Gordon’s bronze honour
By YOHANSEH ASUKILE Wednesday, August 8 2012
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Son of the soil: Lalonde Gordon celebrates being on the podium to receive his bronze medal for the 400 metres final at Olympic Stadium, London yesterd...
A beaming Lalonde Gordon, Trinidad and Tobago’s first medallist at the Olympic Games, collected his bronze yesterday as the medal ceremony for the men’s 400 metres final was held at the Olympic Stadium in London, England.
Gordon, wearing his TT track suit, could not contain his joy and was smiling incessantly as he received his medal.
The Tobagonian stopped the clock in a new personal best of 44.52 seconds behind Grenada’s Kirani James who dipped below 44 seconds to finish in 43.94. Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos was second in 44.46 seconds.
It was a Caribbean dominated podium yesterday with James receiving his country’s first Olympic medal. James’ golden effort on Monday set off scenes of carnival-like festivities in the tiny island of Grenada as people took to the streets to celebrate the 19-year-old’s historic achievement.
In Tobago as well, sporting fans from the sister isle hailed Gordon’s bronze medal performance.
Orville London, Chief Secretary, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and Ashworth Jack, Minority Leader of the THA also paid tribute to Gordon who became just the second athlete from this country to earn a medal in the 400 metres event at the Olympics.
Gordon, in his fastest time ever, ended this country’s medal drought at the London Games.
His feat brought both joy and relief to citizens who have been vociferously cheering TT athletes throughout several finals without reward. Speaking at his bi-weekly press conference from his office in the NIB Mall, Scarborough, Jack congratulated his fellow Tobagonian and believes “discussions should be held with Lalonde and his family to arrive at something that is appropriate (to reward him)”.
London echoed the same sentiments by saying all Tobagonians join the rest of the country in celebrating the first Olympic medal to be won by a Tobago-born athlete and the THA was committed to celebratory activities for the entire national contingent.
Meanwhile, Jack believes it is time to revisit how athletics coaches are treated since, he said, no emphasis is currently placed upon them.
He said coaches will sacrifice their family time and some of their other interests in dedication to their sport and their athletes.
“We should come to the time where coaches are properly rewarded if we intend for them to continue working with their charges,” he said.
“A new mind-set is required where sports is concerned in terms of training, diet, medical facilities and physiotherapy if we really intend to develop a good cadre of athletes, they must know that their families should not have to pay for all of that,” Jack added.
He thinks that it is far too common where persons are only rewarded after they have done well, instead of during the formative years when they need the most help.
Using Tobago athletes as an example, the political leader, who indicated he was a former athlete, noted that to attend and do well at track and field events in Trinidad, “almost every Sunday for about 13 to 14 Sundays, you pay that travelling from your pocket. Nobody wants to know how your diet is, what you eat, if you eat, or if you have gears.”
He went on to say that, “it is sometimes amazing what athletes go through to arrive at being successful, then when it happens you see everybody (rushing) to be identified with them, it is unfair.”