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Tuesday 12 November 2019
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Tobago long jumper qualifies for Olympics

TT long jumper Andwuelle Wright, centre, celebrates NACAC U-23 gold with coach Wendell Williams, left, and NAAA official Dexter Voisin in Mexico last Friday. PHOTO COURTESY DEXTER VOISIN FACEBOOK PAGE
TT long jumper Andwuelle Wright, centre, celebrates NACAC U-23 gold with coach Wendell Williams, left, and NAAA official Dexter Voisin in Mexico last Friday. PHOTO COURTESY DEXTER VOISIN FACEBOOK PAGE

After breaking his own long-jump record at the at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-23 Championships in Mexico on Friday, qualifying for World Championship 2019 and Olympics 2020, Andwuelle Wright told Newsday this success is just the icing on the cake.

He told Newsday on Saturday, via telephone, he was happy with his performance.

“It’s always a great feeling to medal at a championship for TT. To do this and break the championship and my own national record was just the icing on the cake,” he said.

Andwuelle believes he is definitely on the right track in his career.

“Just goes to show I’m heading in the right direction and the work my team and I are doing is paying off. It also feels great to have made the World Championship and Olympic qualifying standard while doing what I love.”

His father, Henson Wright, was bursting with excitement and joy when he spoke to Newsday.

TT long jumper Andwuelle Wright

He said he is not surprised by this accomplishment, as it was the dream of his deceased wife, who he said believed her son was worthy of greatness from birth. He said Andwuelle was born on the same day Ato Boldon won a gold medal in the World Championships, August 8, 1997.

“There was this feeling from his mom that he was always going to be great.

"He and his brother (Atiba) got into athletics when they were seven years old. They had the inclination to enter sports and his mom and I decided not to waste the opportunity, let’s get them involved in Venus Sports Club.”

Andwuelle, 21, a former Signal Hill Secondary student, grew up in Signal Hill and sport was the core of his life.

His career blossomed as stayed focused and he went on to represent TT at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships and Youth Olympic Games 2014. At 16, however, he lost his mother Janice Wright and was ready to leave track and field. His father told Newsday his wife was the pillar of the family who inspired, believed and anticipated only success in her children’s future.

“It was a traumatic experience grappling with the fact that your mom passed after suffering with cancer for some years. She was just on vacation, and two days before returning to work, she died in her sleep.

“He wanted to give up but I said, ‘Listen to me, this is what your mom would have always wanted for you.’ She always had the dream of going to the Olympics and the World Championships with him. I told him to try his best to fulfil her dream, so even if she is not around to be a part of the whole experience, the satisfaction that he would have done it will bring comfort.”

Wright said none of this could have been possible without the help and commitment of his son's coach Wendell Williams.

“His coach recognised from early his potential. He always believed in his heart that the only person that could break his national record is Andwuelle – out of all the people he trained.”

On June 23 last year, Andwuelle shattered the national record of 8.14m at the NGC/Sagicor National Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain. He disturbed the sand at 8.23m to end his coach's 19-year record.

Looking towards the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar and possibly the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Andwuelle's father believes this is the beginning of his journey.

He said he knows his son is not overly excited, as he still has a lot more to achieve. Andwuelle is doing an ACCA 1 accounting qualification and was expected to return to Tobago yesterday.

FLASHBACK: Andwuelle Wright from Signal Hill jumps his way to a new national men's long jump record (8.23m) at the 2018 NGC/Sagicor National Open championships at the Hasely Crawford stadium in Port of Spain. Wright won gold at the NACAC U-23 Championships in Mexico last Friday. PHOTO BY ANDRE DE GANNES

His brother Atiba was full of joy for his brother’s accomplishments. Atiba, also a long jump athlete, suffered an injury and lost his sports administration and massage therapy scholarship at University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) because he was unable to represent the school, whch was one of the criteria. Wright said he had sacrificed and paid all fees for Atiba to finish the degree.

His father further called on the sporting fraternity to remember the contribution of Atiba, who held the title of Under-15 long jump champion for a number of years, and has represented TT internationally. He said he also played a major part in the success of his younger brother.

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