Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hail our Olympic Athletes

LALONDE Gordon won Trinidad and Tobago’s first medal (bronze) in the London 2012 Olympics in yesterday’s Men’s 400 metres flat which was won by Grenada’s Kirani James in 43.94 seconds. Well done, Lalonde! The 23-year-old from Lowlands in Tobago ran a steady, powerful and consistent race, emerging just at the right time, and certainly deserved to place. It is certainly cause for celebration, across the nation!

Yesterday’s bronze by Gordon certainly put the sheen on the performance of TT’s athletes, who hitherto had not medalled but nonetheless had well represented Trinidad and Tobago. Who would have thought that a nation of just over one million people could yet again for another Olympics produce finalists in swimming, running and cycling? 

This tiny nation has so much to be proud of in all our athletes. Trinidad and Tobago has been represented in at least six event finals, which is in itself a huge achievement. 

Yesterday also saw cyclist Njisane Phillip place fourth in the Men’s Cycle Sprint, having previously beaten the Russian and German representatives, only to yesterday trail the British, French and Australian representatives, of whom Britain’s Jason Kenny won. Further, from arriving at London as a relative unknown, reports are that Phillip has actually built quite a fan base among the Olympic audience, all of which boosts the positive image of TT. 

The TT flag was also flown high yesterday by Jehue Gordon running in the Men’s 400 metres hurdles where he placed seventh (behind winner, the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez). We salute the achievements of Olympic veteran, swimmer George Bovel III, who although unable to repeat his 2004 Olympic feat of earning a bronze medal, nonetheless did his nation proud in a very close keenly-fought Men’s 50 metres freestyle, where he placed seventh. 

Richard “Torpedo” Thompson really need not have apologised via the Twitter website for his seventh-place in sunday’s Men’s 100 metres final which was won by pre-race favourite and former gold medallist, the Jamaican giant, Usain Bolt. Thompson was part of an epic race, largely dominated by Caribbean men, which will long be talked of in years to come.

Likewise, while Kelly-Ann Baptiste lamented that she felt she had not done her personal best in the Women’s 100 metres finals last Saturday where she placed seventh, we are proud that she succeeded in setting a new record for the women of TT. It’s been said that never before have as many as six women clocked less than 11 seconds in a 100 metres final, which we see as an indicator that people are getting faster. Our athletes have also represented us admirably in London in shot-put, sailing, boxing and shooting. 

Our athletes have so much to be proud of, especially as they are able to hold their own in an athletic ocean of ever-rising standards and ever-shorter times. While sport is very important to many citizens of TT, we note that our athletes may lack some of the specialist training, equipment, research and dietary aids of some of the developed nations, yet they are still able to compete amongst the best of the best in the world. 

We are also pleased to note that many of TT’s current crop of athletes are young enough to quite likely have another chance at glory in future Olympic Games, starting with Rio de Janeiro, in 2016. Again, we salute the efforts of all our athletes in London, even as we laud those who make it to the finals of their event and as we welcome Gordon’s bronze medal which gives “Team Trinidad and Tobago” the stamp of formal recognition.

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