reporting from Beijing
Two men, one goal, two different problems but sadly the same outcome.Jehue Gordon, the defending World 400 metres hurdles champion, crashed out in the first round in heat two of his event at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.Keston Bledman, T&T's reigning 100 metres champion, bowed out of the Men's 100m in the first heat, when he crossed the line hobbling in a disconcerting 10.75.
For Gordon, this was perhaps no surprise as he had been having a tough year with injuries."I did not give the showing I wanted to as the defending champion. It was always about competing despite everything else," said Gordon.
"Earlier in the year, I had a quad injury and that set me back but I did the rehabilitation but still I felt things were not ok. We did tests but nothing was showing, however only recently after I described some symptoms to Dr (Anil) Gopeesingh, and we did some more in-depth tests we were able to find it was a sports hernia, so again it was back to a lot of rehabilitation and in the end, I was too rusty.
"With about 100 metres to go, I knew that something was wrong as I thought I was close to the other guys but being so deep down (In Lane 2), when I realised it, they were getting stronger and going away from me," said Gordon who finished seventh in a time of 49.71."However, I will have to regroup and be better prepared for Rio in 2016 and ensure this does not happen again. This was never about taking the easy way out, I am fighter and I wanted to come here and give it a shot."
While Gordon would neither rule out possible surgery or continued therapy, he was certain that there would be more discussions with his team and the medical staff on what was the best way forward.Gordon tweeted afterwards that the result would not discourage him from his ultimate goal of winning gold at the Rio Olympics next year.
"Down but not out!! Tuff, ruff all kind of stuff. Wasn't easy trying to defend my title but there is a bigger picture ahead," he told his 5,907 followers.
Meanwhile, a proud Gordon can look forward to graduating in October, with first class honours in Sports Management from the University of the West Indies and he is correctly proud of this historic achievement by a locally coached and locally educated son of the soil.
Questioned on a continuation of studies towards a Masters programme, Gordon calculatedly remarked: "With the Olympics next year in Rio, I do not want to push it too much but I will be back as I feel the disappointment for all of those who support me and all of T&T today.
"I am at zero per cent. I have been having some pain in my groin since after the trials in T&T and after running one round in Lausanne, Switzerland, the pain got worst and my coaches told T&T that I cannot go to Pan Am because I am hurting and my focus was on the World Championships.
"But then I went Pan Am and it was three rounds and it made it worse. I went Pan Am because they said they were giving us funding and because they were giving us funding, I have to go and that is wrong. I came in here with the fifth fastest time and it is very disappointing for me getting knocked out in the first round."
After failing to advance to the next round, Bledman said, "I came here hurt, you can ask Dr Gopeesingh. I keep getting shots upon shots in my groin. It was very, very painful. I got some injections that made tears come to my eyes. It was so painful. This is the first time I have ever gotten knocked out in the first round, even as a junior, that has never happened. It is hard, from the time I pushed out the blocks, I felt it like it ripped, I tried and tried but could not go.
"My season is done here. I have to pull out of all of my meets. My diamond meet and everything, that is it for me. There is now no relay team because we were already down to a bare four and sorry to say, this is on Trinidad...I told them and my coach told them it was not smart for me to go to the Pan Am.
"I do not know who it is, NAAA (National Association for Athletic Administrations) or TTOC (T&T Olympic Committee), but I more feel it is TTOC , because it is like we giving you guys funding so once they call you, you have to come on...but look at [the fact that] no one sent their top athletes there but I had to go," a sad Bledman disclosed.
"There is a need to listen to the athletes sometimes. It is not always about funding. Yes you giving us funding but there are times when you listen. In the end it was not in god's plans for me today (yesterday), so I will go back and pray and as I always say, win, lose or draw, all the glory belongs to God," said Bledman.
We await word from either the NAAA or the TTOC on this matter. For the moment though and after Day 1, there is a weary sigh from T&T, as a lot of this could have been resolved differently, it would appear.