.70 seconds and was followed by Japan (39.02) and Jamaica (39.12), which took second and third, respectively. These performances were worthy of praise from team manager Jim Clarke, who, speaking after the fifth day of action, shared mixed feelings on the overall performance of team T&T, with the exception of Waithe, who was in action on the closing day.
“First I must say that the 4x400m, I really was a bit disappointed to see that they did not get into the final but on the other hand, I was really happy with the performance of the 4x100m boys and the 4x100m girls. Despite we had a little itch in the baton passing but I think the team did well. The boys did their season best and the girls, well, the made fourth in the finals, so I think that is a good performance,” said Clarke.
“One or two athletes did not step up to reach where we expect them to, and I view what was happening to some of them, they were a little scared for the first time they were on the big field, and this is something we will look at too. What I will recommend is that we prepare and not just select a team to come to these games.”
Jonathan Farinha, one of the most highly rated junior sprinters for T&T finished eighth in both the 100m and 200m finals, clocking 10.67 and 21.09, respectively. John Mark Constantine finished 31st overall in the heats in 10.67 seconds.
And, while Cedenio took the spotlight in the men’s 400m, another T&T representative in that event, Asa Guevara, placed 41st overall in the heats in 49.48.
Similarly in the hurdles, T&T fielded two runners with Ruebin Walters placing sixth in the final with a 13.52 effort, while Aaron Lewis failed to qualify past the heats after placing 49th overall in 14.58 seconds.
This country was represented by one runner, Nicholas Landeau, in the short middle-distance race. Landeau covered the two laps to take 46th place overall in the heats in 1:56.40.
Meanwhile, apart from the relay team, T&T’s contingent of women athletes were represented in just four individual events. None managed to reach a final. In the 100m dash, Aaliyah Telesford and Zakiya Denoon placed 16th and 23rd overall in the semifinals with finishes in 11.94 and 12.13 seconds, respectively. Kayelle Clarke, in the 200m event, took ninth in the semifinal, clocking 23.76 seconds. Lone hurdler, Akila McShine placed 29th overall in the heats of the 100m distance in 14.11 seconds.
Finally, Portious Warren, one of only two representatives in the field events (Waithe the other) for T&T, finished 20th in semifinal of the shot put with her 14.22m toss.
Men’s 4x100m relay final
1. USA, 38.70 seconds
2. Japan, 39.02
3. Jamaica, 39.12
6. T&T, 39.92
Women’s 4x100m relay final
1. USA, 43.46
2. Jamaica, 43.97
3. Germany, 44.65
4. T&T, 44.75
Men’s 200m final
1. Trentavis Friday, USA, 20.04
2. Ejowvokoghene Oduduru, Nigeria, 20.25
3. Michael O’Hara, Jamaica, Jamaica, 20.31
8. Jonathan Farinha, T&T, 21.09
1. Machel Cedenio, T&T, 45.13
2. Nobuya Kato, Japan, 46.17
3. Abbas Abubakar Abbas, Bahrain, 46.20
Men’s 110m hurdles
1. Wilhem Belocian, France, 12.99
2. Tyler Mason, Jamaica, 13.06
3. David Omoregie, Great Britain, 13.35
6. Ruebin Walters, T&T, 13.52
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