Former national quarter-miler Ian Morris believes the time for an Olympic Gold medal in the 4x400 metre relays for T&T is now.
“This is our time to win an Olympic Gold medal so take it. Please do not let this opportunity go to waste, I am begging you runners,” Morris pleaded yesterday during an interview with the Trinidad Guardian.
Cedenio, a past student of Presentation College, San fernando, produced an explosive burst of speed while challeneging for the gold medal from Lane 3 in the men’s 400 metres finals at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday night. The 20-year-old featuring in the fastest One-lap race in history, eclipsed the previous national 400 metres record (44.21) set by Ian Morris at the semi-final stage at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, when he raced to the finish-line in 44.01 but had to settle for fourth place.
The gold medals was won by South African Wayde Van Niekerk, who ran from lane 8 in a world record time of 43.03 with Grenadian Kirani James second in 43.76 and American Lashawn Merrit third in 43.85.
Befor the race Cedenio had said: “I will need to go below the national record because there are three men with sub 44 times, and they are running fast.”
In his analysis, Morris explained the United States team will be dependent on Lashawn Merrit who will be required to perform in the 200 metres, which will place the US team under tremendous pressure, while other main contenders like Bahamas are not at full strength presently.
The former footballer, who made athletics his career for two decades while contesting the 200, 400 and 800 metres events, believes the T&T team is equipped with quarter-milers who are capable of 44-seconds performances at any given time.
“We have Machel Cedenio who is an outstanding athlete along with Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, Deon Lendore and of course Lalonde Gordon, all of whom can produce at the 400 metres, so our chance is greater than any other in the world right now,” Morris explained.
Morris who produced a sensational run in the 400 metres final at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games that saw him finish fourth in a new national record time of 44.25 seconds, is hoping that all the quarter-milers will feed positively off Cedenio who, apart from finishing fourth in the Olympic 400 metre final on Sunday night, also broke Morris’s 24-year old national record of 44.21 seconds set in the semi-finals rounds in Barcelona, with a new benchmark of 44.01.
The 4x 400 metre relays will be the last event on the calendar of events at the Olympics and it produces the country’s only chance of at a gold medal in that event, Morris said. He lashed out at the performances of some athletes, saying they seem to be running for themselves and not the country.
According to Morris, who hails from Siparia: “A number of runners, with the exception of Cedenio, Semoy Hackett, Gordon and Michelle Lee Ahye, have been going through the motions at the Olympics.
These are runners who have benefitted from the Elite Athletes Funding towards their preparations, and yet, they look anything like they want to win. I am not talking about winning medals only, but we must see a greater effort from them. We need to see a greater effort from our athletes.”