T&T World Relays gold medalist Deon Lendore says, “the target is now on T&T’s back” after the relay team blitzed the United States once again in the Men’s 4x400m relay event on Sunday in Yokohama, Japan.
Lendore, who ran the first leg of the race, said the success sets the team up nicely ahead of the World Championships to be held in Qatar between September 28 and October 6. T&T is also the defending champions in the 4x400m of that event, and in striking similarity to 2017 final, T&T’s anchorman came from behind to pip the USA at the line.
The sprinter said, “It sets us up for World Champs in a good way and a bad way. We have the confidence going into World Champs but now we know we have the target on our backs times two because this is the second time we’ve done something like this to the United States so we know they really want vengeance. It also pushes us in practice so we work twice as hard knowing that the target is on our back again.”
In a tightly fought race, T&T’s anchorman Machel Cedenio made up several metres of ground to edge out American Paul Dedewo on the final leg. T&T ran a world-leading time of 3:00.81 while the USA was disqualified for a lane infringement shortly after the race. Three legs before, Lendore said he tried to set the pace for the race by handing over the baton to Jereem Richards in a good position. “It was all about trying to put the guys out there, keep them close to everybody so we could move forward. I did my best, giving it my all,” he told Guardian Media Sports.
While the minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Shamfa Cudjoe, confirmed the World Relays is not on the national sports policy’s rewards and incentives listing, the team of Lendore, Richards, Asa Guevara, Cedenio and Onal Mitchell will share the IAAF first prize money of $US50,000.
After handing over the baton, Lendore was left a spectator for the rest of the race, but he said he wasn’t surprised at Cedeno's heroics. “I could have barely watched the race because they were trying to move us off the track while we were trying to watch the other guys run. To me, seeing Cedenio from the 200m marker, having the confidence of seeing a guy like him, he knows what to do in situations like that. He’s been there before and I knew he had the capability of coming through with the victory,” Lendore said.