Fear not T&T, Olympic bronze-medallist Lalonde Gordon has given his assurance that T&T 4x400m relay team can prosper, even in the absence of quartermiler Renny Quow. Quow’s Olympic experience came to a premature end, without him even stepping on the track here in London, England. He left on Monday for the United States to tend to a hamstring injury which has been troubling him for some time now. Annette Knott, chef de mission yesterday confirmed that the 400 metres specialist will not take part in the 30th Olympiad. “We didn’t want to chance him getting further injuries so he went back to the US to do therapy on the injured harmstring,” she said. Today, the men’s relay team, which will consist of a combination of Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte, Jarrin Solomon, Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio, will look to dominate at the Olympic Stadium, competing in the first of two heats at 6.35 am T&T time. “We have a good chance of medaling although we don’t have Quow,” said Gordon. “All the guys should go under 45 so we have a good chance.”
His message to T&T: “Just keep believing in us and we will do a good job.” Tobago-born Quow is the second local athlete, forced out the Games due to injury. Coincidentally another Tobago-bred Josanne Lucas also made an early exit, a week before the start of the Games, a recurring knee injury the reason. It was a disappointment for T&T when Quow did not start in the Men’s 400m but Gordon mended that heartache by taking third place in 44.52 seconds in a final dominated by Caribbean athletes. Grenadian 19-year-old Kirani James won gold in 43.94 and Luguelin Santos, 18, of Dominican Republic was second in 44.46. Gordon enjoyed the historic moment on Tuesday night being the second T&T athlete to have the national flag lifted over that distance during the medal ceremony. The first was Wendell Mottley, who copped a silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games in Japan. However, Ian Morris still holds the national record of 44.21, achieved in the semifinals of the 1992 Olympics
The T&T unit will race against teams from Great Britain, Cuba, South Africa, Kenya, Belgium, Poland and Germany, aiming to qualify for the final set for tomorrow at 4.20 pm (T&T time).
Solomon is not intimidated by these opponents and was in a positive mood ahead of the relay event. He said, “We’re looking to give our best out there showing everybody what we are made of. “I’m 100 percent healthy, no injuries. I’m anxious and more than ready to get out there.” National women’s sprint champion Kelly-Ann Baptiste will try to make amends for her sixth place finish in the women 100m final when she leads T&T 4x100m relay team in the semifinal heats. Two heats are scheduled with T&T competing in the first at 3.20 pm. Semoy Hackett, Michelle Lee Ahye Kai Selvon, Reyare Thomas, Sparkle McKnight make up the rest of the women’s team. Baptiste feels assured that the T&T quartet will do well and not making it to the podium in the 100m dash, makes her “more hungry” for success. “It’s another opportunity to get a medal which I think we can. I was really excited to see Semoy (Hackett) run a pb (personal best) in the 100m and that just boost our chances. The leg speed we have is there,” said Baptiste. “I am confident that we could go in there and if we have fun and let things go then we can get a medal.”
By Rachael Thompson-King