Relay gold assured at Tokyo 2020
TEAM TTO has been assured of a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Twelve years after their second place finish at the 2008 Beijing Games, sprinters Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman will receive their 4x100m relay gold.
The national team was upgraded to first place after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped Jamaica of gold for a doping violation by Nesta Carter.
TT Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis made the revelation, on Friday, at a ceremony to celebrate the one-year countdown to the 2020 Olympics, at the St Clair residence of Japanese Ambassador Tatsuo Hirayama.
Addressing the gathering Lewis said, "I acknowledge coming in the back quietly Emmannuel Callender, one of the 4x100m relay team that will be, I am advised, that will be collecting their gold medal in Tokyo."
The relay quartet was officially awarded gold by the IOC in December last year and given several options to receive their medals.
Apart from a ceremony in Tokyo with the IOC bearing cost of the athletes and two guests, other options included a ceremony at the next IAAF World Championship or Continental Championship; a presentation at the next major TTOC event – a National Championship, sport awards or gala; or a private ceremony in co-ordination with the TTOC.
Speaking with Newsday, on Friday, Callender explained the rationale of the TT athletes for choosing to go to Tokyo.
"The team came together and we thought that was the best option at the point in time. I'm not (completely) certain but I decide to retire after the 2020 Olympics. I will be receiving a medal there, plus if I get a next medal there that would be a bonus for team TT."
Callender, who won his first national 100m title, at 33 years old, in 2017, with a time of 10.10, is looking forward to the 2019 NAAA/NGC National Championships which get under way, on Friday, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
"I coming out and have fun, man. Come out and expect good things. I looking forward to have fun. Training has been improving."
Looking back at his career, which will end with him winning national gold, multiple CAC gold and Olympic relay gold, Callender is grateful to the Almighty.
"God has really been good to me. When I look at my life and where that I came from and the struggles that I've faced and the accomplishments that I have, all thanks and glory go to God. I hope my life can also be an inspiration for some of the youths that going through what I went through. I probably could help nurture them to channel their energies to something positive."
Callender said after he hangs up his track shoes, he will be looking to guide youths through coaching as well as music, as a gospel singer.
"Relay gold assured at Tokyo 2020"