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Updated: 2 hours 28 min ago

Eve takes over as Rangers head coach

6 hours 3 min ago

St Ann’s Rangers have acquired the services of Angus Eve who will take charge of the club’s Pro League outfit for the upcoming 2015/2016 season.

Rangers, rock-bottom finishers in the last two seasons, are coming off their worst ever campaign with just five points from one win and two draws from 24 matches in the 2014/2015 Digicel Pro League championship. That’s two points less than the previous season.

“Before I came to the club (St Ann’s Rangers) I knew the challenges the club had,” Eve said. “(But) I love a challenge. I love new projects so to say… so coming here for me was another opportunity to showcase my coaching talent.”

Eve, a former T&T international and most capped player, said his goal is to “build back the respectability of (Rangers) and for the club not to be a pushover in any game that we go into.”

Rangers will kick off their 2015/2016 Digicel Pro League campaign on Saturday, September 26 against Defence Force, a former club of the 43-year-old Eve and the side they defeated 2–1 in their final league match last season to avoid a winless campaign.

Eve recently completed a three-year spell (2012-2015) with North East Stars. He led the Sangre Grande club to the 2012 Toyota Classic and 2015 TTFA FA Trophy. Also during his tenure, his first as head coach of a professional club, Eve guided North East Stars to 4th, 5th, and 4th finishes in the last three DPL campaigns.

Eve joins Rangers as replacement for former national player and coach Ron La Forest, who finished the 2014/15 season as head coach of Rangers during a brief one-month stint.

Eve’s local coaching experience includes serving successful spells at San Juan Jabloteh (2006–2009) and Ma Pau SC (2009–2011) as assistant coach to Terry Fenwick and Michael Mc Comie, respectively.

He also boasts international coaching experience, having been appointed manager for the T&T Under-23 team for the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers.

St Ann’s Rangers FC operations manager Richard Piper said: “The club’s appointment of Angus comes with immense enthusiasm in his capacity to identify and develop young players, and create systems to bring the best out of them. This aligns with the club’s ideals of providing opportunities to young players to showcase their talent within the top flight of local football, and we are delighted to have him on board.”

Current club manager and Women’s Team head coach Jason Spence expressed that, “The acquisition of Angus Eve to the professional team, and by extension the club, is enormous. I believe Angus is quite relative to the players as he is young and dynamic. He has (also) been fantastic for the country as a player, and he has certainly been making quite a name for himself in the coaching arena.”

Spence returned to his initial roles after holding the role of head coach of the professional team for most of the 2014/15 season.

Eve, who is yet to finalise his squad for the upcoming season said: “There are some nice youngsters here. It’s just to get their frame of mind in the right place, and once we can do that we can be very competitive and build back some respectability to the club. I inherited a lot of players who have contracts here, and no disrespect to any of the coaches who have been here before, but I think that a bit of professionalism was lacking in the guys, and if I can bring that professionalism in them, with the potential that they have, no team should take us easily.”

Eve closed by saying, “We have 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds here. If I can help develop these young players and they can attract the national youth teams that can see them perform at a higher level than they have been, and they can gain opportunities for themselves, that’s within our objectives. If we can get the guys to move on and get opportunities on the outside, that’s also one of the goals for the club.”

The appointment of Eve is the second head coaching appointment so far for the 2015/2016 T&T Pro League season with former Defence Force boss, Ross Russell now in charge of Central FC, after the reigning champions did not re-sign Englishman Terry Fenwick.

Clarke continues top road form

6 hours 9 min ago

Barbadian Heatwave cyclist Phillip Clarke continued his solid form on the T&T circuit, claiming the top prize at the Toyota Hilux Cycling Classic, which started and ended at the Toyota Showroom in Barataria, on Sunday.

It was a regional showdown at the end, with Bajan Clarke, Antiguan Jymes Bridges (Team Drive Phase Sport), Jamaican Peter Thompson (The Braves) and T&T cyclist Gevan Samuel (The Braves) breaking away from the rest of the field. Clarke showed his sprinting ability to capture gold in just over two hours, ahead of Bridges, Thompson and Samuel.

Clarke has been one of the most consistent endurance riders on the local circuit over the past year. In April, Clarke captured the Diego Martin to Debe International Road Race and last September, he won the Michael Phillips Republic Day Cycling Classic at Nelson Mandela Park in St Clair.

The field, which also comprised women, juniors, juveniles, masters 40-49, masters 50-59 and masters 60+ riders travelled from Toyota, Barataria to Toyota, San Fernando and back to Toyota, Barataria.

Claiming the women’s crown was T&T cyclist Christiane Farah, who finished ahead of Jamaican Dahlia Palmer.

RESULTS

Overall

1 Phillip Clarke - Heatwave

2 Jymes Bridges - Team DPS

3 Peter Thompson - The Braves

4 Gevan Samuel - The Braves

5 Andrew Hicks - Rigtech Sonics

6 Romello Crawford - PSL Cycling Club

7 Jabari Whiteman - Southclaine

8 Sheldon Ramjit - Hummingbirds Intl

9 Marc Pogson - Heatwave

10 Ben Adams Brito - The Braves

Women Open

1 Christiane Farah - PSL Cycling Club

2 Dahlia Palmer - Team DPS

Juniors

1 Andrew Hicks - Rigtech Sonics

2 Romello Crawford - PSL Cycling Club

3 Emmanuel Watson - PSL Cycling Club

Juveniles

1 Jabari Whiteman -  Southclaine

2 Ronell Woods -Team Woods

3 Adam Francis - The Braves

Masters 40-49

1 Mark Hosein - PSL Cycling Club

2 Christopher Gill - Heatwave

3 Robindranath Balgobin - Hummingbirds Intl

Masters 50-59

1 Rodney Woods - Team Woods

2 Wayne Samuel - Southclaine

3 Cyril Fook - PSL Cycling Club

Masters 60+

1 Clyde Pollonais - Southclaine

2 Godfrey Clyne - Southclaine

3 Peter Hernandez - Hummingbirds Intl 

 

Bravo bats for more $$ for sports women

7 hours 15 min ago

Captain of the T&T Red Steel Dwayne Bravo is not pleased with the terms and conditions laid out for women in sport.

As a consequence, he is advocating for the present imbalance to become a thing of the past.

Starting with better conditions for female athletes, Bravo also raised concerns about their financial incentives and declared the time had come for women to receive better pay packets.

In a T&T Guardian interview, Bravo said he believes more could and should be done for women. “You have conversations with the women’s football team and the women’s netball team…I mean, they are representing the country. They are giving their heart and soul, yet still they have to balance their jobs with the sport. They already don’t get paid well, and it’s unfair for them.” 

Bravo said: “We as men, maybe, get pay better, I think. But regardless of what gender, I believe you should be paid properly if you are representing your country, because you are putting your life and your body on the line. To me sports women don’t get treated properly and this is not only in T&T. but throughout (the world). I think they need to look at women’s sport a lot more seriously.” 

Commenting on the present state of women’s cricket in the West Indies, the team leader said he was not pleased.

Bravo declared being both “embarrassed” and in a “state of shock” over the state of women’s cricket in the region.

“The quality of the cricket? I mean… It’s showing in TV and stuff! It’s just not nice for the eyes. I don’t want to comment too much on it because I (will) really have to get into details. That’s why most times I get in problems,” he ended.

Two Tests for Windies in Sri Lanka

7 hours 16 min ago

The West Indies will battle Sri Lanka in two Test matches, three One-Day Internationals and two T20s from next month in Sri Lanka.

The regional team will play the Test matches first, to be followed by the ODIs and then the T20 matches. The first Test of the series will be played from October 14 but the venue is yet to be finalised. 

The first Test of any series in Sri Lanka is normally played at Galle and although this is the venue that has been submitted to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), there is an issue of finance that is catching the attention of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and they are yet to make a final decision on the venue. 

Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee is considering beginning the upcoming Test series in Colombo instead of Galle. With the West Indies tour not generating big revenue for the SLC, chances are the interim committee would prefer playing the two Tests at the P Sara Oval and the SSC or R Premadasa Stadium to cut costs.

It is understood that the TV broadcasting rights, will net the SLC a total of TT$2.1m. This is lower compared to what they got for the other two home series which involved Pakistan TT$2.6M and the Indian series where they got TT$14.1M.

Although the SLC owns the ground at Galle, it still has to pay the Galle Municipality taxes when a Test match is staged there. They have to fork out TT$5800 per day, in addition to other overhead costs. 

So it is likely that both Test matches will be played in Colombo in order to cut costs. The first two ODIs will be played in Colombo as well and then the teams will travel to Pallekele for the third and final match. 

They then play the first T20 game at Pallekele before going back to Colombo for the final game before leaving for the West Indies.

WEST INDIES VS SRI LANKA FIXTURES

  • FIRST TEST October 14 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Galle.
  • SECOND TEST October 22 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (PSS).
  • FIRST ODI Nov 1 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), 1st ODI (day/night).
  • SECOND ODI Nov 4 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), 2nd ODI (day/night).
  • THIRD ODI Nov 7 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Pallekele, 3rd ODI (day/night).
  • FIRST T20 - Nov 9 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Pallekele, 1st T20I (night). 
  • SECOND T20 - Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS), 2nd T20I (night).

Warriors in demand in Salt Lake City

7 hours 20 min ago

​Trinidad and Tobago’s senior footballers caused a bit of a stir at Lakeside Park, Salt Lake City on Monday evening as they took part in their first training session ahead of Friday’s international friendly against Mexico.

Over 150 fans comprising of  US folks, Mexicans and other members of the Latin community turned up at Lakeside to observe the session and then later formed lines for the opportunity to take photographs and get signings from the players following the 90-minute session conducted by head coach Stephen Hart.

 It was an appreciated welcome for the visitors who arrived in Salt Lake on Sunday evening.

 “It’s quite good to get the fans involved especially in places like this which is somewhat outside of the Caribbean or away from home,” said English-based midfielder Andre Boucaud.

 “It’s special for the players because you feel that sense of what the fans like and appreciate. And we as players like to engage in these kind of activities. I think our performance against them (Mexico) in the Gold Cup had a really big impact and people are starting to follow the team. Hopefully we could get that back home as well and get the fans involved in our campaign. It brings everyone closer,” the Dagenham and Redbridge midfielder added.

 Hart himself saw something encouraging about the happenings in Salt Lake. 

“It’s good for the players to interact and get this kind of attention when it comes. Of course we are here to prepare for a game and nothing changes about that. We had our first session which was to get the legs going and then we get into it a bit more over the next couple of days. We still have a couple players to come in and we’ll take it from there,” Hart said. 

Mexican-based defender Yohance Marshall, the scorer of the fourth and equalising goal in the 4-4 draw with Mexico at the Gold Cup, is patiently awaiting Friday’s game.

 “It’s an exciting period for us but we have also got to keep out feet on the ground. There will be a lot of expectations for our team after the Gold Cup performance and particularly the game against Mexico. A lot of people will be looking to see what happens in this game. I think we need to be patient, prepare properly and go into the game making sure we do all the right things,” Marshall said. 

“For me personally I’m looking towards the game with a lot of anticipation but we see this game as preparation for a much bigger stage which is the World Cup qualification. These kind of games go a long way in helping us prepare for the campaign,” he added. 

Three more players joined the camp on Monday night including Khaleem Hyland, Jonathan Glenn and Mekeil Williams. San Jose Earthquakes attacker Cordell Cato will arrive on Tuesday evening. 

Meantime, official correspondence has been sent by Concacaf to the TTFA that the Copa America playoff with Haiti will not take place in October but at a later date. This therefore means the TTFA can now proceed with arranging another international friendly during the Fifa window. T&T so far  is scheduled to face Panama on October 8 in Panama City.

T&TCB president: Bravo’s award well deserved

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:51

The T&T Cricket Board (T&TCB) has congratulated Dwayne Bravo on being awarded the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) for his outstanding contribution to the game of cricket. Earlier this year, Bravo led T&T’s Red Steel to the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) regional T20 title in front of his home crowd at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

Yesterday, president of the T&TCB, Azim Bassarath, said that honour given to Bravo was well-deserved and will help to motivate other young cricketers to work hard and establish themselves. Bassarath said Bravo’s talent and drive for success was noted since he was a youngster, having represented T&T at cricket at the Under-15 and Under-19 levels before playing for the senior national team and eventually being elevated to captain.

The local cricket chief said Bravo’s leadership qualities and vital contribution to the team with both bat and ball, were also highlighted by his spectacular fielding which did not go unnoticed by the regional selectors.

“It was just a matter of time before he was handed the captain’s armband for the West Indies 50-overs team, and was one of three T&T captains of West Indies teams which also included Denesh Ramdin (Test) and Merissa Aguilleria (Women), all in one calendar year,” said Bassarath.

The T&TCB president also paid tribute to Bravo’s multi-talented persona as an entertaining performing artiste, having recently recorded a cross-over chutney hit with Nisha B which was launched both in T&T and in India, and adopted by the Chennai Super Kings for which he plays in the Indian Premier League. He also signed a recording contract with a Los Angeles, USA-based label.

Bravo also has a long-standing relationship with Jamaican dance hall music artiste Beenie Man with whom he has performed and whom he credits for encouraging him to further his latent musical talent. Bassarath also took the opportunity to congratulate the national men’s 4X400 and women’s 4X100 metres relay teams which earned silver and bronze medals respectively at the IAAF World Athletic Championships which ended on Sunday in Beijing, China.

The T&T quartet of Renny Quow, La Londe Gordon, Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio pulled out all the stops in the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium on a rainy night to grab silver behind the USA in a new national record. Bassarath said he was thrilled on hearing the comments of Gordon, who said after the race that the team was motivated by the expectation of the T&T public which pushed them to their best performance yet.

“It was a commitment and focus that produced a world class performance in difficult conditions which showed that these young men are conscious of their responsibilities to the public of T&T who have invested much in them, which they have repaid big time,” said Bassarath. He noted that it was the first time that the women were medalling in the relay at the games and the team of Kelly Ann Baptiste, Michelle Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Semoy Hackett deserved the best commendations.

‘Warriors’ in Salt Lake City for friendly

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:51

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior men’s team is in Salt Lake City preparing ahead of Friday’s International Friendly with 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup champions Mexico at the Rio Tinto Stadium from 8pm. Members of the team arrived in Salt Lake on Sunday evening and will be part of a five-day training camp which falls into the preparations for the upcoming 2018 Concacaf World Cup qualifying semi-final round which commences in November.

The local-based players along with European-based defenders Aubrey David and Radanfah Abu Bakr traveled from Port-of-Spain with Stephen Hart and the rest of the backroom staff while US-based quartet Kevan George, Joevin Jones, Trevin Caesar and Rundell Winchester joined the team later on Sunday night. 

Also arriving on Sunday were English-based midfielder Andre Boucaud and Mexican-based defender Yohance Marshall. Scheduled to arrive yesterday and today are Khaleem Hyland, Jonathan Glenn, Mekeil Williams and Cordell Cato. Barnet defender Gavin Hoyte will not travel for the game after the T&T team received news on Sunday night that his club had turned down a request for his release.

“We’re here and we’ll try to get in a decent amount of preparation ahead of the match,” Hart said. “The important thing is being able to access the players and have them together for a few days because this is what the program is going to be like when the World Cup qualification comes around. Getting the players together is vital and we’ll use these few days to go over some things in relation to the game and our general state for the campaign coming up,” he said.

The T&T team trained once yesterday evening  at Lakeside Park and is based at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The Mexico team arrived in Salt Lake City on Monday. Their thirteen European-based players met the rest of the squad in Mexico City on Sunday before traveling. Veteran Rafa Marquez has been recalled with Carlos Vela keeping his place and Tigres trio Jorge Torres Nilo, Jesus Duenas and Javier Aquino being selected by interim head coach Ricardo Ferretti. Mexico will also play Argentina on September 8.

T&T goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams, who missed the 4-4 draw with “El Tri” at the Concacaf Gold Cup due to a hamstring injury, is back in the squad and is spoke about the values of such a high profile international friendly for T&T.

“This is another step in our quest and preparations to qualify for the World Cup. We are looking for continuation after having such a good showing at the Gold Cup. It’s our first friendly after the Gold Cup and I think playing against a team like Mexico is good for us,” Williams said yesterday.

“I think the game will be an attractive one and obviously people will be looking to see if we can maintain the kind of form we had from that previous game (against Mexico). We will be looking to put on a good showing but again the bigger focus is on the preparation for the World Cup qualifiers,” he added.

The temperature range is around 30 degrees celcius in Utah which is 4,327 feet above sea level. Here is home to MLS club Real Salt Lake and NBA team Utah Jazz The Rio Tinto Stadium holds just around 22,000 and is sold out for Friday’s game. There will be live television coverage in the US on UniMas and Univision Deportes Network in Spanish, and ESPN News in English.

Highly Sprung on tough day

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:39

Highly Sprung, one of two Mark Johnston declarations for the £20,000 Highland Spring Water Nursery Handicap over six furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Hamilton, ticks enough boxes for a solid each-way punt but today looks difficult! 

We’ve had plenty of rain countrywide for several days, Goodwood will be nigh on bottomless, if it’s on, Epsom also forecast very soft and even the lone jumping fixture at Newton Abbot will be played out on demanding conditions; There is an old saying. ‘when wet, don’t bet!’

Don’t forget betting isn’t compulsory but if it’s an addiction, or you can’t watch a race with involvement, reduce your stakes dramatically and be patient, a spell of high pressure is due and by the weekend ground conditions could be in stark contrast.

Unfortunately some punters are addicted and that’s why I’m always banging the drum about sticking to my daily patent which is all about three singles, (if odds of 2/1 or better are on offer), three doubles and a treble.

The DP adds spice to ‘investing’ and that’s the way to approach backing horses; adopt a controlled, business-like attitude; bookmakers take it seriously and make millions collectively, why shouldn’t we do the same. They have to ‘play’ in every race, we don’t!’

Johnston was asked to alter his modus operandi this season and concentrate moreso on the juvenile scene, he’s slotted into the role seamlessly and his two-year-olds have been a revelation at all major meetings with resounding successes in high-profile races; Highly Sprung is ordinary by comparison to several classic prospects at ‘Johnno’s’ Middleham base but consistent and definitely the one to beat under Joe Fanning, the redoubtable jockey whose dedication and consistency are testimony to his splendid genuine career. a man who punters can trust, 100 per cent!

On the time-handicap thrice-raced stable-companion Ahdaf could  be a danger but all races to date have been over five and so with three places available Highly Sprung is nominated to make the frame. Earlier once3-raced Colour Me Happy is expected to improve in-form trainer by Karl Burke and land the 2-y-o Maiden Stakes over a mile and Electra Voice is fancied to go close in the Fillies’ Nursery over six furlongs at the Arundel circuit; a difficult day!  

SELECTIONS

10.20  Colour Me Happy
11.15   Electra Voice 
1.05    Highly Sprung

Together we can achieve greatness

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:38

In 2013 when the vision of ten or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 was announced by the Olympic movement, there were those who felt it was unrealistic. However, in 2014,  a sports sentiment survey commissioned by the Olympic Committee (TTOC) found that 76 per cent of the population believes that winning ten Olympic gold medals by 2024 is achievable with proper planning and implementation. 

In August 2013, Solutions by Simulation (SBS) was approached by the TTOC to conduct a nationwide survey to guage the opinions and perceptions of the public concerning sport and the TTOC. The survey sought to provide a quantitative evidence base to allow for data driven information for the TTOC’s strategic plan.

The survey found that a significant per centage of the population support sport with 85 per cent of the population saying they were sports fans. Some 76 per cent of the population view corporations that support sport favourably. Another 77 per cent support the use of public funds for sport while 79 per cent indicated they enjoyed playing sports.

While surveys may represent the populations views at a particular point in time, they can also provide critical information. Certainly I am a proponent of surveys and polls and hold the strong view that without necessary research be it surveys, polls, focus groups etc, decision making can be flawed and biased.

The 2014 survey found that 92 per cent of the population believe that young people should be encouraged to pursue sport as a career and 78 per cent consider a good sportsman and woman a hero. Some 89 per cent of those surveyed believe that sport can have a role to play in the fight against crime while 79 per cent feel that success in sport is necessary to be considered a great nation.

Ninety-three per cent  felt that a village or town is not complete without a sporting ground. Just over 80 per cent  think that the Olympic rings symbolise excellence, respect, hope, optimism. Ninety-seven per cent believe sport can teach important skills that can be used in other aspects of life. It is not far fetched to believe that there is a national consensus that sport matters.

What the surveyed made abundantly clear is that national sport organisations—the TTOC included—have the opportunity to be significant contributors to national development through sport. The public is on the side of sport and wants sport to be well led and governed. It is also clear that weaknesses aside the challenge is to seize and build on the opportunities. 

As we acknowledge as a nation and people,  the 53rd anniversary of Independence, it is essential that we sharpen our focus on sustainable development and nation building. Sport matters to Trinidad and Tobago. We must remain ever vigiliant and focused. Acheiving great things and greatness is not beyond our capabilities or our capacity. 

We are a talented,creative, resourceful and inventive people. Sport is no exception. Trinidad and Tobago be brave, be fearless, let’s believe in ourselves. We are a great nation. Let us believe in ourselves and a bright future. No matter the obstacles, challenges or failures, together we can achieve greatness.

Brian Lewis is the President of the Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. 
Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank account number 171188

Jones opts out of T&T friendly

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:35

Captain and marquee striker, Kenwyne Jones, will sit out T&T’s international friendly against Mexico on Friday, as he sorts out his future with English Championship club Cardiff City. The 30-year-old has been at the centre of transfer speculation in recent weeks, with several media reports linking him to a move away from Cardiff City Stadium.

Sheffield Wednesday, another Championship club, has been named as the likely destination for Jones. In announcing the squad, T&T head coach Stephen Hart said both Jones and Sheldon Bateau, had asked not to be considered for selection.

“Jones is trying to sort out his future with Cardiff City and Bateau has now joined Russian Premier Division club FC Krylia Sovetov Samara and have both asked to be excused,” Hart said. Jones has been in great form already this season, scoring twice in his last two outings for Cardiff City to keep them unbeaten in the league.

Last season, he was their leading scorer with 14 goals. Jones has a year remaining on his contract but media reports say the Bluebirds are desperate to hang on to their prized striker, even at the risk of allowing him to leave on a free transfer next season. He and Bateau are two of four players missing as Carlyle Mitchell and Lester Peltier are also out of the 20-man squad named for the contest at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

The quartet of Marcus Joseph, Trevin Caesar, Gavin Hoyte and Neveal Hackshaw has been called up and while all four players have already been capped at the senior level, none have played more than seven times.

Only last month, T&T and Mexico played to a thrilling 4-4 draw in their final preliminary group game of the Concacaf Gold Cup in Charlotte, North Carolina—a game in which Jones scored an own goal and a goal.

Kenyan cashes in on Bankers half marathon

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:33

Foreigners dominated the inaugural Bankers Insurance half marathon held yesterday in Central Trinidad. Taking the men’s title was Kenyan Kenneth Rotich, while the female category went to Mirena Goncalves of Venezuela. A total of 479 runners took to the road at Atlantic Plaza in Point Lisas at 5.30am and after one hour, six minutes and 58 seconds, Rotich touched the winning tape. He was followed by Jamaican Rupert Green three minutes, 54 seconds later. In third spot was Cuban Livan Reyes, while Alexis Pena of Venezuela was next in line.

Michael Biscette of St. Lucia ran in fifth and Guyanese Kelvin Johnson came in sixth. The anxious crowd was looking for the arrival of red, white and black on the country’s 53rd anniversary of Independence and it came in the form of Richard Jones who came in seventh in one hour. 13 minutes, 53 seconds. 

While the crowd was applauding him, they kept up their effort, as another local Curtis Cox immediately followed in one hour, 15 minutes and 51 seconds.

On the women’s side the story was a little better for T&T, as Tonya Nero placed second. The pint sized Nero was however one minute, 43 seconds slower than the eventual winner Mirena Goncalves out of Venezuela. She finished the course in one hour 21 minutes and 15 seconds. Tied for third were the Guadeloupe twins Christina Laurent and Christelle Laurent who made the journey in one hour, 34 minutes, 21 seconds.

T&T had seven finishes in the top ten of the ladies category. Both the men and women winners were awarded the same cash prize of $12,000. At the end of the event Bankers hosted all who attended to many treats including massages. The T&T cheerleading team was also on hand to perform for the crowd. 

Results

Men
Kenneth Rotich (Kenya) - 1.06.58
Rupert Green (Jamaica) - 1.10.04
Livan Reyes (Cuba) - 1.11.24
Alexis Pena (Venezuela) - 1.12.29
Michael Biscette (St. Lucia) - 1.13.53
Kelvin Johnson (Guyana) - 1.15.37
Richard Jones (T&T) - 1.15.46
Curtis Cox (T&T) - 1.15.51
Jules La Rode (T&T) - 1.16.51
Shirvan Baboolal (T&T) - 1.17.28

Women
Mirena Goncalves (Venezuela) - 1.21.15
Tonya Nero (T&T) - 1.22.58
Christina Laurent (Guadeloupe) - 1.34.21
Christelle Laurent (Guadeloupe) - 1.34.21
Celine Lestrade (T&T)  - 1.36.37
Christine Regis (T&T) - 1.40.26
Jenna Ross (T&T) - 1.42.55
Lorca-Gatcliff-Farah (T&T) - 1.47.04
Zara Suite (T&T) - 1.47.05
April Francis (T&T)- 1.47.27

Bolt points to Rio

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 01:29

BEIJING—Hard as this is to believe, there were questions about Usain Bolt when the world championships first started.

Was he healthy enough? Was he fit enough? Was he — gasp! — fast enough?

Yes, yes, and a resounding yes.

The Jamaican great left the Bird's Nest with three more gold medals and ended any suspicions about his dominance. Just in time, too, with the Olympic track competition in Rio de Janeiro starting 49 weeks from now. All the doubts about Bolt — his fitness, and whether Justin Gatlin might be primed to beat him — only provided more fuel.

"People pretty much counted me out this season," Bolt said. "They said, 'He's not going to make it. That's it for him.' I came out and proved you can never count Usain Bolt out. I'm a champion, and I'll show up when it matters." As if there was ever a doubt. The only thing that tripped him up was a clumsy cameraman who ran into him from behind on a two-wheel motorized vehicle. He even bounced back from that, anchoring the 4x100 relay team to gold after winning the 100 and 200 on his own.

One thing that became clear as the meet went on is that Bolt doesn't just beat people by being faster, he gets in their heads, too. Gatlin lost the 100 on a last-second lean that many viewed as a pressure-induced mistake. The U.S. relay team missed the handoff — and Bolt said he pretty much expected that.

"We just know the key thing is just to get the baton around. Doesn't matter," Bolt said. "Because the U.S. knows we always have the best team, they tend to panic. Pressure gets to them sometimes." Gatlin appears to be the only man with the speed to push Bolt. Beating him is another matter.

"What will it take?" Gatlin said. "It will take staying in front. That's what it's going to take."

Good luck with that.

Here are some other things we learned from the world championships in Beijing:

KENYA'S GOOD

Kenya finished with 16 medals — and not one in the men's marathon. Javelin thrower Julius Yego won the first gold medal in a field event for a country renowned for distance running.

DOUBLE TIME?

Allyson Felix certainly has the fitness to compete in both the 200 and 400 metres. Now she just needs a little help. Currently, there's not enough recovery time between events. The International Olympic Committee said it will at least consider revising the program.

 GIVE 'EM A HAND

Once again, the Americans struggled getting the baton around the track. The men's 4x100 relay was disqualified for stepping outside its lane on an exchange between Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers. That marked the eighth time since 1995 the American men have either been disqualified or failed to finish at the worlds or the Olympics. The women's 4x400 squad wasn't clean on an exchange between Allyson Felix and Francena McCorory, opening the door for a Jamaican win. The U.S. has gone to camps to fix these foibles. Bottom line: It may simply be between the ears.

MORE MO

Just like Bolt, Mo Farah shows no signs of slowing down. The British runner won a third straight long-distance double in Beijing, matching his 5,000-10,000 golds from the 2012 Olympics and the 2013 worlds. With the competition failing to close the gap yet again, Farah is a good bet for a repeat in Rio.
 
THE HOME TEAM

China had plenty to cheer about, with Su Bingtian breaking the 10-second barrier in the 100 metres, and reaching a world final — both firsts for his country. The 19-year-old Wang Jianan won a bronze in the long jump in another milestone achievement in the field events. On Sunday, Zhang Guowei won a silver medal in the men's high jump and Lyu Huihui matched him in the women's javelin. As for next year's host, Brazil, there was only one medal winner: Fabiana Murer, who finished second in the pole vault.
 
DOPING CLOUD

Always a hot topic around the sport. The Kenyans had two runners suspended for doping while at the worlds. Russia's race-walking program has come under intense scrutiny this year after a German documentary alleged systematic doping. And when Gatlin lost in the 100, he was asked over and over if it was good for track that Bolt beat him. Gatlin served a doping suspension before returning in 2010.

Kumandavsumfun at Ripon

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 07:04

Charmy would be a popular winner of the 2-y-o Maiden Fillies’ stakes over a mile of ‘good to soft’ Chepstow, mount of the irrepressible Cathy Gannon!

Talk about resilient Cathy is the epitomy of professionalism and her resolve these past two years has been astounding; nasty injuries laid her low but this remarkable Irish lass has always wanted to be a jockey and a mother; she’s achieved both, in rare circumstances!

While on the injured list (again!) Cathy turned a negative into a positive, became pregnant and had a healthy off-spring; earlier this year the name Gannon reappeared only to disappear briefly because of a shoulder injury.

Cathy took her time even though patience isn’t her strongest virtue and ‘worked’ back to 100 percent fitness; her contacts were alerted, she rode a winner, put her name back in the spotlight and grabbed every opportunity going, partnering winners all over.

They say it’s impossible to  distinguish between some female jockeys and the experienced males, watch Cathy and understand just what that means, especially with one of those characteristic barnstorm finishes.

Charmy, one of five rides on this eight-race programme, is no ‘cert’ but represents a ‘prestige’ ride for a high-profile yard and Cathy knows how important it will be to ride her into the winners’ enclosure; I’ll bet she does!

Earlier, over the same course and distance, they kick-off with the Dorothy Mort Memorial Maiden Stakes and Richard Hannon means to win it with Taqwaa, third in the ‘Convivial’ at York ten days ago.

Dorothy was a wonderful lady, wife of David who owned Coventry Stakes winner Varingo; they were my friends during very happy on-course times.

There are so many meetings on this bank holiday Monday but our focus is on two-year-olds and Kumandavsumfun is napped for the Selling Stakes over six furlongs at ‘good’ Ripon; should win unchallenged!

T&T, J’ca fly Caribbean flag high in Beijing

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 07:02

BEIJING—Jamaica picked up a third relay gold in world-leading time as the Caribbean finished among the medals on the final day of competition to conclude a successful IAAF World Championships here yesterday.

The 4x100 metres quartet of Christine Day, Shericka Jackson, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills ran a world leading time of three minutes, 19.13 seconds to add a third relay gold medal following victories in the sprint relays on Saturday.

Running the anchor leg, Novlene Williams-Mills saved the best for last and cruised past American Francena McCorory in the last 20 metres to give Jamaica gold.

The United States finished second in a time of 3:19.44 and Great Britain took home the bronze in 3:23.62.

“These girls, they did it all the way. That is when you have the heart of a champion, that is what you do,” Williams-Mills said on passing McCorory near the finish line.

And it was all about T&T and the United States in the men’s version with the experienced American LaShawn Merritt holding off a challenge from Machel Cedenio to deny the Caribbean nation victory.

Renny Quow ran an opening split time of 43.23 seconds which set the scene for Trinidad and Tobago with Lalonde Gordon clocking 45.68 on the second leg and Deon Lendore, 44.75 on the third.

Cedenio then challenged Merritt to the end in timing 44.16.

The Americans completed the 400m relay in a world leading time of 2:57.82 with T&T finishing in a new national record time of 2:38.20 and Great Britain clocking a season best of 2:58.51.

In the only other event with Caribbean participation, Donald Thomas cleared 2.29 metres for sixth in the men’s high jump. His compatriot Trevor Barry was tenth with 2.25m.

Canada’s Derek Drouin (2.34m) won a jump-off with Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine and Guowei Zhang of China (2.33m) for the gold medal.

Kenya topped the medal table with seven gold for a total of 16 medals with Jamaica also finishing on seven gold but 12 medals. United States finished with 18 medals but only six gold.

The next IAAF World Championships will be held in London in 2017. (CMC)

53 years of sporting excellence

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:58

As T&T celebrates 53 years of political Independence, we should remind ourselves of the outstanding contributions over this period of our sportswomen and sportsmen in their respective sporting disciplines locally, regionally and internationally. 

Athletics:

• Hasley Crawford, gold medal, 100 metres Montreal Olympics 1976

• Keshorn Walcott gold medal javelin London Olympics 2012, Pan American Games, Toronto 2015

• Jehue Gordon, gold medal, 400 metres hurdle IAAF World Championship in Moscow, Russia in 2014

• Cleopatra Borel, gold,shot put Pan American Games Toronto 2015

• Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon 4x400 gold Pan American Games, Toronto 2015

• Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Semoy Hackett 4x100 bronze, 1AAF World Championship, Beijing, China, 2015

• Renny Quow, Machel Cedenio, Deon Lendore and Lalonde Gordon 4x400 silver 1AAF World Championship, Beijing, China, 2015, new national time 2:58.20

• Khalifa St Fort, silver 100m IAAF World Junior Championship, Cali Colombia, 2015

• Rondell Sorrillo, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Dan-Neil Telesford,  Wendell Mottley, Ato Boldon, Richard Thompson Daryl Brown, Marc Burns, Richard Thompson, Mikel Thomas, and Kamria Durant

• Trinidad and Tobago World Masters Athletic team (outdoor) ten medals (4 golds, 3 silver, 3 bronze) World Games, Lyon France, 2015. 18 medals at Masters games Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2013.

Badminton: Debra O’Connor—5 times (1984, 1985, 1990, 1993 and 1995). Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (CAREBACO). Single and doubles champion in 1984, 1985 and 1995. In 1990 and 1993 she was a Triple Crown winner, being crowned singles, doubles and mixed doubles champion.

Body Building:

Dareem Charles, Michael Hercules

Boxing:

• Claude Noel first world champion, Mexican Rodolfo Gonzalez to win the WBA World Lightweight title, 1981

• Leslie Stewart won the WBA World Light Heavyweight title in 1987 defeating Marvin ‘pops’ Johnson

• Ria Ramnarine T&T first female world champion, defeated Ana Fernandez to win the WIBA Mini Flyweight World title, 2005

• Giselle Salandy multiple World champion- WBA, WBC and WIBA middle weight titles

Cricket: Brian Lara world record holder for the highest first class score (501 not out) and highest test score (400 not out). Sir Learie Constantine, Jeffery Stollmeyer, Brian Davis, Charlie Davis, Sonny Ramadhin, Gerry Gomez, Deryck Murray, Bernard Julien, Rangy Nanan, Inshan Ali, Ian Bishop, Dinanath Ramnarine, Ann Browne-John, Anisa Mohammed, Merissa Aguilleira, Joey Carew, Daren Ganga, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Daren Bravo. T&T Blind and Visually Impaired cricket team—WICB T20 and 40 overs champions 2015.

Cycling: Roger Gibbon, Gene Samuel, Maxwell Cheeseman, Michael Phillips, Hylton “Barracuda” Mitchell, Roger Smart, Njisane Phillip and Emile Abraham.

Distance Running: Moses Ranghell, Bernard Mungroo, Michael Alexander, Curtis Cox, Richard Jones, Lynette “Granny” Luces, Richard Jones and Tonya Nero.

Dragon Boat Racing: Aquaholics Dragon Boat 1st 200m Premier Mixed Category at Pan American Club Crew Champions (PACCC), Canada 2015. 2nd and 3rd in two other events over 500m and 200m respectively.

Football: Dwight Yorke won several championships in England and Europe with Manchester United. Alvin Corneal, Bobby Sookram, Sedley Joseph, Lincoln Phillips, Everald “Gally” Cummings, Richard Chinapoo, David Nahkid, Russell Latapy, and Shaka Hislop. The ‘Strike Squad’ 1989, ‘Soca Warriors’ 2006, and ‘Soca Princess’ 2014.

Golf: Stephen Ames, Carlos ‘Sexy’ Baynes,  Maria Nunes Sachin Kumar, Liam Bryden, Zoe Correia, Ryan Peters, Ysabelle Lawrence, Sarah Mackenzie

Hockey: Stacey Sui Butt, Kwandwane Browne and Dwain Quan Chan. 

Horse Racing: Emile Ramsammy, Eric ‘Colt’ Duran, Maniram ‘Boboy’ Maharaj

Netball: T&T was crowned joint World Netball Champions with Australia and New Zealand in 1979, 3rd in Singapore 1983, Joint 2nd in Scotland 1987, 9th in Australia 2015. Jean Pierre, Janet Bailey, Sharon Castanada, Joelisa Cooper, Samantha Wallace

Powerboat Racing: Andrew Lewis, Ken Charles

Special Olympics: T&T, 48 medals (15 gold, 9 silver and 24 bronze), Special Olympics World Games, Los Angeles, California 2015.

Squash: Colin Ramasra, T&T’s first professional player (2007), highest ranking in the world, 148. Joshua Pinard, Kale Wilson and Richard Hart.

Swimming: George Bovell III bronze medal in the 200IM at the 2004 Athens Olympics. 

Multiple medallists at World Championships, FINA World Cup, Pan American Games, CAC. Paul Newallo, Sebastian Paddington, Sioban Cropper, Shantol Ince and Dylan Carter.

Table Tennis: Mansingh Amarsingh, Derek DeSilva, Steve Ragbir, Seamus Clarke, Dexter St Louis and Rheann Chung, Aaron Wilson, Arun Roopnarine and Aleena Edwards.

Tennis: Lystra Lewis, Allan and Lindsay Price, Beverly Corbie, Elizabeth Gibson, Shane Stone, Ivor Grazette,  Olivia Bennett, Anneliese Rose, Shenelle Mohammed, Solange Skeene, Emma Davis, Emma-Rose Trestrail, Emily Lawrence, Nabeel Mohammed, Kobe Andrews, Liam Sheppard, and Aidan Carter.

Shooting: Bert Manhin and Roger Daniel

Triathlon: Jason Gooding and Ancil Greene 

Taekwondo: Cheryl Sankar stood tall in Taekwondo. 

Weightlifting: Rodney Wilkes was the country’s first medallist at the Olympics winning the silver medal in the featherweight category at the 1948 London Games. 

At the 1952 Helsinki Games, he won bronze at the same event. 

It is evident that T&T Independence can also be viewed through the excellent performances of its sportswomen and sportsmen. 

Their performances have continued to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is viewed as a serious competitor at all levels of competition.

As the society develop, every effort should be made to continue to support the country’s sportswomen and sportsmen in the most efficient, effective and transparently accountable manner so that they can realise their dreams as well continue the rich tradition of sporting success. 

Bolt’s surreal aura

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:49

Going where gold has been found in the past has been Usain Bolt’s best bet.

Bolt’s breathtaking Beijing breakout performance in 2008 still reverberates. The Trelawny speedster has swept up nuggets in a modern-day gold rush that takes sprinting beyond the pale. The world has caught on, yet no sprinter has caught up.

 Bolt won gold medals in the 200 at every global championships. His victory Thursday bestowed him a fourth world title in the 200 to go with his two Olympic gold medals. In total, he has won 10 world championship gold medals.

For sure, the multiple gold medallist is undoubtedly the best news received by the Caribbean in years. 

In 2008, Pablo McNeil, one of the coaches responsible for Bolt’s fame—and fortune, was sitting under an ackee tree in his yard when the phone rang. The track coach could have ignored my call, what with a gaggle of news agencies hounding him since Bolt ran like hell in Beijing. 

Yet McNeil uncradled the receiver, and so the back story of his charge’s success began to spill out. It was as if Bolt had uncoiled his lingay frame, bursting free from shoe-tight starting blocks.

Well, that’s how the firing of the starter’s pistol echoed all the way to William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny, where, at 15 years old, Bolt had finally figured how to angle himself into the blocks, turn the tricky curve by exploiting the arms like pistons so he could slingshot his sinewy stilts down the straightaway—the voice of limbs bellowing a shout-out, a primal scream, really, toward the 200-metre finish line.

Having trained Olympians Donald Quarrie, Raymond Stewart and others in high school, Jamaica’s coach Glen Mills has polished another breakout athlete. Mills may be in the spotlight again, but his colleague McNeil  will always stand in the shadows as the principal investor, the one who formulated strategy for Bolt’s progression. And that’s how the first Beijing echo reached McNeil in 2008 —satisfied, yet bristling as ever.

“I’m disturbed, upset at how Bolt was removed from high school while I was assisting with his development,” said McNeil, who likened the drama of Bolt’s relocation to a kidnap without ransom.

“Whoever was behind it didn’t advise me and never called, but I heard they put him up in a house in Kingston.”

Bolt had lived with parents Wellesley, an itinerant businessman, and Jennifer, a rooted Seventh-Day Adventist; an elder sister and younger brother.

McNeil harked back to an earlier bizarre turn of events when Wellesley tried to pull Bolt out of Knibb, but Cherry Campbell, the president of the PTA, stepped in and successfully argued in favour of the coach as Bolt’s mentor. 

Campbell sold coconut drops to help defray Bolt’s running expenses. Likewise, the French family, supermarket owners, provided nutrition, while Clifford Waddell chipped in with clothing and shoes and Brenda Jackson, who managed a games room, took the role of a surrogate mother. Bolt called her “mommie.” It was all a community effort—from Falmouth to Trelawny—without any of the clan, except Bolt’s whiz coach, being aware of the direction the yellow brick road would take.

McNeil, who passed away in 2011 at 72, matriculated at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and kept company with the sport’s great names of his day. After all, he was in the same pool of sprinters like Tommie Smith, renowned for his black-gloved, fist-in-the-sky protest against racism while standing on winners’ row (200 metres) at the Mexico City Summer Olympics in 1968. 

Four years earlier, McNeil had run his first Olympics in Tokyo. One year later, in 1965, he matched compatriot Herb McKinley’s national record in the 200 in San Diego, and again in Barbados.

McNeil caught up with Bolt, a budding athlete, after he graduated from Waldencia Primary School. Bolt was 12 years old entering William Knibb in 1999, and McNeil, a social science teacher and physical education instructor, sports under his control, already had a sumptuous salutation at the ready.

“It was his agility and energy in physical education that excited me,” McNeil said.

“He showed us more turn of foot (old Jamaican saying) than anyone else.”

An unpaid coach (“like 95 per cent in the profession in Jamaica”), McNeil was assisted by three physical education teachers and a father-figure, Dwight Bennett. Soon, Bolt, inching taller with each birthday, was making a racket on the track, his training pushing two to three hours each weekday. The payoff was grand. He was clocking 10.3 seconds in 100-metre straight-aways, one after the other.

Fast times at Walter Knibb High certainly alerted the coach but he didn’t let on to Bolt that his pupil was a prodigy. Then there was a workout, the 200-metre step-down that determined whether Bolt could handle, say, the 400. The tricky part of the six-set series was that the last one was expected to be run the fastest even as it was especially exhausting. Still, Bolt was upright at the end.

“I allowed him to develop gradually,” said McNeil, remembering that conditioning was his main concern.

There was apprehension in the classroom, too. Bolt was less than stellar. It was tutor Norman Peart who put a hand. 

By 2001, McNeil’s attitude to track was more spatial than temporal. Time spent there became an odyssey of discovery. He stepped up training on the school’s uneven track—a grassy pathway that flooded during a downpour. And he’d take his athletes to Burwood Beach so they could pump their arms underwater, working against force. He knew he was struggling against the tide, though, when he couldn’t enforce a strict diet in an area of grim poverty. So, Bolt and teammates made do with yams, cocoa, bananas, breadfruit and dumplings.

When McNeil enlisted his young charge in foreign meets, red flags went up at the Jamaican track and field body. But the uproar didn’t deter him from piling up routines on Bolt’s loaded regimen. One of the workouts was aptly called the Killer Diller, coach Bud Winter’s template at San Jose State University in California. 

McNeil also favoured the approach of Los Angeles-based countryman Leo Davis, whom he holds in esteem.

“Davis has credentials as one of the leading coaches in the world, though not in his own country,” said McNeil of his friend who trained Olympians. “They won 28 gold medals at world-class meets over the years. I liked his style.”

The Killer workout consisted of six laps of nonstop interval sprinting at 50 metres and 60 metres. Each would lead Bolt through a jog of 180 metres, then catapult him down the final leg under a spiteful sun like a ship in space.

“Some people were calling me ‘wicked,’ but after we practised the Killer Diller he’d ask me, ‘what else?’”

That Bolt embraced a grind that could induce the heaves from a normal athlete was not beyond the rarefied atmosphere of his prodigious talent. So, McNeil added another specialty; it required Bolt to sprint 450 metres, rest for a few minutes before tackling the 550, and, after unwinding for ten minutes, run down the 600 like a cheetah on speed.

Nothing came easy, though his demeanour disproved it. 

For example, there were periods when Bolt habitually trained on three or four sets of 30-metre sprints, as well as 50s and 70s. Afterward, skipping rope on the ball of the foot and maintaining a high knee lift became a chore that drained the heart. The activity emphasised rotation of the hips, McNeil said, because they’re the power plant. From the knees down is just support for the body, McNeil reminded Bolt.

But even then, with the tank on empty, Bolt was his usual clowning self.

“He’s just a happy-go-lucky youngster,” his former coach said.

“He doesn’t understand how fast he is. He was never rude, but I used to get upset that he didn’t value the level of speed he had to deal with. Some afternoons, I’d be looking for him at workout and his friends would tell me he’s in town.”

Bolt was chasing skirts on the sly.

“But once I brought him back, he gave me 101 per cent,” McNeil said.

“I take it that he was spoken to in no uncertain terms and so he made up his mind to break the 200-metre record at the Olympics. What Coach Mills has been doing is a continuation of where I left, in addition to his own method of coaching. He added spice.”

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, Davis, too, wrapped his emotions in Bolt’s surreal aura.

“It is wonderful, exciting and a pleasure to see the cleanest win—and the cleanest lean—in years. Of course, his previous mentor is among the greatest coaches of all time. That, too, helped.”

Flashing back seven years, McNeil said he mentored Bolt about “proper foot placement and body angle” so he could settle his six-foot-five frame in the blocks.

“What mystifies the world of sprinting,” McNeil said, “is how could this tall guy master the curve? Rolling the hips was the key and pumping the arms around the curve meant the left arm had to stroke ­faster than the right because the track curves leftward, and when you approach the straight both arms must be back in rhythm together. The more rapid the action, the faster hip rotation will follow.

“He had terrible arm action: his shoulders were raggedy and his head was thrusting backward. So everything I taught him before coach Mills got him in 2005 was about technique.”

 

Bolt spo ils US pot of gold

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:43

BEIJING—For the world’s best sprinters, passing the baton in the 4x400 relay is about as easy as rolling out of bed in the morning.

Picking a winner in that race used to be easy, too.

Not anymore.

An awkward exchange between US sprinter Allyson Felix and her teammate, Francena McCorory, played into a razor-thin loss to Jamaica at world championships Sunday. The American women fell by 0.31 seconds and settled for a second straight silver at the worlds after winning the Olympic and world championship titles five straight times.

“It’s hard, this one,” Felix said. “But it’s motivation for next year.”

Next year is the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and from the US perspective, the planning can’t start soon enough.

Yes, the United States won the most medals for the sixth straight time at the worlds, dating to 2005. But it did so with only 18. That’s seven fewer than the last worlds, 11 fewer than the London Olympics and the lowest total at the worlds since 2003, when the Americans won 16 — after four were taken away for doping.

“When you’re No 1, it’s always a steeper pinnacle,” USA Track and Field president Stephanie Hightower said. “And staying on top is always a lot harder than when you’ve got to work your way to the top.”

The US team certainly had some high notes. Exhibit A yesterday: A come-from-behind anchor leg by LaShawn Merritt in the men’s 4x400 that closed out the nine-day meet. Though the women are on a losing streak, the men have finished first in the long relay at every worlds since 1993; a handful of those wins have since been vacated because of doping.

“It was important for us to end this right,” Merritt said. “Everyone on this team gave their best. But giving your best doesn’t always mean you’re going to end up with a gold medal.”

The second-place finish a few minutes earlier by Felix and Co ensured the United States would not win the most gold medals at this meet. Thanks to the relay upset, and a gentleman named Usain Bolt, Jamaica tied Kenya for the lead with seven golds, one more than the Americans.

The Kenyans picked up their last gold from Asbel Kiprop in the 1,500 metres. Other winners yesterday included Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana in the 5,000 and Mare Dibaba in the marathon, Kathrina Molitor of Germany in the javelin and Derek Drouin of Canada in the high jump.

Felix walked away with a gold in the 400 and a pair of silvers—one in each relay—to push her career total to 12 medals at worlds.

There was no shame losing to Jamaica’s speedsters in the 4x100.

Losing to Jamaica in the 4x400 is a different story.

And the fact that part of the problem was a baton exchange is a real head-scratcher. It’s nowhere near as technical a handoff as in the short relay, where the timing has to be just right and there’s virtually no room for error. It’s such a non-issue in the long race that when McCorory was asked what happened on the exchange, her response was: “Something happened with our exchange?”

Um, yes.

When McCorory reached back with her left hand to receive the baton from Felix for the anchor leg, she grabbed air. That forced McCorory to pause ever-so-slightly to grab the stick on the second swipe. The whole thing took less than a second, but the race was decided by 0.31.

“Obviously, you don’t want that to happen,” Felix said. “You need every inch.”

Maybe things would have been different had Felix been running last, instead of third. Second-guessing has become a gold-medal event for the US relay team.

On Saturday, the men got disqualified from the 4x100 for an exchange out of the passing zone, marking the eighth time since 1995 at the worlds or Olympics they had either been disqualified or failed to finish.

“We’re not going to be perfect every time,” Hightower said. “But for the most part, we had some spectacular performances.” Leading the way was Ashton Eaton, who yesterday picked up the gold medal, along with a $100,000 world-record bonus check, for his performance in the decathlon.

And Merritt’s gold in the relay goes with a silver in the 400 and gives him the American men’s record with 11 world championship medals.

Still, the US finished with six fewer medals and one fewer gold than at the last big meet in Beijing—the 2008 Olympics.

That performance triggered a top-to-bottom review of the operation called “Project 30”—a nod to the goal of winning 30 medals at the London Olympics. There don’t appear to be any such plans in the works after this performance, though clearly this is a time for looking forward, not back.

“There’s a lot of intensity and a lot of pressure and a lot of high expectations for our athletes,” Hightower said. “I’m confident they’ll rise to the occasion when it’s necessary.”

Women’s success a shot in the arm says Serrette

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:39

In spite of the paucity of medals at the World Championships, president of the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA)  Ephraim Serrette believes there is no need to panic.

T&T won two medals, both in relays in the Championships which ended in Beijing yesterday.

Serrette noted that the T&T women who won their first ever 4x100 metres medal at a World Championships showed that the future was in good hands.

“Our women, based on what we have seen here, can go under 42 seconds and even change the colour of the medal in the future.”  

Serrette said while Jamaica will be hard to beat, the USA can be anything at times. “Even though they did not use some of their top runners  this time, we ourselves are developing a strong pool with Kai Selvon set to come back.”  

Serrette believes that the bronze medal success was a shot in the arm. “We needed something like this for our women athletes. I don’t know how we can explain it but we continue to lose our female athletes particularly the young ones in the under 18 to under 20 group. So we have to see how we can use this to inspire them to stay.”

He said it amounted to the athletes and the Association working together. “We are a listening organisation, we understand the needs of the athletes but there is always some restrictions in terms of funding which together we need to work on. We have a very good relationship with the president of the Olympic Committee,  Brian Lewis, who is also athlete driven,” said Serrette.

“We also have to make some of our athletes aware of the need to have patience. There are those that want it all to happen too quickly, they want the success overnight,” noted Serrette, himself a former top athlete in the 80’s.

Serrette was also pleased that the 4x400 metres team stood by each other and broke the national record.

“This was about guts and performance. This was the highest level and we have to fully appreciate what was done here tonight. This was another national record so we have to continue our programmes and progress our athletes further with all the assistance   we can get,” he added.

“Our plan is to review our performances and take the necessary action to improve what needs to be and to address other areas of concern that would have arisen at the Championships,” stated Serrette. (AB)

Cedenio delighted at performance

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:38

Nineteen-year old Machel Cedenio was delighted at his silver medal in yesterday’s 4 x 400 metres relay at the World Championships here in Beijing. “My first senior World Championships and I got a silver medal. That is really good. I want to thank God for bringing me here today with my teammates. We all have a good bond and we all have a team chemistry.

“I hope that people keep supporting us. We are out here to do our best for our country. We love all our fans.”

Cedenio, who also finished seventh in the men’s 400 metres, paid tribute to the parents who have supported all of the T&T athletes. “We thank all of you for your support  because track and field has really improved in our country,” he added.

Cedenio, together with Renny Quow, Deon Lendore and Lalonde Gordon, finished second behind the United States in the event yesterday.

Lendore, who has been recovering from injury this season,  also called for more support going forward. “I want to thank everyone. I am happy that people are able to hear what we are doing.”

There was a poignant moment during the celebrations when Lendore found time in the mixed zone to address youngsters from China who gathered to watch the returning athletes. Lendore took off, not only his number tags, but those of others and gave them to the children. Their joy was something to behold.

Yesterday’s silver medal also focused thoughts on the Rio Olympics. Gordon stated: “What happened here tonight will send a message that we are serious next year. We will take some rest, refocus and get ready for next year.”

Quow was also aiming at Rio. “The plan is to be ready from October to August. We are just going to work hard and do what we are accustomed doing. (AB)”

4x400 men deliver silver

Mon, 08/31/2015 - 06:37

Silver ! Silver ! Silver ! Silver !

Silver was the colour yesterday on the final night of the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China. It was delivered to this country by four brave men on a damp night where clouds threatened rain. A torrential downpour sent many scampering for over three hours.

On the track, though, it was the opposition that was sent scampering as T&T’s quartet of  Renny Quow, La Londe Gordon, Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio, woke up 70,000 persons in the Bird Nest Stadium with some quick times over the four legs of the mens 4x400 metres relay final, only to lose to the more experienced USA team, anchored by 400 metres silver medallist, La Shawn Merritt.

T&T finished second in a new national record of 2.58.20 , eclipsing the old mark of 2.58.34.

 Quow  again ran the opening leg and gave a much improved performance after his struggles in the preliminaries.

He handed over to Gordon who ran  the race of his life. This powerfully built man with the heart of a lion, roared his way forward and made up the stagger. Turning into the home straight, he ran past the American to hand the baton to Lendore in first place.

 Lendore led all the way, handing over to Cedenio in first place as T&T chased gold.

Running into the home straight, Cedenio was in third, falling behind  Jamaican Javon Francis and Merritt, but he did not panic. “I know that is the strongest point of my race. I was calm, I know I have enough leg speed to catch them, so I was still good.”

Although he passed Francis, he could not go past Merritt.

Lendore, who was the first man off the track after the race, said he and his teammates were very happy to give the country a silver medal on the eve of Independence.

 “After the prelims, we knew we had a great chance of medalling and we came out here and delivered. Our strategy was to get to run from the front. We wanted to run free, and to see the best we could do from the lead,” Lendore said. “We started off great and we are happy. We all gave 110 per cent and we have seen the result. It made us all proud,” added Lendore.

Quow was also ecstatic about the performance, describing it as well  executed. “We had a good race plan and did what we wanted to from the beginning. We wanted to hit them from the beginning so we would not have much work to do and that is what we did.”

Gordon was not happy with his start even though his finish was marvellous. “Once I cut in and messed up a little. I let the USA man (Tony McQuay) get into the lead but I just kept my focus and said I will pass him on the homestretch and that is what I did,” he added.

Cedenio belied his youthfulness. “We ran second to a guy who medalled in the 400, so that was a very good performance . Every single one of the team ran good, especially the lead off.  Renny, La Londe, Deon, we all came together. We had a tough decision in picking the team but we came together finalised it and we felt this was the best team to get the medal here tonight,” noted Cedenio.

T&T ended the Championships with two medals, following the success of the women’s  4 x 100 metres team of Kelly Ann Baptiste, Michelle Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Semoy Hackett, who won the bronze medal on Saturday.

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