TT’s chances of earning a track and field 100-metre medal at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games will lie on the shoulders of Michelle-Lee Ahye and five-time Olympian Kelly-Ann Baptiste. Both will line up in round one of the women’s 100-metre event on Thursday night (TT time).
For the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, TT will not have a representative in the men’s 100m dash.
Heat one in round one of the women’s 100m event will begin at 11.15 pm and the seventh and final heat will run off at 12.03 am, on Friday. It is uncertain what heat Ahye and Baptiste will feature in. The TT athletes got a bye and are not required to run in the preliminaries starting at 8 pm Thursday.
Ahye, who won gold in the women’s 100m event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, qualified just weeks before the Olympic qualification deadline of June 29.
Ahye clocked 10.96 seconds at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Games New Life Invitational in Florida on June 5, to dip under the Olympic qualification standard of 11.15.
Ahye’s two-year ban for whereabouts failure ended in April. She may have to dip below 11 seconds to advance to the final as many of the women’s 100m sprinters have been running below 11 seconds consistently this season, including Jamaican pair Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Baptiste, 34, was TT’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony last Friday. Baptiste made her Olympic debut at the 2004 Athens games. She is a World Championship bronze medallist.
In an interview with Newsday in early June, TT track and field legend Ato Boldon predicted this country will not earn any track and field medals in Tokyo. However, he said that could change by the time the Olympics begin.
Track and field has been TT’s most successful sport at the Olympics. Of the 19 medals TT have won at the Olympics, 15 are in track and field, three in weightlifting and one in swimming. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott won TT’s only medal at that event when he snatched bronze.
On Friday at 6.25 am, TT will have a representative in the women’s shot put not named Cleopatra Borel. Borel is a four-time Olympian who paved the way for many TT women’s athletes. Portious Warren will make her Olympic debut in the women’s shot put qualification round.
Warren, who has a season’s best of 18.12m, will compete in Group A.
Warren is a former stand out athlete for TT at junior level. Also competing in Warren’s group will be German Christina Schwanitz, now ranked second in the world.
BIG SPLASH FOR OTHER TT ATHLETES
TT sailor Andrew Lewis returned to competition in the men’s one-person dinghy laser competition, in race seven at 11.05 pm on Wednesday.
Race seven was followed by race eight.
On Friday at 1.35 am, Lewis will battle in race nine which will be followed by the tenth and final race.
Lewis delivered his strongest performance of the event on Tuesday competing in race six and finishing 15th among a field of 35 athletes.
Lewis, a three-time Olympian, is now 30th overall. He has a total of 155 points, with four races remaining.
The athlete who finishes with the least points will win the preliminary phase with the top ten sailors advancing to the next round. Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus leads the standings with 38 points.
TT rower Felice Aisha Chow participated in the semifinal C/D of the women’s single sculls, at 11 pm, on Wednesday. Chow is not in the main bracket again and is no longer in contention for a medal.
Swimmer Dylan Carter will aim to make a splash in heat three of the men’s 100m butterfly at 6.49 am on Thursday. The ace TT swimmer will return to the pool at 6.12 am Friday in heat six of the men's 50m freestyle.
Carter has already competed in the men’s 100m freestyle and men’s 100m backstroke. He did not advance past the heats in both events.
Cherelle Thompson will make her Olympic debut in the women's 50m freestyle when she competes in heat seven at 6.36 am Friday. Thompson follows in the footsteps of many women from TT to compete at the Olympics which included Siobhan Cropper who represented this country at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games.
Judoka Gabriella Wood will become TT’s first woman to hit the mat at an Olympics. The women’s +78kg category will begin at 10 pm, on Thursday. Wood, who is based in Scotland under coach Lee Calder, will duke it out against Maryna Slutskaya of Belarus in the seventh fight scheduled in the category.
Slutskaya is expected to be a tough opponent for Wood as she won gold at the 2017 European Championships and at the 2019 European Games.