GABRIEL BLACKMANN (NYLO INTERN)
TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s first Olympic gold medallist, Hasely Crawford, took the time off on his 67th birthday yesterday to comment on the remarkable achievements of the national athletes at the IAAF World Championships in London, England.
He spoke during a commemorative exhibition at the Alma Jordan Library, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus.
Crawford, who witnessed the events live in London, said, “Before I left Trinidad, someone asked me ‘what medals?’ I told them we have four great chances. One of them is Jereem, I said it, Richards (in the men’s 200 metres); the (women’s 4x100m relay), Keshorn (Walcott in javelin), and the 4x4 (4x400m relay). I said, but they’ll have to earn it.”
Richards was part of the victorious 4x400m relay team, while he copped bronze in the men’s 200m. The women’s 4x100m relay team placed sixth in the final while Walcott finished seventh in his final.
Crawford continued, “If you look at those guys (Jarrin Solomon, Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon), the way they run in the 4x4, they went for it.
“You have to go for it, and as I said, you have to earn it. And they earned it.”
Crawford said that if it wasn’t for Richards’ bad start in the 200m final, he would have won gold. And he had great praise for the athletes and the effort required to run the races and excel.
“You can’t just run like that. You have to be prepared to take your body beyond. You have to learn to manage pressure. You have to learn to manage speed and you’ll get success.”
The exhibition, titled “Hasely Crawford – National Hero”, is part of the annual National Heroes Project launched by the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) on July 21 this year. The initiative aims to recognise TT nationals who have excelled in their respective fields and whose legacy of service, contribution or inspiration has impacted the country.
This year’s focus is Crawford who, at UWI yesterday, took the time to converse with guests and sign autographs. NGC chairman Gerry Brooks and NGC president Mark Loquan, were among the officials present.
The exhibition detailed his historic run at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, with video footage of his historic race, as well as excerpts of past articles of races where he excelled.
Also on display were boards showing Crawford’s role as Head of Community Relations of 1996 and his role in the implementation of the Right on Track Programme and his continuous role of community engagement throughout the years.
The exhibition is one in a history of initiatives by the NGC to support local sport, which includes the recent Youth Elite Programme, and runs from July 25 to August 18 at UWI. It will then move on throughout various schools and NALIS libraries across the country.