Trinidad and Tobago’s 4x400m relay men of Jereem Richards, Lalonde Gordon, Machel Cedenio, Jarrin Solomon and Renny Quow were named Best Male Athletes of the Americas yesterday at the Association of National Olympic Committee (ANOC) Awards held in Prague, Czech Republic.
The TT quartet of Solomon, Richards, Cedenio and Gordon won this country’s first ever gold in August this year at the World Championships, stopping the clock in a national record time of two minutes and 58.12 seconds. Gordon was sensational in the final leg, coming from behind to beat USA (2:58.61) and Great Britain (2:59.00) into second and third respectively.
Quow, who ran the semi-final, was replaced for the final but the Tobagonian was present on stage yesterday to share in the proud moment with his teammates.
Solomon, addressing the audience after the TT men received their award, said: “This is a great honour and this is why we do what we do. First of all, we would like to thank God for this honour because without Him none of us will be up here tonight. Next, we want to think ANOC for this prestigious award, it is something that we dreamt of; this is one of the biggest honours for Trinidad and Tobago so to be recognised for this is wonderful. We would like to thank our families, our coaches, everybody who supported us to get to this moment.”
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA), said it was quite interesting ANOC chose a performance from a tournament not under their jurisdiction to highlight at their award ceremony.
“It is very interesting seeing ANOC awarding a performance from the World Championships but I think the guys deserved it. The US has won this event for the last 10 years (since 2003) and they are always a powerhouse when it comes to that mile relay because they have that depth. For us to overcome that and defeat the US and break a national record, the guys really performed well,” Serrette said.
The NAAA boss believes winning the award is a good thing for his organisation and track and field as it will inspire young athletes to continue working hard to achieve their dreams. He said with TT relay men winning medals and breaking national records at the 2012 London Olympics, Rio Games 2016 and 2017 ‘Worlds’, the challenge for the NAAA is to continue churning out world class athletes.
“Our youth elite programme that we have developed is based upon that and we want to continue to prepare athletes for 2020 (Olympics) and beyond. We’re putting that idea in the athletes head that they’re being targeted (for success) and prepared. We have a two-tier programme – 10 athletes in the top tier and another 35 in the second tier. The top tier they’re getting specific attention – nutrition, psychological, checking with schools to make sure they’re doing okay and on an individual basis. The other athletes get it on a group basis. That is a strategy we want to maintain to sustain these kinds of (elite) performances.”